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New Orleans Seminary welcomes Ken Keathley as dean of students


NEW ORLEANS (BP)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley has announced the appointment of Kenneth Keathley as the new dean of students.

Though the job title is dean of students, the notion of the task is similar to the work of a pastor, Kelley said. “Because our main business is equipping pastors and other ministers, we want to approach the care and nurture of our students the way a pastor approaches the care and nurture of his congregation,” Kelley said.

Keathley, former assistant professor of theology and philosophy and director of the doctor of ministry program at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo., has served a variety of pastoral positions, including churches in Missouri and Raleigh, N.C., bringing a pastor’s heart to the dean of student’s position. “I see the dean of students as the most pastoral of the administrative positions,” Keathley said, explaining his approach to the position.

Keathley said he has had gratifying experiences in the churches he has served, including seeing two churches grow significantly. One church, Westwood Baptist Church in Poplar Bluff, Mo., started with 11 charter members and over the next 10 years baptized 440 new Christians. “The Lord was doing a wonderful thing, and I got to be a part of it,” he said.

When Keathley entered the academic world, he brought his pastoral approach with him. For example, while teaching at MBTS, Keathley began a 6 a.m. Bible study/accountability group for his students. The effort expanded into two more Bible study meetings at 6 a.m. each week. It was at these meetings where Keathley was able to model what he was learning in his Christian walk. “It was remarkable to see the spiritual growth that occurred, in me and in the young men that I led,” he said.

To that end, Keathley said he looks forward to the spiritual formation classes offered at New Orleans Seminary. These classes feature faculty-mentored groups that meet once a week for accountability, mentoring and spiritual formation.

Keathley received both his doctor of philosophy and master of divinity degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., in 2000 and 1995, respectively. He also earned a master of natural sciences degree in mathematics from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau in 1993 and a bachelor of arts degree in Bible from Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga in 1980.

Teaching theology at MBTS was also very rewarding to Keathley. His dissertation study concerned the influence of Catholic theology on Clark Pinnock, a former faculty member of New Orleans Seminary. At the seminary, Pinnock taught Paige Patterson, who in turn was Keathley’s teacher. Trained under Pinnock’s then-Baptist conservatism, Patterson heavily influenced Keathley as a student and as a teacher himself.

To that end, Keathley recently honored his teacher in his article, “Pinnock’s Pilgrimage: The Curious Quest of my Teacher’s Teacher,” part of an honorary Festschrift dedicated to Patterson. Defined as a volume of writings by different authors presented as a tribute or memorial especially to a scholar, the Festschrift, entitled “Here I Stand: Essays in Honor of Dr. Paige Patterson,” debuted at this year’s Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla.

Keathley credits Patterson for teaching him his educational philosophy, which includes modeling. “What you have modeled is more easily accepted,” he said, pointing to the Savior’s primary teaching method.

“We are delighted to have a dean of students with such a love for seminary students,” said Steve Lemke, New Orleans’ provost. “Both as pastor of a church near a seminary and as a seminary professor, Ken Keathley has invested his ministry in the lives of theological students. And, as an added bonus, he is an excellent teacher in the areas of theology and philosophy.”

Keathley and his wife, Penny, have two teenage children, Matthew and Allison.
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  • Shannon Baker

    Shannon Baker is director of communications for the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey and editor of the Network’s weekly newsletter, BRN United.

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