“The coronavirus pandemic did not catch God by surprise,” said President Adam W. Greenway during a fall 2020 “opening message” to the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Scarborough College community, Aug. 26. “And if anything, I think one of the things that we are learning to do is to more fully trust Him; to rely upon Him; to cast ourselves upon Him.”
Though Southwestern Seminary’s Fort Worth campus officially reopened for the fall 2020 semester on Aug. 17, COVID-19-related safety protocols prevented the opportunity for a convocation service that traditionally begins the semester. Instead, the seminary released a video message from Greenway in which he delivered “a presidential and a pastoral word of encouragement.”
Greenway spoke from the Adrian Rogers Library in Carroll House, home of the B.H. Carroll Center for Baptist Heritage and Mission at Southwestern Seminary. Rogers’ election in 1979 as president of the Southern Baptist Convention signified the start of the Conservative Resurgence, which was based upon a high view of Scripture. His library was donated to Southwestern Seminary several years ago, Greenway explained, as a testimony to the institution’s legacy of and ongoing commitment to a high view of Scripture, confessional fidelity, the Great Commission, and cooperation—the four tent pegs of Greenway’s “big-tent” vision for the seminary.
Greenway based his message on Matthew 6:31-34, wherein Jesus exhorts His followers not to worry, but to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” assuring them that all their needs would be met.
“Everything you need is going to be provided for you,” Greenway said. “He is going to take care of you. Just make sure that you keep the main thing, the main thing: the Kingdom agenda, the Kingdom mission, the Kingdom vision.”
Particularly during the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, Greenway encouraged students, “No matter what may be going on in the culture or the circumstances, don’t miss what matters most—it is the advancement of the Kingdom of God, His mission, His work; the mission of connecting all people all people to Jesus Christ.”
For Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College students, specifically, Greenway said “what matters most” is “the advancement of your studies, whether you are an undergraduate or graduate or doctoral student with us.”
He continued, “It is being found faithful to the educational preparation that God has called you to, that you might be more faithful in knowing and handling the Word of God; that you may be a trusted guide for others in terms of spiritual things because they see you as somebody who embodies the virtues of the Kingdom.”
“I confess, there are so many things I don’t know,” Greenway said, noting the uncertainty of how the coronavirus will affect the rest of the semester. “… But here is one thing that I do know: God has not finished with His purposes for Southwestern Seminary and for Scarborough College. And more importantly, to you, my friend, God has not finished with you. He desires to use you to continue to be an instrument in His hands through whom His Kingdom purposes will be fulfilled.”
Greenway concluded, “Know that we’re praying for you. We’re thankful for you. May this truly be a great semester for you as, together, we continue to work to seek first the King and His Kingdom here at Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College. May God bless you, my fellow Southwesterners.”