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Newsmagazine for Alumni and Friends of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and College, SBC
Scholars offer lessons from study of
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Construction of new apartments progresses in time for students arriving next fall.
Newsmagazine for Alumni and Friends of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary R. Philip Roberts President Tammi Ledbetter Interim Editor Josh Erisman Charis Buckland Communications Assistants Jenny Buehler Designer The Covington Group Publisher ............................................................. ADDRESS CHANGE POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Communications Office 5001 N. Oak Trafficway Kansas City, MO 64118 HOW TO REACH US Phone: 816.414.3700, ext. 709 Fax: 816.414.3724 Internet: www.mbts.edu
MIDWESTERN NEWS: Faculty office honors Johnny Hunt’s legacy of missions and soul-winning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 PRESIDENT’S EDITORIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 MIDWESTERN NEWS: Evangelist Billy Kim reminds Midwestern audience of evangelistic mandate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 COVER FOCUS: Inaugural Dead Seas Scrolls conference opens to dialogue on Gospel of Thomas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Watson provides Old Testament students insight from studies of ancient world . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
Mail: 5001 N. Oak Trafficway Kansas City, MO 64118
MIDWESTERN NEWS: Trustees select experienced educator and pastor as academic vice president . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
MIDWESTERN NEWS: Midwestern Seminary teams minister amidst cults and false religions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
The Midwestern is published quarterly and is distributed free for alumni and friends of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary by the Office of Institutional Advancement, 5001 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, MO 64118. Postage paid at Kansas City, MO. The Midwestern highlights the Seminary’s mission: Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary serves the church by biblically educating God-called men and women to be and make disciples of Jesus Christ. MBTS is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
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MIDWESTERN NEWS: D.Min. in Spanish provides students with education in ‘heart language’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11 INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT: All in the same boat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 ALUMNI PROFILE: West Texas ministry becomes home for Midwestern alumni . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 FACULTY COLUMN: Undervaluing sermon introduction harms enterprise of preaching . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 KEEPING IN TOUCH: News and updates from alumni . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
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SBC President Johnny Hunt with Trustee Dan McDonald.
MIDWESTERN NEWS by Tammi Ledbetter
Trustee honors Hunt with dedication of new faculty office
outhern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt was honored March 10 at the dedication of a faculty office that will be occupied by Professor Stephen J. Andrews, who teaches Old Testament, Hebrew and archaeology and directs the Morton-Seats Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at Midwestern. Vice President for Academic Development Jerry Johnson noted the appropriateness of honoring Hunt in a building dedicated to the memory of two martyred missionaries who graduated from Midwestern—William Koehn and Martha Myers. “Just as the prophet Elisha sought a double portion of Elijah’s spirit,” Johnson said, “my hope and prayer is that our pastors, missionaries and evangelists going out of Midwestern catch some of the fire you have for soul-winning, missions and evangelism.” Trustee and Regent Dan McDonald of Roswell, Ga., provided funding for the office, offering a dedicatory prayer in which he expressed gratitude “for the leadership Pastor Johnny has personally given me and my family and my church that has enabled me by power of the Holy Spirit to lead people to Christ.” Marty R. Harkey, vice president for institutional advancement, read the following resolution:
“He has led First Baptist Church Woodstock to become a strong financial supporter of missions around the world. Under his leadership, First Baptist Church Woodstock has grown from an average attendance of 275 to a present membership of almost 17,000 with three morning worship services averaging almost 7,000 in attendance. “His ministry spans the world in international missions, evangelism, pastoral ministries, and training and equipping leaders and other
“Because of his dedicated service and his faithful and powerful proclamation of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ, today we are honored to dedicate this room to Pastor Johnny Hunt. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you.”
“Whether as an acknowledgment of your family, pastor, church, or as a memorial to a loved one, room naming is a unique opportunity to show publicly your support of the Lord’s work at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary,” Harkey later explained. Midwestern is currently involved in a capital campaign for building renovation and new construction projects called “Building for the Future!” This campaign is instrumental to providing an atmosphere conducive to academic excellence. The Office of Institutional Advancement offers many roomnaming opportunities for new and existing buildings. For further information please contact Marty Harkey in the IA office at 816-414-3720. MW
Hunt greets Professor Steve Andrews.
PHOTOS BY BRETT BUCKLAND
“Today we honor Pastor Johnny Hunt, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Woodstock, Ga., where he has served for over 22 years. He and his wife, Janet Allen Hunt, have two daughters and three grandchildren.
believers to reach people for Christ. His legacy in the lives of believers and his ministry influences will live on for all eternity.
