Akin April - A Warm Welcome

I had just begun was my first day of seminary - Dr. Akin’s Hermeneutics class at 8:00 am in Binkley 101. To say that I was nervous for my first class with the president of the school would be an understatement. Thankfully, Dr. Akin quickly calmed my fears, warmly greeting us students and making us all feel right at home. He even encouraged us to reach out to him and schedule a time to meet.

Coming from a large, state university, it was not every day that I had the opportunity to interact with the school’s president, let alone have an open invitation to sit down for a face-to-face. Both surprised and excited about Dr. Akin’s invitation, I jumped at the opportunity and emailed him. Sure enough within a few minutes, he personally responded and I was in his office a week later. He made the time for me. We talked about everything from church, preparing for marriage, to unfortunately his fondness for Georgia football :).

In all seriousness, this small act of kindness by Dr. Akin really exemplifies the kind of man and leader he is. I really believe that what separates Southeastern from other places is both the mission of the school and the quality of the people here. This all starts with Dr. Akin and his leadership. Southeastern is truly a Great Commission school that values people. And for this, I am truly grateful.

-Billy Vernon, M.Div, 2018

This month, we are honoring Dr. Akin’s 15 years of ministry and leadership at Southeastern Seminary. If you have a story about his impact on your life please feel free to share it with us at alumni@sebts.edu and we’ll post it to the blog. Additionally, in honor of Dr. Akin, we are asking alumni and current students to contribute $15 in his honor to the For the Mission campaign by clicking here.

Akin April From Twitter

Hopefully you follow us on Twitter and you’ve had a chance to read through the comments on a recent tweet that asked people what their favorite Dr. Akin story, memory, or quote is. But if not, we’ve collected them here for you to enjoy. Feel free to add yours in the comments below.

Brian Sherwood (@BrianTSherwood): Preaching Phil. 1:21 at my DMin graduation. I still ask myself, "Do you believe it?"

Jordan R Willard (@JordanWillard): On communicating the Word: "What you say is more important than how you say it. But how you say it has never been more important."

Sterling Griggs (@sterlinggriggs) and Matthew Daniel (@matthewdaniel34) both recounted Dr. Akin’s response to a search committee that regularly fired their pastors, “I wouldn’t recommend a dog to your church.” To which Matthew replied that he remembers him saying “I don’t hate a demon that much that I would send them to your church.”

Aaron P. Swain (@aaronpswain): 2007 graduation ceremony. A sermon illustration describing his jogging attire.

Philip Blinson (@philblin): In his first year as President, my wife and I were Nehemiah church planters in MA. Dr. Akin heard our 3 month old daughter was having lung surgery. He called to let us know he was praying for her. Never have forgotten that act of compassion. Thanks, @DannyAkin !

Philip Corbean (@PCorbean): We were talking about a mutual friend, @fredmevers, Dr. Akin says that he preached at his church in LA. After the service a man told Dr. Akin that he didn’t believe the holocaust really happened. Dr Akin replied to the man, “I don’t want to talk to you anymore.” Then walked away

Zack and Haley Hicks (@ZachandHaley): His books, I love his books! Christology, in particular is wonderful!

Drew Page (@pastordrewpage): “Let leaders lead.” From Perspectives on Church Government: 5 Views.

This month, we are honoring Dr. Akin’s 15 years of ministry and leadership at Southeastern Seminary. If you have a story about his impact on your life please feel free to share it with us at alumni@sebts.edu and we’ll post it to the blog. Additionally, in honor of Dr. Akin, we are asking alumni and current students to contribute $15 in his honor to the For the Mission campaign by clicking here.

We Are Going To London

My wife and I arrived in Raleigh 10 years ago. We were fresh out of Auburn University (War Eagle!) and ready to take the next step in of faith by studying at Southeastern Seminary.

Words cannot contain the impact that Southeastern has had on our lives, our marriage, our ministry, and our future. During my MDiv studies I met with Dr. Akin to talk through my desire to continue studying at Southeastern and he encouraged me towards the PhD program. Through the course of the following years I studied the missionary theology of British theologian Lesslie Newbigin. Studying Newbigin was the inception of this call to London, England to plant a new church.

We got here, in large part, because of a challenge that Dr. Akin would consistently put before us. From classroom settings, to chapel messages, to informal conversations, Dr. Akin would challenge me, “The question is not ‘Lord, should I go to the nations?’ The question is ‘Lord, why should I stay?’” That challenged lodged deep in my soul and I have not been able to shake it. As degree studies concluded and seven good years of ministry at Providence Baptist Church unfolded - that question still lingered.

