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OT prof experiences God’s call as ‘not necessarily geographic’

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–For some people, God’s call can lead down many different paths, sometimes even taking unexpected turns.

Such has been the case for F.B. Huey, professor of Old Testament emeritus and associate dean for theology Ph.D. degrees emeritus at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

Huey, who was named a 2001 distinguished alumnus by the seminary earlier this year, felt the call to vocational ministry within weeks after becoming a Christian at the age of 24.

“I was praying one night for the Lord to show me what I could do to express my gratitude to him for what he’d done for me,” Huey recounted. He was led to the 10th chapter of Romans, in which the apostle Paul asked the question, “And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

“It was like a light being turned on, and that was what the Lord was telling me he wanted me to do,” Huey said. “I felt a call to ministry and the mission field.”

The call, although strong, was not specific at the time, Huey said.

Having just completed his undergraduate degree in business at the University of Texas at Austin, he enrolled at Southwestern and earned a bachelor of divinity degree in 1958.

During Huey’s last year of work for his degree, Frank Means, then Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) representative for South America, suggested that Huey pursue a ministry in teaching in a Baptist seminary.

“I had no idea that that would be the way the Lord was leading me,” Huey said, “but I took that as direction.”

Upon completion of his doctor of theology in 1961 (which he later upgraded to a Ph.D.), Huey took an assignment at the South Brazil Baptist Theological Seminary, where he taught Old Testament for five years.

In 1965, Huey returned to Texas on furlough, teaching as a guest professor at Southwestern. At the time, he planned to remain for a year and return to Brazil. God’s plan, however, took him in a different direction.

Ralph Smith, then head of the Old Testament department, approached Huey with the offer of a permanent position at Southwestern. Huey and his wife, Nonna, immediately began praying about the possibility.

“I had always had the notion, like a lot of other people, that once you go to the foreign mission field, you stay there the rest of your life,” Huey said. “But we got clear guidance that the Lord wanted us to stay here.”

Huey was a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southwestern for 25 years, until his retirement in 1990. He remained as an adjunct professor until 1995. And, over the years, he has been an interim pastor 27 times.

“Dr. Huey is a world-class Hebrew scholar,” said Rick Lineberger, a former student of Huey’s and now pastor at First Baptist Church, Grapevine, Texas.

“My life was touched deeply by his great love for God’s Word and his ability to communicate it to others,” Lineberger continued. “Dr. Huey understood the balance of rigorous academic discipline and compassionate care in helping students grow spiritually.”

In addition to having written nine books and numerous articles in journals and encyclopedias, Huey has been involved in the development of two major biblical translations. From 1968-71, Huey was a team translator for the New American Standard Bible, and from 1970-76, he worked on the New International Version in a similar capacity.

He remembers the translation process as a demanding but rewarding one, working with teams during spring or winter breaks and during the summers.

Huey said he “learned more just being involved in that than I think we would have in a total degree program. As far as the time and the hours put in on it, I imagine it would have exceeded the work done for a graduate degree.”

While God’s leadership has guided Huey into many opportunities and ministries, the call he received at 24 remains constant.

“I have learned … that the call is not necessarily geographic,” Huey said. “It’s just being where the Lord wants you.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at https://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: F.B. HUEY.

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  • Tony Imms