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MBTS alumnus Fred Winters remained faithful to God he word came to us as we were leaving church on Sunday morning, March 8. It was unbelievable and shocking news that Fred Winters had been shot down in his pulpit, First Baptist Church, Maryville, Ill. He was preaching the Gospel and was in the middle of his sermon when approached by a gunman from the front rows. The first bullet, it has been reported, shattered Fred’s Bible. The second bullet wounded him and apparently was the killer round that ended his life. Among Fred Winters’ last words to the man who was about to kill him were, “How may I help you, brother?” What a testimony to Fred’s life purpose. Fred had been our National Alumni President just the year previous and had also served us faithfully as an adjunct professor at our St. Louis extension. He was a friend and a great encourager to us here at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. As I pondered the shock of his sudden and violent passing, several key thoughts came to mind. Number one, Fred’s life was not taken that Sunday morning but it had already been given. He had lived out the eternal truth that whoever seeks his life shall lose it, as Jesus said, but whosoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. That had been the story of Fred’s life since he was a teenager in high school. Having been invited to church by a high school buddy, he came to accept Christ as his savior and was baptized at First Baptist Church at Raytown. That is the point at which he had given his life to Christ. He had also given his life to Christ professionally and vocationally having answered the call to preach the Gospel and to serve the Lord in the capacity and the calling of the New Testament role of pastor. Notably Fred was the third MBTS alum to have died as the result of an assassin’s bullet. Dr. Martha Myers and Bill Koehn were both killed in Yemen, December 30, 2002. It was then that Dr. Jerry Rankin spoke of them in these same words that their lives had not been taken because they indeed had already been given. We rejoice to know that this is the power of the Gospel and this is the power of a life lived, not to one’s self but to the service and cause of Jesus Christ. The second great truth is that Fred didn’t cease to live on that Sunday morning, rather he graduated to glory. “For to me to live is Christ,” the apostle Paul said, “and to die is gain.” The wonderful truth of heaven and the triumphant glorious resurrection that awaits each of God’s children is not fiction, a fable or a fantasy, it is a fact. We rejoice in this great news that all the world’s religions are still seeking to find an answer for. Eternal life is not found in how we live our lives or how much good we do or keeping the balance scales of good and bad works on the good side on our behalf, rather it has to do with the atoning death of Christ on the cross. It is the hope of glory that we have bolstering the message of the cross. The crucified one, the executed, persecuted Messiah is now the glorious risen Lord. He is the Lord of our life and death and He gives life to all who believe and trust in Him. The scripture says clearly that whosoever has the Son has life, whosoever does not have the Son does not have life. The good news is that Fred had a personal and intimate and saving relationship with Jesus Christ. He is assured of a home in heaven and of an eternity with all of the saints in the realms of glory. Number three, Fred lost nothing on that Sunday morning; rather he was the overcomer and victor even in the midst of someone seemingly snatching his life from him. Notably in the 11th verse of Revelation 12 we find these words: “and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and
R. Philip Roberts President
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the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives unto death.” Very interestingly, the martyrs mentioned here in Revelation chapter 12 were the overcomers, the victors, the nikes. Yes, that is where we get the name for the sports dealer who so wants to promote all of his clients as being on the winning side. When we put our faith and trust in Jesus we are on the winning side. What seems to be a defeating death is really nothing more than an elevation of one’s victorious relationship in Jesus. The one who is the ultimate victor provides victory and an overcomer’s mentality for all of those who put their faith and trust in Him. Fred may have been carried out of his church on a stretcher but he was the one who was found faithful until death and who will receive the martyr’s and the victor’s crown. Number four, Fred Winters did not end his ministry on that Sunday morning, rather he validated it. In Hebrews 11 we hear the words related to the testimony and witness of Abel that he was dead yet speaketh. This is true for all those who faithfully, courageously and consistently serve Christ and seek to witness and to evangelize for His glory. Their ministries will bear fruit, sometimes one ministry more than another, but nonetheless fruit that will last for eternity. A friend of mine in Romania who suffered heavy persecution and threats under the Communist regime tells a story about a final threat that was made on him by his Communist interrogators. They pulled out a pistol and threatened to kill him, take his life and end his ministry right there. His comment to them was, “I know what your greatest weapon is, it is to kill me. But you need to know what my greatest weapon is, it is to be willing to die for my faith, for my witness in Christ and for all that I have said and done on His behalf. When that happens the word will go out that I meant every word that I have preached and said when it comes to the Gospel. You will but validate the truth of all that I have done for and in the name of Jesus.” Needless to say, they didn’t kill him. They recognized that truth, too. And as has been said, in the blood of the martyrs is indeed the seed of the church. It is through believers being called upon from time to time to give of themselves totally and completely for the cause of the Gospel that ministries are validated and the truth and absoluteness of the Gospel is affirmed afresh through the testimony and witness of those who are willing to lay down their lives for the cause of Christ. While we would not have thought it particularly unusual for martyrs to be killed in various parts of the world, including strictly Muslim and Communist countries, we, at the same time are shocked to know that this killing took place there in small town USA, Maryville, Illinois. This is a constant reminder to us to be ready at all times, to pay whatever price that might be asked of us, to stand firm in our testimony and witness for Christ. Fred Winters did exactly that. In that regard we hold him as a model and ideal for all of us to bear witness to the great truths that he gave his life in proclaiming. It is our privilege this year to name Fred Winters, along with our other alumni award recipients, as National Alumnus of the Year. Thank you, Fred, for being a great model and example for us. We look forward to seeing you again one day when we shall be able to bear witness with you that God is great, gracious and loving—that His truth endures forever!
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MIDWESTERN NEWS by Tammi Ledbetter
Evangelist Billy Kim reminds Midwestern audience of evangelistic mandate
od has commissioned us to evangelize the world, not to westernize the world,” evangelist Billy Kim told the spring convocation audience on Jan. 27. Kim traced God’s strategy as revealed in Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, John 20:21 and Acts 1:8. “I believe with all my heart if all of the Christians combined together, if they have conviction and determination, we could fulfill the Great Commission within our generation with all of the technology we have today,” Kim said, acknowledging a host of enemies of the Gospel who have risen throughout history. But he reminded students of Jesus’ promise that God has supplied all of the necessary power to fulfill the evangelistic mandate. Speaking as part of the Drummond Lecture Series on Evangelism, Kim was honored by R. Philip Roberts, “ Midwestern’s president, who awarded Kim with the Presidential Medallion. Roberts commended Kim’s leadership as pastor of Suwon Central Baptist Church in Korea, his ministry as an interpreter for evangelist Billy Graham and his leadership of the Far East Broadcasting Company in Korea and the Baptist World Alliance. Roberts said the incredible growth of biblical Christianity in much of that region of the world can be attributed to the leadership of Kim and others like him. Kim has devoted much of his ministry to this largest part of the world’s population that lives in extreme poverty.
“Korean believers are very much the world’s pace setters for prayer, evangelism and world missions among Baptists and other evangelicals. We can thank Billy Kim for much of that dynamic in Korean churches,” Roberts said. The lecture series was established in memory of Lewis A. Drummond, who was known as an evangelical scholar with a passion for evangelism. He served as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and was the Billy Graham Professor of Evangelism at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, having directed the Billy Graham Center there. Roberts also thanked Drummond’s widow, Betty, who was in attendance, for her support in establishing the lecture series. Joining Kim were members of the Korean Children’s Choir, presenting a concert prior to each day’s message. Recalling the challenge Paul extended in 2 Timothy 2:15 to be a workman who is not ashamed, Kim said: “In my life there are a number of mentors who helped me spiritually and financially and encouraged me when I was discouraged and ready to quit the ministry because there wasn’t much result. God has placed different people along my journey and when I needed it most they encouraged me and prayed for me.” Newly elected faculty members publicly affirmed the articles of the Baptist Faith & Message while the rest of the faculty stood to express solidarity. Those signing at the Jan. 27 ceremony were Larry Cornine, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling, and Daniel Watson, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. MW
PHOTO BY CHARIS BUCKLAND
The Korean Children's Choir traveling with Billy Kim performs for chapel.