Over the years, God has shifted the answer from, “Stay here and make disciples” to “Follow me to London to plant a church.” So, we go. We are making preparations to move our family to London in June to begin the process of learning culture and planting a church. We go with confidence that Jesus is leading us. We go with gratitude for the significant ways that God has brought us to this point through the ministry of Dr. Akin and Southeastern Seminary.

It’s difficult to estimate where we would be without these formative years in the Southeastern family. The theological training we were provided has shaped us in thousands of ways. The friendships we have created still carry to this day. The trajectory of our lives has been fundamentally changed because of the Southeastern family. We are so grateful to God for the grace that this school is to us.

We joined the Summit Network in August and are almost finished with our training. This last year has been full of travel, trainings, fundraising, and team building. God has provided for the ministry in so many ways and we are still trusting God for the final provisions necessary to see this dream become a reality. You can more about our work in London on our church website: Redeemer Queen’s Park. You can also keep up with our family’s journey on our blog: www.TheWestLondonLife.com.

This month, we are honoring Dr. Akin’s 15 years of ministry and leadership at Southeastern Seminary. If you have a story about his impact on your life please feel free to share it with us at alumni@sebts.edu and we’ll post it to the blog. Additionally, in honor of Dr. Akin, we are asking alumni and current students to contribute $15 in his honor to the For the Mission campaign by clicking here.

Comment

Thomas West

Thomas West was born in Montgomery Alabama. After four years at Auburn University (War Eagle!) Thomas and Elizabeth made their way to Raleigh-Durham to begin studies at Southeastern Seminary. Through studying for the Mdiv and PhD, Thomas has served as the College and Discipleship Pastor at Providence Baptist Church for seven years. Now, the Wests are embarking on a new journey of church planting in London. You can follow the West family on their family blog: www.TheWestLondonLife.com

Praise Him, then Proclaim Him

Isaiah 12 gives us a beautiful picture of God’s people on mission. Although Israel’s role in the Old Testament was primarily to a be a hub of worship that would attract other nations and give them a glimpse of what life under God’s rule looked like, what Isaiah foresees during the reign of the Messiah is a people who loudly proclaim God’s salvation to peoples all over the world. Isaiah says their exhortation to one another “in that day” will be to “make known his deeds among the peoples” and “proclaim that his name is exalted” (v.4). They will declare God’s glorious deeds “in all the earth” (v.5), and they will tell each other to “Shout, and sing for joy” (v.6) so other nations might know about the salvation God had given them. God would do a mighty work among his people, and their charge in response to the salvation they had received would be to proclaim his name to those who were still at enmity with him.

Notice, though, the verses that precede this call to proclamation. Before the people begin sharing the message of God’s salvation with others, Isaiah describes what their own response to God’s salvation will be. In fact, he doesn’t even begin by speaking to the group. The “you” he addresses in vv.1—2 is singular, and what he tells this individual is that when God becomes his salvation, he will be filled with gratitude, renewed trust, and praise. God will turn his own anger away and offer comfort in its place, and this man will respond with the faith and worship God desires from those he has saved.

Together, the individuals God saves will form the faithful remnant he had promised to keep from among Israel (Isaiah 10:20ff), and Isaiah says this group (the “you” in v.3 is plural) will “draw water from the wells of salvation.” Though the people had displayed nothing but doubt and fear at the threat of impending invasion, they would finally realize that God would supply all their needs, and they would drink deeply from the wells of God’s salvation.

What Isaiah describes in this chapter is the response God’s people will have when he saves them, but he starts with their own relationship with God before he mentions their ministry of proclaiming God’s name to the surrounding nations, and I don’t believe the order here is inconsequential. God saves people not merely as an end in itself, but so he might use them to spread his fame all over the earth. He blesses us so that we might be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:1—3) and share the hope of salvation with them. But God never calls us to mission or ministry where he does not first call us to a personal relationship with himself. Sadly, we often put all our energy into the former at the expense of the latter, and doing so not only robs God of our own praise but also undermines the effectiveness of the ministry we are doing in his name.

