By Bob Allen
Trustees of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary voted 29-2 on Oct. 15 to elect Southern Baptist Theological Seminary administrator Jason Allen as the Kansas City-based school’s fifth president.
Allen, 35, succeeds former president Phil Roberts, who resigned in February amid questions about his leadership from members of the seminary’s board of trustees. Since the announcement of Allen’s nomination in September, several Southern Baptist blogs raised questions about his qualifications, experience and ties to Southern Seminary, regarded the most Calvinistic of six seminaries owned by the Southern Baptist Convention.
Trustee chairman Kevin Shrum, lead pastor of Inglewood Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., voiced confidence in the board’s decision to bring Allen, vice president for institutional advancement at the seminary in Louisville, Ky., to Midwestern.
“We couldn’t be more pleased to announce the election of Jason Allen as the fifth president of Midwestern Seminary,” Shrum said in a press release. “In addition to a tremendous student body, a fine faculty, and a great staff, we now have a new president that will help us embark on a new phase in the history of Midwestern. So, we are very excited about moving forward, about the future, and about what God is going to continue to do at Midwestern.”
A member of Southern Seminary’s executive cabinet since January 2006, Allen has been vice president of institutional advancement since 2009 after three years as executive assistant to President Albert Mohler. Allen has taught courses in personal spiritual disciplines, pastoral ministry and preaching, while serving as senior pastor of Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville.
He holds Ph.D. and master of divinity degrees from Southern and an undergraduate degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. Allen and his wife, Karen, have five children.
Robin Hadaway, professor of missions at Midwestern, has served as interim president since Feb. 10. Started in 1957, Midwestern has had a rocky history since the retirement of longtime President Milton Ferguson in 1995. Trustees fired President Mark Coppenger, Roberts’ predecessor, in 1999. Roberts’ presidency lasted 11 years.