Southeastern at the 2014 ETS

Every fall semester, before the Thanksgiving holiday, droves of evangelical professors, pastors, and students descend upon an American city to gather for the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. This year, the meeting will be held November 19-21 in balmy San Diego, CA, with Ecclesiology as the central topic. As usual, many of our SEBTS faculty and PhD students will participate by reading academic papers, or serving as panelists or moderators for various discussions. The table below lists the time, topic, role, and location of each participant. If you live in or near San Diego, or you plan to attend ETS this year, be sure to check out the fine scholarship displayed by SEBTS folk.

Time Topic Person Role
Nov 19       8:30-11:40a Christian Ethics Section Erik Clary Moderator
9:20-10:00 Christian Ethics and the Fair Trade Movement Shaun Price Presenter
9:20-10:00 Matthew 27:52-53 as a Scribal Interpolation Charles Quarles Presenter
9:20-10:00 Believer Baptism: Human Act of Obedience and Divine Means of Grace John Hammett Presenter
11:00-11:40 Panel Discussion on Believer Baptism John Hammett Panelist
2:00-5:10p Christian Ethics: Was the Early Church Primarily Pacifist of Not? Daniel Heimbach Moderator
3:40-4:20 Can War Be Just? The Ancient Church and Pacifism Steven McKinion Presenter
4:30-5:10 Interaction on the Early Church and Pacifism Daniel Heimbach Panelist
4:30-5:10 Interaction on the Early Church and Pacifism Steven McKinion Panelist
2:00-5:10 A Conversation on Origins: BioLogos, Reasons to Believe, and Southern Baptists Ken Keathley Panelist
2:00-5:10 A Conversation on Origins: BioLogos, Reasons to Believe, and Southern Baptists James K. Dew Panelist
2:00-2:40 Does Luke 10:25-37 Echo 2 Chr 28:5-15? The Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Question if Its Historical Vorlage Gregory Stiekes Presenter
2:00-2:40 On Feeding the “Theologically Dead”-Rethinking Robert Rakestraw on the Vegetative State Erik Clary Presenter
2:00-2:40 Rescuing Rahab: The Evangelical Discussion on Conflicting Moral Absolutes David W. Jones Presenter
Nov 20       8:30-11:40a The Dark Side of Evangelical Ecumenism Nathan A. Finn Moderator
10:20-10:40 Respondent to Evangelical Ecumenism Papers Nathan A. Finn Presenter
9:20-10:50 Book Panel on In Search of Moral Knowledge by R. Scott Smith James K. Dew Panelist
3:00-6:10p Molinism Session Ken Keathley Moderator
3:00-3:40 Are there Signs of Late Biblical Hebrew in Isaiah 40-66? Mark Rooker Presenter


The Center for Faith and Culture and Oxford

Every Tuesday morning at Between the Times we highlight the work of Southeastern’s Center for Faith and Culture (CFC). Directed by Dr. Ken Keathley, Professor of Theology at Southeastern, the Center seeks to bring the Christian faith to bear upon all areas of life through helping others to think and to act Christianly in both private and public discourse. To this end, the Center hosts numerous conferences, guest lectures, debates and study tours throughout the year. Recently, Dr. Keathley and others completed the annual Oxford Study Tour. Here is the first of several posts on their time in England. 

Regents Park is a Baptist college in the Oxford University system. This year Dr Malcolm Yarnell (Professor of Theology at SWBTS, and my very good friend) and I have taken a study group from Southwestern Seminary and Southeastern Seminary on a 18-day tour of England and Scotland. Regents Park has been gracious enough to let us once again stay with them. They have welcomed Southern Baptist students every summer for more than two decades, and they are wonderful hosts. We challenged their hospitality by bringing a group of over 70 students, faculty, and others. They rose to the task above and beyond expectations. David Harper, the college’s bursar, has moved heaven and earth to provide us with excellent accommodations. Some of us are staying at St. Johns College which is across the street from Regents Park.

