With full academic pageantry on display in the Daniel Lee Chapel, President Jason Allen formally opened the new academic year at Midwestern Seminary by addressing new and returning students, faculty, staff, and guests during the Fall Convocation service on Aug. 20.
In addition to Allen’s message from Isaiah 6:1-8, the Midwestern Seminary community celebrated the signing of the Articles of Faith by recently elected faculty member, Todd Chipman.
In other significant seminary news, Allen introduced Stephen Rummage as professor of preaching and pastoral ministry, as well as senior preaching fellow for the C.H. Spurgeon Center & Library.
During his convocation message, Allen explained to those in attendance that a new school year is an appropriate time for renewal and consecration of one’s life. Regardless of where one stands in their relationship with Christ, and regardless of what his or her calling in ministry is or isn’t, if we want to be more faithful to serve him and more fruitful in that service, being set apart moves us in that direction.
This passage, he said, assists in this endeavor by reminding us anew of the character of God, the character of Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. These attributes confront us anew with the holiness, sovereignty, power, and majesty of our God whom we must rely on in all facets of life.
Pausing to reflect on such things, he continued, is countercultural. We are a society that is given to busyness, clutter, triviality, entertainment, and many other things that occupy our time and fight for our attention. However, focusing on God—particularly during busy seasons—is a welcome respite.
“Thus, to pause and reflect on the grandeur of God is something of an interruption, but a needed interruption,” Allen said. “Moreover, to think about this passage and our calling is helpful in reminding us of the gravity of our work.”
The prophet Isaiah experienced similar circumstances in his day; however, when he entered the presence of Jesus in His throne room and experienced His holiness, might, and majesty, all concerns for the things of the world melted away. He was left with complete contemplation upon his state before the Lord, and he realized his uncleanness and need for redemption.
Allen explained that as we consecrate ourselves, and focus on this passage, numerous truths come to light. First, we realize there is a King on his throne who is sovereign over all things—regardless of any earthly circumstance.
Secondly, the characteristic attributed to God in this passage is his holiness. The seraphim’s ongoing praise of “Holy, Holy, Holy” demonstrates their smitten state before the Lord. The holiness that is before them is so unspeakable, so unfathomable, so incomprehensible that they will never get over this characteristic of the One whose presence they exist within.
Thirdly, being in Jesus’ presence reveals our sinfulness, yet God is gracious and generous in his forgiveness.
“Here’s the glory of consecration,” Allen said. “God has infinite grace. He doesn’t leave us in a state of contrition and brokenness and humility and repentance. He’s not a God who holds our head underwater. He’s a God who lifts us up. He’s a God who restores, and we’re all here today as followers of Christ because in our own way, time, place, and setting, we have experienced that grace and forgiveness.”
Lastly, we are called to serve this great God. The Lord asks who will go out and proclaim, without reservation, His glory? Isaiah responds, “Here am I. Send me.” To eventually get to this place, Allen said one must be humbled and lowly before God in consecration. As it was with Isaiah, may it be the same with us.
To hear Allen’s complete Convocation message, visit: https://www.mbts.edu/2019/08/fall-convocation-with-dr-jason-allen/
Another celebratory moment during the service occurred when recently-elected faculty member, Chipman, signed the school’s Articles of Faith – promising adherence to the school’s confessional statements: the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood, the Chicago Statement on the Inerrancy of Scripture, and the Nashville Statement. Chipman is the 117th faculty member in the school’s history to sign the book.
Chipman has served at Midwestern Seminary in the classroom and in online teaching for more than five years as appointed assistant professor of biblical studies. He also holds the distinction of being the first graduate of Midwestern Seminary’s Ph.D. program. Chipman’s election to the faculty took place during April’s Board of Trustees meeting.
Rummage joins seminary faculty
In other significant seminary news, Allen announced that Stephen Rummage has joined the school’s faculty as professor of preaching and pastoral ministry, as well as senior preaching fellow for the C.H. Spurgeon Center & Library.
Rummage will continue his role as senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. As such, he will serve the Midwestern Seminary community by commuting to Kansas City, Mo., for doctoral seminars and to instruct graduate and doctoral students in the discipline of preaching both in classroom and in conference settings.
“I could not be more delighted to announce Dr. Stephen Rummage’s joining our faculty as professor of preaching and pastoral ministry,” Allen said. “Dr. Rummage brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field of preaching and ministering within the local church. He has also served extensively and is well-respected for his leadership within our denomination. Our students will deeply benefit from his preaching and pastoral ministry insight.
“I’m also thankful for the partnership with Quail Springs Baptist Church that though Dr. Rummage will maintain his full responsibilities as senior pastor there, he’ll be on our campus multiple times a year, leading doctoral seminars, teaching Master of Divinity intensives, and supervising doctoral students.”
Of his new responsibilities at Midwestern Seminary, Rummage said, “I’m honored and very thankful to be joining the Midwestern family. Under Dr. Allen’s leadership, the school has gained a widespread reputation for training exceptional people to serve the church.
“My greatest passions and strongest areas of calling are preaching the Bible, sharing the gospel, and shepherding God’s people. I’m eager to be a part of what God is doing at Midwestern, and I pray the Lord will use me to encourage and strengthen the next generation of pastors who come there to study.”
Rummage became senior pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in 2019. Prior to that, he served for nine years as the senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida. He has also pastored churches in North Carolina, Virginia, and Louisiana, and has served on the faculties of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also a popular speaker at churches and conferences across the country.
He holds a M.Div. degree with a specialization in biblical languages from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and completed his Ph.D. in preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
In denominational service, Rummage served as president of the Florida Baptist State Convention in 2017 and 2018 as well as chairman of the SBC Executive Committee from 2016 until 2018.
Rummage is the author of several books and the founder of Moving Forward, a radio teaching ministry which airs daily nationwide. He and his wife, Michele, have one adult son, Joshua, who is married to Morgan.
To learn more about academics at Midwestern Seminary, visit www.mbts.edu/academics.