Earlier this week, it was my pleasure to visit the campus of Southwestern Seminary for the first time in many years. Not certain what to expect, I came away pleasantly surprised and profoundly impressed with the tremendous progress being made at my alma mater. Allow me to highlight just a few areas where God’s Hand is clearly at work:
- New Student Housing: Chad, a student from Georgia who read Scripture in Chapel, was kind enough to take me to dinner and show me the new student housing that is still being constructed in phases. Suffice it to say that the new units are attractive and spacious, meeting a need that has existed on campus for many years.
- Dead Sea Scrolls: This fascinating exhibit located in the MacGorman Chapel featured archaeological artifacts such as oil lamps and pottery, ossuaries for skeletal remains, and several Dead Sea Scroll fragments, including New Testament parchments, rare Bibles, a brief documentary and a simulated Qumran dig site.
- Scripture Plaques: Beautiful plaques have been installed throughout the campus, which frankly provides an excellent walking trail for getting some exercise. Pedestrians cannot help but notice a series of evangelistic scripture verses, such as John 3:16 and Romans 3:23, engraved upon these plaques. After discovering the surrounding community, which is perhaps 75% Hispanic, making use of these walking trails, the plaques installed later were engraved in Spanish, so that even the campus itself is a witness to the nations.
- The Second Mile: The evangelistic zeal on campus was unmistakable. As Jared, a student from Oklahoma who shuttled me to and from the airport, shared with me, now that Southwesterners have presented the gospel to every single home within one mile of the seminary, efforts are being made to extend that witness in what will probably be known as “Going the Second Mile.” This is intentional evangelism that takes the Great Commission seriously, equipping students while pushing back the darkness in the immediate campus vicinity.
- The Gracious Pattersons: As an outdoorsman and wild game hunter, Dr. Patterson’s office is decorated with trophies of every kind–giraffe, lion, leopard, buffalo and even an alligator. While I found him personally humble and gracious, it did occur to me that this visible reminder of Dr. Patterson’s ability to track, hunt, shoot, stuff and place on his wall even the most dangerous of beasts was reason enough for every office visitor to be on their best behavior. All joking aside, in the same way that the furnishings in Dr. Paige Patterson’s study were unmistakably masculine, the beautiful displays and decorations at Pecan Manor, not to mention the outstanding cuisine and attentive hospitality, provided ample evidence of Dr. Dorothy Patterson’s perfectly feminine touch.
Much of my visit was nostalgic, as all of my former professors have now retired, their portraits adorning the Wall of Fame in the Administration Building. For me, Seminary Hill remains a profoundly inspiring place. I recalled Judge Paul Pressler’s classic work, A Hill on Which to Die, in which he chronicled the story of the Conservative Resurgence he and Dr. Patterson led with such great determination. As I left the campus of my alma mater, I was deeply impressed that Southwestern is a hill on which to live–as soul winners, students, scholars, ministers and missionaries–a hill on which to live for Jesus.