Archives For Seminary

The Briefing

Ken Hemphill to be SBC president nominee
Ken Hemphill, an administrator at North Greenville University and a former Southern Baptist Convention seminary president, will be nominated for SBC president, a coalition of Southern Baptists announced. Hemphill was president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1994-2003 and national strategist from 2003-11 for the SBC’s Empowering Kingdom Growth (EKG) emphasis, an initiative launched in 2002 calling Southern Baptists to renewed passion for God’s Kingdom.

More ‘nones’ heading back to church
About 6 in 10 people who identify their religion as “nothing in particular” stayed that way over the years, while the rest made a switch. About half of the defectors moved away from traditional faith to atheism and agnosticism (20%), while almost as many moved in the other direction and returned to the church (17.3%). Of the 2010 nones, 13.3 percent became Protestant, and 4 percent became Catholic.

After ’08 tornado, Union “united as never before”
At the 10-year point since a tornado devastated the campus, Union University marked the anniversary with a day of activities Feb. 2 featuring former administrators, students and others closely involved with the event. Former Union President David S. Dockery, in a Founders’ Day chapel address, spoke on providence, hope and unity the university experienced from the Feb. 5, 2008, tornado.

Ontario deals blow to religious freedom
Physicians in Ontario who object to performing abortions or euthanasia on moral or religious grounds must refer patients who request those procedures to another willing doctor, the Ontario Superior Court ruled. A group of Christian doctors and professional organizations said the policy infringes on rights to freedom of religion and conscience guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Ontario Superior Court justices said, while the policy does violate physicians’ rights to religious freedom, such limits are justified when weighed in balance with the need to ensure access to care for vulnerable patients.

Plan hatched to save Zimbabwe seminary
A Southern Baptist missionary from Kentucky is hatching a plan to help pastors in Zimbabwe get the training they need to lead a new generation of Christians. Nick Moore, who serves as a professor at the Baptist Theological Seminary of Zimbabwe, said few pastors can afford to attend Bible classes. But with help through the Cooperative Program, and a few local laborers, Moore has started building chicken houses as part of a community development project.

US Judge blocks deportation of Indonesian Christians
A federal judge blocked the deportation of 50 Indonesian Christians who have been living illegally in New Hampshire. The group includes people who fled violence in their country two decades ago and had been living openly for years under an informal deal with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Judge Patti Saris in Boston ruled ICE cannot move forward with deportation until the Indonesians have a chance to make their cases for legal residence by arguing they would face persecution or violence if sent back.

Sources: Time Magazine, Christianity Today, BP News (3), The Christian Post

The_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

A new Barna study explores what kinds of worship spaces are most attractive to Millennials, and what words describe their ideal church. Not surprisingly, not every answer matches up: 77% chose “sanctuary” compared to 23% who answered “auditorium.” And 67% of Millennials chose “classic” over “trendy” to describe their idea church. But modern and casual also won out over traditional and dignified.

Barna points out this “cognitive dissonance” evident in the survey: “Many of them aspire to a more traditional church experience, in a beautiful building steeped in history and religious symbolism, but they are more at ease in a modern space that feels more familiar than mysterious.”

After the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals became the first such court to uphold states’ rights to ban same-sex marriage, Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore said it’s now up to the Supreme Court to take up the issue, The Christian Post reported.

From “The Pakistani state has to act proactively to protect its minorities from violence and injustice,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said after a Christian couple was beaten and burned to death one week ago. A mob attacked Shahzad Masih and Shama Bibi, who was five months pregnant, over accusations that Bibi had burned the Qur’an.

Christian Kenneth Bae returned to the U.S. over the weekend after two years of imprisonment in North Korea, CNN reported. “Kenneth has been in God’s care all this time, and we are thankful that he brought him home,” Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, told reporters. “He only has the best wishes and intentions for that country, still.”

The organizers of International Day of the Bible are calling for people around the world to read Scripture out loud at noon on November 24.

