CHARLOTTE, N.C—This month, Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) is celebrating 25 years of helping its students around the world more ably defend their faith, which is increasingly important in today’s culture.
“As we celebrate our 25th silver anniversary in 2017, Southern Evangelical Seminary is extremely grateful to God for the many blessings He has bestowed on us over the past quarter century,” said Dr. Richard Land, Evangelical leader and SES president. “For 25 years now, SES has focused on equipping students, as well as attendees at SES’s annual apologetics conference, to rationally and lovingly defend both their faith and the inerrant Word of God. There has perhaps never been a more important time for American Christians to know what we believe, why we believe it, and why we are commanded and compelled to share it with others.
“SES is uniquely positioned to offer students something that cannot be found anywhere else in an Evangelical context,” he continued, “resident and online education programs that integrate classical philosophy, apologetics and theology to construct a comprehensive, coherent and compelling worldview.”
“We are convinced that no one of these academic disciplines by itself, as important as each one is, provides the full-orbed defense of the historic Christian faith that a thorough grounding in all three fields provides. Consequently, every class at SES, regardless of the subject, builds upon the other to form and complete an integrated systematic view of reality and essential Christian doctrine. We believe that apologetics is not just important; it is critical to the global evangelization to which Christ has called us.
“On the occasion of our 25th anniversary, the entire SES family is renewing its commitment to academic excellence and faithful adherence to God’s Word.
“When the NFL Hall of Fame Coach Vince Lombardi had his first meeting with the Green Bay Packers,” Land remarked, “he told them, ‘Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way we shall catch excellence.’
“I can think of no more eloquent or accurate way to describe our aspiration and commitment at SES,” Land said. “The entire SES family is committed to achieving excellence for the glory of Christ our Savior.”
Southern Evangelical Seminary was incorporated on Jan. 6, 1992, and began offering classes on Sept. 10, 1992. A year-long 25th anniversary celebration will culminate at SES’s 24th Annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics on Oct. 13-14, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C., with the theme of “Pursuing a Faith That Thinks.”
The seminary was co-founded by Ross Rhoads, former evangelist and then-pastor of Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C., and Norman Geisler, long-time seminary professor and apologist. Rhoads’ burden for evangelism and Geisler’s concern to defend the historic Christian faith combined in the two-fold vision of the seminary to evangelize the world and to defend Christian faith. Early in 1992, Rhoads was appointed as the first president and Geisler was named the first dean.
Over the first few years, the seminary grew rapidly, attracting talented faculty and students from all over the United States and several other countries, as well as national attention for its unique program in evangelism and classical apologetics. SES awarded its first degree in 1995.
In 1999, the seminary was accepted as a member organization of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA), certifying that it met all standards of financial integrity and Christian ethics. On March 2, 2001, SES was also granted accreditation by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a national accrediting association recognized by the United States government. That same year, SES began a Doctor of Ministry Program, and in 2007, a Doctor of Philosophy degree was also added. Then in the spring of 2010, the Graduate School of Ministry and Missions was approved to offer the Master of Theology as a four-year academic degree.
The mission of SES is to “train men and women, based on the inerrant and infallible written Word of God, for the evangelization of the world and defense of the historic Christian faith.” Central to this purpose is the provision of a biblical basis and an academic understanding of Christians’ commitment to Christ. SES provides an educational opportunity where the Christian worldview is both a framework for thinking and a dynamic for living.
SES offers an undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, as well as graduate and doctorate level degree programs specializing in Apologetics, Biblical Studies, Philosophy, Church Ministry and Religion. Apologetics and evangelism are woven into every course.
Land was inaugurated as the SES president in October 2013. He had previously served as the longtime president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
At SES’s apologetics blog, www.WhyDoYouBelieve.org, Land and other SES voices address the most pressing issues of the day. SES also explores ethical issues through its “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program; for more information, visit www.ethics.ses.edu.
Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on nearly 800 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network, 100 on the Bott Radio Network and almost 400 on the CSN radio network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, airs on the NRB Network Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For details about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.
Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”
Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.
Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”
For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or its Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit www.ethics.ses.edu.
For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Jen Retallick, 610-584-1096, ext. 100, [email protected], or Deborah Hamilton, 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.
Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.