“Knowing and loving God. This is the greatest thing bar none…. It is the work of theologians-and of all believers as they do theology-to serve God by discerning what is true about the most crucial issues of life. The task is to learn of God. The privilege is to love God passionately with the mind.” -David Clark
“Theology is the science which derives the knowledge of God from His revelation, which studies and thinks into it under the guidance of His Spirit, and then tries to describe it so that it ministers to His honor. And a theologian, a true theologian, is one who speaks out of God, through God, about God, and does this always to the glorification of His name.” -Herman Bavinck
“The study of religious truth ought to be undertaken and prosecuted from a sense of duty, and with a view to the improvement of the heart. When learned, it ought not to be laid on the shelf, as an object of speculation; but it should be deposited deep in the heart, where its sanctifying power ought to be felt. To study theology, for the purpose of gratifying curiosity, or preparing for a profession, is an abuse and profanation of what ought to be regarded as most holy. To learn things pertaining to God, merely for the sake of amusement, or secular advantage, or to gratify the mere love of knowledge, is to treat the Most High with contempt.” -J. L. Dagg
The three quotes above combine to give one a good perspective on the nature and task of theology, and on how Southeastern’s theology faculty seeks to teach theology-theology is done for the purpose of knowing and loving God, glorifying God, and improving the heart. One thing I will add is that Christian theology is always done with an eye toward obedience not only in one’s personal life, but in the life of the church. In other words a truly Christian theology issues forth in ministry and mission. Christian doctrine and theology shapes and forms our strategies, methods, and practices in preaching, pastoring, church planting, counseling, etc.
Those of our readers who might be interested in taking courses at Southeastern will have the opportunity to take courses under the following professors:
Nathan Finn (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies and is the co-editor of Domestic Slavery Considered as a Scriptural Institution (Mercer, 2008), assistant editor of The Journal of Baptist Studies, and editor of Help to Zion’s Travellers (BorderStone, forthcoming). He has also contributed to Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue (B&H, 2008) and Southern Baptist Identity: An Evangelical Denomination Faces the Future (Crossway, 2009). Dr. Finn teaches courses in historical theology. He is known for many things-beards, bowties, Bulldogs, etc.-but none more significant than his being extraordinarily gifted as a writer and a classroom instructor.
John S Hammett (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of Systematic Theology and Associate Dean for Theological Studies and the author of Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches: A Contemporary Ecclesiology (Kregel), “The Doctrine of Humanity” in A Theology of the Church (B&H) edited by Danny Akin, and “The Lord’s Day” and “Baptism and the Lord’s Supper” in The Baptist Faith and Message (Rowman & Littlefield). The SEBTS family knows Dr. Hammett as the quintessential Christian scholar-impeccable thorough in his scholarship, gracious in his demeanor, balanced in his judgments.
Ken Keathley (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of Theology, Senior Vice President for Academic Administration, and Dean of the Faculty. He is the author of Salvation and Sovereignty (B&H), 40 Questions on Creation (Kregel) with fellow SEBTS professor Mark Rooker and edited by Ben Merkle, “The Work of God: Salvation” in A Theology for the Church (B&H) edited by Danny Akin and articles in Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry and Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society. Dr. Keathley brings a wealth of experience to the classroom, having served as a senior pastor at several churches and a dean at several seminaries. In addition, he is known for his quick wit, his teaching abilities, and his expertise in the doctrines of creation and salvation.
Steve McKinion (Ph.D., King’s College, University of Aberdeen) is Associate Professor of Theology and Patristic Studies and the author of Words, Imagery, and the Mystery of Christ: A Reconstruction of Cyril of Alexandria’s Christology (Brill), the Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Isaiah (IVP, forthcoming), and Invitation to Historical Theology (Kregel, forthcoming), and the editor of Isaiah 1-39 in the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture Series (IVP) and Life and Practice of the Early Church: A Documentary Reader (NYU Press). Dr. McKinion is the pastor of New Covenant Fellowship. Furthermore, he is the Doogie Howser of the theological world, having finished his PhD at the University of Aberdeen in just over a year’s time, being hired to teach at SEBTS when he still looked like he was 14 years old. He is known as an excellent preacher, classroom instructor, and writer.
Bruce Riley Ashford (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Associate Professor of Theology & Culture, and Research Fellow for the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith & Culture. He is the editor of Theology and Practice of Mission: God, the Church, and the Nations (B&H: Forthcoming, Sept. 1, 2011), and the author of several articles and essays. Dr. Ashford is a disciplined drinker of Earl Grey tea and a variety of coffees, a book lover, and an elder at The Summit Church.
The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies includes a core curriculum of three courses in Christian Theology wedded with courses in History of Ideas, Old and New Testament, and then combined with a second major. Students choose from English, History, Humanities and Missions in order to sharpen their higher education toward the vocation best for them.
The Master of Arts in Christian Studies is designed for laypersons interested in furthering their knowledge of God’s Word and their effectiveness for kingdom service through graduate-level education in theology and biblical studies. The Master of Arts in Women’s Studies and M.Div. with Women’s Studies equips women to lead and teach in a wide variety of ministry settings. Both the M.A. and M.Div. focus on the core biblical and theological courses required to prepare one for ministry in the church and academy. Elective courses are then tailored to intersect theology with all areas of life for women.
The M.Div. with Pastoral Ministry is the flagship degree of Southeastern and is centered in theology in biblical and historical perspective. Its intent is to prepare students for pastoral ministry with the sort of training befitting that call. Students will take courses in doctrine of humanity, salvation, the church and others along with the pastoral training components to prepare for this call. The M.Div. with Christian Ministry is the most flexible program at Southeastern and prepares one to serve in a number of contexts of full-time ministry. As above, this program is steeped in the theological disciplines taught by the men above.
The Th.M. at Southeastern is a post-M.Div. degree designed to build leaders through personal mentoring by the faculty and can be taken in a thesis or non-thesis track. The Th.M. in Theological Studies with a specialization in Theology prepares one either for doctoral study in systematic theology or for ministry in a local church or on a mission field.
The Ph.D. in Theological Studies with a concentration in Systematic Theology prepares students to teach theology proper and any number of specialized courses to college or seminary students, and to write at the scholarly level and for the church on theology from an explicitly evangelical perspective. SEBTS PhD students write on any number of systematic theological topics which intersect with the most recent scholarship in the fields of ecclesiology, soteriology, and anthropology.
We invite you to study with our Christian Theology faculty in the M.A., M.Div., Th.M., or Ph.D. programs of Southeastern. For more info visit our website (http://www.sebts.edu/ or http://www.sebts.edu/college/) and check out the Admissions and Academics links.