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Religious educator Findley Edge, former SBTS prof, dead at 86

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Findley Edge, a professor known worldwide for his expertise in religious education, died Oct. 28 at the age of 86.

A professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for more than three decades, Edge died in Orlando, Fla., where he was a member of College Park Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife, Louvenia, and sons Hoyt and Larry. The funeral was held Nov. 1 at College Park Baptist.

Edge was a member of the Southern Seminary faculty from 1947 until 1985 and established himself as an expert in religious education with the publication of “Teaching for Results” in 1956. He wrote other books, including “Helping the Teacher,” “The Greening of the Church” and “A Quest for Vitality in Religion.”

Edge is remembered each year at Southern Seminary with the presentation of the Findley B. and Louvenia Edge Faculty Award, given to a professor for outstanding teaching. He is a two-time Southern Seminary graduate.

“He was a teacher of teachers. He was also a great preacher,” said Wayne Ward, a former Southern Seminary professor who taught alongside Edge. “The [book] that put him on the map was ‘Teaching for Results.'”

Edge is fondly remembered for tutoring black students in the mid-20th century when Kentucky law enforced racial segregation. Using their offices as classrooms, Edge and other professors unofficially taught black students one-on-one.

In a 1982 interview, Edge said he became disillusioned with the church’s attitude on race issues during the 1950s and 1960s, saying he perceived “a contrast with the failure of the church to be equally aggressive in applying the gospel to the racial situation as it was in applying it in terms of outreach.”

When Edge joined the faculty in 1947, there was no school of religious education (now known as the School of Leadership and Church Ministry). In fact, there were only two religious education professors, of which Edge was one. The seminary established the school of religious education in 1953.

“He said learning is not just getting the content out of the professors’ head to your head — or worse, out of his notebook to your notebook,” Ward said. “[Edge believed] learning is seeking the answer and searching.”

Ward said Edge was one of his “golfing buddies.” The other two were the late Clyde Francisco and J.J. “Red Top” Owens, who passed away this summer.

Edge was the founder of the Vineyard Conference Center, a seminary-based ministry that hosted conferences on such topics as marriage enrichment and pastoral growth. The center, now defunct, reached its peak in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ward said.

“It was a year-round operation,” Ward said.

Edge earned his bachelor’s and doctor of divinity degrees at Stetson University. He held master of theology and doctor of theology degrees from Southern Seminary, as well as a master of arts degree from Yale University.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: FINDLEY EDGE.

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  • Michael Foust