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.
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
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.”
(SPECIAL NOTE — Thank you for your continued support of the Biblical
Recorder site. During this interim period while we are searching for a new
Editor/President the comments section will be temporarily discontinued. Thank
you for your understanding and patience in this. If you do have comments or
issues with items we run, please contact [email protected]
or call 919-847-2127.)