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Southern Seminary chair honors T.W. Wilson

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–For most of his life, Thomas Walter “T.W.” Wilson traveled the world, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ and assisting the ministry of his life-long friend, evangelist Billy Graham.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has honored Wilson’s commitment to the gospel with the establishment of the T.W. and Mary Helen Wilson Chair of Evangelism. Wilson, who died May 24 near his home in Asheville, N.C., had served on the board of directors of Southern Seminary’s fund-raising Foundation Board since 1991. He had been recovering from a stroke suffered two years ago.

The chair, established in March 2000, falls under the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth – fitting because Wilson and Graham had been friends since childhood. Later in life Wilson became Graham’s executive assistant, traveling to most of Graham’s crusades around the world.

“The T.W. and Mary Helen Wilson Chair of Evangelism honors a man whose ministry sets the pace for equipping the saints for the work of evangelism and the training of disciples,” said Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. “Southern Seminary is honored to establish this chair as a part of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. Through this fund, future ministers and missionaries will be trained to take up the ministry so well served by T.W. Wilson.”

Wilson is survived by his wife, Mary Helen; his son, Jim; and his daughter, Sally. Jim Wilson followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming an evangelist; he operates the Jim Wilson Evangelistic Association in Orlando, Fla.

Wilson’s death came just one month before Graham is to hold his next crusade, in Louisville, Ky., June 21-24. Wilson, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, served as an associate evangelist in the Billy Graham Evangelist Association. He joined the BGEA in 1956.

“T.W. Wilson was a giant among us,” Mohler said. “He was one of the greatest and godliest men I have ever known. He was courageous in conviction, powerful in preaching and stalwart in servanthood. His warm spirit encouraged all of us to service in the name of Christ. He set an example of servant leadership and faithful friendship that sets him apart in our generation. We will miss him greatly. Let us thank God for the gift of T.W. Wilson.”

Wilson graduated from Bob Jones University in 1941 before pursuing graduate work at the University of Alabama. He earned a doctorate from Bob Jones in 1949.

From 1948 to 1951, Wilson and Graham served at Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis. Graham was president, Wilson vice president. From 1952 to 1956, Wilson traveled the United States and the world as an independent evangelist. He then joined the BGEA.

“We join thousands of Christians around the world in praying for Mary Helen Wilson, for Jim and Sally, and for the entire Wilson family,” Mohler said.

The family has asked that gifts be sent either to The T. W. and Mary Helen Wilson Chair of Evangelism, the Jim Wilson Evangelistic Association or the building fund at First Baptist Church, Swannanoa, N.C. The addresses are:

T.W. and Mary Helen Wilson Chair of Evangelism; Office of Institutional Advancement; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Louisville, Ky., 40280.

Jim Wilson Evangelistic Association, P.O. Box 560043, Orlando, Fla. 32856.

Building Fund, First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 39, Swannanoa, N.C., 28778
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: T.W. WILSON.

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  • Michael Foust