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3 deans, 17 new faculty elected by Southwestern trustees

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary elected three deans and 17 new faculty members during their April 4-5 meeting at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

Trustees also voted to designate the seminary’s new school of evangelism and missions as the “Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.”

Ted Stone, a trustee from North Carolina, brought the motion to name the school in honor of the longtime faculty member, describing Fish as “humble and self-effacing,” but noting, “I know in my heart that more foreign missionaries, home missionaries, more educators and more pastors have sat at the feet of Roy Fish than any other evangelism professor.

“He is sending out students who have a lasting burden for lost people,” Stone said.

“The motion I have made is not to name a building. It is to name a school and its programs. I know Roy Fish has fanned the flame of evangelism in the hearts of thousands and thousands and they have gone out and won millions for Jesus Christ,” Stone said. “Some people say that evangelism has died. I can tell you it has not died in the heart of Roy Fish or those whom he has taught.”

The seminary’s three new deans will oversee The College at Southwestern, the seminary’s new undergraduate institution; its new Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions; and the school of church music.

“I don’t know of another time when three deans have been elected in a single day,” Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson said.

Emir Caner, a former Muslim, was elected dean of The College at Southwestern. Born the son of a mosque leader in Columbus, Ohio, Caner later became a follower of Jesus Christ. After completing his master of divinity degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Texas at Arlington, he served as associate dean of Southeastern’s undergraduate institution.

Caner, 38, is a sought-after speaker and author or coauthor of several books, including “Unveiling Islam: An Insider’s Look at Muslim Life and Beliefs,” “More than a Prophet: An Insider’s Response to Muslim Beliefs about Jesus and Christianity,” “Out of the Crescent Shadows: Leading Muslim Women into the Light of Christ” and “Christian Jihad: When We Killed in the Name of Christ.”

Patterson said that The College at Southwestern would grow into a “large college” under the leadership of Caner, whom he characterized as a “colorful figure.” Caner also will serve as professor of history.

Trustees elected Keith Eitel as the first dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions, which is set to admit its first students this summer. Eitel is well-known in missiology circles. His book, “Paradigm Wars: The Southern Baptist International Mission Board Faces the Third Millennium,” has been an influential work in the continuing discussion about how the world’s largest international missionary-sending organization approaches its task.

Eitel, 50, is a former career international missionary who has extensive experience in pastoring churches in addition to his academic career. He comes to Southwestern from Southeastern Seminary where he has been a professor of Christian missions since 1992. His appointment at Southwestern includes an assignment as professor of missions.

Eitel holds a doctorate of theology degree from the University of South Africa; a doctorate of missiology degree from the Chicago-area Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; a master of arts degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas; and a bachelor of arts degree from Dallas Baptist University.

Stephen Johnson, 29, was elected dean and associate professor of music in the seminary’s school of church music. Johnson and his wife, Michelle, both completed their doctorates in music arts in 2004. Johnson currently is assistant professor of composition at The Master’s College in Santa Clara, Calif.

Johnson was the winner of the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmaster’s Association composition competition in 1998. He also was selected as the winner of the 2004 Klienman Competition Contest. He is a member of the American Composers Forum, Society of Composers, Inc. and BMI.

Johnson holds a doctoral degree from the University of Southern California; master of music degree from DePaul University in Chicago; and a bachelor of music degree from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

The remainder of the new faculty members will fill posts at the seminary’s Fort Worth, Texas, campus, at the Havard School for Theological Studies in Houston, and in The College at Southwestern.

“You have the faculty in place that the seminary will need for the future,” Patterson told the trustees. “They are a unique group, a group of scholars committed to writing on two different levels — for the academy and for the local church.”

Patterson reported on the health of the seminary in his semiannual trustee report. He said the spiritual nurture of the students at the seminary is progressing. “Spiritual nurture is an area where you are never fully satisfied, but students are in high gear,” Patterson said. “On the whole you will find them an excited group, ready to go on mission for the Lord.”

The students, Patterson said, have taken up the challenge of going to Cuba, Siberia and to the Nyika people of Zambia. In Cuba, students will focus on developing leadership for the Eastern and Western Baptist conventions in the country. Patterson said all of the international mission trips have a full complement of students ready to travel.

Dorothy Patterson reported that the renovations and expansion of Pecan Manor, the president’s home, have been completed. The work was made possible by a donor in east Texas.

“Cooperative Program dollars are not going to the addition…. Not everyone understands the value of hospitality. But we must exhibit a spirit of New Testament hospitality on this campus.”

She called the president’s home “as open a house as you will find on the earth.”

The trustees’ institutional advancement committee nominated three couples to receive the seminary’s L.R. Scarborough Award. The awards will be given to Edwin and Inez Crawford. Edwin Crawford, who died last year, served as the seminary’s director of development from 1974-83 and was instrumental in obtaining funding for the seminary’s Houston campus and the recreation aerobics center on the Fort Worth campus.

The award will also be given to Carlyle B. Hayes and Stanton Nash and their wives. Carlyle Hayes served as director of development from 1988-92 and Nash served as director of planned giving from 1981-92.

“These gentlemen are being recommended for this award because all three, after completion of their employment as fulltime development officers, continued to visit with donors at their own expense, encouraging those donors to continue effective contributions to the seminary,” said Jack Terry, vice president of institutional advancement.

In other business, trustees:

— re-elected David Galvan as trustee chairman; T. Van McClain as vice chairman; and R.E. Smith as secretary. “I am always humbled by your trust,” Galvan said. “I never forget who I am and where the Lord brought me from. We are really all here by grace. I thank you for your trust.”

— approved a new master plan that would locate the center of the campus at the Robert Naylor Student Center, and which calls for a new chapel and pedestrian mall at the center of campus.

— adopted a budget of $34.25 million for the 2005-06 academic year, an 8.55 percent increase from the previous year. “We have gone up with the college and other programs, but I believe it is a valid and appropriate budget for the next year,” said Greg Kingry, vice president of business services.

— approved changes to the master of arts in lay ministry and doctor of ministry degrees. Changes to the doctor of ministry program include the revision of majors, the development of yearlong seminars and cohort or mentoring relationships, and a single fee for the entire doctor of ministry program. The program fee covers the cost of the entire program for four years.

— approved changes to the master of arts in theology degree curriculum, and approved an extension center in Bonn, Germany, where the degree will be offered.

— approved the curriculum for The College at Southwestern. The curriculum is available at http://college.swbts.edu.

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  • Gregory Tomlin