FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has sent two recent editions of the Southwestern Journal of Theology to press this fall.
In the opening to the first of these journals, devoted to missiology, editor Malcolm B. Yarnell III writes, “The churches that embrace the Great Commission of Jesus Christ must repeatedly return to the source of their message and power in order to reclaim their first principles. The tendency is to drift away from the biblical foundation upon which missionary efforts have been and must be built.” He further expresses his prayer that this edition of the journal will encourage missionaries to “fulfill the Great Commission according to the inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and perspicuous Word of God.”
In his article, “Will We Correct The Edinburgh Error? Future Mission in Historical Perspective,” David J. Hesselgrave, professor emeritus of mission at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, identifies the negative impact of the 1910 World Missionary Conference in Edinburgh. He also calls evangelical Christians to abandon the ecumenism espoused by this conference and succeeding movements. Instead, as Yarnell observes, they should “pay ‘close and repeated attention’ to biblical theology and its practical implications.”
Four other scholars contributed essays to the journal that uphold the close connection between missions and biblical doctrine: “Evangelical Agnosticism: Crafting a Different Gospel,” by Keith E. Eitel, dean of the School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern Seminary; “Mortar and Stones: Biblical Principles for Planting and Building Strong Churches in any Culture,” by Dietmar W. Schulze, assistant professor of missions at the seminary; “For those who spurn the sprinkled blood! Praying with Charles Wesley for Muslims,” by Michael A.G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and “Shall We ‘Build Bridges’ or ‘Pull Down Strongholds?’” by Yarnell, who also serves as associate professor of systematic theology at Southwestern Seminary.
According to Yarnell, the second journal is dedicated to the memory of L. Rush Bush III, “and to what may be regarded his most critical theological legacy, convictional affirmation of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God.” A two-time graduate of Southwestern Seminary, Bush was awarded the seminary’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006. He was professor of philosophy of religion at the seminary from 1973-89. He also served as distinguished professor of philosophy of religion, director of the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, and academic vice president and dean of faculty emeritus at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary until his passing on Jan. 22, 2008.
This edition of the journal opens with the reflections of Southwestern Seminary registrar Mark Leeds, one of Bush’s doctoral students. Yarnell notes, “Leeds provides firsthand testimony regarding Bush’s commitment to students, a commitment that fostered a passion for biblical faith.” Jason G. Duesing, a former student of Bush and now assistant professor of historical theology at Southwestern, “provides a biographical sketch” that traces Bush’s “background and impact” as well as providing a framework for understanding his theology.
The remainder of this issue of the journal contains three theological essays concerned with “the Bible and its authority for the Christian theologian”: “Understanding Biblical Inerrancy,” a lesser known work by Bush, which was first published in 1988; “The Issue is Truth,” by Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson; and “Is Inerrancy Sufficient? A Plea to Biblical Scholars,” by Denny R. Burk, dean at the Boyce College of Southern Seminary.
To subscribe to the Southwestern Journal of Theology, visit www.baptisttheology.org. Yarnell’s editorials and the essays by Hesselgrave and Deusing may also be viewed on this Web site, which is produced by Southwestern’s Center for Theological Research.