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The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
EDITOR'S NOTE: "From the Seminaries" includes news releases of interest as written and edited from Southern Baptist seminaries.

Today's From the Seminaries includes:


GGBTS (3 items)

SWBTS (2 items)

SBTS (1 item)

Golden Gate Seminary Launches New Look

By Phyllis Evans

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (GGBTS)--Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary recently unveiled a new brand identity designed to more clearly communicate its mission, vision, and values. The changes include a new logo, tagline, and graphics featured on everything from a new website to all printed and display materials used by the seminary.

The focal point of the look is a new logo, composed of a globe with a cross inside and a Bible uppermost. "Our new logo links us to the cross, the world, and the Word," explained seminary president Jeff Iorg. "The Bible in the logo is an active Word - moving, thriving, and progressing with the message of the cross throughout our world."

The logo corresponds with a new tagline - biblical, missional, global - which emphasizes primary aspects of the seminary's identity. Golden Gate Seminary is biblical (underscoring its commitment biblical inerrancy), missional (committed to sharing the Gospel message of salvation with everyone), and global (a multicultural seminary whose graduates serve around the world).

The Seminary has also developed a simpler, more direct mission statement - shaping leaders who expand God's kingdom around the world.

"These aren't new characteristics for Golden Gate," said Iorg, "but they are presented in a fresh way. The new look enables us to better communicate who we are and the direction we are going."

The new look was first introduced at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Phoenix, in June 2011. The website reflects the new graphics, images, and easy-to-use links.

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program Ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five, fully-accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Colorado. For more information:


Golden Gate Seminary Receives

Highest Recommendation from Accreditation Agencies

By Phyllis Evans

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (BP)--Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary recently completed a multi-year accreditation study, resulting in full accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Both agencies gave the Seminary the highest recommendations for all its academic programs.

"These two reports could not have been better," said President Jeff Iorg. "We received the strongest affirmation possible, the best scores for which we could have hoped." He noted that the accreditation included the entire five-campus system, and the Seminary received the longest recertification period available from ATS, which is ten years.

The process leading to the recertification was a joint study by both WASC and ATS. They evaluated extensive reports which were prepared by the Seminary, including the Capacity and Preparatory Report, and the Educational Effectiveness Report. They visited the Seminary, reviewing facilities and interviewing staff, students, and faculty.

"One of the most encouraging findings in the report was our clarity of mission and the remarkable unity our staff and faculty have in pursuing that mission," Iorg said.

Michael Martin, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said that accreditation is important because it "provides third party quality assurance to the Seminary, to students and to other schools. It confirms that we are financially stable, properly delivering the course work, adequately staffed, and delivering an appropriate level of education." He described how accreditation allows for transfer of credits and recognition of degrees. "Assurance is also shared by other schools when they receive our graduates. Because we are accredited, they can expect our students to be well-prepared to enter into their programs," Martin said.


Golden Gate was commended by the accreditation team for excellence in several areas including unified focus on the mission, student assessment across all programs and at all five campuses, faculty participation in institutional processes, sound fiscal management, and enthusiastic support and participation by all employees in developing a new long range plan for the Seminary.

The report from the accreditation team called Golden Gate, "a healthy institution that is providing a sound education for its students." Dr. Iorg remarked, "We have always believed in our process and product, but it's nice to have independent corroboration of the good work we are doing."

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program Ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five, fully-accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Colorado. For more information:


From Molé to Maklube: The Power of

Food and Hospitality in Missions

By Phyllis Evans

MILL VALLEY, Calif. (GGBTS)--"My earliest memory of church is the McLean Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, sometime before 1967," recalled Dr. Edsel D. Pate, Associate Professor of Missions, Director of The David and Faith Kim School of Global Missions, and Chair of the Intercultural Department of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

"Someone stands and begins to tap a spoon on an iced tea glass - the universal symbol that an announcement needs to be made. Talking and laughter would cease and the fried chicken leg held in place until the speaker had finished. After the interruption and pause, we continued laughing, talking, and eating. Food seemed to always be a part of the church. That's what we did."

"I want you to be aware of the potential power of food and hospitality in the local church and on the mission field," said Pate to students, faculty and staff at Golden Gate Seminary's fall 2011 Academic Convocation. "I propose that Christians need to celebrate, embrace, and practice the benefits possible related to our mission through food and hospitality," he continued.

