'Southwestern Journal of Theology' gathers historic essays

FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – A newly released edition of the Southwestern Journal of Theology explores Baptist views of unity and cooperation in the words of L.R. Scarborough, W.T. Conner and other historic Baptist figures. This issue was released this summer alongside another edition of the journal that examines the biblical doctrine and practice of Christian discipleship.

The “Baptists and Unity” issue of the Southwestern Journal of Theology draws upon articles from past editions of the journal written by Baptist leaders and scholars who served at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It also contains corporate declarations on unity and cooperation from Texas Baptists and Southern Baptists.

The articles by L.R. Scarborough, second president of Southwestern Seminary, form “the standard theological basis for explaining the goal and limits of Southern Baptist Cooperation,” writes Malcolm Yarnell, managing editor of the journal and associate professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Seminary.

Scarborough’s work, however, does not stand alone as a Baptist statement of unity and cooperation. Other giants of Southwestern history contribute to the journal: W.T. Conner, “Southwestern’s premier systematic theologian,” who served from 1910-1949; Charles Bray Williams, a dean and professor of Greek from 1908-1919; J.B. Gambrell, an ecclesiology professor from 1912-1914 and 1917-1921; H.E. Dana, a professor of New Testament from 1919-1938; and Franz Marshall McConnell, the superintendent of evangelism from 1914-1916.

In the conclusion to this issue, current seminary faculty members review volumes in Southwestern’s Library of Centennial Classics. This 10-book set is written by some of the brightest minds in Southwestern’s history, such as B.H. Carroll, L.R. Scarborough, W.T. Conner and A.H. Newman.

The other Southwestern Journal of Theology released this summer highlights the theme of discipleship in preaching, church history, theology and church practice.

The journal features an article by Steven W. Smith, assistant professor of preaching at Southwestern. Smith upholds the exposition of Scripture, which reveals God’s ultimate act, means and end of communication—Jesus Christ. As such, Christ is the hermeneutical key to Scripture. “In his humanity,” Smith writes, “Christ decoded the God who was beyond our comprehension.”

“The plan was for the preacher to reveal God’s Son by preaching God’s Word,” he adds. “Therefore, while the impetus for exposition surely merges from a commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture, clearly a commitment to exposition is also borne on the shoulders of a salient Christology.”

Benjamin B. Phillips, assistant professor of systematic theology at Southwestern’s Havard School for Theological Studies, explores the relationship between evangelism and discipleship. Considering this relationship in terms of sin’s ugliness and the Christ’s beauty, he writes that evangelism is an outgrowth of discipleship.

“The Christlikeness of Christians … provides a powerful apologetic that enhances the success of the preaching of the Gospel,” Phillips writes. “The beauty of Christ seen in the lives of those who reflect His character is attractive, especially in contrast to the ugliness of a sin-scarred world.”

This edition of the journal also features articles by Edward L. Smither, assistant professor of church history and intercultural studies at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, and Timothy K. Christian, professor of theology at the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. Smither examines an ancient biography of Augustine of Hippo, written by his colleague Possidius, as a fifth-century discipleship tool.

Christian writes a biographical essay on the theological development of Augustus Hopkins Strong. Basing his article on his doctoral research, Christian considers the relationship between Strong’s personal discipleship and his theological views.

In the concluding article to this edition of the journal, Chris Shirley, assistant professor of adult ministry in Southwestern’s School of Educational Ministries, argues that Christ has delegated the work of discipleship to the local church.

“Raising up successive generations of committed disciples is the responsibility of the local church,” Shirley writes. “While this maxim may be obvious, the reality is that far too many churches have abandoned intentional discipleship. Instead, the church must reclaim her role as a disciple-maker.”

The Southwestern Journal of Theology is a publication of Southwestern Seminary. To order a copy of these two editions of the journal, contact the editorial assistant at P.O. Box 22608, Fort Worth, Texas 76122, or by e-mail at journal@swbts.edu. The editorial and one essay from each edition of the journal may be viewed on www.baptisttheology.org, a Web site of Southwestern’s Center for Theological Research.

Established 1908 Fort Worth, Texas