Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted an event called Intersect: The Wisdom Forum to discuss the intersection of faith, work and economics.
Southeastern welcomed over 400 pastors, students and members of the local community March 13 for an evening of conversation addressing faithful interaction with today’s cultural issues.
The event consisted of a series of brief, compelling presentations from eight speakers who sought to answer the question: how can one impact God’s kingdom through work?
David Kim, executive director and pastor of faith and work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City, talked about “Why We Can’t Love Our Work” and “Tangible Expressions of Glory.”
“The reason we can’t love our work is because our work can’t love us; we want it to do something it’s not designed to do,” he said. “Work was never meant to be our identity but an expression of it. It flows out of who we are as God’s dearly beloved children.”
The Wisdom Forum concluded with a discussion panel moderated by Ken Keathley, involving David Kim, Carolyn McCulley and Jay Richards.
“The product of our hands is an expression of our identity,” he said. “The chief end of man is to enjoy God and glorify him.”
Jay Richards, New York Times bestselling author and assistant research professor at Catholic University of America, gave two talks titled “Why Good Intentions Aren't Good Enough” and “Why Christians Should Support Economic Freedom.”
Carolyn McCulley, author, speaker and filmmaker, spoke on “The Story of Work,” and discussed whether or not women should work.
“If we don’t know the story of work, can we be sure that we don’t make the error of reading our own modern experience into the scriptures?” she said. “Paul saw that women’s work was strategic, and it was an important part of the gospel. Paul partnered with women to advance the gospel.”
“Should women work? Yes, they should work very hard and work hard for the glory of God,” she said. “But it takes extra wisdom in a culture that separates productivity from parenting.”
Benjamin Quinn, assistant professor of theology and history of ideas at SEBTS, spoke on the need for Christians to see value in their ministry regardless of their job title.
Quinn believes there is a “deep divide between the pulpit and the pew that should have never existed to begin with. There is a centrality of those ordained to ministry but not a superiority,” he said.
Walter Strickland, special advisor to the president for diversity and instructor of theology at SEBTS, spoke on “Neighbor Love, the Poor, and My Garden.”
Strickland explored the questions, “What does it mean to be a Christian and see such need and poverty?” and “How can I utilize what God has given me to love God and then love my neighbor?”
He encouraged listeners to seek long-term poverty alleviation through healing relationships in light of the fact that people are created in the image of God.
Additional speakers from SEBTS included Bruce Ashford, provost and dean of faculty and associate professor of theology and culture; David Jones, associate professor of Christian ethics; and Heath Thomas, associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew.
The evening concluded with a panel moderated by Ken Keathley, SEBTS professor of theology and director of the Center for Faith and Culture, involving Kim, McCulley and Richards.
The faith, work and economics talks enabled attendees to grasp a deeper understanding of these topics to impact the way they do business.
To view The Wisdom Forum talks online and access more of the Intersect Project resources, visit intersectproject.org.