"Eating together and the receiving and giving of hospitality help us to create and sustain community, bond with the target people group (whether across the street or around the world), understand and go deeper in the culture, and can serve as an avenue to express the kindness of Christ and spread the Gospel," he explained.

Pate noted the biblical definition of hospitality as primarily providing food and shelter to strangers. He recalled the Old Testament example of Abraham demonstrating hospitality in Genesis 18, and in the New Testament, Peter urging the church to be hospitable to one another without complaint. Pate explained "Throughout the Scriptures there are references to hospitality, food, meals, and dining. Banquets are found in Daniel and Esther. Meals and food are mentioned throughout the Psalms. The mission of Jesus involved food and hospitality." Pate quoted a scholar saying that in the New Testament, "Jesus is either going to a meal, at a meal, or coming from a meal." Even after the resurrection, Jesus, in the Gospels, is around food each and every time that he appears to the disciples, noted Pate.

He pointed out that the early church liked to eat together, just as we do today. "Sharing meals and hospitality was a source of community, a tool for evangelism, and this act created space for encouragement of the body," he said. "Eating together, visiting, laughing, and sharing together, is essential to building and sustaining community."


But not only does hospitality create community, said Pate, "it also acts to sustain it, to hold it together when it's fragile and falling apart. Sharing a meal together has a bonding effect, uniting people from different cultures and people groups," he said. "A shared meal, showing hospitality or connecting around food will take us into the culture faster and deeper than any other vehicle." It could be argued that food is more important than learning the language, he noted. "Being a missionary and not eating the food is like being in Memphis and not eating barbeque," said Pate. Missionaries who go to countries with preset ideas of what they will and will not eat automatically disqualify themselves from reaching deep into that community, he added.

"Eating together and learning and sharing cultural insights about food pave the way to bond with the people we wish to reach, wherever that may be," summarized Pate. "It builds and sustains community. It bonds us and takes us into culture and worldview further and faster, and prepares us for when our language skills catch up."

"Sharing a meal is an act of kindness, and can be an effective part of church planting," said Pate, citing the story of feeding the 5,000 in Mathew 14:14-21 and Mark 6:34-44, and feeding the 4,000 in Matthew 15:31-38 and Mark 8:1-10.

"In America and around the world, Christians take care of the needs of people because they are people," said Pate, referring to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. He also noted in Southern California a "Motel Ministry" which focuses on starting churches in local inner city budget motels. "Bible study and preaching are always preceded by a breakfast that small group members prepare on site for the residents of the motels. Several Golden Gate Seminary students are involved in this ministry."

Pate shared his extensive experience in the Middle East and Muslim countries with his listeners. "Knowing about food and customs of hospitality can open the door for evangelism and spiritual conversations. Understanding the significance behind local festivals and celebrations can also open the door to witness and evangelism."

Pate offered several applications his listeners could do locally to begin to experience the power of food and hospitality. "Try using food and hospitality in your own neighborhood as a means to show kindness and share the Gospel." He suggested bringing baked goods to neighbors, perhaps tying it into a holiday or season. Another idea was to plan a neighborhood cookout, or block party.

"Find ways for your local church to connect over food," Pate said, suggesting reviving the church potluck or hiring an ethnic food truck to serve in the church parking lot.

"Find creative ways to show kindness and compassion through the giving of food." Pate referred to inner city missions which feed the homeless, or church pantries which offer food basics, but suggested a more empowering model that some churches are using is a "pay-as-you-can restaurant."

"Take students to 'different countries' for lunch and branch out yourself," Pate told his fellow faculty members. He referred to a colleague who is committed to taking his students to lunch or dinner during class, to restaurants that do not serve American food and are not a chain. This builds community and teaches culture. "Having access to such a diverse group of peoples and cultures is one reason teaching missions here at Golden Gate is so much fun," Pate exclaimed. "You could even try this as a church, perhaps with your small group or Sunday school class. Remember, sharing a meal together helps you to understand culture and worldview, and bond. Doing this might even result in a spiritual conversation."


"Intentionally shop at ethnic grocery stores and encourage your friends, students, and church members to do so as well," encouraged Pate. "You will meet people from other people groups, and conversations will begin. The Lord has brought the nations of the world to us, and their grocery stores are a great place to meet them and begin to carry out the Great Commission."

Pate suggested his listeners "have an international food fair at your church, where you invite members of the community to come and share their food." Most communities in or near urban areas have large community groups of internationals - what a potluck this would be!

