ERLC expands academic opportunities with Southern Baptist seminaries

By Elizabeth Bristow
Sep 17, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2014—The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention announced a new partnership today with The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for a modular Ph.D. in Christian ethics with an emphasis in public policy starting in 2015, as part of an ongoing effort to work with all SBC seminaries.

ERLC President Russell Moore comments on the seminary partnership:

“I am thrilled to partner with Southern Seminary and Southeastern Seminary to offer this Ph.D. concentration as one of several new opportunities for the ERLC to partner with each of our SBC seminaries. As Christians, we are called to engage the culture with the gospel, and this includes being a prophetic voice in the public square. I am hopeful that this degree program will be a service to the church in raising up a corps of future pastors and professors trained at the highest academic level to be a gospel-focused voice in the academy and on Capitol Hill.”

Doctoral students from all SBC seminaries will have the ability to take particular courses led by the ERLC. Under the new doctoral program, students will have the opportunity to take courses in Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Wake Forest, N.C.; and Washington, D.C. A Master of Theology with an emphasis in Christian ethics and public policy is also available.

“The ERLC is excited to expand our academic partnerships with all SBC seminaries,” said ERLC Executive Vice President Phillip Bethancourt. “This is one of many academic opportunities between the ERLC and SBC schools, including the ERLC Research Institute, conference courses, internships and other initiatives. While the ERLC is not in the seminary business, we will continue to work with all SBC schools to develop contextualized academic partnerships that will help them train the next generation of pastors and leaders.”

The 48-month modular degree includes three courses in Christian ethics and two courses in public policy, and includes the option for minors in philosophy, worldview and apologetics; missions and evangelism; or practical theology.

“Public theology at the intersection of the church, the gospel and the culture will represent one of the greatest challenges to the coming generation,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of SBTS. “I can’t think of any better news than the fact that Southern Seminary and the ERLC are combining strengths in order to provide an unprecedented Ph.D. program that will prepare a new generation for frontline service and leadership where it will matter most.”

Bruce Ashford, provost and dean of the faculty for SEBTS, commented on the academic partnership.

“We at SEBTS could not be more thrilled to enter into partnership with the ERLC for the purpose of training future leaders and scholars in the field of ethics and public policy,” Ashford said. “Our faculty believes the ERLC, under the leadership of Russell Moore, is leading the way nationally and internationally on these issues and our ethics faculty is looking forward to this fruitful partnership.”

“I’m excited to study ethics and public policy at the highest level and better understand how they integrate and inform our thoughts on cultural issues,” said Andrew Walker, director of policy studies at the ERLC and Ph.D. student at Southern Seminary. “The degree promotes the truth that the gospel is a public reality that demands a public witness — for the sake of humanity and for the glory of God.”

The SBTS application deadline for fall 2015 enrollment is Jan. 15. Prospective students should consult the admissions process guidelines and the study guide for the entrance exam. Inquiries about enrollment in the degree can be directed to the SBTS admissions office. Information on the program is available online.

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.8 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.

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