Baptist Press reports Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary has finalized the purchase of its new, larger campus in Southern California and is on schedule to relocate its main campus from the Bay Area by June of 2016. The seminary will request a name change—to Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention—during the 2015 SBC Annual Meeting in Columbus, Ohio.

International Mission Board President David Platt launched his new podcast series, Radical Together, on Nov. 3. “Every 2 weeks, 30 minutes of Word to exhort you to pray, give, & go however God leads in the world,” he tweeted.

Things are looking up for church giving, according to survey by LifeWay Research. More than half of the Protestant churches surveyed reported still feeling the negative impact of the economy, but two-thirds are meeting or exceeding their budgets for 2014. And 74% report offerings at or above 2013 levels.

THE BRIEFING | Posted by Meredith Flynn

Mitt Romney’s faith was on display at the August 27-30 Republican National Convention. In accepting the nomination to serve as the Republican Party’s candidate for president, Romney opened up and spoke about his Mormon faith, something he has been reluctant to do in the past.

“We were Mormons,” he said recalling moving to Michigan with his family while still a child. “And growing up in Michigan, that might have seemed unusual or out of place, but I do not remember it that way. My friends cared more about what sports we followed than what church we went to.”

Fellow Mormons also took to the podium to give testimony to Romney’s service through his church. Grant Bennett, the assistant pastor of the congregation Romney belonged to in Massachusetts, shared how he believes Romney lives his faith. “He found the definition of religion given by James in the New Testament to be a practical guide. ‘Pure religion is to visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction.’ … Mitt taught faith in God, personal integrity, self-reliance, and service to our fellow men.”

Romney’s Mormonism was also a topic of non-Mormon speakers at the convention.  Southern Baptist and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, shared, “Let me clear the air about whether guys like me would only support an evangelical. I care far less as to where Mitt Romney takes his family to church than I do about where he takes this country.”

Paul Ryan, a Catholic and Romney’s pick for vice-president, weighed in on the subject during his speech.  “Mitt and I also go to different churches, but in any church, the best kind of preaching is done by example, and I’ve been watching the example … Our faiths come together in the same moral creed. We believe that in every life, there is goodness and for every person there is hope.  Each one of us was made for a reason, bearing the image and likeness of the Lord of life.”

What do you think? Do Mitt Romney remarks about his Mormon faith affect the way you feel about him as a candidate? Leave a comment below.

Lisa Sergent is contributing editor of the Illinois Baptist and reported this story for

Other news:

Seminary students face sky-high debt
Seminary graduates aren’t immune to the country’s $1 trillion student loan debt, according to the Association of Religious Date Archives. It’s not unusual for seminarians to graduate with up to $80,000 in debt, and the average starting salary for full-time clergy was $44,140 last year, the U.S. Labor Department estimated. Read more at Baptist Press.

Science Guy: Kids need evolution
Bill Nye
, a scientist, actor and author best known for his TV show “Bill Nye the Science Guy” released a YouTube video where he urged parents to let their children believe in evolution, “the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.” In the video, produced by The Big Think, Nye said denial of evolution is unique to the U.S., and the portion of the population who doesn’t hold to the theory “holds everybody back.” Watch the video.

Christian women weigh in on election
An extensive study of Christian women by Barna Research found that they will likely constitute 30% of likely voters this fall, the largest voting bloc in the presidential election. Of Christian women surveyed who plan to vote, 32% said they definitely plan to vote for Barack Obama, and 30% definitely plan to vote for Mitt Romney. However, a larger percentage (23%) of undecided Christian women are said they’re probably voting for Romney than for Obama (15%). Read more at

Tebow faces criticism with grace
The skin of New York Jets back-up quarterback Tim Tebow will no doubt thicken this season, now that he’s playing in one of the NFL’s most notoriously critical markets. Boomer Esiason, a former Jets quarterback and current sports analyst, got the ball rolling when he urged the team to cut Tebow because his presence does nothing to help them. Tebow, an outspoken Christian, responded with, “I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mr. Esiason. I know he was a great player here, and I just wish him nothing but the best in his announcing, and God bless him.” Read the full story at Baptist Press.