Midwestern Seminary hosted its first For the Church Workshop of the semester on Sept. 8, featuring Patrick and Tom Schreiner as lecturers and emphasizing the themes of submission and suffering found in 1 Peter.
The four-part discussion included a chapel message, preached by Tom Schreiner from 1 Peter 2:18-25, and three afternoon sessions featuring Patrick and Tom Schreiner as workshop speakers.
“We are delighted to begin offering again opportunities for training and equipping that supplement the ongoing work of Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College,” Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen said.
“Over the past year, the opportunities to host many of our friends, well-known scholars and ministry leaders, on our campus has been greatly diminished. We were thrilled this week to renew our efforts with Drs. Patrick and Tom Schreiner, two of evangelicalism’s brightest New Testament scholars, leading us for this month’s For the Church workshop.”
Tom Schreiner, who serves as James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation and professor of biblical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, began the workshop sessions in Wednesday’s chapel service by emphasizing that the book of 1 Peter was written to sojourners—those who are exiled and dispersed throughout the region surrounding modern-day Turkey. He added that Peter aims his comments at those under the threat of persecution, a reality that parallels the lives of many believers in the present day.
Schreiner summarized the 1 Peter passage according to three primary points: (1) a call to submit, (2) Christ as an example, and (3) Christ as a substitute.
Under the first heading, Schreiner acknowledged the issue of ancient slavery and explained the circumstances of the slaves addressed in the focal passage. Slavery was widespread and destructive. Importantly, slavery is never endorsed in Scripture, Schreiner added, saying, “In the New Testament, slavery is regulated, but never commended or endorsed. That is an important distinction. Slavery is not rooted in Creation.”
Schreiner then pointed out Peter’s instruction to enslaved individuals, noting the Apostle’s pointed directive for believers to fear and reverence God. According to Schreiner, Peter’s exhortation to fear and reverence God is as significant for believers today as it was for Peter’s original audience.
From verses 21 through 23, Schreiner described Jesus Christ as the believer’s example amid suffering. “When you are suffering or going through a hard time, ask yourself, ‘Does God care?’” Schreiner said. “We have a faith that is so amazing and distinctive because the second person of the Trinity became man. God knows what it is like to suffer. What comfort that can be!” In the remaining verses of the passage, Schreiner reflected on Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death, emphasizing the spiritual healing believers experience when trusting in Christ.
Schreiner closed the message by highlighting Peter’s emphasis on the everyday lives of believers amid threats of persecution and scorn. He added that a believer’s response to injustice should be consistent with his identity as a Christ-follower, saying, “Oppressors need to be called out; oppression is wrong. On the underside, we need to be careful about giving way to outrage, anger, and self-righteousness that can consume us.”
Three additional sessions were held in the afternoon in Midwestern Seminary’s Lower Chapel Banquet Hall. Over 100 registered guests attended, including local pastors, church members, and seminary staff and students.
In the sessions, the Schreiners utilized screencast technology to guide the audience through additional passages in 1 Peter, analyzing English translations of the verses alongside the texts in the original Greek language.
“We are grateful for every opportunity to provide additional support to pastors and ministry leaders beyond the work we do in classroom settings,” Patrick Schreiner said.
“To sit for a few hours and work through a text seems simple, yet the gravity of those moments with a room full of ministry leaders is not lost on us. The FTC Workshop setting gets at the heart of what we mean at Midwestern Seminary when we say we are for the Church.”
Recordings of the full workshop sessions will be available in coming weeks via the Midwestern Seminary website at www.mbts.edu.
Midwestern Seminary plans to host two FTC Workshops per semester. The next FTC Workshop will take place on Nov. 3, featuring Jared C. Wilson as the workshop speaker.