Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Opens Spring Semester With Convocation Message by President Jason Allen

Dale Johnson, associate professor of biblical counseling, signs Midwestern Seminary’s Articles of Faith as President Jason Allen looks on during spring convocation Jan. 22. Photo submitted

On a wintery day in Kansas City, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary opened its spring semester with President Jason Allen’s academic convocation message Jan. 22 in the Daniel Lee Chapel.

Additionally, two of Midwestern’s new faculty signed the seminary’s Articles of Faith and three newly appointed faculty members were welcomed.

Allen’s exposition focused on the apostle Paul’s exhortation in 2 Timothy 2:15: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

In addition to a confessional and instructional expectation in the passage, Allen pointed to “a ministerial expectation, which broadens the application to all of us, right? You are here to some degree in a ministerial role or preparing for a ministerial role directly or indirectly. And to fulfill a ministry calling is to fulfill the calling of preaching, teaching, sharing and counseling the text. When done right, much good comes. When done wrong, catastrophe follows.”

Allen then spoke of the passage in three parts: “being diligent to present yourself approved unto God”; “as a workman who does not need to be ashamed”; and “accurately handling the word of truth.”

Avoid the pitfall of starting strongly and then slowly digressing in one’s ministry, Allen said of diligence. In proclaiming the Word of God, he said not to “just open the Book like you would any other book,” but to have God’s approved in properly handling the Word throughout one’s ministry.

Secondly, when Paul referred to Timothy being an unashamed workman, Allen stated, “Your position before Christ as a minister is fixed based upon the work of Christ. But our ability to stand before God and God’s people without shame, as it relates to our handling of the text, correlates to how faithfully we handle it …. [I]f we are sloppy with the text, evidently there is ministerial shame to bear.”

In the third part of the passage, Allen said a pastor should be growing in his handling of God’s Word as he progresses in his ministry.

“With each passing year of studying the Word, of being trained and mentored, there ought to be a deepening and growing sense of confidence that you can stand before God’s people, lead a Bible study, talk to your friend about Scripture — and you do that in such a way that you know you have treated the text seriously and have been faithful to the best of your ability to study it,” Allen said.

In his concluding points of application, Allen said study, interpretation, preaching and teaching the text must be a pastor’s number one priority; he should work to avoid sloppy exegesis of the text; a pastor should avoid eisegesis — reading something into the text that’s not there; and he should be careful to avoid Bible studies that ask, “What does the Bible mean to you?” Rather, he should ask, “What does the text mean, and how does it apply to you and me?”

During the convocation, two faculty members signed the seminary’s Articles of Faith, which consist of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Matthew Barrett, associate professor of Christian theology, and Dale Johnson, associate professor of biblical counseling, both were elected by the seminary’s trustees in October 2018. As such, by their signatures, they promised to uphold Midwestern’s Articles of Faith.

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Source: Baptist Press