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EDUCATION BRIEFS: SBTS, GGBTS fill positions; MBTS to examine Jehovah’s Witnesses; prof questions ‘rush to relevance’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Three new faculty members have been appointed to the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth, while four visiting professors have been added to the biblical counseling program.

The three new Billy Graham School faculty members, all graduates of Southern Seminary, are:

— Paul Chitwood as assistant professor of evangelism and church growth. Chitwood, who will remain as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Mount Washington, Ky., is the immediate past president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He currently is chairman of the International Mission Board trustees’ mission personnel committee. Chitwood, a native of Jellico, Tenn., holds both a Ph.D. and master of divinity degree from Southern.

— Adam Greenway as instructor in evangelism, church growth and applied apologetics and associate director of professional doctoral studies. Greenway formerly was pastor of The Baptist Church at Andover in Lexington, Ky., and currently is serving as interim pastor. He also is a trustee of LifeWay Christian Resources. A native of Frostproof, Fla., Greenway holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas and will graduate with a Ph.D. from Southern in December.

— Bill Henard as assistant professor of evangelism and church growth. A Knoxville, Tenn., native, Henard has served the past eight years as senior pastor of Porter Memorial Church in Lexington, Ky., and is chairman of LifeWay’s trustees. In 2008, Henard will publish his first book, “E3: Evangelicals Engaging Emergent.” Henard holds master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Southwestern and a Ph.D. from Southern.

Joining Southern Seminary’s biblical counseling program as visiting professors are:

— Paul David Tripp, president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a counselor for 25 years and a member of the pastoral staff of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. He also is an adjunct professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he earned his doctor of ministry degree, and at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation in Glenside, Pa. Tripp is the author of “Lost in the Middle,” “Age of Opportunity,” “War of Words” and “Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands.”

— David Powlison, a faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation and a visiting professor at Westminster. Powlison also edits The Journal of Biblical Counseling and is the author of several books, including “Seeing with New Eyes” and “Speaking Truth in Love.” He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of divinity degree from Westminster.

— Robert Jones, assistant professor of biblical counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, who will continue to teach at the North Carolina SBC seminary. He is the author of “Uprooting Anger: Biblical Help for a Common Problem.” Jones holds an M.Div. from the Chicago-area Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a D.Min. from Westminster Theological Seminary.

— Robert Burrelli, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Bridgewater, Mass. He holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University and a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary. Burrelli is a certified counselor with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors.

NEW ROLES AT GGBTS — Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary has named Reggie Thomas as director of its Southern California campus and Eddie Pate as director of the Kim School of Global Missions at its northern California campus in Mill Valley.

Thomas, who also will be an assistant professor of leadership, most recently was the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ director of congregational leadership. He has served as pastor of churches in California and Texas and as a director of missions in New Mexico. The Tennessee native currently is a doctor of ministry candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. He holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary and an undergraduate degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

Pate, who preceded Thomas as director of the Gate’s Southern California campus, previously spent 11 years as an international missionary to North Africa and the Middle East. The California native also has taught at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Virginia. Pate holds doctor of ministry and master of divinity degrees Southwestern and an undergraduate degree from California Baptist College (now University) in Riverside.

MBTS TO EXAMINE JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES — Jehovah’s Witnesses will be the focus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s fall interfaith evangelism workshop Oct. 12-13 at the Kansas City, Mo., campus.

Keynote speakers will be Paul Blizard, a Southern Baptist pastor and former Jehovah’s Witness; Tal Davis, manager of strategic evangelism coordination for the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board; and Robert M. Bowman, Jr., manager of apologetics and interfaith evangelism for the board.

“With the knowledge and experience of these speakers,” MBTS President R. Philip Roberts said, “we believe participants will be well-equipped to share the Gospel with this particular group.”

Blizard and his wife Pat are both former third-generation Jehovah’s Witnesses. He worked his way up to become a member of the world headquarters staff in Brooklyn, N.Y., and she was a fulltime missionary. They both converted to Christianity in 1982 after almost losing their daughter due to the Jehovah’s Witness policy requiring refusal of blood transfusions. Now an M.Div. graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, Blizard is senior pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Beckley, W.Va.

For more information about Midwestern Seminary’s Jehovah’s Witness workshop, call 1-800-944-MBTS (6287) or e-mail [email protected]


Keith Eitel, dean of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s school of evangelism and missions, told a chapel audience Sept. 20 that upholding biblical parameters in cross-cultural contexts and maintaining holiness are essential elements to missions and ministry.

Amid the contemporary push for “rushing to relevance,” Eitel said it must be “within biblical boundaries.” Too often, he said, Christians allow the world, rather than Scripture, to take the first step in determining how they communicate the Gospel.

Eitel, a former missionary in Cameroon, Africa, questions “theology on tap,” referencing the practice of a church whose leaders discuss theology while drinking beer at local bars as a form of outreach. “I can commend the desire … to go into places like this [with the Gospel],” he said, “but we are to have boundaries.”

Eitel also shared his shock at hearing of a missionary in Indonesia who bowed to the Hindu god Shiva in order to appear spiritually minded and relevant to the people. “I fear that we may rush to relevance in such a way, with our heart right for the relevance, that we lose the Gospel message in the process,” Eitel said.

Citing 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, Eitel stated, “There are limits that need to be set in place that control our methodologies for engaging the lostness we see in the world.” He noted, for example, the Apostle Paul’s admonition in verse 14 for Christians not to be bound to unbelievers.

The only way to contextualize the Gospel to the culture is by “the word of truth and the power of God,” Eitel said, quoting from 2 Corinthians 6:7.

To view the chapel video, visit www.swbts.edu/rushtorelevance.
Compiled by Art Toalston, editor of Baptist Press, with reporting by Jeff Robinson of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Amanda Phifer of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary; Amelia Hendra of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and Keith Collier of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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