NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BNM) - During a June 2 virtual event SBC Advance, the Southern Baptist Convention’s six seminaries and its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission reported on their work during the 2019 calendar year.
SBC Advance replaced the convention’s previously scheduled Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The SBC canceled the Annual Meeting due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. SBC Advance, hosted by SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd, allowed SBC entity leaders to provide ministry reports to Southern Baptists. Those reports are typically provided during the Annual Meeting.
This article summarizes the reports of the convention’s six seminaries and its Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Two additional articles provide summaries of reports from the convention’s other entities and its auxiliary, WMU.
In a prerecorded video, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore provided a report on the ERLC’s work in 2019. In the video, Moore states that since the 2019 Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, “your ERLC has been hard at work in a multitude of issues carrying out the mission that we partner together to do.” According to Moore, that mission included “meeting the challenge presented by the scourge of sexual abuse in the church world through the Caring Well Challenge or making our most recent life-saving ultrasound machine placement in pregnancy resource centers. And, at the same time advocating in churches, courtrooms, on Capitol Hill and in the culture for those principles of life in Christ of cross-carrying obedience to Christ and a free church in a free state.”
In an accompanying written ministry report, the ERLC noted other ministry focuses and accomplishments including increased research on ethical concerns surround artificial intelligence and social media, “the removal of tax on church parking lots,” “securing religious liberty protections for child welfare providers,” “advocacy on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act,” “advocacy on tariffs on Bibles,” “advocacy on the FIRST STEP Act,” and “protecting the Hyde amendment” among other initiatives.
During their reports, each seminary president provided an update on their institution’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each institution shifted to online learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semesters and currently provides online courses during the Summer 2020 semesters. Below are summaries of each institution’s 2019 calendar year accomplishments and challenges.
Gateway Seminary President Jeff Iorg noted that 2019 marked the 75th anniversary of Gateway (formerly Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary). COVID-19 prompted the cancelation of a “major gala” meant to conclude the celebration of the seminary’s anniversary this spring.
In an accompanying written ministry report, Gateway reported a 9.4% increase in “overall student headcount” between the Fall 2018 semester and the Fall 2019 semester. According to the report, Gateway “operates five fully-accredited campuses in Ontario, California; Fremont, California; Phoenix, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; and Vancouver, Washington - as well as an extensive distance learning program (online and video access).” During the 2018-2019 academic year, Gateway reported 1,826 enrolled students, including 578 students enrolled full-time. During the same academic year, Gateway reported 215 graduates across all programs.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Spurgeon College President Jason Allen said, “this past year has been one of incredible academic achievement.” Midwestern’s accompanying written ministry report noted that its 2019 spring commencement marked the largest graduating class in the school’s history, conferring “218 degrees - 33 undergraduates, 153 graduates, 31 doctoral degrees, and one post-graduate degree.” During the 2018-2019 academic year, the institution reported 4,000 enrolled students across both the seminary and college, including 1,395 students enrolled full time.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Leavell College President Jamie Dew thanked Southern Baptists for their continued support. In an accompanying written ministry report, the institution reported 3,803 students enrolled full-time across the seminary and college during the 2018-2019 academic year. Additionally, the institution reported 624 graduates across both schools.
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and College at Southeastern President Daniel Akin reported about 2019, “For the twelfth year in a row, we experienced record enrollment.” Akin added that total enrollment (high school through post-graduate) surpassed 5,000 students. In an accompanying written ministry report, the institution recorded 4,775 total students during the 2018-2019 academic year, with 508 total graduates.
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College President Albert Mohler noted the institution’s celebration of the 25th anniversary of its Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Ministry. In an accompanying written ministry report, the institution reported a total enrollment of 5,485 students across both schools, including 3,750 full-time students. The institution also reported 591 total graduates across all programs.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Scarborough College President Adam Greenway said, “Southern Baptists can be proud that you have a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, standing firmly on the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints, that is supportive of the Cooperative Program because we are supported by the Cooperative Program.”
In an accompanying written ministry report, the institution reported a 2018-2019 academic year total enrollment of 3,848 students across both schools, including 1,029 total SBC affiliated full-time students. The instituted also recorded 594 total graduates during the 2018-2019 academic year.
To view entity video reports, written reports, and audit reports in their entirety, visit www.sbc.net/advance.