Pate concluded by reminding his listeners "A shared meal and hospitality, whether extended or received, holds incredible power. There is keen insight into culture and worldview gained from the food and hospitality practices of the world. A shared meal builds and sustains community. Food is a window into the culture and worldview of the people you want to reach. Experiencing food bonds you to your people group deeper and faster than any other means, and hospitality should be a key component in evangelism and church planting efforts."

Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program Ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention and operates five, fully-accredited campuses in Northern California, Southern California, Pacific Northwest, Arizona, and Colorado. For more information:


Dead Sea Scroll fragments

to be featured at 2011 SBL

By Benjamin Hawkins

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS)--Old Testament scholars will present their research on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's Dead Sea Scroll fragments during the 2011 meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) in San Francisco, Nov. 19-22.

Southwestern Seminary currently owns nine Dead Sea Scroll fragments, housing the largest collection of fragments owned by an institution of higher education within the United States. The seminary will host an exclusive exhibit of the scrolls from July 2, 2012, to Jan. 11, 2013. Experts in Old Testament scholarship on the seminary's faculty have studied the fragments in preparation for SBL.

"This is very humbling and exciting," said Ryan Stokes, assistant professor of Old Testament at Southwestern and an expert in the literature of the Second Temple period. "It is an incredible opportunity that our faculty members have to work on these fragments."

Those who will present their research during SBL include the following Southwestern Seminary faculty members: George Klein, professor of Old Testament; Eric Mitchell, associate professor of Old Testament and Archaeology; Ishwaran Mudliar, assistant professor of Old Testament; Joshua Williams, assistant professor of Old Testament; and Stokes.

The seminary has also invited other scholars to present during this section of SBL. Bruce Zuckerman, director of the West Semitic Research Project and associate professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of Southern California, led a team that photographed Southwestern's Dead Sea Scroll fragments last September. During SBL, he will discuss the imaging technology that allows scholars to publish ancient texts in high-definition as well as to read otherwise illegible texts.

Peter Flint, professor at Trinity Western University and co-director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute, and Sydnie White Crawford, professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss the significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their relevance to biblical studies.


For more information on the annual meeting of the SBL, visit their website at


Kennemur helps children Read the Bible for Life

By Keith Collier

EULESS, Texas (SWBTS)--Karen Kennemur knows the value of planting God's Word deep into the life of the child and watching it grow to fruition. As a mom, a pre-K teacher, children's minister, and now as assistant professor of children's ministry at Southwestern Seminary, Kennemur has seen the Bible's impact on children's foundational years as well as its influence throughout their lives.

So, when asked to help write a supplemental resource for the Read the Bible for Life Conference put on by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), Kennemur jumped at the opportunity. The conference, held Sept. 9 at First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, helped pastors and educational ministers understand how they could implement in their churches the principles found in Union University professor George Guthrie's new book, Read the Bible for Life. Kennemur wrote the section in the resource manual for children's ministers and lead a breakout session during the conference.

Citing recent research indicating the epidemic of biblical illiteracy in U.S. churches, Kennemur asked conferenceparticipants, "Have we not done a good job of helping kids fall in love with reading the Bible?"

Foundational to Guthrie's plea to see individuals, families and churches return to an anchoring in God's Word is the biblical mandate for parents to instill the value of Scripture into their children by both instruction and example. Kennemur believes churches stand poised to aid parents in bringing up their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. In the breakout session, Kennemur shared strategies and resources with children's ministers to equip them for the task.

"Why read the Bible?" Kennemur asked. This central question should guide ministers and parents as they point children to treasure Scripture.

Kennemur noted that most children today experience the busyness of life even at very early ages. School, sports andother extra-curricular activities vie for their attention, and they must beshown the benefits of the Bible, such as knowing God, understanding His eternal plan, and experiencing the freedom, grace, peace and hope His Word offers. If children build a strong framework on a solid foundation at an early age, they will be more likely to weather the future storms of life with a strong faith.

"We're preparing kids before the train wreck happens," Kennemur said. It is not enough for children simply to read the Bible, but they must understand what it says and how it applies to their life in order for it to take root and bear lasting fruit.

"Kids need help interpreting the Scriptures just like we do," Kennemur said.

For this reason, Kennemur said, churches must teach parents how to have a quiet time and study the Bible so they can, in turn, teach their children.

