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Record enrollment, new ethics professor at NOBTS


NEW ORLEANS (BP)–New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustees executive committee elected an ethics professor and heard reports on record-breaking enrollment and ongoing construction in their regular meeting on December 3, 2002.

The seminary’s latest enrollment figures indicate a total enrollment of 3,321, the highest ever in the history of the institution, NOBTS President Chuck Kelley told trustees. The continuing growth of enrollment has accompanied campus construction, focused primarily on student housing.

Beginning next semester, all 36 units of the newest student housing, for families with multiple children, will be ready for occupancy, Kelley said. In addition, the seminary is continuing work on the next phase of the Master Plan, which involves building more new apartments for both single and married students, he said.

Continuing the process of adding new teachers to the seminary faculty, the trustees elected Jeffrey B. Riley, adjunct faculty member at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Ft. Worth, Texas, and pastor of First Baptist Church, Calvert, Texas, as assistant professor of ethics, effective January 1.

“The addition of Jeff Riley to the division of theological and historical studies strengthens what is already a strong team of faculty in that area,” said Perry Hancock, dean of graduate studies at NOBTS. “His expertise in biblical ethics will provide students with a firm foundation from which they can address with confidence the important ethical issues of our day.”

Riley, a native of Auburn, Ala., earned two degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, including the doctor of philosophy degree with a major in Christian ethics and a minor in theology in 2001; and the master of divinity degree with biblical languages in 1992. He also did post-graduate coursework toward the master of theology degree with a major in theology and Christian ethics in 1994. While at Southwestern, he was presented with two awards, the W.T. Conner Memorial Award, presented for outstanding achievement in the Department of Theology; and the Albert Venting Jr. Award, presented to the member of the graduating class of the School of Theology selected by the theological faculty as being most qualified to deliver the class address.

Riley also did graduate work toward a master of business administration degree (1984) and earned the bachelor of science degree (1983) from Auburn (Ala.) University, where he was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma, the national freshman honorary society, and Beta Gamma Sigma, a national business and management honorary society.

Calling education a “life-time adventure,” Riley said his teaching interests are in biblical ethics, historical and contemporary philosophical and theological foundations in ethics, and historical theology. “The Christian life is a wonderful, yet sometimes difficult, adventure with the Lord,” said Riley. “My passion is to participate with God in preparing a faithful people for life in the Kingdom of God and for the glory of Christ Jesus.”

“Jeff Riley brings a unique blend of biblical, theological, and pastoral perspectives to the task of teaching the next generation of Southern Baptist ministers how to teach and model godly living,” said Steve Lemke, seminary provost. “He has all the tools to become one of the most outstanding Christian ethicists in the evangelical world.”

Riley was ordained and licensed for ministry at Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn, where he served as a pastoral intern. In 1968, he was baptized in the same church. He and his wife, Laura Anderson Riley, who has eight years of teaching experience, have two children, William and Rhett.

Dan Holcomb, chairman of the division of theological and historical studies, praised the addition of Riley to the divisional faculty. “He brings solid academic training together with considerable pastoral experience and evangelical sympathies to address the critical issues of our time. His social vision and ethics are grounded in Holy Scripture.”
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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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