Greenway highlights ‘new day’ on Seminary Hill in SBC report

Ashley Allen
| Jun 15, 2022

ANAHEIM, Calif.—Highlighting growing enrollment in the Spanish language degree programs, the relaunched alumni association, primacy of the Master of Divinity degree, and the recently released The Authority and Sufficiency of Scripture, President Adam W. Greenway told messengers to the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting it is a “new day” at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary during his June 15 report.

“The primary purpose of Southwestern Seminary has always been and remains to provide theological education for men and women preparing for Christian ministry,” Greenway said. “So whatever theological education you need, we’ll help you find it. Whatever ministry experience it takes, we’ll help you build it. And wherever God calls, we’ll help you get there."

He added, “Whether you are just beginning your journey or have decades of experience, I promise you, we will do whatever it takes to help you live your calling for the glory of God and for the advancement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Completing the 2021-2022 academic year with over 600 students enrolled in the Spanish language degree programs, Greenway said this is a 30 percent “year over year” increase. He said Southwestern Seminary is “doing more to become a bilingual, bicultural institution to help train leaders in English and Español, who will be able to help connect all people to Jesus Christ.”

Noting the 41,000 living alumni, the largest alumni network of the six Southern Baptist seminaries, Greenway said the “revamped” Southwestern Alumni Association, which was relaunched on June 9, offers “pathways” for continuing education and opportunities for “connection” between the seminary and alumni.

Addressing alumni in the crowd, Greenway said, “We want you to know that you are always welcome back ‘home under the dome,’” a reference to the iconic B.H. Carroll Memorial Building on the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

Greenway said over the last three years there has been a “renewed commitment” to the Master of Divinity degree program as the primary degree program at the institution. He said the degree is the “gold standard for training pastors for a lifetime of faithful ministry service.”

Referring to a “promise” made at the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Nashville, Greenway said, “we have a book about the Book,” referring to the recently released The Authority and Sufficiency of ScripturePublished by Seminary Hill Press, the seminary’s publishing arm, and edited by Greenway and David S. Dockery, distinguished professor of theology and special consultant to the president, the book is a collection of essays from the seminary’s faculty that help “explain and to apply the richness of our convictions about Scripture to every aspect of life and ministry.”

Greenway noted the “refreshed spirit of service” from faculty and students through a “redoubled effort of life-on-life discipleship” throughout the campus. He observed this “spirit of Southwestern” is not “new to Seminary Hill,” but is built upon the “same commitment” that has characterized the institution since the seminary was chartered on March 14, 1908, under the “courageous and visionary leadership” of the founder and first president, B.H. Carroll.

Answering a question from a messenger who did not identify himself regarding his view on “balanced soteriological instruction covering the unity between Philippians 2:12-13,” Greenway noted the “conversation” and “controversy” around Calvinism and Arminianism. 

Observing that Southern Baptists have had individuals “who are very Calvinistic” and those “who would not identify as Calvinistic,” Greenway said since Baptists first adopted the Baptist Faith and Message in 1925, “leadership has strived to be able to articulate a convention confessional consensus that does not attempt to take a hard and definite position on every issue that may be a contested and debatable issue amongst Southern Baptists.”

He added the Baptist Faith and Message “does not take a definite position on the question of the extent of the atonement,” observing he believes it is “intentional” that the confessional statement “does not take a hard and definite position on the question of the resistibility of grace and on other matters.” 

Greenway said Southwestern Seminary “must never become a Calvinist seminary, but we must never become an anti-Calvinist seminary either, and the reason for that is because we are a Southern Baptist seminary.”

Since becoming president of Southwestern Seminary, Greenway said he has tried to “deliberately and intentionally” communicate “we are for you as Southern Baptists” noting that the seminary would have a “diversity” on the faculty, particularly in the School of Theology “that represents the big tent vision of the Baptist Faith and Message.”

However, on “every area where the Baptist Faith and Message speaks with conviction and clarity, we will stand there unapologetically,” Greenway said, while noting there would be “charity” given “where the confession of faith allows for liberty and latitude.”

Greenway said the institution remains “faithful” to Carroll’s original vision of confessional fidelity, the Great Commission, denominational cooperation, and “unwavering in our commitment to a high view of Scripture.”