God’s Word essential 500 years after Reformation, Mohler says at convocation

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation must remind Christians that proclamation of God’s Word remains necessary for advancing the gospel and nourishing the church, said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. at the Feb. 7 convocation.

“When God’s people cease to hear God’s Word they cease to be God’s people. And everything is lost, every doctrinal principle is lost, every doctrine is denied one by one.”
— R. Albert Mohler Jr.

In an address titled “God Did It By His Word … Revisited: What the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation Means for Southern Seminary” on Hebrews 4:12-13, Mohler said the seminary’s own theological reformation in the 24 years of his presidency occurred solely because of fidelity and faithfulness to the living Word of God.

“Looking back to the Reformation, God did it, and he did it by his Word,” Mohler said, alluding to Martin Luther’s statement that Scripture “weakened the papacy” as opposed to human efforts. “Looking at you all today, understand me when I say, God did it, and he did it by his Word.”


During his welcoming remarks, Mohler said the ritual and regalia of opening convocation signifies the gravity of the seminary’s role in equipping future ministers with theological education. Reflecting on Southern’s “incredible inheritance” of a rich heritage of faith, Mohler said healthy teaching at the seminary means “health will go into our churches” and spread into the mission fields of the world.

AUDIO AND VIDEO of Mohler’s convocation address are available online at equip.sbts.edu/chapel.


Said at Southern


“You can have real joy in unlikely circumstances when the motivation for your joy is not your circumstances.”

“You can’t run around like Chicken Little and declare that God is sovereign.”

“God has not redeemed us to make us happy and healthy; he redeemed to make us like Jesus.”

“The world’s fame, we are never going to receive, because it was never for the Christian to achieve.”

“By the time we finish preaching, the saved ought to know that they are saved and the lost need to know they’re lost.”

“God creates sand; he leaves it to us to create fiber-optic cables and computer chips, and in the process of doing that, we create wealth and value.”

“Rather than wasting energy and resources fighting unwinnable political battles, we should instead work on building communities, institutions, and networks of resistance that can outwit, outlast, and eventually overcome the cultural forces sweeping Christianity away in the West.”

Southern Equip offers wide range of ministry resources

The redesigned hub launched Jan. 19 as the new platform for Towers, research journals, sermons, and blogs.

The site also includes a new video series, “Honest Answers,” which features SBTS professors answering challenging questions.

“Southern Equip extends our faculty’s training and encouragement beyond our degree programs, to help ministry leaders be faithful, fruitful, and long-lasting in ministry throughout their lives,” said Steve Watters, vice president for communications.

— SBTS Communications

The new site is available online at equip.sbts.edu.

Modular Th.M. provides opportunity for advanced distance learning

The new modular Master of Theology in Theological Studies will permit distance students to complete all the requirements for a Th.M. in 30 months with only five week-long visits to campus.

The program’s faculty will provide an interdisciplinary curriculum, with each professor teaching core seminars in their areas of expertise: Jonathan T. Pennington in New Testament, Peter J. Gentry in Old Testament, Michael A.G. Haykin in church history, and Gregg R. Allison in systematic theology. The modular student will also complete a thesis in their chosen area of study during the course of their degree program.

Applicants must have earned a Master of Divinity from an accredited institution and maintained a GPA of at least 3.3. The first cohort begins in July.

— Andrew J.W. Smith

More information is available online at sbts.edu/doctoral/modular-th-m.

Embrace prophetic role, Mohler tells grads at winter commencement

Christian ministers should not settle for the comfortable and agreeable career of secular professionals, but courageously embrace their prophetic role, said President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in his Dec. 2 winter commencement address to 141 master’s and doctoral graduates of Southern Seminary.

“The Christian ministry is a terrible profession, but it is the greatest calling on earth,” Mohler said. “Professions are decent, respectable, recognized, esteemed, regulated, and rationalized. … The greater scandal by far are the churches, denominations, and church members who cheerfully domesticate the preacher and the preachers who are so willingly domesticated.”

“True gospel preaching leads to wheat collected into the barn, but also leads to chaff collected for the burning. This does not fit the expectation of a religious professional, but it is the glory of the true minister’s calling.” — R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Using Matthew 3:1-12 as his text, Mohler said while John the Baptist was a popular preacher, his message centered around unconditional repentance, Mohler said. But the preacher’s ministry is infinitely greater than John’s ministry, as the Christian proclaims in light of the fullness of biblical revelation.


Tyler D. Clark, a Master of Divinity graduate from Fort Smith, Arkansas, earned the Josephine S. and James L. Baggott Outstanding Graduate Award. Clark has served as student life coordinator since 2015.

Edward Todd Wood died in August 2016 while serving as pastor of administration at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His wife, Tara Lawhorn Wood, was present to receive his posthumous M.A. in Leadership.

Mohler’s address is available in audio and video at equip.sbts.edu. A manuscript of the address, “His Winnowing Fork Is in His Hand,” is available at albertmohler.com.

Mohler prays at Kentucky State Capitol

On Feb. 14, Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. delivered the invocation for the Kentucky House of Representatives. Later in the day, Mohler and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin addressed a gathering of state legislators at the Governor’s Mansion.

Disabilities, Marriage, & Ministry

“Find someone hurting,” Tada says

Life is about more than a healthy body, said Joni Eareckson Tada along with her husband, Ken, during two SBTS events Feb. 10-11. Tada, a quadriplegic, is a speaker and author who uses her testimony as a platform to highlight
disability ministry.

During the Student Life Conference Feb. 10, Tada focused on a theology of suffering and exemplified joy in the midst of pain. While many consider tastes of heaven to be when everything goes right, Tada considers tastes of heaven as finding Jesus in the middle of a taste of hell.

Tada told her personal story and spoke with a focus on practical ministry to the disabled in local churches during Equip, Feb. 11. She encouraged believers to “go find someone hurting worse than you and help them.”

— Charissa Crotts

Audio of both events will be available at equip.sbts.edu.

Gheens Lecture 2017

Dreher talks “The Benedict Option”

With secularism marginalizing the Christian faith, believers should leave behind political battles and “build communities of resistance” to overcome cultural forces, said columnist Rod Dreher at the Feb. 7-8 Gheens Lecture at Southern Seminary.

Dreher, author of The Benedict Option, suggested 21st-century Christians follow the example of St. Benedict, who retreated from the corruption of Rome to build monastic communities committed to order, holiness, and simplicity. Christians should not continue as if they live in “normal times,” Dreher said, but instead form and feed communities of faith.

“We need to do a much better job of embodying our faith. Praying the sinner’s prayer is only a beginning of the Christian life, not its end,” Dreher said. “If the only thing we have to share with the world is a pot of message, we will fail.”

Dreher also appeared on a Feb. 13 episode of “Thinking in Public” with R. Albert Mohler Jr. to discuss Christian faith in a secular age.

— Andrew J.W. Smith

Audio and video of the Gheens Lectures at Southern Seminary are available online at equip.sbts.edu.

Leadership Briefing

Strong leadership requires action in the face of loneliness and opposition, said Scott Pruitt at the Nov. 3 Leadership Briefing at Southern Seminary to community leaders in Louisville. Pruitt, then Oklahoma attorney general, was later selected by the Trump administration to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

A copy of his message is available by subscribing to Veritas at veritas.sbts.edu.