Archive for the ‘Seminary’ category

Ray Ortlund on Power in Preaching

October 4, 2008

Dr. Raymond Ortlund Jr., pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, recently spoke on “Power in Preaching” at the 2008 Mullins Lectures at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I would like to direct your attention to his messages and encourage you to download the audio.  The MP3s are provided below.

* “Power in Preaching: Decide” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

* “Power in Preaching: Desire” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-5)

* “Power in Preaching: Delight” (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)

You can also check out sermons of guest speakers at previous Mullins Lectures by going here.

Profoundly Encouraged

May 1, 2008

This past Monday, I was sitting in Atlanta’s Hartsfield airport enjoying a sub sandwich and happened to leave my book on the table. The book I was reading was God-Centered Evangelism by R.B. Kuiper (really good, BTW). The lady, standing next to me in line, saw the book and asked, “Are you coming back from a mission trip?” I replied, “Well, not really. I am coming back from a mission to find a new home in Florida. Are you?” She responded, “Yes! We just left Ecuador on a mission trip.” Having recently done some mission work in Ecuador myself, we enjoyed a friendly, short conversation about Ecuador and all that God is doing down there.

A few moments later, another customer saw the book and asked, “Are you a minister or an evangelist?” I replied, “Indeed I am. Are you a Christian?” He answered, “Yes. I am going to do some work with folks struggling with addiction and seeking rehabilitation.” I ended up finding out that he is a member of Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, Alabama, and we happen to know several of the same folks. Really cool stuff. But then there was one more.

On my connecting flight to Louisville, I got situated and comfortable, preparing to review some of Burroughs on the way back. A gentleman sat down next to me, and he made mention of the God-centered Evangelism book on my lap. Come to find out, he was on his way to “do business at the seminary in Louisville,” of which I told him I was a student. Little did I know, he was the IMB representative for SBTS!


Check Out “The PIT”

April 8, 2008

I have often written about the disconnect between seminary and the local church. One of the major setbacks, for instance, are ministers will little experience in preaching and teaching and will soon enter their first ministerial context. I recall in preaching class earlier this semester a time when the professor asked for a show of hands of how many preached the past Sunday, and in a class of about 20, only two raised their hands. Moreover, as students had opportunity to preach, many shared that this was only their second or third time they had ever preached.

So with that in mind, I am really excited to hear about a new effort by Third Avenue Baptist Church (here in Louisville) that has started “an intensive training, experience, and evaluation for aspiring pastors” called The PIT (“pastors-in-training”). Here is how Third Avenue explains the program:

The PIT is a semester-long training and evaluation program for men at Third Avenue who are aspiring to be pastors; an “under-the-hood” look at pastoral ministry at Third. Participants in The PIT will be invited to and commit to:

* A one-on-one goal-setting meeting with all the elders at the beginning of the program.
* Preach at least 2 (and perhaps even 3) Sunday evening devotionals in a row, and receive feedback from elders and other PIT participants.
* Attend all Elders’ Meetings, and be invited to stay for some of the Elders’ Private Session.
* Attend Service Reviews with the pastor and elders.
* Attend a Discipling/Debriefing meeting with an elder after each Elders’ Meeting.
* Attend a monthly(ish) dinner with your wife at the Heaths’ house, other PIT participants, their wives, and anyone else the Heaths invite.
* Go with the pastor on occasional pastoral visits.
* Lead the morning service at least once, and receive feedback.
* If needed, receive credit for Applied Ministry Project at SBTS. (We’re still working on this.)
* A one-on-one evaluation meeting with all the elders at the end of the PIT program.

How cool is that? Those who are called to minister and serve as leaders in the church in the office of pastors or elders are called to “equip the saints,” and yet there is a real need today to equip those who will equip the saints. I can say that, were I had been given such an opportunity in a local church to be trained, instructed, mentored, and invested in, I know that not only would I be more mature in ministry but it would have prevented many of the mistakes I made as a young, immature, inexperienced minister.

