Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Ali Dixon, news and information specialist
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary launched its Oikonomia Network program, “Intersect: The Wisdom Project,” last year. Intersect has opened the door for our community to examine questions such as, “What does it look like for people to wisely engage the intersection of work, faith, and culture in daily life?”
On-Campus and Online Courses
Intersect is developing faith, work, and economics classes that enable pastors to grasp a deeper understanding of these topics to instill in their congregations. “This project is designed to help pastors strike the right note in leading their congregations toward a healthy, biblically based view of the workplace and the economy,” says Bruce Ashford, provost, dean of faculty, and associate professor of theology and culture.
“Real-world issues that emerge at the intersections of faith, work, and economics are not peripheral, but central, to the Christian life,” Ashford says. “Southeastern has an unprecedented opportunity to develop a robust series of courses that will serve as the backbone of a world-class preparation benefitting current and future pastors as they lead their flock to glorify Christ in all aspects of their daily lives.”
Students will be exposed to three courses that will guide them in building a theology of culture, a theology of vocation, and a biblically informed view of the economy. Several SEBTS faculty, including Ashford, David Jones, Benjamin Quinn, and Walter Strickland, will create and teach the content of the classes.
The first class, Theology and Culture, was taught on campus in spring 2014. The class will be available in an online format in spring 2015. Theology of Vocation will be the next class, followed by Economics, Poverty and Wealth; both will be available online after they have been taught on campus. The online classes will be open to pastors and the public free of charge.
Professors will write three discipleship booklets on culture, workplace, and the economy respectively. These booklets are designed for laypeople in the church and will be promoted through denominational partnerships and networks. Readers will have access to the booklets in electronic and print formats.
The Wisdom Forum
In addition to the courses, a corresponding event titled, “The Wisdom Forum” will be held on March 13. The event will be co-sponsored by the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture and The Southeastern Center for Pastoral Leadership and Preaching. Speakers will include Jay Richards, assistant research professor at Catholic University of America; David Kim, pastor of faith and work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church and executive director of Redeemer’s Center for Faith and Work; and Carolyn McCulley, author, speaker, and filmmaker. Southeastern faculty involved with Intersect will also speak.
This event will consist of a series of brief, compelling TED-talk-style presentations.
Speakers at the Wisdom Forum will seek to answer these questions: How does my faith impact my job? How am I through my work contributing to God’s plan? The talks will enable attendees to grasp a deeper understanding of these topics to implement in the way they do business. Admission is free; guests are asked to register. The first 300 people to register will receive free resources including: “When Helping Hurts,” by Brian Fikkert & Steve Corbett; “Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship,” by Chad Brand; and “Art and the Bible,” by Francis Schaeffer. The event will also be streamed.
We look forward to the exciting discoveries and debates in store for us as we continue to explore the intersection of faith, work , and economics.