From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George




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The Dean Recommends: Religious Liberty - a Baptist distinctive

By Danny Akin

January 28, 2015

A passion for religious liberty and freedom of conscience runs in the veins of Baptists. It is actually in our DNA! Our forefathers and mothers fought and suffered for this inalienable right because they understood to truly love and worship God is to love and worship Him freely.

Coerced love is an oxymoron. It is nonsensical. We must be free to love our God without intimidation because it is a divine right granted to us by our Creator as His imagers. This is why we persuade others to trust Christ with the Word and not the sword!

Southern Baptists are firmly committed to this proposition for all people. Indeed, we are willing, like those who have gone before us, to fight for and even suffer for every person's right to believe or not believe according to their conscience.

So important is religious liberty to us that we have an article in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message specifically dedicated to this conviction. There we read:

XVII. Religious Liberty

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God. The church should not resort to the civil power to carry on its work. The gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion. A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
Read the rest at Baptist Press.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Friday, January 29, 2016
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Liam Goligher to Give Beeson Divinity School’s Biblical Studies Lectures in February

By Kristen Padilla
January 26, 2016

Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, in collaboration with the Lilly Endowment’s Initiative to Strengthen the Quality of Preaching, has announced that Liam Goligher will deliver the annual Biblical Studies Lectures, Feb. 2-4, 2016.

The lectures will take place each day at 11 a.m. in Andrew Gerow Hodges Chapel and are free to the public. Goligher’s lectures are entitled, “The Prophetic Word,” “Hearing the Triune,” and “The Preacher as Worship Leader.”

Goligher is the senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A native of Scotland, he has ministered at churches in Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland. He is also active in college ministry. Goligher speaks at conferences and churches throughout the world. He is the author of four books: A Window on Tomorrow, The Fellowship of the King, The Jesus Gospel, and Joseph—The Hidden Hand of God. He also has contributed to more than 10 books.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Goligher to Beeson Divinity School to present our annual Biblical Studies Lectures,” said Timothy George, Beeson founding dean. “He is an outstanding expositional preacher of God’s Word and the pastor of one of the great historic churches in North America.”

“The Lilly Endowment’s Initiative to Strengthen the Quality of Preaching fits perfectly with the mission of Beeson to train ‘pastors who can preach,’" said Grant D. Taylor, Beeson’s associate dean. “Already the grant has made a significant impact on students, alumni, and friends of Beeson Divinity School. We are grateful for Lilly’s help in bringing Dr. Goligher to Beeson and look forward to other exciting educational opportunities made possible by Lilly’s generosity.”

 
For the full schedule for Biblical Studies Lectures, click here.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Tuesday, January 26, 2016
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The God Who Names Himself

By Timothy George

January 25, 2016

 

The whole Bible is a single, unified text with theological coherence. In it the one supreme and true God, the God who has forever known himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, reveals himself to his people in personal self-disclosure. The initial five books of the Bible, called the Torah, are the foundational texts for understanding God’s self-revelation throughout the Scriptures. In the Pentateuch, God’s nature and character are revealed through the names by which he gives himself to be known. The God of the Bible is the God who names himself! In the act of naming himself, the God of Israel, whom Jesus taught his disciples to call Abba, is distinguished both from the deity of philosophical speculation and from the gods of polytheistic religion.

The Old Testament is filled with anthropomorphic images and analogies for God, each of which imparts some aspect of God’s majesty and power as well as how he relates to his people. For example, God is referred to as a shepherd (Ps 23:1), a physician (Exod 15:26), a bridegroom (Isa 61:10), a father (Deut 32:6), and even a mother (Isa 66:13)—though God is never directly addressed as “Mother”—a friend (Exod 33:11), a husband (Isa 54:5; Jer 3:14), a prosecuting attorney (Jer 2:9), and so on. The Bible also describes God’s activities in terms of human body parts: a face (Exod 33:20), eyes (Ps 11:4), ears (Ps 55:1), nose (Deut 33:10), mouth (Deut 8:3), hands (Num 11:23), and a heart (Gen 6:6). He is said to be capable of smelling, tasting, hearing, laughing, sitting down, walking. God is also compared to various animals including the lion (Isa 31:4), the eagle (Deut 32:11), and the lamb (Isa 53:7), as well as inanimate objects such as a rock (Deut 32:4), a tower (Prov 18:10), a shield (Ps 84:11), and a shadow (Ps 91:1).

It would be a mistake, however, to assume that God is to be equated with any of these creaturely realities. To do so would be to lapse into idolatry. God is like a rock in some ways—sturdy, steadfast, no lightweight pebble that can be blown about in a windy storm—but it would be ludicrous to ask whether God is a sedimentary rock or an igneous rock! Herman Bavinck reminds us that “God is not named on the basis of that which is present in creatures, but creatures are named on the basis of that which exists in God.” Throughout the Bible, God accommodates himself to our limited capacity as finite and fallen creatures by revealing himself to us in human words—what other kind do we have? Carl F. H. Henry used the word stoops to describe this self-condescension of God. Read the rest at First Things.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Monday, January 25, 2016
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