Churches and pastors, allow me to make a plea here. You have young men whom God is called out for the work of gospel ministry. They may go to seminaries to get theological education, but there only so much that seminaries can teach. The pastoral training and experience they could receive in a local church context is invaluable, and many are hungering for such an opportunity. Please consider developing something like “The PIT” in your own church for the sake of these young ministers and the churches will they eventually minister.

We need to build bridges between the seminaries and the local church, and I think The PIT is a great place to start. Perhaps other churches are doing something similar to it (I know of a couple in AL). The results of such intentional investments in the kingdom through training pastors in a local church context will cultivate continuity and continued health (or bring about health) for the next generation. May this generation leave behind faithfulness to the gospel and faithfulness to those who are most entrusted with it.

Provoke the Vote 2008: “Yes We Can!”

March 25, 2008

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time to provoke the vote.

I realize that we have built bridges to Mars, put some grease and grime on glossy theology, and reintroduced 17th century giants in the midst of a dwarfed 21st century spirituality. But alas, we are just getting started. Today, I am asking you to help me provoke the vote by voting for Provocations and Pantings in the Said at Southern Blog Madness.

We are currently in the second round of voting, and while P&P landed with the most votes in round one, we have encountered stiff competition and are currently being beat badly in the second round. I know that people may wonder whether it is possible to make another come back, but my answer to them is,

“Yes We Can!”

So will you join the call to provoke the vote in 2008?
To join in, go to the Said at Southern Blog Madness and vote for Provocations and Pantings (East Division).

After Sunday, the winners of each division will face off in a final four showdown. I know I have a record of asking anything, so I want to ask you to please vote for P&P this week as we look to provoke the vote in 2008!

Great Upcoming Events at Southern Seminary

February 20, 2008

There are several upcoming events/lectures at Southern Seminary that I would like to make you aware of. Be sure to mark your calendars if you are in the Louisville area. My guess is that most if not all of these lectures will be made available to download at the SBTS Audio Resources page.

Forum on Multi-site Churches

The School of Theology Council is sponsoring a panel discussion, entitled “A Forum on Multiple-Campus Churches, Franchising the Church or Fulfilling the Great Commission?” The event will be held at 10:00 am on February 20th in Heritage Hall. The event will feature Dr. Chad Brand, Dr. Jimmy Scroggins, and Dr. Gregg Allison.

Institute for Christian Worship Lectures

Speaker: Dr. Michael Haykin :: February 27-28, 2008
Lectures include:
“Contemporary Baptist Worship in the 17th Century”
“Contemporary Baptist Worship in the Long 18th Century, 1680s-1830s”
“Contemporary Baptist Worship in the Victorian Era, 1830s-1910s”

2008 Gheens Lectures

Guest Speaker: Dr. Millard Erickson :: March 4-6, 2008
Tuesday, March 4th :: “Can Theology Learn from History?” – 10 a.m.
Wednesday, March 5th :: “Can Theology Learn from Physics?” – 10 a.m.
Thursday, March 6th :: “Can Theology Learn from Economics?” – 10 a.m.

Julius Brown Gay Lecture

The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel” presented by Dr. Jim Hamilton. Thursday, March 13, 2008 1:30 p.m. in the Heritage Hall.

New Southern Seminary Student Journal – Adorare Mente

February 20, 2008

Just when I begin tying my shoes on the way out the door of Southern Seminary, I am alerted to the new Southern Seminary student journal Adorare Mente.  Here is a summary of what this journal is about:

The purpose of Adorare Mente is summed up in the title – “To worship with the mind.” Contrary to the opinion and practice of some, rigorous academic study is not at odds with intense personal piety. In fact, learning to think well is a necessary component of Christian discipleship. Worship is at its peak when mind and heart flow together. Since the purpose of ministerial training is to educate the mind while warming the heart, this journal is designed to encourage students to use all of their mind, to be intellectually ambitious, but not for their own glory. Students should harness and direct those powers for the good of the kingdom. In the past this union of heart and mind was well represented in such pastor-theologians as Augustine, Calvin, Luther, John Owen, and Jonathan Edwards, and in the present-day, examples are found in John Piper and Mark Dever, among others. It is hoped that this journal is but a small step towards recovering the model of the pastor-theologian on a much wider scale today.

