I'm a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am presently working on a Master's of Divinity degree there after having received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biblical Studies with a Minor in the History of Ideas from The College at Southeastern. However, there was a time when I had decided I would not go back to SEBTS for my Master's Degree. In fact, I began taking some classes from Reformed Theological Seminary's Virtual Campus. Just before I graduated in 2005 SEBTS went through a transition from one president to another. I was quite anguish to see how the new president would be before I would change my mind. This post is about why I decided to go back to SEBTS and why I'm glad that I did.
When Dr. Akin came in I was a college student with enough pride in what I knew to ruin just about any church. I left the church I was serving to help plant a church in Matthews, NC having convinced myself that I knew all there was to know about the Bible and the church. That was a huge mistake. I knew very little. That became evident to me fairly quickly, which is why I decided to start taking classes from RTS. As that was taking place I was hearing great things from SEBTS including the emphasis that Dr. Akin and the school had for the gospel. Sure, SEBTS already had a great missions sending program (and they still do!), but there seemed to be a peace forming on campus that I didn't sense when I was in college there. In college I felt (maybe it was just me, maybe not) that I had to be careful to speak up with what I believed about the Bible because there was a fighting mentality. I do want to be careful not to say that was the former president's fault. I'll leave that for you to decide. There were constant comments from Calvinist against non-Calvinist and the other way around.
That all changed soon after Dr. Akin arrived. In fact, I have no idea which professors are Reformed and which are not. I have no idea how many students may or may not hold to the Doctrines of Grace. What I do know is there is a major emphasis on the gospel. This school is really about preparing the students to take the gospel to the nations. While I do not want to blame the previous president for what I felt, I do applaud the current president for his focus on the gospel. He doesn't care about where someone is on the 5 points. He doesn't care which view of the end time they hold to. But he cares deeply about their understanding of the gospel. This is what has not only kept me at SEBTS, but it has given me a love for the school. I am thankful to be a student at this seminary and I look forward to the pastors, missionaries, teachers, church planters, evangelists, and probably thousands of other things that are being trained there now.
This leads me to one more point. There is a lot of talk among the younger generation (I'm still there being only 31) about whether or not to stay in the Southern Baptist Convention. After the Conservative Resurgence took place I now see some great benefits ahead. I am part of the SBC because I love the emphasis on missions. I love the vision. Sure, I have opinions about some of it that I would love to see changed, but overall I think there's great potential. I also see great hope because of what I see taking place on the Seminary campus. There is a great focus on reaching people for Christ. As more and more students are equipped with this training I believe we will see that same focus spread across the convention.
So there it is. A brief point to say I'm thankful for Dr. Danny Akin, SEBTS, and God's grace within our convention. I look forward to what will happen in the years to come.