FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Pastor and former seminary administrator Benjamin Skaug was elected the new dean of Scarborough College, the undergraduate school of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, by action of the seminary’s board of trustees during their fall meeting Oct. 19. He will officially begin his duties as dean Jan. 1.
Skaug succeeds Michael Wilkinson, who has served as dean of Scarborough College since 2013. Wilkinson will continue serving on the college faculty as associate professor of theology.
“I continue to be amazed by the blessings God is pouring out on Southern Baptists’ crown jewel seminary,” SWBTS President Adam W. Greenway said. “Dr. Skaug is providentially fitted for the task of leading Scarborough College, with a passion for scholarship and track record of ministry experience that will model to our students how to serve our Lord well with both their minds and hearts. I welcome Ben and Jodie to Seminary Hill and look forward to their long, fruitful ministry here.”
Provost Randy L. Stinson said, “Ben Skaug is a leader, a pastor, a builder and an academic, which is a rare combination. He has the right gifts and experience to lead Scarborough College to new levels of excellence.”
Skaug, who was also elected associate professor of theology, said when approached about the deanship, “I knew that I wanted to be part of this great team. While it was extremely difficult for me to say goodbye to the single greatest church I have ever had the honor of serving, Immanuel Baptist Church, I knew that this is where God was calling me.”
“I am looking forward to leading Scarborough College,” he said. “When I look back at my ministry career, I can see the sovereign hand of God all along the way as He has prepared me for this moment. … I am eager to serve with the faculty at Scarborough and grow with them in their passion for Christ, their academic work, and their love for our students.”
Skaug is the senior pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland, Calif., where he has served since 2016. He previously pastored churches in Colorado and South Carolina. He has also served as vice president for institutional advancement at Gateway Seminary and director of development at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 2004 by Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho.
He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Gateway Seminary, holds the Doctor of Ministry and Master of Divinity degrees from Southern Seminary, and earned an undergraduate degree from the College of Idaho.
Skaug is the author of “Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone to Hell” (Christian Focus, 2019) and has published in the area of biblical spirituality.
He has been married to his wife Jodie since 1995, and they have one child, Jessica.
Wilkinson said he began praying about a potential transition last fall and approached Stinson and Greenway in recent months about the opportunity to return to full-time teaching.
“The administrative duties of the dean’s office are very heavy and limit the opportunity to do what I love doing most – teach,” Wilkinson said. “Dr. Stinson and Dr. Greenway responded with great generosity in listening and providing me the opportunity to flourish in the classroom.
“I’m thrilled to remain on the faculty of Scarborough College and to be part of building it into a thriving, influential Christian worldview college. This move also allows me opportunities for scholarship and research that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It has been a privilege to serve as dean of Scarborough College; the faculty and students have been a great blessing in my life, and I’m very excited to continue these relationships in a new capacity.”
Greenway and Stinson expressed gratitude for Wilkinson’s service to the institution.
“Southwestern Seminary is indebted to Dr. Wilkinson for his faithful service to Scarborough College during a strategic time of its history,” said Greenway. “We are glad to honor his request to be able to give himself fully to the teaching ministry, which I know will be a blessing to our students.”
“Mike Wilkinson epitomizes the type of professor that we are trying to develop here at Scarborough College,” Stinson said. “I could not be more grateful that he will remain on this faculty and continue to teach, write and shepherd our students.”