Having completed the writing of my dissertation (I haven’t graduated yet, that is, in large part, out of my hands now.), I was filled with a number of emotions. Mostly, I was struck with a sense of stunned disbelief that I had actually finished the project. But the most overwhelming sense I have since finishing is gratitude to God for others who have invested in my life. As I worked on writing acknowledgements for the Preface, there was an overwhelming sense that I had not done anything on my own. In the back of my mind, there was a continual replaying of 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (ESV). Over the next few days I will post some of my thoughts of gratefulness to God for his grace in my life and his use of others to accomplish his purposes. First, I give thanks to God for Southern Seminary.
I still remember the first time I stepped onto the campus of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I had arrived late on a Sunday night in January of 2002 for my first “J-Term” class, which was scheduled to begin the next day. Accompanied my friend and fellow East Tennessee Extension Center student Mark Martin, I walked into an empty and silent Norton Hall. I was in awe of the beauty of the buildings, but more so of the seminary’s legacy of confessional fidelity that had been recovered under the leadership of President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. As I walked by the office of Dr. Mohler (then on the first floor of Norton Hall), I was reminded of the reason I had become a Southern Baptist in the first place. It had been the theological commitment to biblical inerrancy in the Convention’s entities brought about the Conservative Resurgence that had brought this former Independent Baptist into the fold. The campus at 2825 Lexington Rd. was a tangible reminder that I was part of something bigger than myself and my small local church. Our participation in the Cooperative Program allowed us to have an investment around the globe in the work of God. One very important part of that work for Southern Baptists for over one hundred and fifty years has been Southern Seminary. Over a decade later, I still never walk onto the campus of Southern Seminary without a tremendous sense of gratefulness to God for the privilege of attending such a historic and strategic institution.