The SBC Plodder usually cuts through the fog and does so here. I am reticent about Calvinism-related topics, but this one seemed newsworthy and worthwhile. Thank you, William.
Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, preached a chapel message on October 16th to address what he called a “faulty and jaundiced view of who we [SEBTS] are.”
SEBTS: What will be our reputation?
The message was on the wonderful little book tucked away towards the end of the New Testament, 3 John.
Akin said that “in recent days there are those who either ignorantly or maliciously misrepresent this school” as one of Southern Baptists two Calvinist seminaries.
“Let me be crystal, crystal, crystal, crystal clear,” he said. “I have no intention of building a Calvinist seminary. That will take place over my dead body.”
“There is a form of Calvinism that I find very distasteful, the kind that is arrogant and smug and condescending…
“J. C. will always stand for ‘Jesus Christ’ at Southeastern Seminary and not John Calvin…”
Akin must have some discretionary fund because he said that when he hears of someone who asserts that SEBTS is a Calvinist seminary he tries to track them down if he can and offer to pay their way to visit the school, meet the students, and learn what the seminary is really about.
SEBTS is the one seminary among our six of which I have some degree of personal knowledge, not because I attended there (I am a graduate of the very splendid SBC, non-Cooperative Program seminary, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) but because have had and do have family who attend.
I have asked over the last few years more than once, “What’s all this about Southeastern being a Calvinist seminary?”
The answer was generally, and consistently, that there are Calvinists present but not to the exclusion or disparagement of non-Calvinists.
Oh, one more thing. Akin said that Adrian Rogers was the greatest man he ever knew. I have heard Adrian say things that would curl the hair of any SBC Calvinist, even those with little hair like Akin. I hardly think that a president of a Calvinist seminary would put an outspoken non-calvinist at the top of his list.
Danny Akin is one of the more, perhaps the most, forthright of our SBC leaders. I like the way he confronts the most pressing issue in our convention and those among us who describe SEBTS as a “Calvinist seminary,” might pick up the phone, call Danny Akin, tell him what you think and see if you can wrangle an expense-paid trip to Wake Forest and be persuaded otherwise.