The current plans for publication is one issue per semester (biannually), and each issue will feature five articles written by students Southern–one article each in the fields of New Testament, Old Testament, Systematic Theology, Church History, and Worldview and Culture. Each complete issue will be available from this website as a PDF download, and a limited number of print copies will be available on the SBTS campus.

I happen to know some of the guys on the editorial board, and they are excellent theologians and young scholars.  Under their leadership, acumen, and direction, I have good reason to believe this journal will be more than a success; it will be a useful catalyst for the kind of evangelical renaissance intertwining academic rigor with burning hearts for the glory of God.  Be sure to check out their website and look forward to their first issue.

HT :: Owen (Ockenga is my hero) Strachan

Boyce prof says, “Life is more than hangin’ with the honies.”

November 15, 2007

Dr. Jim Orrick, professor of Literature and Culture at Boyce College (Southern’s undergraduate school), expresses himself in this rap he wrote and performed during Great Books class in a discussion of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy.

I must say that, after having watched this, Dr. Orrick comes close to rivaling Dr. Ron Nash’s classic hip shake. Rap is certainly making some in-roads, or so it seems. Last year, the Duncan brothers set it off at T4G, and my good friend Owen Strachan is quite the rapper himself. Look out Cross Movement – competition’s comin’ (well, then again, maybe not).

Founders Ministries at Founders Cafe

September 25, 2007

For those of you in the Southern Seminary family, here’s an announcement I made today at SAS.   

Tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday afternoon), Dr. Tom Ascol, executive director of Founders Ministries will be on campus to hang out and fellowship at the Founders Cafe at 2:30 p.m.  Some of you may have read his blog or are aware of Founders Ministries through their conferences, books, journal, and burgeoning network in the SBC.  If you are on or around campus tomorrow and would like to meet Dr. Ascol and discuss issues related to the gospel, theology, SBC, local church, etc., please stop by.  

And no, you cannot be anonymous.  😉

Papers and Projects

September 16, 2007

Things are really starting to pile up this semester in school.  Attempting to finish strong, I am taking five classes this semester which also includes four papers.  As you can expect, blog frequency will likely taper of a little, although I do plan on sharing some of my research and everyday thoughts.  Right now, I am averaging 12-15 posts a week, which will decrease to around 7-10 posts a week.  Blue Collar Theology, book previews, and the other staple posts such as quick hits and potw, should remain consistent.

I thought I share some of the papers and projects I am working on, given that I will be posting excerpts and aspects of my research.  Here are my four papers:


1.  Church Planting Case Study – This is a paper dedicated to my research and analysis of a recent church plant.  Because I have not received confirmation from the church which I will be studying, I will not comment further. (Intro to Church Planting)

2.  Edwards v. Finney on Revival – This is a thesis-driven paper where I will argue that both Edwards means and ends of revival are true to the nature of God and salvation and biblically faithful.  As you might expect, this is a somewhat polemical paper.  In addition to their understanding of revival, I hope to examine in particular detail how each counsel sinners and follow-up on new converts.  (Intro to Church History II)

3. Exegetical Study of Zechariah’s Night Visions – Some of you might recall that I taught through some of Zechariah 1-8 earlier this past summer.  It was a really enjoyable study, and I am hoping to build on that by writing an exegetical paper focusing on a redemptive/historical framework and hermeneutical horizons of these eight visions which carry several biblical themes.  (Biblical Hermeneutics)

4. The Role of the Holy Spirit in the Unevangelized –  This will by far be the paper I devote most of my attention to this semester (see projects for reason why).  This is a position paper where I will be examining Clark Pinnock’s pneumatological inclusivism (Arminian/Open Theist), Terrance Tiessen’s accessibilism (Calvinist), and Amos Yong’s pneumatological theology of religion (Pentecostal/Charismatic).  I will offer my critiques of each position and present the exclusivist/particularist case for the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation.  Issues involved include are Trinitarian (especially economic/immanent Trinity, filioque, perichoresis, and Spirit-Anointed Christology [kenosis]), soteriological (covenant, atonement, revelation, regeneration, grace, and calling), interreligious (cosmic spirit, imago dei, universal presence/salvation, church/kingdom identity, and missio dei), and biblical (theological method, Spirit in OT/NT, continuity/discontinuity, and already/not yet).  Obviously, I will not be able to cover these issues in a short position paper, which leads me to my projects. (Systematic Theology III)


