Discover history, and more, in England this summer

Students who go to England this summer for the seminary’s 20th annual Oxford summer study program will come away with more than just enriching history lessons.

“There has been no other time that I could get to know students and professors as well as I did on the Oxford tour,” said Madison Grace, a master of divinity student who went on the trip last year. “You cannot replace being tackled in ultimate Frisbee by Dr. Yarnell.”

Malcolm Yarnell, director of  Southwestern’s Center for Theological Research and assistant professor of systematic theology, oversees the Oxford program. He said the opportunity for students to live and learn alongside seminary professors for three weeks is nearly as valuable as the trip itself.

“Seriously, many students have noted that being with your professors in close quarters for such a long period allows for mentoring that is otherwise rare in the hustle and bustle of the regular seminary experience,” Yarnell said.

The focus of the 2006 Oxford program will be “preaching with the great British preachers,” according to David Allen, dean of the School of Theology and director of the Center for Expository Preaching.

“We will bring out the impact of expositional preaching in the history of British preaching, or the lack thereof during certain periods of British preaching,” Allen said.

Allen said he is excited to take students to the actual places where preachers like John Wyclif, William Tyndale, Hugh Latimer, John Knox, John Bunyan, John Wesley, William Carey, Charles Spurgeon, and Martin Lloyd-Jones lived and ministered, or even were martyred for their principles.

“The students will actually see the subjects they study rather than just read about them,” Yarnell added. “Walking where the first Baptists walked, standing where Wesley preached outside, worshiping in Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle, hearing our professors preach from the pulpit of William Carey: these are irreplaceable experiences.”

In addition to visiting the homes, churches and places of persecution and imprisonment of historical figures, students can choose from four classes and earn up to nine credit hours as part of the package. This year, Allen and Dean Denny Autrey will join professors Steven Smith, Jason Lee and Yarnell as the program’s faculty.

Two respected Texas preachers will also contribute to the learning opportunities. Michael Dean is senior pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, and the immediate past president of the seminary’s trustee board. George Harris recently retired as senior pastor of Castle Hills First Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas, and is a past president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Both men are adjunct professors at Southwestern Seminary.

“The faculty leading this tour brings outstanding qualifications to their lectures,” Allen said. “Students will have lots of personal time with our faculty to gain insight into preaching.”

Grace said he recommends the experience to everyone.

“It challenged me as a student of the Bible and as a minister,” Grace said. “In class and outside of it, ideas are shared between students and professors as to how they view some theological perspective or implement some ministry in their church.” 

Grace thinks the Oxford program experience is unparalleled.

“I would not trade this trip for any other at this seminary,” he said. “It is one thing to study about someone from a distance. It is quite another to learn as you walk where they have walked.”

Space is available for the Oxford 2006 summer study program. A deposit of $900 must be made by March 31 to secure a place. Although no visa is required, a current passport is necessary. The cost for airfare, tuition, lodging, in-country transportation and meals is $3,900.

“Nine on-campus credit hours for $3,900 while touring England, Scotland, and Wales for three weeks, with travel, meals and accommodations paid? This is a rare bargain indeed,” Yarnell said.

Complete details, the itinerary and enrollment forms can be viewed and downloaded at www.swbts.edu/oxford. Contact Madison Grace with questions at campus ext. 4488.

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