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SBC DIGEST: Roger Alford named Christian Index editor; Abraham Kuruvilla joins SBTS faculty

Roger Alford named editor of The Christian Index

By Christian Index Staff

DULUTH, Ga. (BP) – Longtime journalist Roger Alford has been named editor of the Christian Index, the nation’s oldest continuously published religious newspaper founded in 1822.

Roger Alford

Alford, 59, brings to the Index nearly four decades of journalism experience, which include a long stint with The Associated Press, the world’s largest news-gathering operation.

“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to lead this historic publication,” Alford said. “It’s no secret that all newspapers have been struggling in recent decades with plummeting circulation and revenue, and the Index hasn’t been spared from those struggles. But I truly believe brighter days lie ahead, and I count it a privilege to lead this nearly 200-year-old newspaper as it enters its third century of service.”

Alford, whose appointment is effective May 1, was the founding editor of Kentucky Today, an online newspaper serving Kentucky Baptists. That newspaper, launched five years ago, has been remarkably successful, recording 1.8 million page views between January and December of last year.

“Roger’s experience in both secular and sacred media has uniquely prepared him for this role,” said Thomas Hammond, Georgia Baptist Mission Board executive director. “He has a proven track record for developing the kinds of innovative approaches needed to ensure that the Index continues as a vibrant and trusted source of information for Georgia’s 1.2 million Southern Baptists.”

Alford began his journalism career working for the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group as a reporter in the southeastern Kentucky town of Middlesboro. He worked at newspapers in Ashland, Ky., Portsmouth, Ohio, and Columbus, Ohio, before joining The Associated Press, first as a correspondent covering the impoverished central Appalachian region, and later covering government and politics.

Late in his career with AP, Alford surrendered to the Lord and became a bi-vocational pastor at Long Ridge Baptist Church in Owenton, Ky. It was during that time that International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood, then-executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, invited Alford to become the KBC communications director. Alford remained in that role five years before moving to the IMB for a brief stint as vice president for communications. He has been serving as pastor of South Fork Baptist Church in Kentucky for the past two years.

“All across Georgia, our churches are engaged in unique ministries aimed at getting the Gospel to the multitudes, and our people are out there on the frontlines every day serving in amazing ways,” Alford said. “I look forward to giving ‘honor unto whom honor is due’ by telling their stories in the pages of the Index.”

Alford and his wife Susan have three grown children – Emily, a teacher, Josh, a technology consultant, and Mary, a journalist.

Noted preaching scholar Abraham Kuruvilla joining SBTS faculty

By Travis Hearne and Jeff Robinson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of noted preaching professor Abraham Kuruvilla as its newest faculty member.

Abraham Kuruvilla

Kuruvilla formerly served as senior research professor of preaching and pastoral ministry at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also a practicing medical doctor who has specialized in dermatology.

Kuruvilla holds an MD, a PhD in immunology and a PhD in hermeneutics and is the author of numerous books, including A Manual for Preaching: The Journey from Text to Sermon (Baker, 2019) and several volumes on Genesis, Judges, Psalms (forthcoming), Mark, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Timothy/Titus (forthcoming) in a series of theological commentaries for preachers. His book, A Vision for Preaching: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry (Baker, 2015), was a 2016 Preaching Today book award recipient. He has also contributed widely to various medical journals over the past two decades.

“He brings a wealth of his own personal experience from his remarkable background in both theology and medicine,” SBTS President Albert Mohler said. “He is a stellar professor, and we are extremely glad to make this announcement.”

Kuruvilla is ethnically Indian, but was born in Kuwait and has studied and ministered across the globe – earning degrees from the University of Kerala in India, Baylor College of Medicine and most recently, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. He has served in professorships in India, Singapore, Australia and Sri Lanka. Kuruvilla served as president of the Evangelical Homiletics Society in 2010-2011 and was book review editor for the Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society from 2009-2019.

In addition to serving the academy, Kuruvilla has been intimately involved in local church ministry since the mid-1990s. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 2005 at Plano Bible Chapel, in Plano, Texas, and has served in several interim preaching roles and as a teaching elder in two local churches.

Most fundamentally, he is a faithful expositor of God’s Word, Mohler said.

“Abraham Kuruvilla is one of the most important homileticians and professors of preaching in the world today, and the reason for that is quite simple: He is himself a gifted and committed preacher. He is a scholar of preaching,” Mohler said.

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