Southeastern Student and Faculty Honored During Awards Chapel
Chad Burchett | November 30, 2023
During chapel on Nov. 30, Southeastern Seminary recognized a student for his commitment to personal evangelism and installed two of its professors as endowed chairs. Highlighting God’s faithfulness to his promises, President Danny Akin preached from Luke 1:5-25 for the final chapel message of the semester.
In his sermon, Akin highlighted how the birth of John the Baptist powerfully demonstrated God’s faithfulness to his promises. Acknowledging that those who walk with God still experience disappointments, Akin noted that Zechariah and Elizabeth are described as “righteous,” yet God still allowed them to experience childlessness for most of their lives.
Akin reminded attendees that God knew their condition, and even when it seemed like they would not experience the blessing of parenthood, he surprised them with his goodness and grace, fulfilling his promises from the Old Testament.
Despite God’s consistent outpouring of goodness and grace on his people, the righteous still sometimes struggle to believe, as Akin noted in his sermon. Zechariah doubted and God chastened him because God’s character is unchanging — he is always faithful to his word and upholds his promises to his people. Charging attendees to walk closely with God, Akin noted that those who walk with God discover that he keeps his word and blesses his children. This truth is most vividly displayed in the incarnation of his Son, Jesus, who fulfilled God’s promises of redemption.
As a Great Commission seminary, Southeastern challenges its students to honor God not only by faithfully stewarding their studies but also by serving the Church and fulfilling the Great Commission. Celebrating how students have exemplified these values, Southeastern’s faculty recognize outstanding students during an awards chapel at the end of the fall and spring semesters.
This fall, Southeastern awarded the Ernest and Edna Owens Evangelism Award to Jake Hatfield, a current student who also serves as director of college life for The College at Southeastern. The Owens Evangelism Award is given every fall to a full-time student who models a faithful evangelistic witness and a passion for discipleship and personal evangelism.
“Jake, congratulations for demonstrating what we are all about,” commented Provost Scott Pace. “Your consistent evangelistic witness, love for the gospel, and desire to lead others to do the same embodies who we are as Southeastern.”
During chapel, Southeastern also installed Steve McKinion as the John Leadley Dagg Chair of systematic theology and Tate Cockrell as the Fulp Chair of biblical counseling.
Previously held by retired professor John Hammett, the John L. Dagg Chair is named after America’s first systematic Baptist theologian and was given in honor of Andy Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church Durham and visiting professor of historical theology at Southeastern. As the newest recipient of the chair, McKinion has taught at Southeastern since 1998 and serves as professor of theology and patristic studies at Southeastern.
The Fulp Chair of biblical counseling is named after the late Jim Fulp, who used his MDiv in biblical counseling from Southeastern to serve his local church, and his wife Sarah Fulp, who was also involved in church ministry and is a long-time supporter of Southeastern. Succeeding retired professor Sam Williams as the Fulp Chair, Cockrell has taught at Southeastern since 2012 and serves as professor of counseling and director of DMin and EdD Studies at Southeastern.
Made possible by generous donations, endowed chairs provide an enduring source of funding for Southeastern professors and ensures Southeastern can continue to recruit world-class faculty who share its Great Commission vision for equipping students. These donations also help to keep tuition costs affordable and to grow the institutions’ academic programs.
Encouraging students and alumni to continue reading Luke’s account of Jesus birth, Southeastern will be releasing a weekly advent devotional on Luke 1:26-2:20 throughout December. We invite you to join us in meditating on the love of God in Christ this season.