News Articles

Southern faculty additions entail ‘quantum leap forward’

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–A “quantum leap forward” has been taken to bolster the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, administrators declared April 22 during a trustee meeting of Southern Baptists’ oldest seminary. The nine faculty additions include scholars from an array of academic disciplines and academic, ministry and professional settings.

“These elections and appointments represent a quantum leap forward for Southern Seminary,” President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said.

“I believe future generations will look back to this day and see these appointments as a great turning point in Southern Seminary’s history,” Mohler continued, saying they reflect “the strength, vitality, conviction and scholarship which will mark both Southern Seminary’s present and future.”

The raft of faculty actions include the addition of scholars in the areas of New Testament, historical theology, preaching, evangelism, Old Testament, missions, church music and Christian education. Four are new to the Louisville, Ky., seminary, while five others presently are serving at Southern and will be elected to the faculty by trustee action during the April 21-23 board meeting. Tenure will be granted to four professors, with three to be elected to various chairs of instruction.

Collectively, the scholars have taught more than 110 years at various evangelical institutions and have written, edited or contributed to more than 50 volumes and other academic publications, in addition to authoring dozens of journal articles, book reviews and denominational publications.

“I cannot imagine that any institution at any time has brought together in new appointments such an array of evangelical and conservative Christian scholars,” Mohler asserted. “Represented in these faculty appointments is a level of scholarship and commitment to teach the Word of God that indicates why Southern Seminary intends to be the flagship institution in the evangelical and Baptist world.”

The newest members of the faculty include two New Testament scholars from Bethel Theological Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., a historical theologian from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Ill., and a preaching professor from a Kentucky pastorate.

After nearly 30 years at Bethel, Robert H. Stein will join the Southern faculty this fall as professor of New Testament interpretation. The synoptic gospels scholar will be elected to the faculty with tenure and to the Mildred and Ernest Hogan Chair of New Testament. Stein holds degrees from Rutgers University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Andover Newton Theological Seminary and was awarded the doctor of philosophy degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1968.

Stein is the author of numerous books, papers and journal articles addressing the gospels and hermeneutical issues. Among his more recent books are Luke in Broadman & Holman’s New American Commentary, “Playing by the Rules,” “The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teachings” and “Jesus the Messiah.”

“Robert Stein is one of the premier evangelical synoptic gospel scholars in the world today,” said Daniel Akin, Southern’s vice president for academic administration. The fact that the longtime Bethel teacher is willing to leave his home of nearly 30 years to come to Southern is “remarkable,” Akin added.

Thomas R. Schreiner, Stein’s Bethel colleague, will join the Southern faculty this fall as professor of New Testament interpretation. Schreiner has been appointed to a three-year term on the faculty by Mohler.

In addition to his 10 years at Bethel, Schreiner has taught at Azusa Pacific University and Fuller. He holds degrees from Western Oregon State College, Western Conservative Baptist Seminary and the doctor of philosophy degree from Fuller.

Schreiner, a Pauline scholar, is the author or editor of four books: “Interpreting the Pauline Letters,” “The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law,” “The Grace of God, The Bondage of the Will” (two volumes) and “Women in the Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15.” Two other books are in progress, in addition to a commentary on Romans in the Baker Evangelical Commentary Series on the New Testament.

Tom J. Nettles has been appointed professor of historical theology and will begin teaching at Southern this fall. Coming from the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he is professor of church history and chair of the department of church history, Nettles previously taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds two degrees from Southwestern, including the doctor of philosophy degree, and also is a graduate of Mississippi College.

Along with numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Nettles is the author or editor of eight books, with another volume to be published this year. Among his books are “By His Grace and For His Glory” and “Baptists and the Bible.”

“Tom Nettles is a lifelong Southern Baptist who belongs in the first rank of Southern Baptist scholars,” Mohler said. “We are pleased to have him back in a Southern Baptist institution and to have him at Southern Seminary.” Akin said he regards Nettles as “the finest writing Baptist historian today.”

