"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:2 NRSV)
EQUIPPING AND EMPOWERING THE NEXT GENERATION OF BAPTIST LEADERS
The Baptist House of Studies (BHS) at Perkins School of Theology fosters community for ministerial students, faculty, and staff who identify with the Baptist and Free Church traditions. The BHS is a spiritual, rather than a physical, house that especially supports and encourages students as they pursue their academic and ecclesial training in an ecumenical and university-based seminary.
During their time at Perkins, Baptist students and those from Free Church traditions such as the United Church of Christ, The Christian Church/Disciples of Christ, Mennonite, and non-denominational churches, will be able to take a concentration in Baptist studies. In addition to the mentoring, internships, and fellowship provided by the Baptist House, students will be able to take classes in Baptist history and polity and in leadership within the Free Church tradition.
The BHS is led by its director, the Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles, Professor of New Testament and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Perkins School of Theology. The Rev. Dr. George Mason, Senior Pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas and President of Faith Commons, serves as lead advisor. A board of visitors (BOV) composed of a diverse group of clergy and laypersons from Texas and beyond gives support, encouragement, and guidance to the BHS community.
WHAT DOES THE BAPTIST HOUSE OF STUDIES OFFER STUDENTS?
Key functions of the Baptist House include:
- nurturing a spiritual community of colleagues and friends;
- helping students discern the shape of their call and mentoring them on their vocational path;
- teaching Baptist and Free Church history, theology and polity;
- providing opportunities for reflective practice in ministry through congregational, hospital and community nonprofit internships;
- preparing students for leadership (lay or ordained) in historically Baptist or Free Church-related contexts;
- connecting students to a variety of churches, denominations, agencies, and institutions; and,
- networking for employment after graduation or aiding in the pursuit of further academic or professional degrees.
Check out this article about the Baptist House of Studies featured in Perspective Online.
Professor of New Testament and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Perkins School of Theology
An ordained American Baptist minister, Dr. Clark-Soles received her B.A. from Stetson University where she focused on both Philosophy and Russian Studies. She earned her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and her Ph.D. in New Testament from Yale University.
Her particular areas of expertise and publication include:
• The Johannine literature (the Gospel of John; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Revelation)
• Evil, Suffering, Death, and Afterlife
• Disability Studies and the Bible
• Women in the Bible
• Immersion trips to Israel and Palestine
“With the Baptist House of Studies, students enjoy the rich combination of a stellar ecumenical education along with spiritual and professional formation that is distinctively Baptist. What’s more, they get all of the advantages that come with the larger Southern Methodist University setting, including the Cox School of Business, the Meadows School of the Arts, the Law School, and the Simmons School of Education. Situated in the Metroplex, Perkins School of Theology has vital relationships with churches, hospitals and nonprofit agencies that afford unparalleled opportunities for our students. The possibilities for creative internships, course offerings, and interaction with vibrant leaders are boundless. In Matthew 13:52, Jesus says: ‘Therefore, every legal expert who has been trained as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings old and new things out of their treasure chest.’ Join us as we treasure the old and follow the Holy Spirit into new ways of being Baptist for the sake of this world that God loves so dearly and completely!"
OUR LEAD ADVISOR
Rev. Dr. George A. Mason
Senior Pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church
Dr. George A. Mason has been senior pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas since 1989. He is a leader among progressive Baptists affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Fellowship Southwest. He helped create the Affirming Network of CBF and continues to serve as an advisor in their efforts toward full inclusion of LGBTQ ministers in Baptist life. George began a pastoral residency program at Wilshire in 2002 called Pathways to Ministry that has expanded to include a high school vocational discernment program (YourCall) and multiple ministry internships as well. In 2018, George founded Faith Commons, a multi-faith, multi-ethnic nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing faith to bear for the sake of the common good. He serves as the group’s president and is the host of its weekly program Good God, conversations about faith and public life, which can be found on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and all the places you find podcasts and videocasts.
Dr. Mason graduated from the University of Miami (FL) with a Bachelor of Business Administration (1978) degree, and then received Master of Divinity (1982) and Doctor of Philosophy (1987) degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His doctoral dissertation in systematic theology is titled God’s Freedom as Faithfulness: A Critique of Juergen Moltmann’s Social Trinitarianism.
George has served as convener of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, an organization of faith leaders uniting for justice and compassion. He has also served on the Baptist advisory boards of Brite Divinity School and Duke Divinity School.
OUR BAPTIST HOUSE ASSISTANT
Lindsay Bruehl began her work with the Baptist House in 2019 as she entered Perkins as a fulltime Master of Divinity student. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a major in finance. She worked in the oil and gas industry before answering the call to ministry.
Lindsay is an active blogger on the spiritual life and a social media connector. She and her family are members of Wilshire Baptist Church.
ABOUT PERKINS SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
The primary mission of Perkins School of Theology, as a community devoted to theological study and teaching in the service of the church of Jesus Christ, is to prepare women and men for faithful leadership in Christian ministry.
Perkins School of Theology affirms its relationships to the community of learning that is Southern Methodist University, to the universal church (inclusive, ecumenical and global), The United Methodist Church specifically, and to its particular geographical and cultural setting in the southwestern United States.
These relationships are a source of strength and avenues of service for the school as it pursues its twin tasks of theological reflection and theological education to the glory of God.
More information for prospective students can be found here.
For more information about the Baptist House of Studies at Perkins School of Theology, contact:
Rev. Dr. Jaime Clark-Soles
SMU will not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. SMU’s commitment to equal opportunity includes nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The Executive Director for Access and Equity and Title IX coordinator has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies.