News Articles

SBC DIGEST: Stephen Rummage accepts Okla. City church’s call; prof earns 2nd Ph.D. in Islamic studies

In today’s SBC Digest: Stephen Rummage accepts Oklahoma City church’s call; SBTS prof earns second Ph.D. in Islamic studies.

Stephen Rummage accepts call from Oklahoma City church

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP) — Stephen Rummage has accepted a call to become pastor of Quail Springs Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, moving from the Tampa-area Bell Shoals Baptist Church where he had been senior pastor since 2009.

Quail Springs voted to call Rummage on Sunday (Jan. 27) after he preached at the church’s three morning services.

He will succeed Hance Dilbeck, who led Quail Springs from 2003 until becoming executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma in January 2018.

Rummage is scheduled to preach the convention sermon at the 2019 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., and is a member of the SBC Executive Committee search committee seeking a successor to Frank Page, who left the position last year.

From 2016-2018, Rummage, 50, was president of the Florida Baptist State Convention and chairman of the SBC Executive Committee. He chaired the SBC Committee on Resolutions in 2016 and was a committee member in 2015. He also was the SBC’s 2009-2010 second vice president.

“When we entered ministry together 27 years ago, Michele and I promised the Lord to follow wherever He led and to serve wherever He called us,” Rummage said in a statement released by Bell Shoals. “We have sought to be faithful to that commitment, and God has brought joy and blessing to our lives as a result.

“We know that God has great plans for Bell Shoals’ future,” Rummage added. “And we will be praying for God to make clear the man He wants to lead this great church going forward.”

Under Rummage’s leadership, Bell Shoals added four campuses and baptized more than 2,200 people. He also has led Bell Shoals to deploy dozens of local, national and international missions teams, and the church’s disaster relief efforts have extended from North Carolina to the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico. While at Bell Shoals, Rummage also started the radio ministry Moving Forward, which airs on more than 120 stations nationwide.

A North Carolina native, Rummage served at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., from 2004-2009 and was associate professor of preaching and director of the doctor of ministry program at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., from 1997-2004.

Gary Payne, Bell Shoals’ executive pastor, will lead the church’s staff during this transition.

“I will miss Dr. Rummage’s preaching, leadership and friendship,” said Payne, who has served at the church for 25 years. “I also am looking forward to seeing who God brings to Bell Shoals. I am convinced that our best days are yet to come.”

The Rummages have a son, Joshua, who is in the pharmacy program at the University of South Florida; his wife Morgan serves in Bell Shoals’ student ministry.


Southern’s Ayman Ibrahim earns 2nd Ph.D. in Islamic studies

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Ayman S. Ibrahim, an Islamic studies professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduated with his second Ph.D. in his field in December.

Ibrahim, who grew up in a Coptic Orthodox family in Cairo, Egypt, now holds Ph.D. degrees in Islamic studies from the University of Haifa in Mount Carmel, Israel, a leading university in the fields of Arabic and Islamic studies, and from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif.

Ibrahim, who leads Southern’s Jenkins Center for the Christian Understanding of Islam, joined the seminary’s faculty in 2015 after completing his Ph.D. at Fuller.

Ibrahim said he earned the second Ph.D. not only for academic inquiry or professional achievement but also to aid his students — many of whom will work in ministries focused on reaching Muslim people groups with the Gospel.

“When I started studying for my first Ph.D., I fell in love with Islamic history,” Ibrahim said. “I wanted to study Islamic history in depth and to interact with my Muslim friends in a deeper way. I wanted to be informed. I wanted to ask hard questions about Islam.

“My second Ph.D. research expands and deepens my understanding of Islam — this goes directly to help and empower my students,” Ibrahim said. “I love telling my students of the various Muslim and non-Muslim arguments about Islam and asking them to study them well and adopt what I call a critical-theological approach to Islam, in which we not only become critical evaluators and solid scholars of Islam, but also theologians and biblically centered researchers who explore ideas and arguments from a Christian worldview.”

In the program at Haifa, Ibrahim explored more than 500 documents from early Muslim history, including primary sources from classical Muslim historians, to learn how Muslims explained the emergence of their religion.

Ibrahim said he sought to “create a vivid picture of conversion to Islam as early Muslim historians sought to depict it” through his dissertation, titled “Conversion Topoi: A Critical Analysis of the Portrayal of Conversion to Islam in Early Islamic Historiography.”

“The readers of my work will wrestle with the Muslim sources’ reliability and will ask whether Islam actually spread by the sword and deduce unconventional meanings of conversion,” Ibrahim said. “My readers will unearth the hidden link between historical narratives and historians’ religious sympathies and political agendas.”

Randy Stinson, Southern Seminary’s provost, described Ibrahim as “one of the top scholars in Islamic studies. His hard work and dedication to this field of study translates to the classroom as a passionate and knowledgeable teacher to students here at Southern. Any student who sits under the teaching of Dr. Ibrahim will benefit from his research and understanding of Islam and be prepared to take the gospel forth to the nations.”

Ibrahim is in talks about publishing his research with a major university press. His research at Fuller focused on the first two decades in Islamic history and was published as an academic book titled “The Stated Motivations for the Early Islamic Expansion” in 2018.

Ibrahim leads an academic master’s degree program in Islamic studies at Southern, with information available at sbts.edu/academics. He is the seminary’s Bill and Connie Jenkins Associate Professor of Islamic Studies in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry.

    About the Author

  • BP & SBTS Staff

    Complied by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston, with reporting from the communications staffs at Bell Shoals Baptist Church and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

    Read All by BP & SBTS Staff ›