The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), representing more than 47,000 churches and 15 million persons, recognizes a conflict between faith and science. The L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture (CFC) at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) seeks to create more openness among our faculty and 5,302 students, and model how respectful dialogue between faith and science can occur by focusing on the theme of what it means to be human. Convinced that “all truth is God’s truth,” we intend to reduce a conflict posture, especially in areas like evolution, and promote charitable and respectful dialogue. We aim to impact SBC scholars and seminary professors; SEBTS alumni; current and future SBC pastors, namely SEBTS students; and lay audiences.
To achieve this goal, we will pursue scholarly engagement activities around three core themes: Year 1-What it means to be human; Year 2-Human Formation and Flourishing; and Year 3-Humans and Technology. Twelve scholars will gather in annual multi-day interdisciplinary workshops and a scholar in residence program will bring scientists and theologians to campus. For SEBTS students, we will host an exclusive mentorship program. We will reinforce these activities for our students, alumni, and community via a major annual conference and a series of six to eight annual campus events. We will augment these with off-campus events, including closed door meetings between SBC leaders and scientists, and the production of online resources (20 articles, 12 podcasts, 10 videos per year). These activities will produce academic papers and books to influence the teaching and research of at least sixty-eight SBC scholars as well as reach more than a thousand pastors and seminary students and more than 1.6 million others via website traffic, podcast listens, and media coverage along with a million media impressions from our ad campaign. Finally, we seek to raise at least $500,000 towards a $1.5 million endowment for the CFC.