New Beginnings & Old Commitments: The Enduring Mission of Midwestern Seminary

Times of change are as natural as life itself, and at Midwestern Seminary this is a season of transition. The election of a new seminary president self-evidently ushers in a time of change and prompts the seminary community to reflect upon all God has done – and is calling us to do – as a theological institution.

Furthermore, the dawn of a new administration beckons Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to reaffirm its central calling and non-negotiable commitments as an institution. These institutional markers have framed Midwestern Seminary’s identity and mission since 1958 and, as president, I am resolved to renew and strengthen them in the season ahead.

First, we declare proudly our abiding accountability to the Southern Baptist Convention, and our determination to operate in trust with this great denomination.  Southern Baptists own Midwestern Seminary, and as an institution we have the privilege to equip the next generation of pastors, educators, ministers and missionaries on their behalf. This ownership is exercised through the trustee system and in accordance with established denominational expectations. Yet, Midwestern Seminary’s denominational accountability is more than policies to be maintained; it is a sacred trust to be stewarded. Midwestern is resolved to keep the letter – and the spirit – of our denominational accountability, and to deliver on all the Southern Baptist Convention expects and desires of her seminaries.

Second, in that the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention own Midwestern Seminary, we resolve to train pastors and ministers for the churches of this denomination.  We understand that Midwestern Seminary exists for the church; the church does not exist for the seminary. Therefore, we function as a seminary with a pre-committed end – to train servants of our Lord Jesus Christ for the church. This pre-commitment necessitates that we evaluate every course, syllabus, event, program and institutional initiative by asking how it may strengthen the local church and those who are training to serve the church.

Third, Midwestern’s partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention brings with it non-negotiable theological accountability as well. We proudly take our stand with the Baptist Faith & Message 2000.  Every prospective student can know that in Kansas City they will find professors who teach in accordance with and not contrary to our Southern Baptist confession of faith.  Moreover, our confessional commitment also implies a commitment to training expository preachers and teachers of God’s Word, and to enhancing a distinct and confident Baptist identity.

Fourth, our denominational stewardship also demands a missiological imperative. Southern Baptists are a gospel people, and Midwestern Seminary is a gospel institution. We resolve to do all within our power to support, extend and catalyze the fulfilling of the Great Commission. We believe the gospel, and we believe in the power of the gospel – to save, transform and resurrect. Therefore, the great end to which the church labors is the end to which Midwestern Seminary will labor, the reaching of the nations for the glory of Christ.

In a world of near constant change, the mission and core values of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary remain constant.  With these foundational commitments, here Midwestern Seminary stands: for the church, for the nations, for Christ. By the grace of God, we shall so stand until Jesus returns.


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