MBTS enjoying record enrollment, financial gifts, academic expansion

BALTIMORE, Md. (BP) –- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is enjoying record enrollment, major financial gifts and academic expansion, President Jason Allen announced in his report to the Southern Baptist Convention June 11.

Midwestern has avoided crises of resources, identity and mission common at other theological institutions in America, Allen said, thanking Southern Baptist churches for their support through the Cooperative Program.

“I’m pleased to report to the messengers of this convention that there is no crisis in Kansas City,” Allen reported. “Our resources are not in abundance but they are more than adequate, and we are responsibly stewarding all that God has entrusted to us.”

Allen said Midwestern Seminary’s primary commitment is not to seek the approval of the academic or the broader evangelical world, but to train pastors, ministers and missionaries to serve in Southern Baptist churches.

“There is no ambiguity as to why Midwestern Seminary exists,” Allen said. “Anyone who knows much of anything about Midwestern Seminary knows we exist for the church.”

Midwestern’s spring enrollment was the largest spring enrollment in its history and interjected the student body with new vitality, Allen said.

“These students are arriving on campus eager to give their lives for the cause of Christ and eager to be equipped for such a ministry,” he said.

Midwestern Seminary’s new $12 million chapel complex was dedicated debt free this spring, thanks to a generous gift from Gene and Jo Downing of Oklahoma. The seminary received $5 million in gifts and pledges over the past year, Allen said. Christian George, formerly of Oklahoma Baptist University, has joined Midwestern’s staff as curator of the Spurgeon Library (see related story on page 21).

“Dr. George’s hiring is one of the several key steps in positioning the Spurgeon Collection and the Charles Spurgeon Center for Biblical Preaching as a world-class, internationally-known hub of Spurgeon scholarship and preaching instruction,” Allen said.

Midwestern is aiming to double its master of divinity enrollment over the next five years and has increased its doctoral offerings, especially in its doctor of philosophy program, Allen said.

“We are especially proud to have expanded our Ph.D. offerings to include biblical theology, biblical ethics, biblical missiology, biblical ministry and biblical preaching, all offered in nonresidential formats,” Allen said. “With more than 500 students, our doctoral program ranks as one of the largest in the world, and its growth continues to accelerate.”

The seminary has launched its Midwestern Training Network, a strategic partnership with churches to facilitate theological education within the local church, and has retooled its undergraduate program led by John Mark Yeats, the new dean of Midwestern Baptist College.

Allen concluded his report by expressing renewed conviction to lead Midwestern into the future.

“Institutional convictions and mission are often lost, but seldom regained. When God blessed the SBC’s Conservative Resurgence, He did not give us the assurance of His perpetual blessing on our efforts,” Allen said. “He gave us a second chance. The promise that began in 1957 [with Midwestern’s founding] – that was recovered in the 1980s and 1990s – is being realized and fulfilled in new and unprecedented ways in Kansas City. By God’s grace and for His glory, it will persist.”