DALLAS, Texas (MBTS) – A panel discussion on the topic of “Theology for the Church,” the President’s Report, and presentation of the Alumnus of the Year Award, highlighted Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Alumni & Friends luncheon on June 13 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.
During his President’s Report, Allen shared significant news with attendees about the past year at Midwestern Seminary. Among the extremely positive news, Allen relayed was that two major construction projects were nearing completion, that enrollment continued to surpass historic proportions, and that a prominent New Testament scholar had been added to the faculty.
Within two months, Allen said, the new Mathena Student Center is scheduled for completion. Thanks to significant gifts to the seminary, the facility will be built with no long-term debt. Additionally, the school’s existing classroom building has undergone an extensive renovation over the past several months and will be ready for use within just a few weeks.
Allen also reported that in just over six years, Midwestern Seminary’s enrollment has nearly tripled, with headcount surpassing the 3,400-student mark. He added that projections for the fall semester continue to trend toward another record enrollment.
Another reason to celebrate, Allen continued, is the hiring of Andreas Köstenberger as research professor of New Testament and biblical theology. Köstenberger will also serve as director of a forthcoming Center for Biblical Studies. Allen praised the new faculty member, calling him one of the foremost New Testament scholars in the world today.
Allen said all these things bring great encouragement to him personally and to the entire seminary community. However, he said they communicate something even more heartening:
“The support we’re receiving shows that there is a belief in the work we are doing at Midwestern Seminary,” Allen said. “Supporters who stand with you and provide gifts for such buildings at great expense says something about their belief in what we’re doing.
“Being able to fund construction projects, keep tuition low, and launch other new initiatives, and grow in student enrollment says something about what the churches of this denomination believe about us. They believe in what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and they are committed to stand with us and to send us their students, trusting we will send them back as ministers who are fully equipped to serve those churches into the future.”
In concluding his remarks, Allen addressed what the season ahead for the seminary portends.
“The year ahead, with God’s grace and favor, will bring about the completion of these two construction projects, record enrollment, and an even stronger faculty and staff. It will bring about a lot of change. However, it will also bring a lot of constancy.
“Things that will not change are our theological positions; our vision “For the Church” is clear; attitudinally our mindset of humility and service will not change. That is who we are. That is what we’re doing, and I am proud to serve this institution which you have invested so much in.”
Following his report, Allen moderated a panel that discussed the topic, “Theology for the Church.” Panelists included Midwestern Seminary Provost, Jason Duesing; Associate Professor of Christian Theology and Director of the Center for Public Theology, Owen Strachan; as well as Matthew Barrett, associate professor of Christian theology.
Questions during the panel, which were predominantly asked by the audience, covered subjects such as why theology is important for the church; what constitutes a pastor-theologian?; how do Midwestern Seminary faculty interact with and serve within the local church?; and what is the sense of the theological appetite of students at Midwestern Seminary?
Prior to the formal program, Allen honored Matt Marrs, who serves as the North American Mission Board’s Send regional director for the Midwest, as the recipient of the seminary’s Alumnus of the Year award.
Marrs received a Master of Divinity degree from Midwestern in 2000. Before undertaking his role at NAMB, he served as director of missions for the Clay Platte Baptist Association in Missouri and pastor of Northland Baptist Church in Kansas City.