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FROM THE SEMINARIES: Deaths of longtime NOBTS registrar, former SWBTS missions prof

Longtime NOBTS registrar Paul Gregoire dies

By Marilyn Stewart/NOBTS

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Paul Gregoire, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary registrar for 29 years, passed away Tuesday (March 21) after a brief battle with cancer.

“Paul Gregoire was a faithful servant who embodied what we are about at NOBTS, servants who seek to be faithful to His calling,” said Jamie Dew, president. 

Dew shared the news with the seminary family at the start of the regularly-scheduled chapel service, minutes after receiving word of Gregoire’s passing.

“I praise God this morning for his faith. I praise God for the dying grace that I got to see with my own two eyes last night in his final hours,” Dew said.

Gregoire joined the NOBTS staff in 1987 as a computer analyst as the seminary first ventured into the computer age. At that time, registration involved long lines of students snaking through the library with “four-part McBee slips” hand-signed by faculty members.

Registrar from 1993 until his retirement as registrar emeritus last year, Gregoire superintended 134 graduations and signed an estimated 16,000 diplomas.

“Dr. Gregoire believed deeply in the ministry of the seminary and gave his life’s service to make us more effective,” said Norris Grubbs, provost. “He served generations of students and faculty during his time as registrar.”

Grubbs said Gregoire taught throughout his tenure as an adjunct professor and particularly enjoyed teaching in the seminary’s prison extension center.

Gregoire earned the Associate of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry (’84), Master of Religious Education (’86), and the Doctor of Education (’92, changed to a Ph.D. in ’02) from NOBTS, all while pastoring St. Bernard Baptist Church in Chalmette, La. and raising two sons with his wife, Mae.

For some time, Gregoire held the distinction as the only Southern Baptist seminary registrar who served also as dean of admissions.

In a 2016 article in the NOBTS magazine Vision, Gregoire related that his job began the moment the ink dried on a student’s acceptance letter. His greatest joy, Gregoire was quoted as saying, was “seeing that student through from application to graduation.”

Many noted Gregoire’s willingness to help international students as they worked through the details of enrolling in seminary.

“Paul was definitely the best friend an international student could have,” said Jeff Griffin, dean of libraries. “These students often have no idea how to navigate various aspects of American life nor how to navigate higher education. Paul made everything possible and doable to ensure an international student’s success at NOBTS.”

In the Vision 2016 article, Gregoire pointed to the emotion of graduation day with 1,500 people on their feet singing “To God Be the Glory” as a visual representation of his goal in life. 

“Paul Gregoire was a highly detailed, meticulously organized registrar, but he also had a great heart, as is evidenced by his many years as a bi-vocational pastor,” said Robert Stewart, professor of philosophy and theology. “In addition, Paul’s love for his family was obvious to all, and an inspiration to many. I’m grateful for the many years of friendship he and I shared. He will truly be missed.”

Former SWBTS professor of missions Samuel Shahid dies at 87

By Ashley Allen/SWBTS

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – Samuel Shahid, professor of missions in the Islamic Studies program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1998-2013, died March 2. He was 87 years old.

“Dr. Shahid was a founder of the Islamic Studies program at SWBTS and raised the awareness of the Southern Baptists to the need for the Gospel among Islamic people across the Middle East,” said John D. Massey, dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions. “He was a passionate Christian apologist and scholar of Islamic theology, training many students sent by Southern Baptist churches to serve in Islamic contexts around the world. He will be sorely missed.”

Born in Egypt on March 21, 1935, Shahid relocated to Beirut, Lebanon, where he met his wife, Ellen, who preceded him in death. While in Lebanon, Shahid served as the assistant pastor of Ras-Beirut Baptist Church in Beirut for 26 years before moving his family to Chicago, Illinois, for safety concerns. During his six years in Chicago, Shahid simultaneously served as a church planter and director of singles ministry at Arab Baptist Church in Chicago.

Shahid earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago in 1982. Additionally, he earned a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts, both in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, from the American University of Beirut in 1967 and 1964, respectively.

Following his time of service in Chicago, Shahid moved to New Jersey where he translated the Old Testament into modern Arabic. During his time in New Jersey, Shahid served as an assistant professor at Monmouth College in West Long Brand, New Jersey. In 1988, when he began serving as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Seminary, Shahid founded Good News for the Crescent World, a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Texas, that reaches out to Muslims. 

In 1998, Shahid was appointed full professor of missions in the Islamic studies program at Southwestern Seminary, where he served until 2013. 

In addition to his theological academic service, Shahid was a prolific writer having authored the books What is Man?Was Jesus Really Crucified?, and The Fallen Nature of Man in Islam and Christianity, among others. Additionally, Shahid served as a member of the executive committee of the Lebanese Baptist Convention (1973-1976) and a member of the board of directors of the Beirut Baptist School (1974-1976).

Shahid is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Tifany Shahid; his daughter and son-in-law Mona Shahid-Moore and Shane Moore; and daughter May Shahid. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Martha Ellen, and two sisters, Lydia and Najla Shahid.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Good News for the Crescent World in Shahid’s memory.

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