1. Systematic Analysis of Inclusivism – During the course of my time at seminary, I have been researching the issues which I believe are “first-order” or greatest threats to orthodoxy and/or the gospel.  This has lead me to take up the issues of pluralism, universalism, and inclusivism.  I have written several papers on inclusivism, focusing on revelation, saving faith, theological method, and now Holy Spirit.  My goal is to write a paper on every major area of systematic theology (e.g. theology proper, revelation, saalvation, eschatology, et al) on inclusivism and compile them into a book-length project.  This project is rather long-term, but I believe the time and work invested is certainly warranted.  I hope to have it completed in 2-3 years.

2. The Forgotten Henry – I already gave you the heads up on this project, so I will not say much here.  I am really looking forward to tackling this study in the next 1-2 years as I have already completed 75% of the research, bibliography, and organized an outline of the project.

3. 2008 Band of Bloggers – Some of you may remember that I organized a fellowship called “Band of Bloggers” in 2006 which was in conjunction with the first Together for the Gospel conference.  This is the first time I have publicly mentioned next year’s fellowship.  I and a small team of others have been planning for about six weeks and are really excited about it.  Last time I had only three weeks to put it together, so it is nice having eight months instead!  Stay tuned for more info on this project.

4. Miscellaneous (Smaller Projects) – Some other projects I am working on is posting my other drafts on “Dortian Calvinism” in response to Dr. James Leo Garrett’s articles in The Alabama Baptist.  I have a total of 12 in the series.  Another project is a study of the various church planting models (Acts 29, Sovereign Grace, NAMB, etc.) and developing a church planting strategy.  Lastly, I am hoping to juxtapose and examine the latest statements/confessions focused on the gospel, viz. The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration (1999), Together for the Gospel Statement (2006), and the Gospel Coalition Confession (2007).

Any of these particularly interest you?  Discuss on the blog?

Here Goes Nothing

August 13, 2007

I found this motivational on my first day of school.

Southern Seminary News :: 08.01.07

August 1, 2007

* The much anticipated book, Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution, is currently in the LifeWay bookstore on campus! Now, the book is not officially out in the U.S. (although it has been out in the U.K. for some time now). Copies were obtained as it is a required textbook for a Ph.D. class, and several extra copies were obtained for general sale. The price is somewhat steep for a softcover ($31), but if you want to get your hands on this book early, here’s your chance.

* If any of you have frequented the Boyce Centennial Library (my home away from home), you will know that there have been several changes in recent months, not the least of which include that the air-conditioner finally got fixed, doors removed, new panting, new carpet, new catalog system (Library of Congress), and rearranging computers. But that is not all. The inside scoop is that they are expecting to release the new and improved website for the library, possibly by next week. A very cool note is that the site is being powered by WordPress.

* Now that we are officially in August, that means school is starting, budgets are being broken, and yes, the Andrew Fuller Conference is right around the corner! The conference dates are Aug. 27-28, and the cost is $60 (which includes, 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and one dinner). If you have not considered attending the conference, let me encourage you to check it out!

* Over at Said at Southern, Tony Kummer has uploaded our first podcast with an interview with Dr. Russell Moore. In the podcast, Dr. Moore talks about everything from the gospel, culture, evangelism, and the upcoming Andrew Fuller conference. Expect more podcasts to come in the future.

* Although it is not scheduled to release until January 15, 2008, you can go to Amazon and view the cover and details of Dr. Mohler’s upcoming book, Culture Shift: Engaging Current Issues with Timeless Truth.

* While it has been out for a while, it is worth restating that the new issue of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology is an important contribution to the current debate/controversy on the atonement.  A couple of the articles are available to download, so be sure to read them for your edification.