Regent's ParkOxford has more history per square inch than any other place I know. Want to see where Latimer and Ridley were burned at the stake for the sake of the Gospel? That’s about a quarter of mile from where we’re staying. Want to buy something from the candy store where Alice (as in the Alice of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland) used to get her candy? About a mile from here. In between St. John’s and Regents Park is a pub called The Eagle and the Child. For decades a literary group call The Inklings met there. J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were members. On Thursdays Tolkien would read to C. S. Lewis and the other attendees portions of a little tale he was writing called Lord of the Rings.

Michael Travers is teaching on the apologetics of C. S. Lewis, David Allen on British Preaching, and Nathan Finn and Malcolm Yarnell are team-teaching on Baptist History. What’s not to love?

For Dr. Keathley’s full series of posts on the tour, and more on the CFC, check out his blog here

What if a Nation Self-Exterminates? The Disturbing Situation in Japan

The Japanese have stopped having children. Or more precisely, they are not having enough children to maintain the nation’s population. According to a recent article in The Week magazine (“Japan’s Population Crisis”, 01-07-14, p. 11), Japan’s population is “dropping rapidly” and will soon be declining at a rate of one million per year. Current projections have the overall Japanese population declining from a high of 128 million in 2007 to only 87 million by 2060. Such demographic shifts also result in the average age becoming older–much older. Japan is on track, that by mid-century, half of its population will be over age 65. If another country attacked Japan and eliminated 40 million of its citizens, that would be considered genocide. But the Japanese are doing this to themselves. In effect, Japan is self-exterminating.

The article in The Week listed a number of factors for the drop in birthrate: economic, social, and (interestingly enough) technological. The marriage rate has plummeted, and along with it so has the birthrate. Among Japanese adults 30 and under, 60% of women are unmarried and so are 72% of men.

For many career-minded Japanese (who generally work 60-80 hours per week) developing a relationship with the opposite sex is not worth the effort or commitment. In Japanese culture, technology has allowed every aspect of romance and intimacy to be simulated, compartmentalized, packaged, marketed, and treated like a commodity. It is simply easier to settle for some form of substitute. Any culture that doesn’t have time for marriage certainly doesn’t have time for children.

One significant factor is “an epidemic of shut-ins”, a generation of male hermits who take the concept of “failure to launch” to another level. “Shut-ins” are young men who live in a bedroom in their parent’s home, and rarely venture out. Their lives consist of sleeping all day then playing video games and watching porn all night. The article tells of one shut-in named Takeshi who remained in his room for four years; his mother feeding him by leaving a tray outside his bedroom door. Japan has an estimated one million similar shut-ins.

There are certain features to Japan’s situation that are unique, but in many ways their dilemma is an extreme version of the problems facing Western cultures. The US and European countries have immigration policies that are much more open than that of Japan, so similar trends in these countries are not quite as evident. But make no mistake: Japan is the canary in the coal mine. Here are some of my takeaway thoughts:

1. In order for a society to have a healthy understanding of human beings, it must view them as having been created in the image of God. The doctrine of the Imago Dei presents humans as unique expressions of the glory and goodness of the Creator. There is something irreducible about the human person that cannot be substituted, and that certainly should not be merchandized. Caring relationships require great commitment, but people are worth it. From abortion laws to prison conditions, a society reveals in a myriad number of ways the esteem in which it holds human beings.

2. Having children is an expression of hope. Raising a family proclaims confidence in God’s plan for the future. The presence of children reveals a community’s commitment to a calling greater than ourselves.

3. Narcissism is both tragic and self-defeating. The lifestyle of the Japanese “shut ins” resembles a type of perdition, a self-inflicted solitary confinement. Also, those who have no time for others because of their commitment to business careers and hedonistic lifestyles seem to be the opposite of happy or fulfilled. We all need to be reminded that “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 16:25).

There is so much about Japan and its people that is beautiful. Please remember to pray for the Christians believers in Japan. They face unique challenges. Pray that God will use them to proclaim Christ to the Japanese nation. In final analysis, the problems facing the Japanese people are spiritual problems. In this way they are no different from the rest of game for mobile