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NOBTS TRUSTEES: Board OKs women’s ministry degree track, apologetics institute


NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Trustees at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary have approved a new master’s program in women’s ministry and a new apologetics institute, in addition to electing a new faculty member.

A new master of divinity degree track in women’s studies, approved by trustees April 15, includes the core ministerial competencies of the basic master of divinity program. Emphasis on biblical languages, biblical exegesis and theological and historical reflection is included in the 95-hour degree plan to help women minister to women and to address the needs and concerns of women from a biblical basis. The program also includes a built-in internship component to provide women with supervised, practical women’s ministry experience.

“This specialized focus in women’s studies will provide our female students an excellent blend of both the classical theological disciplines and practical experience,” NOBTS provost Steve Lemke said. “Not only will it afford focused training in theology and the biblical languages, but it also has a practicum for a mentored experience in women’s ministry leadership.”

The Institute for Christian Apologetics approved by trustees will be led by NOBTS professor and Greer-Heard Forum director Bob Stewart.

The institute, which will equip Christians to give informed answers about the Christian faith, will offer apologetics training through conferences and events; develop resources for churches and ministers; produce an online apologetics journal; and coordinate evangelism trips involving apologetics.

“Apologetics is one of the greatest interests of our students,” Lemke said. “The Greer-Heard Forum and this new Institute for Christian Apologetics will help us take our training in apologetics to the next level. The institute will provide a vehicle for our faculty to address a variety of issues in apologetics in which they have great expertise, including dealing with the claims of the new atheism, defending the reliability of Scripture and confronting world religions and cults.”


Trustees elected Jim Parker, associate vice president for operations, to the faculty as associate professor of biblical interpretation.

Before coming to NOBTS in July 2007 to lead the operations department, Parker served as pastor at Ashby Baptist Church in Brierfield, Ala., one of 10 churches burned in a rash of arsons in 2006.

Parker holds a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a doctor of philosophy degree from the Memphis-area Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.

In addition to his ministry experience, Parker has nearly 10 years of teaching experience on the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has served as an adjunct faculty member/instructor at Lee College in Baytown, Texas; Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala.; Lawson State Community College in Bessemer, Ala.; Birmingham Theological Seminary; and NOBTS.

NOBTS President Chuck Kelley announced the appointment of Craig Garrett as the new dean of students. A current doctor of philosophy student in psychology and counseling, Garrett came to NOBTS in 2006 after serving five years as chaplain for the Calder Woods Retirement Community in Beaumont, Texas. The retirement center is owned and operated by Buckner Baptist Benevolences.

Since his arrival on campus, Garrett has served the seminary in several roles, including a recent stint as managing director of the Providence Learning Center -– the seminary’s conferencing and continuing education program. He also taught undergraduate courses in Leavell College.

An ordained minister and licensed professional counselor, Garrett holds a bachelor of arts degree from Texas A&M University and a master of education degree from Lamar University in Beaumont. He has completed master’s-level work at Southwestern Seminary and NOBTS.

As dean of students, Garrett will provide pastoral leadership to students and oversee the student services area, including financial aid and campus life. Garrett also will be a part of the seminary’s administrative council along with the president, provost and NOBTS vice presidents.

Trustees granted tenure to Reggie Ogea, associate professor of leadership and pastoral ministry; Donna Peavey, assistant professor of Christian education in Leavell College; and Ed Steele, assistant professor of music in Leavell College. Steele also received a promotion to associate professor.

Kelley also announced that Kathy Steele has been named as director of clinical training in the psychology and counseling program.
Gary D. Myers is director of public relations for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.