Isaiah’s placement of “the wells of salvation” just before what he says about public proclamation underscores the importance of drawing our strength for ministry from God. How long can a person last without drinking water? Three days? Maybe four? No matter what other resources we have at our disposal, we simply can’t survive without water. Yet how often do we try to minister while going days, maybe even weeks, without drawing from the “living water”? If we tell others about their need for God while neglecting our own need for God, then we are calling them to drink from a supply we’re not drinking from ourselves. We’re foolish to believe we can effectively minister to the spiritual needs of others if we are not first attending to our own spiritual needs. Maybe we’ve begun to believe we can do ministry without God, or maybe we’ve just gotten too busy trying to meet the demands of ministry and our relationship with God has suffered as a result. Whatever the reason, we do a great disservice to our spiritual health and the health of our ministry if we attempt to continue on in service to God without regularly speaking with him in prayer and hearing from him through his Word.

The encouragement from Isaiah is to go to God first—to spend time praising him, bolstering your faith in him, and drawing your strength from him. Then, after you have met with God, be a bold and loud proclaimer of who God is and what he has done. We all experience inconsistency in our relationship with God, and missing a few days of devotions shouldn’t keep you from sharing the Gospel with someone. But don’t get so busy doing ministry for God that you neglect spending time with God. Our first call as believers is to know him and worship him, to “draw water from the wells of salvation” by preaching the Gospel to ourselves and prioritizing our relationship with the One who saved us. And after we have drunk deeply from those wells, we have the duty and delight of proclaiming God’s salvation to those who have never heard and inviting them to join us in worship of him.

David McWhite graduated from SEBTS in 2013 with an MDiv in Missiology and has been living overseas with his family since 2015. He is married to his college sweetheart, April, and has three amazing kids: Micah, Lily, and Jack. They live in Roscommon, Ireland, and attend Grace Community Church, where David serves as associate pastor and worship leader.

You can find out more about the McWhites and their ministry by visiting their website, TheMcWhites.com.

Akin April

Hi Southeastern Alumni!

The Financial & Alumni Development Office at Southeastern will be utilizing the month of April to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Dr. and Mrs. Akin arriving to serve and lead our institution. The Akins have indeed established an exciting legacy here at SEBTS and the College at Southeastern – please join us in helping to honor their work to equip the church and fulfill the Great Commission.

Throughout the month of April, we will be utilizing our alumni blog to highlight Dr. Akin’s impact. To help us do this, we need YOU to send in stories, inspirations, and lessons that express one way the Akins have impacted you personally. Feel free to send in a photo along with your brief story, favorite Akin quote, or characteristic and we will share them here throughout April!

We are greatly looking forward to reading and sharing your submissions! Remember to email your submission (along with a bio and headshot if you’d like) to alumni@sebts.edu.

In Christ?

Ferris Bueller famously quipped, when referring to life, that “If you don’t stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.” By which I have always taken him to mean that the important things in life (e.g. family, friends, a day off, etc.) can all too easily go unnoticed or unappreciated— not because we don’t see them but because we are either moving too fast or see them so often that we fail to recognize their significance.

There is a little phrase in the New Testament like that— a phrase we see so often, especially in the letters of Paul, that we have a tendency to read past it without giving it much thought. And yet Paul's whole theology is essentially contained within these two words. Those words are “in Christ.”

John Stott tells us that, "The expressions ‘in Christ,’ ‘in the Lord,’ and ‘in Him’ occur 164 times in the letters of Paul alone, and are indispensable to an understanding of the New Testament.” This one densely packed, theologically charged and often overlooked phrase turns out to be the hermeneutical key to Paul's thought and the hinge on which the entire canon of Scripture turns.

If it is that important, we should ask ourselves, what does it mean to be “in Christ”? Let's "stop and look around" to see if we can discern its significance.

What does it mean to be “in Christ”?

To be in Christ means to be identified by God with Jesus and not with Adam. More specifically, it means to be under the representative headship of Christ and not under the representative headship of Adam.

Adam was the representative head of the first humanity in two senses. First, he was the representative head of humanity in a genealogical sense. He was the first man. Therefore, all humanity is rightfully said to have descended from him. In other words, he was the source from which the first humanity flowed (i.e. its natural progenitor). Which is why the Bible characterizes descendants as being in the loins of their fathers. For example, it says in Hebrews 7, “One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.” We were all in the body of Adam in this sense (i.e. part of his family born according to the flesh).

This genealogical sense of headship entails a second sense of headship. Adam was also the representative head of humanity in a political or covenantal sense. He was the man in charge— first not only in ancestral order but in hierarchical authority as well. He was the first man to occupy the divinely elected office of Priest-King. Therefore, he had the legal right and responsibility to speak and act on behalf of his people before God. We see the logic of this type of headship in a text like Exodus 28 where Moses is given instructions for Aaron: “Take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel...Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the Lord.” As High Priest, Aaron represented the sons of Israel before God. In his role as the head of national worship, Aaron offered sacrifices on behalf of the rest of the nation. That is the logic of representation: the one stands in for and acts on behalf of the many. We were all “in Adam” in this sense as well. We were part of his body politic. We were the legally recognized subjects that Adam represented before God in the Garden.