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MIDWESTERN HIGHLIGHT MIDWESTERN NEWS by Tammi Ledbetter
Inaugural Dead Sea Scrolls conference opens to dialogue on Gospel of Thomas
hristian origins scholars took to the stage at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to evaluate whether the Gospel of Thomas serves as a means of better understanding the historical Jesus. Most of the dialogue dealt with the date of the manuscript and the degree to which it parallels the synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. However, the missing emphasis on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus left many in the crowd doubting Thomas. Sharing the platform with Midwestern President R. Philip Roberts were Stephen J. Patterson, who sought to glean new insights into the life of Jesus by studying the Gospel of Thomas, and Craig A. Evans, who found little or no early or authentic material beyond what is preserved in the New Testament Gospels. The opening night of the March 12-14 Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins Conference served as the inaugural event of the G. Richard and Judy Hastings Institute begun a year ago. Hastings is president and CEO of Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, a member of First Baptist Church of Raytown, Mo., and serves on Midwestern’s board of regents. Additional conference sessions continued the theme by examining the scrolls in relation to the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, Dead Sea community, interpretation of Scripture, the scribes and the Messiah — drawing experts in those fields from across the country. “There is no greater discovery than the Dead Sea Scrolls,” declared Peter W. Flint in the first lecture on Friday, praising the vision of the Hastings family and Midwestern Seminary in establishing the Institute. Flint holds the Canada Research Chair and is professor of religious studies and director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute at Trinity Western University. “For Jews and Christians it is the greatest find of our time,” Flint added, noting the phenomenal size of the crowds attending exhibitions, most recently 390,000 in San Diego. “It’s like a Rolling Stones concert,” he said. That level of interest was reflected in the audience of 350 people attending the conference at Midwestern, filling the auditorium and overflow area. Midwestern College Dean Thorvald Madsen opened the
session in prayer for a renewed commitment to the Word of God, its authority and the study of it, urging those gathered, “not to just hear the Word, but to do it.” The text of what is known as the Gospel of Thomas was discovered by a farmer in Egypt in 1945. Quoting first from a passage that seemed to mirror Jesus’ words as recorded in Matthew, Patterson then turned to a saying that described a human turning into a lion. “It is, as you can see, an unusual gospel — not a narrative gospel like those in the New Testament,” but simply a list of what Patterson described as “collected sayings of Jesus.” Many are similar or virtually the same as sayings found in Matthew, Mark and Luke, but others are not found there, he observed. Patterson, who serves as professor of New Testament at Eden Seminary in St. Louis and chairs the Jesus Seminar on Christian Origins, made his case for the Gospel of Thomas as an authentic witness to Jesus, composed relatively early by an author whose message was written independently of the canonical Gospels. Thus, it holds value as a witness to the Jesus tradition, he said. Evans, who is a distinguished professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity School and a frequent source of interviews for the History Channel, BBC documentaries and Dateline NBC, agreed with many of Patterson’s characterizations of the text, although he insisted on dating it later. Evans focused on characteristics of the text that seem to connect it to secondcentury Syrian Christianity, even perhaps the influence of Tatian, author of the Diatessaron and the Oratio. Pointing to the lack of archaeological evidence validating the text, Evans asked: “If Thomas is early and accesses authentic Jesus tradition, why the absence of verisimilitude?” The problem of dating the manuscript comes from its nature, Patterson said. “Lists are not like narratives — the parts aren’t woven into the narrative whole.” Instead, he called for “educated speculation.” Evans noted Patterson’s dependence upon “a reasonable guess” as a means of expressing the nature of their kind of work. “It’s just the way it is. There are gaps in our knowledge.” Holding to the superiority of the Gospels that were included in the canon, Evans said: “At least we have in Papias a dateable
Leaders offered training for global missions impact
he April 22 Spurgeon Pastoral Leadership Workshop will prepare pastors, staff and laypeople to lead their churches to have a passion for missions that results in a global impact. Tom Elliff, a former pastor, missionary, and Southern Baptist Convention president, will speak at the morning and afternoon plenary sessions with other IMB representatives leading break6 The Midwestern Spring 2009
out sessions. One hour of credit may be arranged through the registrar for those attending the workshop. The first plenary session begins at 10 a.m. and the day-long event will conclude by 3:30 p.m. For more information on the workshop, contact Student Development at 1-800-944-6287. To register for course credit, contact the Registrar’s office at 816414-3714 or e-mail email@example.com. MW
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Dead Sea Scrolls expert Peter W. Flint (shown at center) offers tribute to Rich Hastings (at right) for his vision in establishing the Institute for the Study of Dead Sea Scrolls and Christian Origins and for the priority Midwestern President R. Philip Roberts (at left) has given to such studies.
