Trustees elect professors, OK degree program
Lauren Crane, SEBTS
April 27, 2011

Trustees elect professors, OK degree program

Trustees elect professors, OK degree program
Lauren Crane, SEBTS
April 27, 2011

During the bi-annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, held April 11-12, trustees promoted

two professors and elected three professors, approved an updated campus master

plan and approved changes to a degree program.

Nathan Finn was promoted from assistant professor of church

history and Baptist studies to associate professor of historical theology and

Baptist studies, while Daniel Heimbach was promoted from professor of Christian

ethics to senior professor of Christian ethics. The trustees also approved the

election to the faculty of Jeremy Evans, associate professor of philosophy,

Tony Merida, associate professor of preaching, and Larry Purcell, associate

professor of leadership.

With the exception of Merida, each of the other men has been

serving the kingdom of God through their teaching and mentorship at

Southeastern and will continue to do so. Merida, a new face around campus, will

be coming from Hattiesburg, Miss., where he has been serving as the teaching

pastor of Temple Baptist Church. In addition to his election to the faculty of

Southeastern, Merida is the founding pastor of the new church plant, Imago Dei

Church in Raleigh.

Academically speaking, the trustees also looked at the

proposed changes for the Master of Arts in Bible Translation degree and

approved it. The degree program prepares students to serve as translators and

as field supervisors for Bible translation teams, taking the word of God to

people around the world.

SEBTS photo

Tom Elliff, right, president of the International Mission Board, leads a time of prayer and commitment for students, faculty and guests during Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s April 12 chapel service which coincided with the Board of Trustees meeting. Elliff challenged the students to live out the gospel in their everyday lives.

This curriculum will serve the church and help fulfill the

Great Commission by preparing students to translate the Bible, into languages

that now are without access to God’s word. The curriculum will prepare them in

particular to translate the Bible from its original languages of Hebrew,

Aramaic and Greek. With access to God’s word in their own languages, whole

people groups will have access to the gospel, and believers will be able to

study the Bible for themselves.

Trustees also approved an update to the campus master plan,

a strategy for the future of the institution that is revisited every four to

five years. The updated plan is a list of priorities and estimated costs for

various campus needs, including structural as well as aesthetic. In conjunction

with surveys and suggestions from the students, staff and faculty, the campus

planning committee submitted a plan that includes approximately 35 million

dollars worth of upgrades and renovations to Southeastern’s campus.

The committee identified the most urgent needs as a new

student center and renovations to the current Ledford Center for additional

recreation and fitness facilities. The plan also includes renovations to

Simmons Hall and shifting of other housing facilities to free up Lolley Hall

for offices and a welcome center. Additionally, trustees approved renovations

of Stealey and Appleby Halls, as well as the Denny Library, as part of the new

master plan.

The trustees also approved the recommended budget increase

of 4.21 percent to a 2011-2012 operating budget of $21.6 million.

Because Cooperative Program giving continues to lag behind

previous years, the budget increase will require a raise in tuition for

students, many of whom, Southeastern’s president, Daniel Akin, said, appear to

be struggling already with paying their tuition.

Akin said although enrollment numbers are at a record high

of 2,689, the number of hours of classes being taken has not significantly

increased, and in fact, reflects class load amounts equal to those in 2006.

These numbers indicate that although more students are

taking classes, they are taking fewer classes, likely due to economic concerns.

Akin urged the Board of Trustees to encourage their local

churches to give to the Cooperative Program, which supplies about 40 percent of

funds for Southeastern’s annual budget.

Akin said in order for students to graduate without school

debt, more financial support must be given to supplement the increased

operating costs and budget.

“I’d encourage you to pray God will raise up more partners

for annual giving and endowment,” Akin said. “God is doing great things here,

and we want to see that financial increase for the glory of God.”

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