Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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|Motto||For the truth. For the church. For the world. For the glory of God|
|Affiliation||Southern Baptist Convention|
|President||R. Albert Mohler, Jr.|
|Location||Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Affiliations||Kentuckiana Metroversity and Boyce College|
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), in Louisville, Kentucky, is the oldest of the six seminaries affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The seminary was founded in 1859 at Greenville, South Carolina, where it was at first lodged on the campus of Furman University. After being closed during the Civil War, it moved in 1877 to a newly built campus in downtown Louisville and later moved to its current location in the Crescent Hill neighborhood. For more than fifty years Southern has been one of the world's largest theological seminaries, with a current FTE (full-time equivalent) enrollment of over 2,000 students and over 170 FTE faculty.
In the wake of the Civil War, the seminary suspended classes for several years. With the financial help of several wealthy Baptists, including John D. Rockefeller and a group of Kentucky business leaders who promised to underwrite the construction of a new campus, the seminary relocated to Fifth Street and Broadway in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, in 1877.
In 1926, during the administration of Southern president Edgar Y. Mullins, the seminary occupied "The Beeches," a 100-acre (0.40 km2) suburban campus east of the city center designed by the Frederick Law Olmsted firm. The campus now contains 10 academic and residential buildings in Georgian architecture and three housing villages for married students.
Civil rights history
In 1951, President Duke McCall integrated the campus, in defiance of Kentucky state laws that established segregation at public facilities. Later, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, Southern was the only SBC agency to host a visit by Baptist minister and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King (1961). During King's address at SBTS he mentioned he had been to the seminary's chapel several times in the past when accompanying his mother, since King's mother was an organist for the Women's Auxiliary of the National Baptist Convention. As a result, many donors withheld their gifts to Southern, and some demanded McCall's resignation because Dr. King had spoken in the seminary chapel.
Administration and organizational structure
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In 1938, Southern was among the first group of seminaries and divinity schools accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. Thirty years later, in 1968, Southern was one of the first seminaries to be accredited by its regional accrediting body, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Throughout its history, Southern has been an innovator in theological education, establishing one of the first Ph.D. programs in religion (1892), the first department of Christian missions (1902), the first curriculum in religious education (1925), and the first accredited, seminary-based social work program (1984).
In 1953, President McCall and the trustees reorganized the institution along the lines of a small university. The curriculum was distributed among three graduate-professional schools—Theology, headed by Dean Penrose St. Amant; Religious Education, led by Dean Gaines S. Dobbins; and Church Music, under Dean Forrest Heeren.
In 1984, Dr. Anne Davis became founding dean of the Carver School of Church Social Work, which launched the first seminary-based Master of Social Work program to be accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (1987). The school was disbanded in 1997 by a subsequent seminary administration. It decided that secular social work was inappropriate for a seminary, and replaced the program with a school for training evangelists, missionaries and church-growth specialists.
In 1968, Southern helped establish Kentuckiana Metroversity, a local consortium of two seminaries, two state universities, a community college and two private colleges. They offer a joint library catalog, cross-registration of any student in any member institution, and faculty and cultural exchanges. In 1970, Southern helped create the Theological Education Association of Mid-America (TEAM-A), one of the United States' first seminary "clusters," a consortium of five schools related to the Presbyterian, Wesleyan Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Roman Catholic and Baptist traditions. They provide inter-institutional team teaching, cross registration among students, and a joint library catalog.
The seminary is governed by a board of trustees nominated and elected by the SBC. It receives almost one-third of its $31 million annual budget from the SBC Cooperative Program, the unified financial support system that distributes gifts from the congregations to the agencies and institutions of the denomination. In fiscal year 2007-08, Southern received $9.5 million through the Cooperative Program. Its endowments and invested reserves totaled $78 million.
Southern is currently organized into three schools:
- The School of Theology
- The Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Ministry
- Boyce College
Academics, philosophy, and faculty
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The seminary's mission statement is: "Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the mission of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is to be totally committed to the Bible as the Word of God, to the Great Commission as our mandate, and to be a servant of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by training, educating, and preparing ministers of the gospel for more faithful service."
Southern was one of the first seminaries in the nation to offer the PhD degree, beginning in 1895. During the 1970s and 1980s, it had the largest accredited PhD program in religion in the United States. It was the first seminary in the nation to offer courses in religious education, beginning in 1903. This program ultimately expanded into a School of Religious Education in 1953.
In 1907, William Owen Carver founded the Women's Missionary Union Training School, which eventually became the Carver School of Missions and Social Work.
In 1910, Southern established the Norton Lectures, a series of lectures on "Science and Philosophy in their Relations to Religion." Speakers have included conservative scholars William A. Dembski, Marvin Olasky and Alvin Plantinga.
In 1953, Southern became one of the few seminaries to offer a full, accredited degree course in church music.
After endowing the Billy Graham Chair of Evangelism in 1965 (the first such professorship in any Baptist seminary), Southern expanded it in 1994 into the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. It is the first program in the SBC dedicated solely to training missionaries and evangelists.
In the 1980s, Southern became the first seminary or divinity school to establish a school of church social work offering an accredited, seminary-based M.S.W. degree.
In 1993, the seminary's president R. Albert Mohler, Jr. came into office re-affirming the Seminary's historic "Abstract of Principles," part of the original charter of Southern created in 1858. The charter stated that every Professor must agree to "teach in accordance with, and not contrary to, the Abstract of Principles hereinafter laid down" and that "a departure" from the principles in the Abstract of Principles would be grounds for resignation or removal by the Trustees.