PHOTO BY TAMMI LEDBETTER
person in a dateable time who’s talking about the four of them in time. There isn’t much doubt of Matthew, Mark and Luke and John being first century. I like to hang theories on pegs and the pegs are the people who really lived and talked and tell us information and documents that we can find.” Allowing for the theoretical possibility of some of Patterson’s assertions, Evans stated, “He could be right, in which case Thomas becomes an important fifth gospel, another access to some of Jesus’ thinking, ethics, and worldview, perhaps not clearly present in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, or perhaps not there at all.” Patterson said he had become intrigued by the way the Gospel of Thomas fits into a picture of early Christianity in eastern Syria. The sayings provide no additional information about Jesus’ suffering and death. “Instead we are drawn to Platonism as a way of interpreting the Jesus tradition,” he said, and “engage in a measured asceticism and cultivate a certain aloofness” from the world. He emphasized the contrast between the life of early Christians in cities that lay along ancient trade routes to the east and those in imperial lands further west. Mapping out a Gospel of Thomas that focuses on the counter-cultural wisdom of Jesus, Patterson offered an answer for the missing elements. “Salvation is not to be found in Jesus’ atoning death, but in the interpretation of His words,” he offered. Laying a case for the life of Jesus as the focus of Thomas, rather than His death, which he claimed was the focus of the synoptic Gospel writers, Patterson said: “Stories of Jesus the martyr held little interest because they are in no danger of martyrdom. How might one live in the hustle and flow of commercial crossroads?” “Did the dissident status of the Christians in the Roman Empire affect the form their new religion took? Was their focus on Jesus’ death simply the nature of Christianity or was their own concern about martyrdom leading them to focus on Jesus’ death?” Patterson asked. Countering that distinction, Evans asked whether Patterson would agree that the resurrection ignited the Christian church and turned Jesus' movement into a growing church. “Within it is the passion story. Or are we to think somehow that Jesus dies, the followers recover and the church grows up, surrendering His teaching?” Patterson reasserted his belief that Paul’s attention to the death of Jesus was motivated by “the context of reflecting on his own career as someone who’s been arrested, flogged, and put in prison.” He later described Thomas as composing a text more suited to Christians in the East, “so it didn’t gain currency in the West.” “Our canon is a western canon, a Roman imperial canon, shaped by that experience,” he insisted. Roberts admitted to “biting my tongue,” during the discussion on an emphasis on death in the West versus zeal for
life in the East. “The reason Paul got kicked around was because he preached a crucified, Jewish, resurrected Messiah. That was the crux of the controversy,” Roberts told Patterson. “I don’t think the fact that he got kicked around was why he preached the message,” Roberts added. “He preached the message first and then he got kicked around.” After an opportunity for rebuttal arguments, the floor was opened to questions from the audience. One student asked why Thomas’ writings are described as a gospel when the message fails Paul’s test, as recorded in his first letter to the Corinthians, that the Gospel is centered around the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. “Why not call it ‘The Proverbs of Jesus According to Thomas’ or ‘101 Things Thomas Said About Jesus,’” the student proposed. “To be called a gospel, it must talk about those things — that Jesus died and was crucified. Thomas is left wanting of those.” Acknowledging that the apostle summarized the content of the Christian message, Evans said the term also is used for a genre of writing based on Mark’s reference in the Greek text to “evangelion,” or “good news.” Patterson concurred that the text comes with a natural title. “Your question is an interesting one,” Evans added, “but I think that’s part of the answer,” clarifying that a “summary of the gospel becomes a story about Jesus.” In addition to Roberts, Flint and Evans, other session speakers include George J. Brooke of the University of Manchester, John J. Collins of Yale University, William M. Schniedewind of the University of California at Los Angeles and Terry L. Wilder of B&H Publishing Group and research professor at Midwestern. MW Audio recordings of MBTS events are available at www.mbts.edu. Spring 2009 The Midwestern 7
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FACULTY SPOTLIGHT by Tammi Ledbetter
Watson provides Old Testament students insight from studies of ancient world
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knowledge of Israel—pretty important since that is where most of the Bible’s story takes place. Second, they get a realistic understanding of how biblical archaeology works—what it can tell us about the biblical world and what it cannot.” Then, as a result, Watson said, “They gain the ability to be discerning about claims to prove something supposedly based on archaeology, so they can help people in their churches to be discerning as well.” Amidst studying biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, Watson also gained experience in ministry at Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Indianapolis where he served as associate minister from 1993 to 2007. He finds the common cultural framework of the Midwest to be helpful in facilitating interaction with students who are primarily from the same region of the country. “People do not have to struggle to understand a speech accent,” he said, “and they get the jokes—most of the time.” Watson has found the opportunity to lead out in local church ministry valuable for training seminarians. “Ministry students have more confidence in the instruction and guidance of their teachers if those teachers have a vocational history in doing what they are training the students to do,” he said. “The teachers, in turn, can provide a realistic understanding of ministry as opposed to a romanticized or purely theoretical one.” MW PHOTO BY JAKUB SZCZEPANIAK
ld Testament Associate Professor Daniel R. Watson joined the Midwestern faculty last fall, bringing to the classroom his own ministerial experience from the Midwest as well as an interest in ancient civilizations. Watson is teaching Hebrew and Old Testament Survey this semester as well as an exposition course from the book of Daniel. It’s a text with which he’s well-acquainted, having written his doctoral dissertation for Hebrew Union College on “The Writing on the Wall: A Study of the Belshazzar Narrative.” Using that narrative from Daniel 5 as a test case for developing a model of intertextual exegesis, Watson demonstrated how to read and interpret a Bible passage in light of other passages with which it has a demonstrable connection. “The conclusion was that the soundest basis for establishing and exploring that connection is the literary dimension of the text,” Watson explained. “For example, if Daniel 5 is read as a prophet-king confrontation story, it can be instructive to examine it in the light of other similar episodes like Samuel’s confrontation of Saul in 1 Samuel 15.” Watson submits that successful dissertations do not necessarily enhance teaching skills, noting that being a good scholar and a good teacher are two different things. However, the experience helps one develop the ability to collect, assess, organize and present knowledge effectively—an important aspect of the teaching role to which he feels called. Prior to returning to the Midwest, Watson taught Old Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego. He earned both the Ph.D. in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies and the M.Phil. in Hebraic and Cognate Studies from Hebrew Union, based in Cincinnati. He received the Th.M. from Grace Theological Seminary in Old Testament Language and Literature and the B.A. from Liberty University. Watson’s interest in ancient civilizations led to his participation in the third season of the Tel Gezer Project last year. He describes work on the archaeology dig a valuable experience for ministry-bound students. “They get a firsthand
