The Gospel of Matthew concludes with Mary Magdalene and another Mary visiting the tomb of the recently crucified Jesus of Nazareth. When they arrived at the Roman-guarded tomb, an angel of the Lord gives good news of Jesus’ resurrection.
Soon after the women are greeted by their resurrected Lord who then joyfully inform the disciples about this miraculous event. Jesus afterward appears before His disciples in Galilee with this divine and great mission:
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
“Ask anyone on campus who we are, and [the Great Commission] is the answer you will receive … This statement guides us in all that we do. I believe it has helped a really good seminary to become an even better seminary. It keeps us focused on the final marching orders of King Jesus,” said president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), Daniel Akin.
SEBTS photo by Maria Estes
During the spring Board of Visitors and Board of Trustees meeting, 10 years of Akin’s vision and leadership was the celebration for the week.
Under Akin’s supervision, SEBTS has grown from 2,400 to more than 3,100 students. This is the fifth year of record enrollment. Also, the school has multiplied its endowed chairs from one to seven.
Akin said, “On a number of occasions I have been asked if I aspired to be a seminary president. The fact is when God called me into ministry in 1977 while on the Papago Indian Reservation in Sells, Ariz., this boy from Georgia did not know what a seminary was.
“All I have ever wanted to do since that day is please the Lord Jesus, preach the Bible, serve the church and share the gospel. I am the most surprised of all that I get to do what I do. I am a blessed man far beyond what I could ever hope, imagine or deserve.”
James Merritt, lead pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., expressed his admiration for his long-time friend at the banquet held for Akin at Faith Baptist Church in Youngsville, N.C.
He said, “When we think of faith, we think of you, Danny. You love your family; you love your seminary; you love the Southern Baptist Convention; but you don’t love anything more than Jesus.”
In the past few years, SEBTS has continued to affirm that racial diversity and reconciliation are hardwired into God’s good creation, His gospel and the Great Commission, which has led to their “Kingdom Diversity” initiative. This strategy desires to foster a campus environment encouraging God-honoring interaction across racial and cultural lines.
“We want our campus to look more like the Kingdom of God,” said Akin.
Currently, approximately $280,000 has been raised for Kingdom Diversity endowed scholarships.
This year, the seminary exceeded the $50 million comprehensive campaign goal with $50,221,165 in gifts, faith commitments and planned gifts. SEBTS also announced in December 2013 its accreditation from the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). This makes the school the only Southern Baptist Convention seminary to receive ECFA accreditation.
Former president of Southeastern (1992-2003) and current president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Forth Worth, TX, Paige Patterson, preached during a chapel honoring Akin and commissioning a group of missionaries. Patterson spoke at both Akin’s ordination and his presidential commencement.
He connected the prophet Amos and Akin in his message.
“Amos was a preacher, teacher, author and an international missionary who took himself in the presence of danger to deliver the Word of God,” Patterson said.
“Those who are being commissioned today – if you want to become great missionaries – fall in line behind Amos and behind him you’ll see Akin. You can praise [Akin] all you want and it will fail to impress him. More than anything, he wants you to be faithful on that missionary field.”
Akin expressed his delight in serving as president at SEBTS.
He said, “I do not have to stand alone in this, and we have many brothers and sisters standing with us. If the Lord so wills, may the best be yet to come. It will be His doing and not ours.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Michael McEwen is the content editor for the Biblical Recorder.)