Southeastern Hosts Advanced Preview Day and Fourth Annual Southeastern Symposium

On Thursday, April 20, Southeastern Seminary hosted its first annual Advanced Preview Day for students discerning God’s call to advanced degree training. During their visit, prospective students attended the fourth annual Southeastern Symposium on Friday, April 21 — a showcase of scholarship from Southeastern faculty, alumni, and current advanced degree students.

“At Southeastern, we exist to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission,” Jonathan Goforth, director of admissions at Southeastern, shared with prospective students and their families on Thursday. “That is why every Southeastern classroom is a Great Commission classroom. Your studies here are never separate from your work and ministry but rather fuel for what you are doing already.”

Designed to offer students rigorous academic training in service of the Great Commission, Southeastern’s advanced degrees equip students as leaders and scholars who love the Church and steward their academic gifts to make disciples of Jesus. Championing quality biblical and theological scholarship and deep spiritual formation, Southeastern’s PhD, EdD, DMin, and ThM programs prepare students holistically to contribute to the Church’s mission.

One way Southeastern promotes this unique approach to scholarship is through its annual Southeastern Symposium. This strategic event offers faculty, alumni, and current students an opportunity to share critical scholarship and engage one another on a variety of research topics. Live-streamed for non-residential students and guests, the symposium enables open dialogue not only with attendees but also with students and scholars around the world.

“The symposium serves as a showcase of the quality academic work that Southeastern is doing,” commented Jake Pratt, director of PhD studies at Southeastern. “We hope that attendees and viewers will see the value of the scholarship that our students and faculty do for the local church, and we hope that this event will pique their interest in this kind of work. The symposium is an important way we make that connection of academic research for the sake of the Church.”

We hope that attendees and viewers will see the value of the scholarship that our students and faculty do for the local church, and we hope that this event will pique their interest in this kind of work.

“The symposium is also a fantastic opportunity for brothers and sisters around the world who may not have the opportunity to attend something like an Evangelical Theological Society meeting to interact with scholars doing quality academic research for the sake of the Church,” added Pratt.

Furthering this Great Commission vision for scholarship, this year’s event included fourteen presentations:

  • “Matthew 1:1 — Redemption Amongst Generational Brokenness” by Kristin Kellen
  • “Training the Next Generation in Expository Preaching: Developing a Plan to Teach Practicum Preaching Classes in the Local Church” by Kory Cunningham
  • “Jesus and the Extramission Theory of Perception: Matthew 6:22-23, 20:15” by Kraig Oman
  • “Congregationalism in a Chinese House Church Plant” by Mulberry Sang
  • “Whether the “Sermon on the Mount” Meets John R.W. Stott’s Definition of True Biblical Preaching as an Expository Sermon” by Drew Page
  • “The Role of Preaching in a Church’s Disciple-Making Process: Developing a Year-Long Preaching Plan for the Purpose of Promoting Discipleship in the Local Church” by Jordon Willard
  • “Questioning the Question Mark: The Punctuation of Matthew 8:7 and Its Implications for Theology and Mission” by Chuck Quarles
  • “Did Jesus Reinterpret Psalm 110:1? A Fresh Look at Matthew 22:41-46 and the Original Context of Psalm 110” by Tyler Craft
  • “If They Are Now Sons: Huldrych Zwingli’s Gospel/Law Symmetry” by Stephen Eccher
  • “’Make Disciples of All Nations’: Applying Vern Poythress’ Perspectivalism to Missiological Discussions about the Great Commission” Dr. Anna Daub
  • “A Summary and Right Order of a Whole Christian Life: The Great Commission in Balthasar Hubmaier’s Baptismal Hermeneutic” by Stephen Lorance
  • “Matthew’s Narrative Landscape: Plot Structure and the Evangelist’s ‘Logic of Hierarchy’” by Jake Pratt
  • “’Whose Image and Inscription?’ in Matthew 22:20 — Jonathan Edwards on Humanity” by Robert Lee
  • “A Baptismal Way of Thinking: Retrieving Irenaeus on Baptism and Christian Thought for Contemporary Baptists” by Christy Thornton

This year’s symposium offered prospective students an illustration of what they heard during their visit about the culture and content of Southeastern’s advanced degree programs: Southeastern’s Great Commission culture produces Great Commission scholars and leaders.

During an address to prospective students, Chuck Lawless, dean of doctoral studies at Southeastern, charged attendees to remember the nations when they think of their future education. As many global church leaders lack access to advanced training, students who have the opportunity to train at a school like Southeastern have a profound stewardship of blessings that many without access would long to have.

“As a team leader with the International Mission Board, I often think about the believers in the world who would give much to have 15 minutes of real training,” noted Lawless. “That is why — when we have opportunity, accessibility, and ability for more training — at a minimum, we have to ask the Lord what he would have us do about further education. I challenge you to pursue whatever the Lord gives you in terms of future training to reach our neighbors and the nations. That is the heartbeat of Southeastern Seminary.”

I challenge you to pursue whatever the Lord gives you in terms of future training to reach our neighbors and the nations. That is the heartbeat of Southeastern Seminary.

As part of their preview day experience, prospective students also connected with faculty and current students, learned about financial aid opportunities, and previewed library resources and research tools that are available to advanced students. Designed to give prospective students a vision for advanced training in the Southeastern community, preview day at Southeastern invites attendees to consider how their research can serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission.

Are you interested in advanced theological education that aims to strengthen your ministry, equip you to engage the academy, and mobilize you to serve King Jesus? Southeastern’s advanced degrees allow you to do just that in a charitable community of Great Commission leaders and scholars at a confessional institution firmly rooted in God’s word.

To learn more about Southeastern’s advanced degree programs, visit our advanced degrees page, or talk with an admissions counselor or schedule a campus visit today at

To experience Southeastern’s Great Commission scholarship for yourself, check out our recordings of last year’s symposium.

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