Also joining the faculty under presidential appointment as associate professor of preaching is Hershael W. York, pastor of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Lexington, Ky., since 1990. York holds two degrees from the University of Kentucky and two degrees from Mid-America Seminary, including the doctor of philosophy degree, awarded in 1993.

“Hershael is a gifted pulpiteer who both models and can teach expository preaching, which is a commitment that this administration is absolutely devoted to,” Akin said.

“Hershael is one of the leading pastors in the state of Kentucky,” Akin said. “He has demonstrated his tremendous commitment to Southern Baptists by bringing Ashland Avenue back into the Southern Baptist Convention.” Although the church removed itself from the SBC in the 1970s due to theological concerns, Ashland Avenue renewed its SBC ties through Cooperative Program gifts last year.

Five current Southern professors will be elected to the faculty, having previously served under presidential appointment. Two will be granted tenure.

— Timothy K. Beougher will be elected, with tenure, associate professor of evangelism and to the Billy Graham Chair of Evangelism. Before coming to Southern last fall, Beougher taught six years at Wheaton College. He holds degrees from Kansas State University, Southwestern Seminary and two degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, including the doctor of philosophy degree. Beougher is widely published in the areas of evangelism and Puritan studies. He also serves as associate dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth at Southern.

— Paul R. House will be elected, with tenure, professor of Old Testament interpretation and to the Martha and Talmage Rogers Professorship in Old Testament. House was chairman of the department of biblical studies, Christian education and philosophy at Taylor University in Upland, Ind. for 10 years before joining the Southern faculty last fall. He is author or editor of seven books, with an Old Testament theology textbook to be published later this year. He also serves as editor of Southern’s new theological journal, “The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology.”

— George H. Martin will be elected associate professor of Christian missions. Holding degrees from Florida State University and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, including the doctor of theology degree, Martin served as a missionary in Indonesia with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board from 1988-1994 and associate professor of religion at North Greenville (S.C.) College before coming to Southern last fall.

— Esther H. Rothenbusch will be elected assistant professor of church music. Rothenbusch holds the bachelor of music degree from Baldwin-Wallace College and two degrees from the University of Michigan, including the doctor of philosophy in musicology degree. She has previously taught at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Adrian College and Bowling Green State University. Rothenbusch has published journal articles, book chapters and presented papers and lectures at the Sonneck Society for American Music, Hymn Society of the U.S. and Canada and various other societies.

— Mark E. Simpson will be elected associate professor of Christian education and leadership. Simpson holds degrees from Spring Arbor College, Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, DePauw University and a doctor of education degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Since 1995 Simpson has served as associate dean of the school of Christian education at Southern. He has previously taught at Trinity International University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, in addition to serving in several church staff positions. Simpson is widely published in Christian education studies and has been active in the North America Professors of Christian Education.

Two current faculty members also will be elected to chairs of instruction.

— T. Vaughn Walker, professor of black church studies, will be granted tenure and elected to the Woman’s Missionary Union Chair of Social Work. Walker has taught at Southern since 1986 and holds degrees from Hampton (Va.) University, Eastern Illinois University, Southern Seminary and the doctor of philosophy degree from Oregon State University, Corvallis. He also is pastor of First Gethsemane Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.

— Leigh E. Conver, a faculty member since 1991, will be elected to the Lawrence and Charlotte Hoover Chair of Psychology of Religion and Pastoral Counseling. Conver is professor of psychology of religion and pastoral counseling and chairman of the department. Previously he served as adjunct professor and instructor at Southern. He has extensive experience in pastoral counseling in church and clinical settings. Conver holds the bachelor of arts degree from Eastern Baptist College, as well as three degrees from Southern Seminary, including the doctor of philosophy. He also received the diploma in patient counseling from the Medical College of Virginia.

    About the Author

  • James A. Smith
  • James A. Smith, Sr.
  • Sr.