by Tammi Ledbetter
Experienced educator and pastor named academic vice president
idwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees approved the selection of an experienced Southern Baptist educator and administrator for vice president of academic development as part of a reconfigured cabinet that utilizes the giftedness of current leaders. In addition to his election as professor of ethics and theology, Jerry Johnson was named academic dean to succeed Thorvald Madsen who becomes dean of Midwestern Baptist College, SBC. Madsen also was re-elected as associate professor of New Testament, ethics and philosophy. The college’s former dean, David McAlpin, became vice president for student development late last year. Johnson, 44, joins Midwestern after serving nearly five years as president of Criswell College in Dallas where he also taught theology and ethics and hosted a daily syndicated radio program on ethics and public policy. He earlier served as dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate Boyce College and also taught Christian ethics and worked in development while working toward a Ph.D. from the seminary with a specialization in Christian ethics. He also holds an M.A. from Denver Seminary and a B.A. from Criswell College. Johnson pastored in both Texas and Colorado, the latter being where he met his wife, Rhonda. Among those recommending Johnson to the post was Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Executive Director Jim Richards who wrote, “If I were on a search committee for an academic institution, Jerry would be the first person I would pursue because of his intellectual attributes.” Richards called him a man of “impeccable character,” praising Johnson’s dedication to his family and defense of biblical inerrancy and Baptist distinctives. He contributed the chapter on religious liberty in a book outlining The Baptist Faith and Message 2000. His studies in biblical ethics have provided a platform to address the Evangelical Theological Society, the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity and other organizations. While grateful for the opportunity to lead the school's academic development for the past six years, Madsen told trustees he had encouraged MBTS President R. Philip Roberts to pursue Johnson for the post. “Dr. Johnson is more than qualified to serve as the MBTS academic dean, and I look forward to serving as Dean of the College under his leadership.” Trustees also elected to the faculty Rustin J. Umstattd as assistant professor of theology. In addition to earning his Ph.D. in systematic theology and M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Umstattd received an M.B.A. from Georgia Southern University and B.A. from Georgia Southwestern College. He taught adjunctively at Southwestern and served as minister of education and students at Matthew Road Baptist Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. Calling Umstattdt “one of the brightest and potentially greatest theologians in our Southern Baptist Zion,” Southwestern
PHOTO BY CHARIS BUCKLAND
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Seminary Associate Professor Malcolm Yarnell described him as “biblical, orthodox and ministry-oriented.” Having supervised Umstattdt’s work, Yarnell wrote in his Vice President for Academic Development Jerry letter of Johnson preaches to a March 4 chapel audience. recommendation, “Dr. Umstattd displays an ability, not only to theologize well and teach well, but also to relate well with human beings through thick and thin. In his role as a minister, Rusty is careful to keep the Gospel ever before his students.” Other faculty re-elections include James Anderson as professor of biblical studies; Robin D. Hadaway, associate professor of missions; Rodney A. Harrison, assistant professor of Christian education, and David J. Richards, assistant professor of Christian education. The reappointment of Charles E. Warren as associate professor of theology also was affirmed in the trustees’ academic development committee. After listening to committee members question prospective faculty regarding their theological convictions, trustee chairman Michael Landry of Sarasota, Fla., told the board, “We have a faculty that is very committed to the truth.” Pointing to his Bible, he said, “In every case you’re going to find a professor who says unapologetically, ‘This is the Word of God.’” The board approved the 2009-10 budget of $7,602,888, up 4.3 percent over the current year. Revenue is projected to increase due to a number of changes approved by the board, including a $15 per credit hour tuition increase for undergraduate courses and $10 per credit hour increase for graduate courses. Minor increases were made to audit and registration fees and housing rental rates. New tuition and fees for doctoral students will be set at $5,690 for coursework toward the D.Min. program, $7,980 for the D.Ed.Min. and $10,980 for the Ph.D. Trustees also approved an investment strategy, re-elected Landry as well as First Vice Chairman James Freeman of Kansas City and Secretary Judy Crain of Trapp, Md. Wayne Lee of Southlake, Texas, was elected second vice chairman and Kevin Shrum of Madison, Tenn., was named to serve as member at large on the trustees' executive committee. Noting the Midwest roots of President Roberts as a native of Ohio, outgoing trustee Wayne Parker of Garden City, Mich., said, “One of the things that excites me about this institution is its pioneering spirit – that willingness to be on mission wherever God would have us to be. It's a rare quality among our seminaries.” MW Spring 2009 The Midwestern 9
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MIDWESTERN NEWS Story by Tammi Ledbetter
ituated halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, the tiny country of Samoa is regarded as having an overwhelmingly Christian population. And yet Baptists aren’t mentioned among the seven dominant faith groups, though Latter-Day Saints rank fourth at 12.7 percent. The growing influence of Mormons prompted the pastor of the English-speaking congregation of American Samoa’s Happy Valley Baptist Church to invite two Southern Baptist experts to join him in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean where they spent several weeks teaching pastors and other church leaders. Brian Smart serves as a missionary in Samoa, pastoring an Englishspeaking congregation. Having read Mormonism Unmasked: Confronting the Contradictions between Mormon Beliefs and True Christianity by Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Philip Roberts, Smith enlisted the author and North American Mission Board Interfaith Coordinator Tal Davis for the January trip. Tracing the history of Christianity on the islands, Roberts said Samoans responded positively to the initial approach of Congregational missionaries in the 1830s, but Mormons became active by the late 19th century, eventually erecting a temple in Apia. “There are ward houses all across American Samoa and National Samoa,” Roberts said, distinguishing between the unincorporated and southernmost territory of the United States and independent Samoa. “Brian asked us to come and teach the people the difference between Mormonism and Christianity and help show them that Mormonism is not Bible-based Christianity,” Roberts said. He and Davis began with a series of conferences, teaching every day in a different location, sometimes before open congregations as well as “more intense” settings with pastors. “The response was tremendous,” Roberts said, describing a meeting that attracted 1,700 people in the capital city at the invitation of a host of evangelical groups. “Pastors held a service of repentance at the end of our time and said they had not been
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PHOTO BY ROBIN HADAWAY
Midwestern students use local transportation to minister in Asia.
