Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will host its fourth annual Baptist Distinctives Series conference on September 25-26, 2008. This year’s topic is “Upon This Rock I Will Build My Church.” The conference will explore the biblical foundations for the New Testament church as expressed in the Baptist Faith & Message 2000. Topics will include the autonomy of the local church, church governance, church officers, ordinances, denominationalism, the local and universal church, and the mission of the church. Several Baptist theologians, historians, and pastors will be leading the conference, including Paige Patterson, James Leo Garrett, Keith Eitel, Malcolm Yarnell, Emir Caner, and Byron McWilliams. Our hope is that pastors, laypeople, and students alike will be challenged and encouraged by this discussion of ecclesiology and Baptist history.
The conference will be hosted at the Riley Center at Southwestern, located on the southeast corner of campus at 1701 W. Boyce Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76115. Early registration costs $50, and $25 for students through September 11. After September 11, registration increases by $25. For more information, schedule, and online registration, click on the image above or call 817-923-1921 ext 2440.
Baptist Press (BP) recently posted a story about the April meeting of the trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). The story, dated April 15, was taken from a news release written by SWBTS writer Keith Collier and posted to their website on April 11 (click here to read the release). The byline of the BP edition also credits Collier as the writer. There are some differences of phrasing throughout, but the content is otherwise identical, with one curious omission. If you read both articles, you will notice that the version posted by BP does not contain the following two paragraphs:
“The trustees received a report from the president where he provided his annual disclosure of his compensation information and entertained questions related to it and the same information for the rest of the seminary’s senior administration.
Chairman Van McClain stated that “since Southern Baptists expect that their entities supported by the Cooperative Program will be governed with integrity and accountability, I am glad the salary of the president of Southwestern has been fully and willingly disclosed to all of the trustees of the seminary, even though Dr. Patterson has refused an increase in compensation since his arrival in 2003.”
I spoke by telephone with Keith Collier, and he had no explanation for the omission. He told me that the release as it now appears on the SWBTS website has not been edited since it was posted on April 11, so it is clear that BP was deliberate in removing the paragraphs quoted above. I contacted BP by email to ask about the omission, but have received no response.
News organizations certainly are within their rights to edit anything they publish for style, length, and content. It is curious to me that they have chosen to omit this information concerning the president of the seminary, who has been relentlessly attacked for enriching himself with Cooperative Program dollars but has refused to accept even a single cost-of-living pay increase in the five years he has served at SWBTS.
John Mann has been the pastor of
After holding a blue collar job in the secular work force for ten years, I cannot tell you how humbled I was to recognize the calling of God into the ministry one lonely morning at approximately 10 a.m. Having wrestled for numerous months with the Spirit of God, it seemed quite unlikely that God would be calling me to serve his Kingdom as a minister. Nonetheless, upon that morning when time stood still, in one harrowing moment I worked up the courage to say, “Lord, here am I, send me.”
To make a long story short, I was encouraged to at least consider going to Southwestern Seminary for a tour of the campus. Quite overwhelmed and perplexed by the course of events, some 18 months later, my wife, two kids, and myself “sold it all” to follow what we believed to be the will of God. That was seven years ago. Now, I am but a few classes away from completing an Advanced Master’s of Divinity degree, something that was beyond my wildest imagination in the summer of 2000 when we abandoned all for the sake of obedience.
Entering SWBTS with nothing more than a high school diploma meant that I would have to pursue a Diploma in Theology. The years have come and gone far too quickly as I have wrestled late into the night with such subjects as Apologetics, Philosophy of Religion, Pneumatology, and so forth.
Those seven years have also provided me with any number of experiences, both positive and negative. I have known seminary couples who have divorced and I have seen many meet the love of their lives. I have said “goodbye” to as many friends as I have met. I have been confronted with ideas that were more liberal than my own, and a few that were more conservative than my own. Both have been beneficial, either to correct my own wrong thinking or teaching me to defend my right thinking. I have been on the receiving end of financial gifts from concerned administrators and have helped many international students learn how to set up a bank account or change a battery in their car. I have had Paige Patterson as a professor, and Ben Cole as a grader. Both have made unforgettable impressions for different reasons. Continue reading