Dr. Mohler, following these instructions, required that current professors affirm, without any spoken or unspoken reservations, the Abstract of Principles. Professors were also asked to affirm the "Baptist Faith and Message" of the Southern Baptist Convention, since Southern is an agency of the SBC. An overwhelming majority of faculty affirmed the Abstract of Principles, but declined to affirm some of the doctrines stated in the "Baptist Faith and Message," which had recently been amended to bring it in line with more conservative positions held by the SBC. In the wake of the subsequent dismissal or resignation of a large percentage of the faculty, Southern has replaced them with new professors who agree to adhere to the "Baptist Faith and Message" in addition to the seminary's Abstract of Principles.
In 2005, Southern revised its pastoral care and counseling major. It ended the counseling program which it had been offering since the 1950s, under Dr. Wayne Oates and his colleagues. It replaced it with the "Nouthetic Counseling" or Bible-based counseling program, championed by Dr. Jay E. Adams since the 1970s. The dean of Southern Seminary's school of theology stated that the change was necessary because a successful integration of modern psychology and theology was not possible.
In 2009, Southern Seminary expanded its doctoral program to include a Spirituality PhD. Students pursuing this degree try to incorporate their Christian-based spirituality with research for a dissertation.
- Charles C. Baldwin, Chief of Chaplains of the United States Air Force 2004–2008
- Reginald Bibby, sociologist
- LaVerne Butler, pastor of 9th & O Baptist Church in Louisville, 1969–1988; president of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, 1988–1997, leader of conservative resurgence in Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s and 1980s
- Douglas Carver, Chief of Chaplains of the United States Army 2007–2011
- Chris Clarke, missionary to the equestrian community in Kentucky and neighboring states
- W.A. Criswell, late pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas; author; and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention
- Miguel A. De La Torre, prolific author on Hispanic religious life; social ethics professor at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO, 1999–present.
- Mark Dever, pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church; well-known speaker, author, and theologian, who is a proponent of elder led ecclesiology
- Amzi Dixon, late pastor of Moody Church, Chicago, IL; and Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England.
- Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC; and author of Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare To Ask God for the Impossible
- David P. Gushee, Christian ethicist, historian, public intellectual, and Holocaust scholar.
- Paul R. House, scholar, author, and seminary professor.
- Ben Campbell Johnson, Professor Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, author
- Clarence Jordan, late founder of Koinonia Farm (forerunner of Habitat for Humanity) and Greek scholar who translated the New Testament into a Cotton Patch version using the vernacular of the Civil Rights era in the South.
- Jasper Keith, Professor Emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary, former President of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.
- R.T. Kendall, pastor of Westminster Chapel, London, England, 1977–2002.
- David Gordon Lyon, Hollis Chair at Harvard Divinity School and founding curator of Semitic Museum
- James Merritt, pastor, president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2000–2002
- Grady Nutt, religious humorist and national television personality; died in air crash, 1982.
- Cicero Washington Pruitt, missionary to Northern China.
- Bronson Ray, Executive Secretary of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (1928-1932).
- William Bell Riley, late founder of the World Christian Fundamentals Association
- Lee Roberson, founder of Tennessee Temple University, influential leader in the Southwide Baptist Fellowship, and former pastor of Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Gregory Alan Thornbury, president of The King's College in New York City.
- Jeff Struecker, pastor, author, and former U.S. Army Ranger Chaplain.
- Ed Stetzer, author, speaker, researcher, pastor, church planter, and Christian missiologist.
- Edwin O. Ware, Sr., Kentucky native who was first president of Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana
- Bryant Wright, pastor, president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2010-2011.
- Daniel L. Akin, Professor of Theology and Christian Preaching (1999-2004), Senior Vice President for Academic Administration (1996-2004), Dean, School of Theology (1996-2004), Associate Professor of Christian Theology (1996-1999). Current president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of over a dozen books.
- George Arthur Buttrick, English-born, American-based Christian preacher, author and lecturer.
- David Dockery, Professor of Theology and New Testament, Dean of School of Theology (1988-1996). Current president of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (2014–present).
- William A. Dembski, mathematician, philosopher and theologian.
- Michael Haykin, Professor of Church History.
- Donald Hustad, member of the Billy Graham Team, professor of church music at Southern (1966–1986); fellow of the Royal College of Organists, London.
- Eric Johnson, Professor of Pastoral Theology (2000–present).
- Basil Manly, Jr., author of the Seminary Hymn, founding professor of Old Testament on the original faculty.
- Eugene H. Merrill (academic), Old Testament scholar.
- Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
- Wayne E. Oates, late author of best-selling pastoral care text The Christian Pastor, SBTS professor, 1947–74; first to coin the term, "workaholic"; nationally known authority on theology and health care.
- Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth.
- Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament scholar.
- Archibald T. Robertson, author of a widely used Greek grammar text.
- Frank Stagg, noted Greek scholar and authority on the Book of Acts and the Gospel of Luke.
- Bruce Ware, noted theologian, former Chairman of the Department of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and former president of the Evangelical Theological Society.
- Kurt Wise, Head of Center for Theology and Science (August 2006 - August 2009)
- 1888 James Petigru Boyce (titled Chairman of the Faculty, 1859–87)
- 1888–1895 John Albert Broadus
- 1895–1899 William Heth Whitsitt
- 1899–1928 Edgar Young Mullins
- 1929–1942 John Richard Sampey
- 1942–1950 Ellis Adams Fuller
- 1951–1982 Duke Kimbrough McCall
- 1982–1993 Roy Lee Honeycutt
- 1993–present R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
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- "Chafin To Fill Graham Chair of Evangelism" (PDF). News Service of the Southern Baptist Convention. March 21, 1965.
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- The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Collection - Furman University Special Collections