During a main conference session, Guthrie described the cultural landscape, which sadly shows a profound lack of even elementary knowledge about the Bible, even by regular church attenders. While studies show that the number one predictor of spiritual maturity among regular church attenders is reading the Bible on a daily basis, Guthrie said, 52 percent of them read the Bible less than three times a month, and half of those do notread the Bible at all.


LifeWay Christian Resources has partnered with Guthrie to create workbooks, DVD curriculum, Bible reading plans, and other resources for individuals and local churches. To find out more information, visit


SBTS hosts 9/11 panel on 10th anniversary of event

By Josh Hayes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (SBTS)--"Where were you when the world stopped turning?" Country singer Alan Jackson was not the only person to ask this question since 9/11. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary asked the same question in a panel discussion about the cataclysmic terrorist attacks during the Sept. 8 chapel service.

Making up the panel were R. Albert Mohler Jr., Russell D. Moore, Zane Pratt and Heath Lambert. Mohler, SBTS president, led the discussion in which panelists talked about their location when commercial jetliners struck the World Trade Center and accordingly how Christians should articulate the gospel against a backdrop of blatant evil.

"When the events of September 11, 2001, took place, we immediately knew that it raised all of the important theological questions, simultaneously, in the midst of everything else that was being discussed, all of the sudden all the world knew that the theology matters once again," Mohler said.

In a case of peculiar providence, unaware of what would take place the morning of the attacks, Moore, dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration at SBTS, was teaching students in his systematic theology class about God's providence and its relationship to evil.

While Mohler and Moore joined members of the on-campus community watching on television the fallout of what turned out to be acts of Islamic terrorism, panelists Pratt and Lambert were in quite different contexts.

Pratt, dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism, was halfway around the world as a missionary in Central Asia. Lambert, who was then 21 years old, was a senior at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., majoring in biblical and theological studies and political science. Lambert is assistant professor of pastoral theology and department coordinator of biblical counseling at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of SBTS.

Pratt explained how the attacks exposed the sense of entitlement Americans possess toward having a safe, comfortable life, a mindset present even among the church.

"One of the things that we notice as sort of semi-outsiders, as Americans who have spent 20 years outside the United States, when we come back, is how deeply rooted the spirit of entitlement is in this country, how deeply rooted is the sense that 'I have a right to safety and comfort'," he said.

"On 9/11, at office in Richmond, Va., we were flooded with calls saying, 'You're going to bring everyone, right? It's dangerous out there.' … The thing that struck us was, 'It's okay to engage in the work of the Great Commission as long as it's safe.' And that reflected in our minds a very deep spiritual issue and a theological issue that I think still hasn't been addressed because of that desire to go back to comfort. 9/11 briefly exposed the United States to the reality of a fallen world, and it's like even Christians wanted to shut their eyes to it afterward," Pratt explained.

Mohler pointed out how the events of 9/11 reminded people of the importance of theology, leaving people's worldview exposed as they had no other option initially following 9/11 but to declare the attacks "evil."


"When we saw these people trying to talk theology without talking theology, it was a demonstration, I think, of how worldviews really do matter, and how in a moment like that, worldviews really show. Everybody's worldview became naked on 9/11," Mohler said.

Moore followed Mohler's point by saying that 9/11 caused Western culture to think of religion and faith as dangerous.

"The evil wasn't just the act. The evil became not only the radical Islam behind it but the fervency of the religious belief itself. So, the evil is not just this ideology. It's the fact that religion and faith are dangerous," Moore said.

"The answer seemed to be 'Let's try to cool the passions out there when it comes to religion'," he explained.

In the days that followed 9/11, Lambert stated that two of the most memorable Christian responses came from world-famous evangelist Billy Graham's address at the Washington National Cathedral and country star Alan Jackson's song, "Where Were You?"

"Both of those men in their own way were able to capture the shock and the horror of evil - and everybody has to run straight to God. … When you see a fireball above our most amazing city, when you see a symbol of our war force, at the Pentagon, have a whole smashed in it, that has the power to remind you of your humanity. It has the power to remind you of your weakness. But it doesn't have the power to save," Lambert said.

SBTS Resources provides audio and video of the panel, "911 Panel Discussion," at

Also, the Boyce Digital Library ( provides audio of "Onward Christian Soldiers? Christian Witness in a Time of Terror," a February 2002 panel discussion hosted at Southern Seminary that addressed evil, justice and war. Panelists include Mohler, Moore, Mark T. Coppenger, Kenneth Magnuson, Henley Barnette and Joe Phelps.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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