Southeastern’s Own Chuck Quarles Elected to the Society for New Testament Studies

We at Between the Times wish to make our readers aware that Southeastern’s own Chuck Quarles was recently elected to the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, or Society for New Testament Studies (SNTS). SNTS is an international society, and widely considered the most prestigious society, of New Testament scholars from around the world. These scholars are recognized for their excellence in and contributions to the field of New Testament studies.

Candidates for election to SNTS must be nominated by members, and Dr. Quarles (Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology) was nominated by renowned evangelical New Testament scholars and SNTS members Craig A. Evans (Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College) and Ben Witherington (Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Asbury Theological Seminary).

Two other Southern Baptist scholars are members of SNTS: Southeastern’s own David Alan Black (Professor of New Testament and Greek) and Southern Seminary’s Mark A. Seifrid (Mildred and Ernest Hogan Professor of New Testament Interpretation).

Dr. Quarles possesses a powerful mind and a prolific pen, both of which are reflected in his two recently completed manuscripts, A Theology of Matthew (P&R) and A Life of Paul (B&H Academic); and in previous books, such as Midrash Criticism: Introduction and Appraisal (University Press of America); The Sermon on the Mount (B&H Academic). Quarles also recently co-authored The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown (B&H Academic) with fellow Southeastern professors Kellum and Köstenberger, a book which already has been translated into Korean (Christian Literature Crusade).

Dr. Quarles also has published articles in numerous academic journals such as New Testament Studies (the journal of SNTS), Bulletin of Biblical Research, Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, and Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. As a committed churchman, Dr. Quarles has also written various Bible studies for churches, including the forthcoming January 2014 Lifeway study on Colossians.

As a master teacher of Greek and New Testament, committed and faithful evangelical New Testament scholar, and dedicated Christian, Southeastern is blessed to welcome Dr. Quarles to the faculty. For more information on how you can study under him and many others like him on the Southeastern faculty, visit sebts.edu and check out the admissions and academics pages.

Missions & Seminary Education (3): Seminaries Must Find Ways to Forge a “Deep Connect” between their Theology Faculty and their Mission Faculty

In order for a seminary to produce healthy mission-minded students, it must ensure that theology and missiology are inseparable by (1) hiring theology faculty who are concerned to show how theology issues forth in ministry and mission, (2) hiring missiology faculty who are theologically orthodox, theologically aware, and theologically savvy, and (3) crafting curricula that reflect the close relationship between theology and missiology.

Christian theology issues forth in mission:

A truly Christian theology will inevitably issue forth in mission. Any theology is deficient if it does not foster a healthy desire to take the gospel to the nations (including the multiple cultures and myriad sub-cultures of the USA). Therefore, a seminary is wise to hire and to develop theologians who evidence Great Commission passion and savvy. This is of the utmost importance. Students will not take missions seriously unless their theology professors take it seriously. Theology is the core of the seminary curriculum and if it is taught in such a way that it is divorced from the concept of mission, we can be assured that our seminaries will fail in the area of mission.

For what it is worth, here is how I try to model that when I teach the basic systematic theology courses at SEBTS. (1) I treat the concept of mission up front in the first semester by treating it briefly under the doctrine of the Trinity, with the Father’s sending of the Son. By showing that the seed idea of mission is located in the Godhead, it is less likely to be minimized. (2) Toward the end of each three hour teaching segment, I show how the particular doctrine (e.g. God’s attributes) subverts its counterpart in Islam, Eastern religions, atheism, and religious moralism/legalism; and I show how that same doctrine shapes and forms our missiological method. (3) I find other ways to verbally place value on the task of mission. The reason for doing so is that I am convinced that although SBC seminaries talk about the value of mission, the practical reality is that there sometimes is a tendency to view applied theology faculties as inferior to systematic theology faculties. I don’t think this is intentional, but I do think it is a fact. For this reason, many of our brightest students refrain from studying missions which hurts not only mission agencies and the nations, but also keeps our brightest students from doing PhD work in missiology, which in turn handcuffs the seminary presidents and deans when they are looking to hire missiology faculty members.

