Southeastern Seminary received its new president, Daniel Akin, with a thousand-plus gathering at the seminary’s Binkley Chapel, on Wake Forest, N.C., Oct. 27, 2004. The service, themed, “devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ,” celebrated the inauguration of the 56-year-old seminary’s sixth president.
“On behalf of 42,000 churches and 16 million Southern Baptists,” SBC Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman said in his greeting, “I congratulate Dr. Akin on this momentous day from which Southeastern will go forward for the glory of God. This institution will continue to be a lighthouse for the glory of God all around the world. I thank God, as do all Southern Baptists, that this humble servant comes to the helm of leadership.”
Time Lewis, chairman of the seminary’s trustees, delivered one of the keynote speeches at the event.
“This is a glorious day in the life of this institution, a day for which we have prayed, planned and sought the Lord’s will,” Lewis said. “Dr. Akin is a man of commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and to good thinking about theology based on a firm faith in the inerrancy of God’s Word. He is a man of proven character, with a contagious passion for life, living and people. I know of no other man more adequately prepared to be president of Southeastern than Dr. Akin.”
The chapel ceremony marked the end of a weeklong celebration at the seminary campus; dozens of Southern Baptist leaders gathered to honor Akin’s accomplishments and achievements. Attendants to the celebrations included James Merritt, pastor of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga., and R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
Akin also received a special greeting from the mayor of Wake Forest, Vivian Jones, and James Royston, executive director of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the outgoing president, Paige Patterson, praised Akin as a “matchless communicator, fabulous preacher, fine theologian and exegete of the Scriptures and man of God.”
Akin had served for years below Patterson as the seminary’s dean of students; Akin refers to Patterson as his “father in ministry” and the “single most influential” mentor.
Patterson, meanwhile, continued to praise the new president, urging him to “Like Enoch, walk with Him so closely that it seems you’re closer to His house than your own.... The same God who gives you life and strength will sustain you in heavy responsibility. May God bless you every day, sweet son, as you serve the Lord.”
Akin concluded the ceremony with a pledge to go forth with God’s vision in mind.
“I pledge to build an institution that will continue to stand on the infallible and inerrant Word of God,” Akin said. “Southeastern Seminary will continue to stand for personal evangelism, world missions and the exclusivity of the Gospel. We believe heaven and hell are real and the only difference is Jesus Christ.”