Roberts: Midwestern students assessing 'cutting-edge' issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Citing attacks on the Christian faith leveled against it in the best-selling book, "The Da Vinci Code," Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Philip Roberts told messengers at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 22 that the seminary is focused on equipping Christian leaders to address current and emerging attacks against the faith.

"We are busy about the business of training God-called people from your churches and congregations to be pastors, missionaries, evangelists, servants of the Lord in and to his church, to represent the true and risen Lord Jesus Christ to a needy, deceived and lost world," Roberts said during the seminary's report to the SBC.

Roberts said those efforts are an essential part of the seminary's mission.

"Brothers and sisters in Christ, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and her graduates are about the most important task in the whole world -- being and making disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ at home and all around the globe," he said.

Part of that mission, he noted, includes training Christian leaders to address and refute attacks aimed against Christianity, the Gospel and the Word of God.

"Not only are we, on a regular basis, grounding our students in the wonderful truths of God's Word, but we're addressing the cutting-edge issues and challenges to the faith of our day, like The Da Vinci Code," Roberts said.

In March, the seminary held a two-day workshop specifically aimed at countering attacks by the culturally popular novel against the deity of Jesus Christ and the Bible, among other targets.

Roberts responded directly to the book's author, Dan Brown, during his report, reiterating historic Christian doctrine as held by Southern Baptists found in the teachings of the Bible.

"No, Mr. Brown, in response to your Da Vinci Code, Jesus didn't come to eat, drink and be married, but rather to deny Himself, be crucified for the sins of the world and be raised triumphant over sin, death and the grave," Roberts said.

"No, Mr. Brown, the Bible doesn't have missing Gospels but is the complete, reliable and inerrant Word of God. And as for those other books written at least 150 years after the time of Jesus, they are no Gospels at all because they contain no good news about Jesus, only gobbledygook from some sort of a Christ of the fallen human imagination," Roberts said referring to the Gnostic gospels highlighted in the book.

"And, no, Mr. Brown, the deity and lordship of Jesus Christ was not established by human vote, even though the Council of Nicea affirmed it in the fourth century overwhelmingly among 300-plus bishops."

Roberts also mentioned several seminary highlights over the last year, including the third straight year of record-breaking student headcount, completion of the first phase of renovation at the 35,000-square-foot Koehn and Myers Center for World Evangelism, the new bachelor of arts degree program and a record year for seminary fundraising.

"But theological education at its bottom line is not about buildings and budgets," Roberts said. "Rather, it's about changed lives -- changed lives that change other lives with the Gospel."


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