Please Join Me in Praying for Dr. Nettles

July 31, 2007

I know that I have mentioned this several times over the course of this summer, but I wanted to specifically ask that you pray for Dr. Nettles today.  For those of you who have not been aware of his health condition, Dr. Nettles developed pneumonia shortly after the Spring semester ended.  As he began to get over the pneumonia, ulcers were found on his vocal chords which has severely affected his ability to speak.  Today he is going to a doctor to have a stroboscopy done.  Many of us have been impacted by Dr. Nettles through his classroom lectures, speaking engagements, books, and personal friendship.  I am asking that for you to join me in praying for Dr. Nettles today and continue to as the Lord leads.  I am specifically praying for God to touch his vocal chords and heal his throat.  One of the many things I have learned from Dr. Nettles both in doctrine and in practice is that he esteems the providence of God and is passionate man of prayer.

May our gracious Lord attend to the prayers of His people as we lift up our dear brother.  Thank you for praying.

POTW :: Irish with a Twist

July 20, 2007

View in Flickr (see it LARGE)

View in Flickr (see it LARGE)

These are pictures of McGuire’s Irish Pub, a popular eatery on the Florida panhandle. The original restaurant is located in Pensacola. One of the unique things about McGuire’s is that they have over $500,000 in $1 bills on the ceiling, and if you are not paying attention to the fine print on the bathroom doors, you will end up going into the opposite sex’s bathroom! That’s always funny to watch. The photos’ effect was due to me playing with the zoom. You simply have to take a 1/2 sec to 1 sec exposure, and while the camera is taking the picture, twist the zoom either telephoto (out) or wide-angle (in). The key is to hold the camera as still as possible (unless you have a tripod). Another creative shot is to flip the camera during the same exposure time, and you will get the swirly effect. To see more of these shots, visit my Flickr page. Also check out the Friday Photo group for more Friday photos.


This week in review:

Yesterday, my wife and I celebrated our four year anniversary with an elegant dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse. We were blessed to have a gift card, and we sorely need it (the meal was $150, and we drank tap water!). She had the Cajun Filet Mignon, and I had the New York Steak Strip. After dinner, we made our way to Baby’s-r-Us to look at some baby cribs. It was a great evening.

Speaking of baby cribs, this week has been a little light in blogging, because I have started to renovate my study/guest bedroom to turn it into our baby room. I have already tubbed 200 books with another 400 more to go. I have been thinking about what a cool baby room for a boy would look like. I think I will keep my Puritan section near the crib so that Nolan can be in good company when I am gone. If you have an neat or creative ideas for a boy baby room, let me know.

Another reason for light blogging this week is because I have been trying to figure out the whacky world of Facebook. That’s right, I got a Facebook account. I told my wife that I am still boycotting MySpace, though. I created some photo albums as well, including my postcards, influential people in my life, waterfalls, and pics of Louisville. Also, for those of you who read or are syndicated through Said at Southern, you may want to join the Said at Southern Facebook Group which I created (go here for details). Those of you who have Facebook and WordPress might be interested in this application.

Along the lines of seminary, let me ask that you please remember Dr. Nettles in your prayers. I mentioned earlier that his health was not good, but the ulcers on his vocal chords are not going away (and from what I understand, his doctor’s don’t know what can be done to fix it). What this means is that this ailment could become a permanent thing. His voice is weak and raspy, and while I understand it is not causing him pain, he cannot speak for any lengthy duration. While the doctors may not know what to do, we know that we can pray – and pray for a miracle from God, that He would be gracious to heal Dr. Nettles’ vocal chords and give him a renewed voice to speak of the excellencies of Jesus Christ. If I hear any update, I will try to pass that along.

Finally, thank you to all of you who linked to my “impermanence” article. I am encouraged to see mutual interest in an enduring ministry. I pray that God uses this generation both in the pulpit and the pew to develop a counter-cultural community who love Jesus and the world He place them in.