Christian mission is inescapably theological:

One of the most significant challenges facing our churches today is the imperative to allow her evangelical theology to shape her actual ministry practices. We declared our belief that the Christian Scriptures are ipsissima verba Dei, the very words of God. Our declaration, however, is not always consistent with our practice. We sometimes “bank on” our high view of Scripture, but undermine that by not doing the hard work of allowing biblical doctrine to shape our ministry and mission philosophies, strategies, and practices. A faulty doctrine of God, for example, will lead us to a wrong definition of ministry success. A poor hermeneutic will lead to an aberrant definition of God’s mission and of our mission. A misguided soteriology will neuter our attempts at evangelism and discipleship. A reductionist ecclesiology will result in anemic churches that fail to disciple their members or reach their communities, or that multiply aberrant doctrine and unhealthy churches. In order to foster a healthy missiology, therefore, we must seek carefully, consciously, and consistently to rivet mission strategies and practices to Christian Scripture and its attendant evangelical doctrine.

In other words, a truly Christian missiology is profoundly theological. Christian missiology finds its starting point, trajectory, and parameters in biblical theology. When missiology is separated (in principle or in practice) from biblical theology, it becomes a sub-Christian enterprise in which cultural anthropology, sociology, business marketing, and pragmatic situational human reasoning take the driver’s seat. In fact, evangelical mission is often driven by the social sciences rather than being supplemented by them. Evangelical mission is often a-theological rather than robustly theological. And all of this is in spite of the fact that most evangelical missiologists profess a high view of Scripture.

Seminary curricula should reflect a seminary’s view of missiology and the task of mission:

One way to close the divide between theology and missiology, between theology proper and theology applied, is to build curricula that connect the two. Doing so is not easily or quickly accomplished, as we have found out in our own efforts at Southeastern. One way that we have tried to close the divide is by creating a Ph.D. in Applied Theology (with tracks in both International and North American Missiology) that intentionally seeks for its missiology to be theologically-driven.

Our thought process includes the following three realizations: that (1) Doctoral programs in missiology are considered to be “applied theology” or “practical theology.” But one cannot “apply” what one does not possess. Therefore doctoral programs in missiology should include a substantial amount of systematic theology. (2) For this reason, Ph.D. seminars are consciously crafted in such a way that theology and missiology are riveted together. For example, a seminar in anthropology should never be merely a course in cultural anthropology. That seminar must be a course in theological anthropology which is in conversation with cultural anthropology. I am convinced that evangelical missiology is still beholden schools of cultural anthropology that run directly adverse to gospel, and is driven by the social sciences rather than by theology. (3) For this reason, in some of the seminars, our theology professors teach in tandem with missiology professors, and in other seminars missiology professors put in the work necessary to handle the theological aspects themselves.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, missions and seminary education has sometimes been a match made in hell, but it more naturally should be a match made in heaven. By God’s grace our seminaries and our mission agencies will continue to develop their mutually beneficial partnerships for the glory of God, the benefit of the lost, the building of Christ’s church, and the advance of his kingdom.

The Lonely Planet Guide to Faculty Fashion & Apparel

Only a person with a petrified diaphragm could fail to laugh out loud at Kerry Soper’s “RateMyProfessor’sAppearance.com” in the September 17 (2010) issue of The Chronicle Review. In the brief little satire, Soper refers to one of the “rate your professor” websites which allows students to rate their professor’s class performance as well as their appearance. The student is allowed to place an icon of a chili pepper beside a professor who is particularly good looking. Soper bemoans the fact that “it is unfair that only the few youthful, freakishly good-looking faculty members among us get all of those chili-pepper accolades” and proposes that the students also be allowed to reward their professors with any of twelve “consolation icons.”

Soper’s real game is to poke a little fun at university culture and the eccentricities it produces. So, just for fun, I thought I’d mention a few of Soper’s icons and their descriptions (several of which would not find an analog on an SBC seminary campus, you’ll notice) for those who would like to take a stroll down (college) memory lane.

