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New SEBTS theology prof is former military lawyer

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–A former military lawyer turned theologian will join the faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary this fall as an instructor of systematic theology.
Stephen D. Kovach, who currently serves as an adjunct professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill., will bring the number of faculty in the systematic theology department at the Wake Forest, N.C., seminary to three. Presently, Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Seminary, and John Hammett, a former missionary to Brazil, teach systematic theology at the school.
Kovach, 40, is scheduled to complete his doctoral studies in systematic theology at Trinity by December. A 1993 graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, Kovach distinguished himself as the recipient of the James Leo Garrett Jr. Award recognizing him as the “Outstanding Student in Historical Theology.”
Before attending seminary, Kovach served as a lawyer for four years in the U.S. Air Force. Kovach, who became a Christian as a 29-year-old in 1986, said he sensed God calling him into the ministry in late 1987. After completing his stint of service in the military, Kovach served for more than a year in his first ministry position as chaplain at the San Antonio Juvenile Detention Center. While a student at Southwestern, Kovach was pastor of Gibtown Baptist Church, Perrin, Texas.
Since 1994, Kovach has served as pastor of Crossroads Community Church, a Southern Baptist Church in Island Lake, Ill.
He is a graduate of Drake University Law School, Des Moines, Iowa, and was named the top student in constitutional law in 1981.
Kovach said theology is important because it serves as the foundation for a person’s belief system. “The truth of theology relates to how you live and what you believe, and has an effect on how you act,” he said.
“Baptists have tended in the past to underemphasize theology, and I hope at least through my ministry to help people see the importance of theology as not just something to learn but something to live.”
Kovach said he believes theology relates to all areas of ministry. “It relates to how you worship, because you understand the character of God properly,” he said. “(Theology helps) you understand why you need to evangelize because you understand the doctrine of salvation.”
Patterson said the school is blessed to have “such an able young scholar.”
“Stephen Kovach brings the kind of versatility to theological studies that is essential in this era — pastor, lawyer, teacher, scholar and husband,” said Patterson. “He puts it altogether.”

Kovach, a native of the Washington area, is married to the former Sue Ellen Williamson of Grand Rapids, Mich.

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  • Lee Weeks