Nashville, Tenn. — Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Jason Allen’s report to the messengers at the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting reflected the institution’s ongoing determination to serve the local church.
Citing God’s faithfulness to the seminary over the past year, Allen noted that Midwestern Seminary is standing strong, remaining faithful, and enjoying continued growth.
“I am delighted to report that our Convention’s youngest seminary is standing strong, serving faithfully, and, once again, enjoying another year of record enrollment,” Allen said. “Our ambition is to be undeniably faithful when it comes to serving the local church. In sharper focus, our desire is to serve Southern Baptist churches faithfully.
“We are not here to lecture to you; we are here to hear from you. We are not here for you to serve us; we are here so we can serve you. That is a precious stewardship that we enjoy. We are for the church and will continue to persist in that vision on your behalf.”
Alongside the seminary’s sustained efforts to serve Southern Baptist churches, Allen pointed to the institution’s theological convictions as an additional reason for the seminary’s progress.
“We are proudly, wholeheartedly, and unreservedly a Southern Baptist institution,” Allen said. “We hold to the Baptist Faith and Message, the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, the Nashville Statement on Marriage, Gender, and Sexuality, and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, all with full confidence and conviction.”
Allen further suggested it is necessary for Midwestern Seminary to do more than merely affirm the collection of doctrinal statements, saying, “It is also our role to defend and advocate for these statements.”
“What is more, we refuse to be forced into false binaries,” he continued. “We can be and are cheerfully, convictionally, and confidently complementarian while, all the while, honoring and protecting our sisters as joint-heirs in Christ. We can clearly and confidently reject secular ideologies and critical theories, such as Critical Race Theory, that have a negative impact while, all the while, being intentional to bear the burdens of our African American brothers and sisters. We can bring them into our midst, serve and grow with them, and honor them as brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Along the enrollment front, Allen acknowledged God’s kindness and the resolve of the seminary community as contributing factors in the seminary’s continued growth. He announced the past year’s total student headcount was 4,374, over four times the number of students enrolled at Midwestern Seminary ten years ago. In addition, the total number of full-time enrolled students for the past year was 1,615, an increase from just over 400 students ten years ago.
Allen closed his address by thanking messengers for their continued prayers and support, saying, “This is your seminary: Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, founded in 1957. If you know much of the history of the past 60 years, you know it took a while for this institution to hit its stride. But, by God’s grace and with your support, we are pursuing and growing in greater faithfulness to the great truths hold. And we are doing so, I believe, in ways that make Southern Baptists proud.”