faithful enough to warn their people about the dangers of Mormonism,” Roberts recalled. In addition to the materials they left behind, additional resources have been sent to Smith for use in follow-up. “The growth of Mormonism is indeed rapid,” Davis added. “It’s easy to see why the evangelical churches are concerned. Most of those LDS converts are out of their churches,” he added, noting the aggressive proselytizing by Mormons. Latter-Day Saints reports place the number of Mormon adherents at 25 percent of the population of American Samoa and 30 percent of those in the Independent State of Samoa. While Midwestern’s president was addressing Mormonism, a team of students from the Kansas City campus was deployed further west to a predominantly Buddhist country with 200 times the population of Samoa. MBTS Missions Associate Professor Robin Hadaway taught a week-long course at a seminary and Bible school, training nationals in missiological principles while four students taught Bible stories at an orphanage. “One evening the team shared Christ with a Buddhist monk in a major temple,” Hadaway recalled. A 27-year-old student ministered to a girl near the temple, offering medicine to alleviate physical suffering and a Gospel tract to meet her spiritual needs. “She spoke very little English, but now has access to the Gospel,” the student explained. When a security officer intervened, the group disbanded. “We will find out in eternity what happened,” the student added. “God has called us to make disciples of all nations. If we are going to do that for a lifetime, we really need to learn while in seminary,” she explained. “Now is the best time, when we’re being poured into by those who have gone before us to learn how to do missions most effectively.” The January trip confirmed her interest in serving overseas long-term. “It’s absolutely amazing to see God work in a closed country,” she stated. “His grace is so sufficient for us. It really made the words of Paul come alive,” she added, quoting, “‘I want to know Christ in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.’” “There’s nothing better than knowing Jesus like that.” “First-hand missions experience has given me renewed awe of God,” added another Midwestern student. “He is alive and at work all the way around the world, in a dark and closed country. I am so blessed to have access to books, great teachers and no fear of imprisonment for sharing my faith! Being a part of this trip has renewed my energy for completing school and working as unto the Lord.” MW The names of students were omitted to protect their identity for future service. For more information about the work in Samoa, contact Brian Smart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO BY CHARIS BUCKLAND
Midwestern Seminary teams minister amidst cults and false religions
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Ten students attended the March orientation for doctoral studies and critical thinking as part of D.Min. in missions and leadership taught in Spanish.
MIDWESTERN NEWS Story by Tammi Ledbetter
PHOTO BY CHARIS BUCKLAND
D.Min. in Spanish provides students with education in ‘heart language’
panish-speaking students now can pursue doctoral studies in their own language at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary—the first such program of its
kind. The seminary’s new missions and leadership concentration within the doctor of ministry program answers a need expressed by state convention leaders intent on reaching a growing Hispanic population. “During recruitment trips, state convention leaders would ask if we offered a D.Min. in Spanish,” said Rodney Harrison, Midwestern’s director of doctoral studies. “With the launch of the D.Min. in missions and leadership, this will be the only program taught in Spanish with all work done in Spanish, including the dissertation.” Gus Suárez, a professor at Midwestern’s Nehemiah Center for Church Planting, brings further credibility to the program, having served as a North American Mission Board-appointed missionary for more than 20 years with experience in New York, Maryland, New Mexico and the Northwest Baptist Convention. Suárez, a native of Cuba, will be one of several Hispanic leaders teaching in the seminars. Taking a series of five-day seminars, ten students made up the initial class in March with orientation to doctoral studies and critical thinking taught by Suárez and Bobby Sena, a church planting coordinator for NAMB. Missional leadership will be taught June 20-25 in conjunction with the annual SBC meeting by Joe Hernandez, and a fall seminar will address Hispanic church planting and evangelism. Harrison notes that Spanishspeaking applicants who are bilingual, but missed the deadline for the March orientation seminar, may still enroll in the Spanish-language program, but would be required to take the English orientation seminar during the summer. Luis Mendoza will be among the first students to pursue the doctor of ministry in Hispanic studies. A church planter and pastor of Iglesia Cristiana Palabra Viva in North Kansas City, he also develops multicultural churches and encourages other church planters in developing evangelistic strategies for the ClayPlatte Baptist Association. Mendoza said a call to ministry also is a call to obtain the best instruction available. “The D.Min. program of study will help me to improve my biblical and theological training as well as academic knowledge,
helping me achieve my personal educational goals as a servant of God,” Mendoza said. “This will give me the possibility of being better prepared to train the new generation of Hispanic leaders in a more conscientious and productive way.” Church planters like Mendoza readily speak English, but studying in what is described as a heart language has an advantage. Students applying to the program are fluent in English in most cases, Suárez said, and many of them have completed master’s degrees at English-speaking institutions. While he agrees with the frequently used assimilation argument that encourages English usage in order to succeed in the United States, Suárez said being proficient in two languages in the midst of a growing, diverse population only strengthens a person. “The idea of assimilation does not necessarily mean that a person must ignore his or her native language,” he said. The fact that the program is offered fully in Spanish initially caught Mendoza’s attention. “Even though I speak and write English, Spanish is my heart language,” he said. “I believe it is a wonderful opportunity to have the privilege of receiving this high level of education in a language close to your heart.” Students in Midwestern’s newest program will be making an academic contribution written in Spanish for Hispanics and contextual to the Hispanic culture, Suárez said. Among the current students, eight nationalities are represented in addition to the United States, including Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Cuba, Spain, Ecuador, El Salvador and Chile. Each of their professors has at least 30 years of ministry experience among Hispanics in North America. “Midwestern recognizes that the Hispanic population in North America is growing exponentially. Training these Hispanics who are now in key leadership positions in local churches, associations and conventions will facilitate additional Spanish resources in the language and context of the Hispanic population,” Suárez said. “We, as a seminary, do not want to miss the opportunity to train our Hispanic leaders in their own language.” MW For more information, contact Rodney Harrison at 816-4143755. Spring 2009 The Midwestern 11
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All in the same boat
Marty Harkey Vice President for Institutional Advancement (816) 414-3720 email@example.com
