SEBTS launches center on spiritual formation

Baptist Press
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Posted: Sep 16, 2014 5:22 PM
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) -- Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has announced the new Center for Spiritual Formation and Evangelical Spirituality.

Nathan Finn, associate professor of historical theology and Baptist studies at the campus in Wake Forest, N.C., will direct the center. Finn has written published material on topics related to Baptist studies, Christian spirituality, ecclesiology and the history of missions.

The mission of the center, Finn noted on its webpage, is to "promote spiritual maturity and the cultivation of a robust evangelical spirituality for the Glory of God, the health of the church and the advancement of Christian mission."

Chuck Lawless, vice president for graduate studies and ministry centers, said, "Our role as a seminary is not only to prepare the mind; it is also to address the heart. This new center will address spiritual formation at the academic, local church and personal levels. As a scholar and churchman, Dr. Finn is uniquely gifted to lead this work."

The center plans to provide a resource guide for Southern Baptist churches and other similar evangelicals who are interested in these topics.

"I believe one of the great needs among this generation of seminary students and local churches is a healthy view of spiritual formation," Finn said.

The foundational passage of Scripture for the center is Colossians 1:9-10. "And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (ESV).

Finn said, "Authentic Christian spirituality is rooted in the Scriptures, provides a gospel-centered shape to our character and priorities, and fuels our mission to the lost, needy, persecuted and oppressed."

Throughout the year, the center will host seminars for the campus community, area pastors and ministry leaders. Every two or three years, major academic conferences for scholars will be held.

"I'm hopeful this new center will help us to form students into mature disciples and equip them to lead their local churches and other ministries in cultivating a discipleship culture that glorifies God and advances his kingdom," Finn said.

The Southeastern fellows for the Center are Drew Ham, director of the Office of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation; Greg Mathias, associate director of international missions for the Center for Great Commission Studies; Chuck Quarles, professor of New Testament and biblical theology; Steven Wade, associate professor of pastoral theology and coordinator of field ministry; and Keith Whitfield, associate vice president for institutional effectiveness and faculty communications and assistant professor of theology at Southeastern Seminary.

The Center's pastor advisory board includes, Jason Dees, senior pastor of Valleydale Church in Birmingham, Ala.; Robby Gallaty, senior pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn.; Dhati Lewis, lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta, Ga.; Ronjour Locke, pastor of First Baptist Church of Brooklyn, Md.; Josh Reed, pastor of Oaks Church in Raleigh, N.C.; Juan Sanchez, preaching pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas; and Justin Wainscott, pastor of First Baptist Church of Jackson, Tenn.

For more information on the Center's website, click here.

This story was written by the SEBTS Communications team. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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