ETS Highlights: St. Andrews, Southeastern, and the Baptists at ETS

The annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society occurs this upcoming week in San Antonio, Texas. April and I will fly down because I am giving a paper in a church history seminar. Sophia is also going. My parents will be there, and we are very excited for Sophia to have some grandparent time.

Much like last year, I plan to attend very few of the sessions. The broader theme of the conference is the doctrine of the Trinity, and while that is very interesting in and of itself, I fear that much of the time will simply be squabbles between the more traditional view and the eternal functional subordination perspective. I am happy to be wrong, though. I hope to spend most of my time seeing old friends from seminary and college, touring a little bit of San Antonio, networking with people who are conducting research in my field, and getting in good family time for Sophia. Some quality paper presentations are on the docket, though, and I want to list them here because I believe they are worth attention. I hope to attend as many of them as possible.


Sophia has not seen my parents since July. It is time for her to have some grandparent time!

St. Andrews

St Mary’s College in the Univeristy of St Andrews has a good showing at ETS this year. My friend Rebekah Earnshaw is doing some excellent work on John Calvin’s doctrine of creation; she will present a paper entitled “Calvin’s Modest of Trinitarian Account of the Act of Creation While Preaching from Genesis in 1559.” Her paper fits the overall theme of the conference nicely and should be of high quality. Tyler Wittman always impressed me when he presented his work here though I was only able to get to know him a little during his time in Scotland. He is offering research on Karl Barth’s Christology that I suspect will be very good. John Dunne and Logan Williams, two quality NT researchers, will offer a paper on Evangelical and Mormon interfaith dialogue. Finally, it appears that my supervisor will have a busy week. Steve Holmes will appear on a panel related to a book to which he contributed (Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church), present a paper on eternal functional subordination and inseparable operations, and contribute to a panel discussion focused on Fred Sanders’s new book on the Trinity. He is always worth hearing. He also has a gracious and fun spirit (those qualities are sadly atypical in much of the theological world, to be honest).

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

I have tremendous affection for Southeastern Seminary, my alma mater. Danny Akin, Southeastern’s president, will appear on a panel entitled “The Church, the Seminary, and the Future of Formal Theological Education.” I have respect for Dr. Akin. He is an excellent Christian leader, and I suspect this should be a profitable conversation. Some other people connected to Southeastern will be in attendance, and highlights include Dan Heimbach’s work on bioethics, Andreas Kostenberger’s paper on the pastoral epistles, and Ben Merkle’s presentation in the session on Greek grammar.


Finally, ETS is always a good time for those interested in Baptist history and theology.


John Gill is afraid that someone at some point at ETS might laugh, and that potential for frivolity makes him very worried. 

Michael Haykin will offer a paper on Andrew Fuller and spiritual formation. The Baptist Studies seminar will devote its time to considering pastor-theologians in the Baptist tradition; Roger Williams, Isaac Backus, and John Leland will receive consideration among others. The Christian History session will examine Billy Graham, the great Baptist evangelist. The Puritan Studies session will feature work on Hercules Collins, William Kiffin, and John Bunyan. I am presenting a paper on John Gill’s doctrine of the pactum salutis in a session that will also possess papers on early Baptist ordination practices, William Kiffin, and John Bunyan.

Are you going to ETS? If so, I would love to connect! Drop me a line via either email of my social media pages.

About David Rathel

Husband to April; Baptist Minister; Student at St. Mary's Divinity School at the University of St. Andrews
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