The New Said At Southern

June 1, 2007

A couple of years ago, a metablog was created to carry all the feeds of Southern Seminary bloggers.  About six months ago, that metablog began experiencing difficulties and was no longer carrying a consider number of the blogs.  This metablog had served to be a great resource for people to stop by and check out what the students and faculty were blogging about, and for me it was an almost daily stop.

On March 15 of this year, my friend Tony Kummer (who is also responsible for this BTW), put together a bunch of the student feeds on a Blogger template which I happened to find very helpful.  I, along with others, encouraged him to develop a new metablog to replace the older, now defunct, metablog so that we could have a home base to read what other seminary students are saying.  As this formative process was underway, we began discussing about eventually making the switch to WordPress.  Our goal was to make the move over the summertime; however, that switch came earlier as on May 8, Said at Southern was now being hosted on WordPress.  Over the past 2-3 weeks, we have been planning and working on developing a website that is simple, clean, easy to navigate, and fully functional.  That is not easy to do when you are trying to carry 85+ feeds on one website!

Nevertheless, today (June 1) is our official launch day, and I want to direct you to the new Said at Southern and ask you to take a look.  What we have done is created new, separate pages for the feeds: for students, faculty, and alumni respectively.  Also included on the website are podcasts from chapel messages, Dr. Mohler’s radio show, and both Drs. Mohler and Moore’s Sunday School classes.  Another nice feature is the “Well Said” which are what we consider the best blogposts of the day.  We would love to get some feedback as our hopes are not simply to cater to the SBTS crowd, but also to the broader evangelical audience (and practically anyone who would be interested).  One of the things I appreciate the most is that Tony has carefully written an “Expectations” page which explains some of the standards we hope to maintain at SAS. 

So you might be wondering, “Who is the ‘we’ that you keep talking about?”  Currently we have three editors – Tony, myself, and Owen Strachan, an excellent writer and commentator.  Our goal is to run the front page, including editorials, blog series, and update everyone on what we consider to be important and newsworthy here at Southern Seminary.  Outside the editorial team, we have a great list of contributors, many of whom are scheduled to write in our first series – reviewing The Ringing Bell, Derek Webb’s latest release.  Today, Brent Thomas kicks things off with a nice post entitled, “How to Think Biblically About Christian Music.”  Stay “tuned” (sorry that’s really cheesy) for the rest of the series.  It should be good.

Later this summer, we hope to blog through our school’s confession, the Abstract of Principles, and continue to write about all things said at Southern.  Well, almost. 

So it’s Friday.  Slow day at work, not a lot to do.  Check out Said at Southern, and if you don’t mind, let others know about what we are trying to do.  Said at Southern isn’t primarily for seminarians; rather, it is to provide a portal to some great resources and edifying conversation, whether it is engaging the culture from a Christian worldview, discussing current theological issues, evaluating ecclesiological trends, reviewing books and music, or just everyday life as a seminarian.  You can also subscribe to our feed which will carry all our latest posts.

If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know.  We are still developing this blogsite to be the best hub of news, commentary, links, and media resources of Southern Seminary available on the Internet.  Thanks.

Dr. Michael Haykin Appointed Professor at Southern

May 14, 2007

This is great news!  Dr. Haykin is a fantastic scholar (and a blogger I might add).  From The Towers online today:

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary this week added prominent church historian Michael A.G. Haykin to its faculty, appointing him as professor of biblical spirituality and church history.

A prolific author and noted scholar in areas of early church history, Baptist history and Christian spirituality, Haykin will pioneer Southern’s innovative new Ph.D. and D.Min. programs in biblical spirituality, will teach and supervise doctoral students in patristic history, and will head the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at Southern, which will host events and publish materials related to Baptist history.

In August this year, Southern will be hosting “Andrew Fuller: The Reader” – a conference dedicated to one of the greatest theologians of the 18th century.  Keynote speakers include Drs. Haykin, Moore, and Nettles along with Carl Trueman.  For more information about Andrew Fuller, check out The Elephant of Kettering, a blog dedicated to Andrew Fuller. 

For a list of books written or contributed by Haykin, go here
For a large list of downloadable lectures by Haykin, go here