Trustees of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) unanimously approved the election of church historian Michael A.G. Haykin to the faculty during their Oct. 10 meeting at the Louisville, Ky., campus.
Messengers also approved a response to a motion on Southern Baptist Convention entities’ media policies referred from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in June.
“The election of Michael Haykin brings to Southern Seminary’s permanent faculty a scholar of world renown and a Christian of such wonderful heart,” SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said. “He is not only a prolific author and scholar, he is also a man of deep conviction and a teacher who invests personally in his students.”
Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality, has taught at SBTS since 2008 and serves as director of the seminary’s Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies.
Haykin, who holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Toronto, has authored or contributed to dozens of books, including Rediscovering the Church Fathers and 8 Women of Faith. His election is effective Jan. 1, 2017.
Trustees unanimously approved a response to a referral from the SBC annual meeting in St. Louis requesting “all SBC entities to consider examining their media policies and, if they do not have clearly defined guidelines, to consider establishing a policy that trustee meetings, including committee meetings, be open to news media.”
In its response, the board noted “Southern Seminary is committed to fully cooperating with news media representatives to keep Southern Baptists informed about the work they support through the Cooperative Program.” The response clarified all plenary sessions are open to media, and seminary leadership “will do everything within their means to assist members of the media as they endeavor to provide accurate, complete, and fair reporting.”
In other business, trustees received positive reports of the seminary’s financial position, including the recently concluded 2015-2016 budget year ending with over $4 million more in revenues than expenses.
When asked if the surplus can relieve student debt, Mohler noted that trustee policy, in keeping with the SBC Business and Financial Plan, designates the money as reserves for the seminary’s endowment. He explained that the seminary cooperates with no federal or state student loans and that any debt students incur is from pre-existing student loans or credit cards.
“We do see debt as an enemy of the Great Commission so we are doing our best to keep that as low as possible,” Mohler said, noting that seminary leaders recently had held a student summit teaching sound financial principles and other life lessons.
Board committees reported on progress in the School of Theology, Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, and Boyce College, as well as the committees on Institutional Advancement and Student Services. In particular, they noted continued growth in enrollment across all three schools and the recently launched Hispanic Initiatives as a positive sign of the seminary’s efforts to increase minority enrollment.
Trustees also received a report from their executive committee on the election of three new directors of the Southern Seminary Foundation: Darron Byrd of Terry, Miss.; Glenn Hedgspeth of Louisville, Ky.; and James Norman of Searcy, Ark.
The next meeting of the seminary’s trustees is scheduled for April 10, 2017, in Louisville.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – S. Craig Sanders is manager of news and information at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.)