am sure you have heard the expression, “We are all in the same boat.” It means that we, like people who are in the same boat, need to cooperate in order to succeed. That is why people say, “These may be difficult times, but we’re all in the same boat. We can get through it together.” One day Jesus was in a boat with the disciples, Mark chapter four recounts the event it in this way… “On that day, when evening had come, He told them, ‘Let’s cross over to the other side [of the lake].’ So they left the crowd and took Him along since He was [already] in the boat. And other boats were with Him. A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, ‘Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?’ He got up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Silence! Be still!’ The wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Then He said to them, ‘Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?’ And they were terrified and asked one another, ‘Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!’” (Mark 4:35-41 HCSB) Nothing catches Jesus by surprise; He has never slapped Himself on the forehead and said, “Wait, they are in a recession? I need to change my plan.” The current economic conditions have not caught our God by surprise. This is not the first economic downturn in history nor will it be the last. Someday we may even find, when we understand all things, that this was a specific part of the plan for our nation. We cannot ignore it, but neither do we need to fear the elephant in the room. It would be so easy to flail our arms along with the disciples and question God’s care. However, the fact is we are all in the same boat. Nevertheless, what is more important for us is that Jesus is in the boat as well. In addition, He cares for us now as much as He cared for the disciples 2,000 years ago. And He asks us the same questions, “Why are you
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fearful? Do you still have no faith?” The Lord knows what we need and when we need it. Now more than ever, each person in our nation and the world needs to know that God knows them personally and cares about their condition. The students that are trained at Midwestern can take the life-changing message to a world that is looking for hope where it sees none. We know that Jesus is the ultimate hope for all humanity. This is the time to recognize the opportunity we have to pull together and make sure that the students who are here at Midwestern can complete their education. Thank you for your previous gifts to Midwestern. Those gifts have allowed us to prepare students who are now ministering all across the globe right now in the midst of this economic windstorm. Your gifts to the Annual Fund allow Midwestern to meet the most immediate needs. Gifts to the Annual Fund allow Midwestern to do many things. Using its Annual Fund donations, the Seminary is able to tap resources for immediate needs, offer financial aid to students who need it, enhance opportunities for teaching and learning, and improve Midwestern’s historic campus. Consider including Midwestern in your estate plan in 2009 for a future gift to the Seminary. Again, remember, “These may be difficult times, but we’re all in the same boat. We can get through it together.” Never forget that Jesus in the greatest resource we have in this life. And He encourages us to not be afraid but have faith in Him. Moreover, we will not fear and we will have faith when we recognize that Jesus in is the boat with us. In His service, Marty
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Story by Stephanie Heading
West Texas ministry becomes home for Midwestern alumni
idwestern never figured into the plans of Steve and Carolyn Fox. After marrying in 1981, the couple pursued a life in which they worked secular jobs and were very active laypeople in their North Georgia church. However, a youth mission trip in 1993 changed everything and set them on a course toward full-time ministry that led them to Midwestern in 1997 and eventually into pastorates in Kansas and West Texas. “If you had told me in 1997 what we would be doing now, I would have said ‘no way,’” remarked Carolyn. The Foxes credit their experiences at Midwestern with shaping them into the ministers they are today. “My day may be in the office or I may be out working on a cattle ranch,” said Steve, who has been the pastor of First Baptist Church, Mertzon, Texas, since 2005. “Helping people relate to the Gospel—that’s what I was taught at Midwestern.” FBC Mertzon is Steve’s first senior pastorate. He served as minister of education, administration, and youth for eight years at Leavenworth Baptist Church in Leavenworth, Kan. Steve graduated from Midwestern in 2000 with a diploma in pastoral ministry and he said the seminary prepared him to lead in a number of ways. “It prepared me theologically to know and answer questions. It also prepared me to lead the church in a sound manner, and it helped me develop vision.” Under Steve’s leadership, FBC Mertzon has experienced a change of focus. “The church was not on its last leg, but it was being led for the time,” Steve recalled. “I’m trying to lead for the future. The people of the church are the backbone—not the pastor.” Noting the recent murder of Midwestern alumnus and pastor Fred Winters at First Baptist Church of Maryville, Ill., he stated, “What happens if I’m not here? The church needs to move forward. That’s discipleship.” Discipleship is also a focus of Carolyn’s. While at Midwestern, she was involved in the WISDOM program for wives, graduating in 2000. The acrostic references Wives in
Seminary Developing Our Ministries— providing a range of courses from Baptist history to hospitality. Having taken nearly every course offered, Carolyn joked, “I think I graduated Steve and Carolyn Fox with the most hours.” She was also involved in the Midwestern Women’s Fellowship while on campus, serving as president. Both of these programs enabled her to serve as a pastor’s wife with confidence. “One of the biggest things about Midwestern was that it has given me confidence as I share Christ with other women in the church and in the community,” Carolyn said. “It has also given me the confidence to be myself as a pastor’s wife. They taught us not to let a church fit us into a mold, but to be ourselves in ministry.” Carolyn is active in women’s ministry and leading women’s Bible studies at FBC Mertzon in addition to teaching a youth girls’ Sunday school class and singing in the choir. Steve and Carolyn love their ministry at FBC Mertzon, they said, and they have become active in their community even though Texas was never in their plans. Steve grew up in Florida and Carolyn in Louisiana—two states with landscapes that differ from West Texas. “Funny how God works,” Carolyn said, “because Texas was never on our wish list of places to live.” Now they love the people with whom they minister in their new home. Steve is active as president of the Lion’s Club, vice president of the Child Welfare Board and president of the community Little League in addition to his work at the church. Steve had an unusual opportunity to donate bone marrow to a local 13-year old in 2005 with a very aggressive strain of leukemia. A year later the Foxes met the girl Alumnus Steve Fox is just as comfortable ministering out in the field and developed a friendship with her family, among members of his West Texas church as from his office at church. leading Sherilyn and her mother to profess faith in Christ. Due to the return of leukemia in 2007, she died later that year and Steve officiated and Carolyn sang at the "celebration of life service." They continue to minister to family members who grieve the loss of the daughter. The Foxes look back fondly at their days at Midwestern, believing their seminary experience helped them break out of the mold and learn to approach ministry from their own, unique perspective. As Carolyn noted, “Different professors taught us that you have to be who God created you to be.” MW Spring 2009 The Midwestern 13
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by Ben Awbrey Associate Professor of Preaching
Undervaluing sermon indroduction harms enterprise of preaching
