Beside me this morning is the Sesquicentennial over-sized book that celebrates 150 years of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). It is a beautiful book. I am on the SBTS campus in the Legacy Center as I write.
The history, the tradition the commitment and the vision of this place is everywhere obvious.
The book opens with an overview of the history of this great seminary from Boyce to Mohler. The roots are deep in sound theology and a God-centered vision. But like any honest book it deals with the struggles that this great school faced over the years.
Liberalism held sway at Southern into the early 1990's until following in the wake of the Conservative Resurgence of the SBC, conservatives regained a majority on the board of trustees. Armed with a newfound conservative majority, trustees in 1993 elected a 33-year-old Baptist journalist, R. Albert Mohler Jr,. as the ninth president. By God's grace, the flower of reformation budded quickly (ix).
I remember those days well. A major struggle followed as liberals fought tooth and nail the changes that would come with Dr. Mohler's presidency. The changes were, in fact, not innovations so much as they were a return to the original vision of the school.
Students of history will know that turning the tide of liberalism in religious denominations and their schools is rare. The Southern Baptist Convention is far from perfect. There are continual battles being waged both from within and without.
Certainly if those who love the Lord and are committed to the authority and sufficiency of the Bible will remember our roots as a denomination and will recount our mountains and valleys we can be stronger in the future. Southern Seminary is a testimony that even a ship off course can be corrected by God's power and grace as his people look to him.
I am thankful to be here today.