One of Soper’s icons is The Pocket Protector, representing a professorial style that I suspect is represented on every college and seminary campus. In clicking on this metaphorical icon, a student is “congratulating a professor on being unabashedly (or unconsciously) nerdy in his or her appearance: ‘It’s clear that you just don’t care, and that’s awesome. We get a kick out of your functional polyester slacks; limp, faded shirts; and grimy, heavy-framed glasses. Don’t change! We feel comforted knowing that none of your valuable research and class-prep time is eaten up with frivolous concerns over wearing same-colored socks, changing your pants every day, or taking any extra time to match up the buttons with the proper buttonholes in that threadbare shirt.”

Another icon is The Bow Tie: “This is for professors determined to maintain an ivory-tower dress code established in a previous century. The student is saying, ‘Yes, that stuffy little bow tie looks ridiculous on your portly frame; your frumpy oxford shirts are stained and frayed; and I have never seen a jacket that is so depressingly brown and textured. Nevertheless, your stereotypically fussy sense of style does help me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth as a college student.'”

A third icon may not find a referent on an evangelical seminary campus, but packs a wicked punch on most university campuses. By giving the professor The Espresso Cup, the student is saying, “I can see that you have a coherent style going on there: an array of black and gray clothing that has a vague, critical-theory hipness to it. And good job on finding the right kind of severe glasses and retro haircut to fit the look. Personally, I find the aesthetic dull and pretentious, but it is fun to see you strike self-conscious poses at the whiteboard, like some kind of morose poet in a Sears catalog for existentialists.”

A fourth professorial style is represented by The Half-Eaten Protein Bar: This is a student’s way of saying: “You may not be an especially attractive human being, but it does appear that you spend a lot of time at the gym attempting to get into shape. God job, in other words, for trying. Yes, you may have weird hair, lame clothes and dorky glasses, but I’m sure that somewhere under the extra 15 pounds you’ve accumulated over the years, there must be some nicely sculpted delts and pecs.”

A fifth style is what Soper calls The Pressed Flower: by choosing this icon, the student is saying that “it looks as if you may have been hip and attractive at one point in your life. And guessing from your big hair, lavender pantsuit with the puffy should pads, and bright pumps, that year was probably 1986. Thank you for preserving this historical look for future generations.” (Soper should be careful on this one, as he might find himself ducking to avoid an incoming pair of 1986 pumps aimed at his melon.)

A sixth icon is The Harmonica: This is for the securely upper-middle-class prof who enjoys wearing faux working-class garb: scuffed leather boots, aged denim, faded T-shirts, and Teamster-style plaid button-ups. Students can say: “We don’t get your fetish for all things Springsteen, and your folksy, left-leaning political references are about 40 to 50 years out of date, but we appreciate the laid-back, democratic ambiance you bring to the class. Indeed, it makes it difficult for you to say no to our requests for grade adjustments when you find out that we, too, are from humble, working-class roots.”

A final icon is The Power Tie: “This is for the prof who seems to belong (or perhaps has once belonged) in corporate America rather than academe. The student is saying, ‘You must be a misguided Republican adjunct-a refugee from the downsized business world-or some kind of weird, moonlighting administrator. How else to explain the worn-out black dress shoes, Brooks Brothers shirts with the frayed collars, silk ties that were fashionable maybe 10 years ago, and that heavily gelled hair? Nice job on keeping me distracted from your dry lectures with this fashion conundrum.'”

Well, I hope Soper’s icons provided a little bit of levity to your day. I left out five of his icons (The Pizza Slice, The Lump of Tofu, The Cassava Root, The Pina Colada with a Little Umbrella, and The Crystal) and I cannot imagine how many extra icons our readership could provide based on their college careers. However, I am confident that the seven icons bring all of us some retrospective clarity to our former lives as college students and bring some of us present-day clarity about ourselves and our colleagues.