it to be an excellent idea to consider what is to be done in the beginning portion of our preaching effort—the introduction of our sermons. In order for one to take seriously the task and put forth the sermons more effectively he must be consumed with the passion to do only the very best he can do in his preaching. This consuming passion for excellence is what my homiletics professor, Howard Yim, a Korean-American, called “the Oriental art of perfecting a masterpiece and mastering a craft.” In order for one to preach as well as he is able, one must possess a diligent spirit and be marked by a passion for excellence. Such a man will stint no cost in the endeavor to preach well. This speaks of the kind of person he is, as well as the character he possesses, in reference to his preaching. If one is truly desirous of preaching excellently, then one must take seriously the objective of improvement in the area of the sermon introduction. However, for a preacher to do a consistently effective job in his sermon introductions, he must bear the burden of a desire to be heard by the audience. He cannot abide the thought of being greeted with half-hearted interest regarding the things of God. Yet this is a man who is the exception rather than the rule. Just as certainly as there will be people who receive truth from every preacher in a half-hearted fashion there will be preachers who handle truth from every passage in a haphazard fashion—in their sermons and especially in their sermon introductions. I couldn’t agree more heartily with the indictment advanced by Spurgeon regarding men who bear no such burden of desire for the work of their sermon introductions. His comments are as follows: “There are preachers who care very little whether they are attended to or not; so long as they can hold on through the allotted time it is of very small importance to them whether their people hear for eternity, or hear in vain: the sooner such ministers sleep in the churchyard and preach by the verse on their gravestones the better.” As appropriate as these remarks were in Spurgeon’s day, I would suggest that they are even more so today. A sermon introduction that signals a congregation that the sermon about to be delivered is a ‘must hear’ matter is predicated upon some basic yet significant convictions held by the preacher regarding his sermon introductions. The convictions a preacher holds regarding the role and importance of the sermon introduction PHOTO BY CHARIS BUCKLAND
ffective and pleasing sermon introductions are like pleasing landscapes. They do not happen automatically or accidentally. They are the result of the implementation of time-honored principles. If the principles for introducing a sermon are disregarded, they are disregarded at the expense of the preacher and the hearers of the message. Effective sermon introductions, like pleasing landscapes, are the result of one who has a deep concern and passion for a desired commodity. Just as a landscaper is personally convinced that the diligent and strenuous effort of his work will make a difference, so must the preacher be assured even more so of the efficacy of his sermonic work, in general, and his work in introducing a sermon specifically. It is definitely the case that the work of introducing a sermon is undervalued. And it is potentially the case that a preacher may, upon occasion, lose sight of the eternal significance of the whole enterprise of preaching. Therefore, as Richard Mayhue advises, it is good counsel in general “to think on all that can happen to one mortal in one service. God’s greatest miracle happens often under preaching. Let a man think on the eternal consequences of one half hour.” As wise as it is to be reminded about the significance of preaching, I believe
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KEEPING IN TOUCH
Vance R. Veazey
Vance R. Veazey (M.Div.'67), 88, of Emporia, Kan., died Friday, Jan. 30 in Topeka of complications arising from lung disease. He was an active member of the Americus Baptist Church and had served there as pastor and in other area churches since his arrival in Emporia in 1981. Prior to that, he was Pastor of Nashua Baptist Church in Kansas City, Mo., 15 years.
Born in Westville, Okla., Veazey retired from active duty in the U.S. Air Force at the rank of master sergeant in 1960 after 21 years of service, before pursuing educational training for the ministry. While attending MBTS, he pastored First Baptist Church of Denver, Mo. Veazey taught an extension course for Midwestern Seminary and conducted Bible study services at multiple rest homes every week for many years. He was teaching one such Bible study every Wednesday at Sterling House in Emporia right up to the time of his death. He was also active in the Emporia Wing of the Kansas Civil Air Patrol as a chaplain, recently achieving the rank of lieutenant colonel. Veazey was preceded in death by his wife, Bonnie June Veazey, as well as four children, 11 grandchildren and 12 greatgrandchildren.
Seven people with ties to Midwestern Seminary were appointed by the International Mission Board March 18 to mission service, three of them to areas where their security would be threatened if their names were published. Ray Milburn (M.Div.' 92) and Paula, his wife were appointed to serve as apprentice missionaries to Western Europe in where he will serve in evangelism and church planting and she will Ray Milburn Paula Milburn serve in community and home outreach. From 1997 to 2008 he served as an Army chaplain and she served as a childcare worker and substitute teacher. They have been members of First Baptist Church of Copperas Cove, Tex. Don Friesen(B.A.'08) and Dawn (B.A.'08), his wife, were appointed to return as associate missionaries in South America where he will serve as a strategy coordinator and she will Don Friesen Dawn Friesen serve in community and home outreach. They have been members of South Platte Baptist in Parkville, Mo., and he managed the bakery at HyVee Foods in Gladstone, Mo.
Let us hear from you. . . Send updated information on your current ministry to firstname.lastname@example.org for publication in The Midwestern magazine. continued from previous page determine much of the presence of the preacher who will preach to them. It is at the crucial junction of the sermon introduction that the preacher not only informs the hearers about the message they will hear but also about the messenger who will preach that message to them. The introduction a preacher makes about himself during the act of introducing his sermon is both inevitable and influential. Haddon Robinson surmised the following: “During the introduction an audience gains impressions of a speaker that often determine whether or not they will accept what he says. If he appears nervous, hostile, or unprepared, they are inclined to reject him. If he seems alert, friendly, and interesting, they decide he is an able person with a positive attitude toward himself and his listeners.” Regardless of whatever changes might occur in the arena of preaching, the sermon introduction will remain a significant factor. The introduction is an opportunity for the preacher to make a favorable impression on the congregation that will help him do the very thing he is there to do—serve the people through the agency of God’s Word. Through a solid understanding of and a
good procedure in introducing his sermons, a sermon introduction can be a servant to the servant of God in his preaching. An effective sermon introduction makes an immediate impact upon the people to whom you preach and that you will experience the joy of introducing God’s truth in a manner that will be considered as “must hear” material by those who hear you preach. Effective introductions, like effective preaching in general, may be aided by homiletical insights but effectiveness in preaching is far more a byproduct of one’s personal walk with the living God rather than compliance with homiletical procedures. The adage, “The sum is greater than its parts” is never truer than when it is applied to preaching a sermon. Additionally, homiletical instruction cannot take the place of the gift of preaching. Nevertheless, the setting aside of practical insights helpful in the act of communicating biblical truth is unwarranted and unwise. MW This article is reprinted with permission from the newly released book, How Effective Sermons Begin by Ben Awbrey, a Mentor imprint of Christian Focus Publication Spring 2009 The Midwestern 15
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MIDWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY 5001 N. Oak Trafficway Kansas City, MO 64118 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED
NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID KANSAS CITY, MO PERMIT NO.1973
Annual Alumni & Friends Luncheon Wednesday, June 24 at noon Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville across from the Kentucky Exposition Center
Hear MBTS President R. Philip Roberts and alumnus Michael Catt, pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., which produced Fireproof and Facing the Giants. Annual alumni awards will be presented including a tribute to Midwestern alumnus Fred Winters. Limited seating will be available at sponsored tables. To add your name to the seating list please contact Marty Harkey at 816-414-3721. Several tables are still available for sponsorship.