Mohler says seminary confronts relativism with Gospel truth
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--When Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was founded in 1859, Southern Baptists were just beginning to face the challenge of scientific naturalism as advocated by Charles Darwin in England.
More than a century later, naturalism's influence has expanded to a magnitude that Southern's founders could not have foreseen. But in response to naturalism, the Louisville, Ky., seminary continues to stand for absolute truth in the face of moral relativism, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said in the Southern Seminary report during the June 21-22 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
Mohler, Southern's president, said most Americans believe in God, but their god is not the sovereign God of the Bible and their beliefs are tainted by moral relativism. Southern Seminary trains ministers to confront the culture by replacing incorrect conceptions of God with the message of Jesus Christ, he said.
We can have "a false assurance that the vast majority of Americans believe in God," he said. "They may believe in some god, but is it Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel, the father of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, or is it some amorphous deity?"
To correct theological confusion, Southern teaches ministers to give specific answers to the questions secular society answers with the popular mantra, "Whatever," Mohler said.
"One of our main responsibilities as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is to make sure that when the world listens to us, they do not hear, 'Whatever,'" he said. Instead, the world must "hear the full, robust, comprehensive, glorious truth of God as revealed in His inerrant and infallible Word and as communicated to us in the transforming power of the only Gospel that saves."
At Southern, Mohler said, godly faculty members who subscribe to a biblical confession of faith play the primary role in educating young ministers. Those faculty members in turn produce students who love the Word of God, and those students raise up churches that contend for biblical faith, he said.
"Those who teach on our faculty are committed to a lot more than, 'Whatever,'" Mohler said. "They hold to the articles of our faith. They are fully accountable to our confessions of faith. They hold the faith once for all delivered to the saints as a precious treasure and stewardship that is their responsibility to pass on to those who would teach.
"Our mission is to make sure that our students can answer and would answer and eagerly answer with far more than 'Whatever.' And ultimately God's purpose is that the churches served ... by our graduates would be populated by believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who would say far more than 'Whatever.'"
One step Southern is taking to advance theological fidelity in churches is training ministers to be expository preachers, Mohler said. Southern students who have been trained to preach the Word of God currently minister across the U.S. and the globe, he said.
"God's means of equipping His people in His truth is the preaching of God's Word, which is to be the central act of worship," Mohler said. "And we exist as a seminary to make sure that the two words put together 'expository preaching' become unnecessary so that Southern Baptists will believe that there is no other kind of preaching but expository preaching."
Another way Southern is confronting the culture is by establishing the Center for the Study of Christian Theology and Science and hiring noted scholar William Dembski, Mohler said. Dembski, a leader in the intelligent design movement who formerly taught at Baylor University, will begin teaching in the fall.
By training a new generation of devoted Christian ministers, Southern Seminary gives the Southern Baptist Convention hope that its churches will be found faithful when Christ returns, Mohler said.
"The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is unashamedly, unabashedly, unhesitantly committed to the faith once for all delivered to the saints. We stand with you in this faith," Mohler said.
"When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? By God's grace, Southern Baptists, let's make certain that we can give a good account for our answer to that question."