Four Southern Baptist Convention entity heads charged Adam W. Greenway to remain committed to a high view of Scripture, confessional fidelity, the Great Commission and cooperation during Greenway’s inauguration as the ninth president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Oct. 21.
The above four elements represented the four pegs of Greenway’s vision for SWBTS as the “big-tent” seminary of the SBC. Greenway was elected the seminary’s ninth president earlier this year.
Attendees included other SBC entity heads, representatives of more than a dozen seminaries and universities, and various state Baptist convention leaders. Three individuals shared greetings, including SBC President J.D. Greear, senior pastor of The Summit Church in the Raleigh-Durham, N.C., area.
O.S. Hawkins, president and CEO of GuideStone Financial Resources, delivered the first charge, exhorting Greenway to recognize his stewardship of SWBTS as “a sacred trust.” The institution beloved by many, he said, has stood on the Word of God for more than 100 years.
“We look back tonight at the great and rich heritage we have of sending those multiplied thousands of people out with no doubts about the Word of God,” Hawkins said. “And we look forward to a bright future of once again seeing this faculty and those who will come to join it train future generations to do the same thing.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, noted the responsibility of all seminary presidents to remain faithful to their institutions’ statements of faith — in the case of Southern Baptists, the Baptist Faith and Message.
“On behalf of Southern Baptists, you have to do this for the rest of your life,” Mohler said to Greenway. “This is a life sentence to maintain the pattern of sound words, until one day, each in our own time, we each lay that burden down; and if we do our task well, and have handed on that pattern securely, then there will be another to take the place and to maintain that trust.”
Mohler added, speaking on behalf of the presidents of all the SBC seminaries, that though they woke up that morning as leaders of six different institutions “bearing the stewardship and responsibility to serve one great denomination of churches,” tonight, “all Southern Baptists are Southwesterners.”
Following Mohler was Paul H. Chitwood, president of the International Mission Board, who encouraged Greenway to maintain a vision for raising up and sending out missionaries of the Gospel. Recalling his time as a trustee of the IMB beginning in 2002, Chitwood noted that nearly all IMB missionaries and leaders were SWBTS graduates at that time.
“The fact that Southwesterners were leading the largest Christian missionary-sending agency in the history of the church was not lost on me; it was all I needed to know about the vision of Southwestern Seminary,” Chitwood said. “… It was obvious that Southwestern had a Great Commission vision that knew no rival in Southern Baptist life.”
Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, delivered the final charge, speaking on the topic of cooperation.
“We can do more together than we can do alone,” Floyd said. “Southern Baptists, let us choose cooperation. Let us choose cooperation over isolationism, cooperation over independence, cooperation over competition, and cooperation over tribalism.”
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Source: Baptist Press