New SWBTS president aims to reinvigorate scholarship, missions and evangelism

FORT WORTH  Adam Greenway says he wants to continue Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s legacy as the “big-tent seminary of the SBC,” where Southern Baptists who differ on secondary theological issues can unite behind rigorous scholarship, missions and evangelism.

Greenway laid out his vision at a Feb. 27 press conference following his election as Southwestern’s ninth president. He also spoke of continuing the seminary’s heritage of strong faculty and producing Southern Baptist Convention leaders. Greenway said he has “no intention” of “trying to create a miniaturized version of Southern [Baptist Theological Seminary]” where he served as a dean the past six years.

“Southwestern has had a distinct heritage … of being the big-tent seminary of the SBC,” Greenway said, “the seminary that’s been able to bring people together who may have differences of opinion on secondary or tertiary matters, but are committed to the main things of the Great Commission, the local church, missions, evangelism, preaching [and] pastoral ministry.”

Southwestern is unique for its “scholarship on fire” focus, Greenway said, quoting a phrase Southwestern founder B.H. Carroll used to describe academic rigor combined with passion for Christ. The seminary established the first professorship of evangelism at any seminary in North America, has been known for its soul winning emphasis and is poised to “touch the world and impact eternity right here from Seminary Hill.”

Another part of Southwestern’s heritage Greenway said he hopes to continue is its production of denominational leaders for churches and SBC entities. He noted Southwestern President L.R. Scarborough’s leadership in the SBC’s 75 Million Campaign nearly a century ago as well as Southwestern alumni who have influenced the SBC more recently, including Jimmy Draper, Morris Chapman, Jerry Rankin, Jack Graham and O.S. Hawkins.

Southwestern should “continue to provide a pipeline for leadership in every aspect of convention life,” Greenway said.

Maintaining a “faculty of generals” who attract the next generation of ministers will be another hallmark of Greenway’s tenure, he said.

In response to a media question, Greenway said he will not attempt to make Southwestern like Southern. The two institutions are distinct in Southern Baptist life and have a relationship analogous to Harvard and Yale, Greenway said.

“I have no intention of trying to come and trying to create a miniaturized version of Southern or a caricature of Southern here,” Greenway said. “I do not believe that Southwestern needs to import another institution’s legacy. We simply need to reinvigorate and retell the great legacy and history of this seminary for a new generation.”

Appearing alongside Greenway, Southwestern trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert and Southwestern presidential search committee chairman Danny Roberts said they believe Greenway is God’s man to lead Southwestern forward.

“God has provided us all a unique blessing to be part of a moment like this,” said Ueckert, pastor of First Baptist Church in Georgetown, Texas. “And it’s our belief that this is the beginning of many more moments of sensing the Lord’s work, his presence and his purpose.”

Roberts, executive pastor of North Richland Hills Baptist Church, said “God opened the paths that we needed to go down” during the search process. “It was absolutely incredibly amazing how the Holy Spirit worked in and through each of the different times we met together.”  

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