By way of contrast, Christ is the representative head of a new humanity. First, He is the head of humanity in the genealogical (Heb. 2:11-13) or organic sense (Jn. 15:5). He is the "Second Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45-48). Therefore, all new humanity is rightfully said to have descended from Him. He is the source from which the second humanity flows (i.e. its supernatural progenitor). Which is why the Bible characterizes His people as undergoing a second birth. As Jesus explains in John 3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God...That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.’” We are all in the body of Christ in this sense (i.e. part of his family born according to the Spirit).

Again, this genealogical sense of headship entails a second sense of headship. Christ is also the representative head of humanity in a covenantal sense. He is first not only in ancestral order but in hierarchical authority as well. He is the leader of the new humanity, the first man to occupy the divinely elected office of Priest-King of the new creation. Therefore, He has the legal right and responsibility to speak and act on behalf of His people before God (in matters of Church and State). Echoing the sentiments of Exodus 28, we see the logic of this type of headship in a line from the aptly entitled hymn “Before the Throne of God Above,” which says, "My name is graven on His hands, My name is written on His heart.” As Aaron bore the names of the sons of Israel before God, Jesus, the great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, bears the names of the elect before God (Heb. 7:15-17). So, we are all “in Christ” in this sense as well. We are part of His body politic. We are the legally recognized subjects Christ represented before God at Calvary.

We see this contrast between Christ's headship and Adam's headship in Romans 5 where Paul writes, “Just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

Originally, we inherited our status and condition from Adam. “In Adam,” our first representative head, our shared legal status was “guilty” and our shared human condition was “fallen.” In Adam we were all covenant breakers with corrupt natures. As it says in the 1689 London Baptist Confession when discussing Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit: “They being the root, and by God's appointment, standing in the room and stead of all mankind, the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation...” (LBC 6.3).

However, now we inherit a new status and condition from Christ. “In Christ,” our second representative head, our shared legal status is “righteous” and our shared human condition is “upright.” In Christ we are all covenant keepers with holy nature's (Romans 8:29). As we might say then, in discussing Jesus’ obedient death: He being the root of all renewed mankind, the righteousness of this obedience was imputed, and the same life in obedience and pure nature conveyed, to all His posterity descending from Him by extraordinary generation.

This is the double exchange: God exchanges our old covenant status (guilty) and old creation condition (dead) in Adam with our new covenant status (righteous) and new creation condition (alive) in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). In short, we have exchanged the headship of Adam for the headship of Christ. We have been transferred from the family and kingdom of Adam into the family and kingdom of Jesus (Col. 1:13).

This is critically important to our salvation, as Jesus is the only person legally qualified to fulfill the conditions of the covenant for us. He could not have lived the life we should have lived or died the death we should have died in our place unless He met the criteria of a representative head. He had to be the Second Adam, our representative Kinsman and King, or else we could not have been credited His covenant obedience (justification) or shared in His covenant reward (resurrection life).

Simply put, to be “in Christ” means that Jesus is our representative head. He stands for us. Therefore, what He does can rightfully be credited to us and what happened to Him can rightfully be said to have happened to us. As Paul says, “...count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). I.e. in virtue of Christ's position as our representative, His death is our death, His resurrection our resurrection. And it is in virtue of our union with Christ, affected by the Spirit through faith, that we take on His name and nature.

In closing, representative headship is the answer to what it means to be in Christ, while regeneration is the answer to how we come to be in Christ. As Michael Horton writes, "Union with Christ is not to be understood as a “moment” in the application of salvation to believers. Rather, it is a way of speaking about the way in which believers share in Christ in eternity (by election), in past history (by redemption), in the present (by effectual calling, justification, and sanctification), and in the future (by glorification). Nevertheless, our subjective inclusion in Christ occurs when the Spirit calls us effectually to Christ and gives us the faith to cling to him for all of his riches.” And of course, if we were to ask why we are in Christ, the answer can only be because of “the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).

Jonathan Darville

Jonathan Darville has had a varied and wide-ranging career. He worked in the fashion industry in New York, modeling for clients such as Louis Vuitton, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. He helped lead the New York branch of an international non-profit ministry. He has also served as a Master Trainer for The Center for Leadership Studies, training men and women in Fortune 500 companies in Leadership and Management theory and practice across America.