News Articles

Whitehead says new initiatives to ‘unleash resurrection power’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s interim president, Mike Whitehead, in his April 10 report to trustees, drew parallels from the New Testament Book of Acts’ first chapter to describe the transition time at the seminary.

Just as the apostles waited expectantly for a new movement of God after the resurrection of Jesus, Whitehead said seminary leaders expect God to unleash “resurrection power” in surprising new ways, through new people, new technology and new opportunities to proclaim the “changeless, timeless truth of God’s Word.”

Announcing a new Internet-based program beginning in July, Computer Assisted Seminary Education (CASE), Whitehead said Midwestern will begin “teaching in Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth,” wherever students have Internet access around the world, offering up to 30 hours of course work toward a master of divinity degree. CASE will permit students to see and hear a video stream of a professor’s classroom lecture while also permitting dialog with the professor by email or chat-rooms.

The first chapter of Acts also describes dependency upon God in times of “personnel changes,” as the disciples chose a new apostle, Whitehead recounted. Similarly, the seminary must wait on God to reveal “his man for the presidency” and for other key staffing decisions.

Noting how the disciples studied the Scriptures and prayed before proceeding, Whitehead urged the seminary family to pray for the search committee as they apply biblical criteria to seek “a man who has walked with God daily and who has witnessed resurrection power.”

Whitehead addressed other personnel changes, including the retirement of Harold Poage as vice president for institutional advancement and the designation of capital resources director Bill Foil to serve as Poage’s replacement in an interim capacity. Assistant Christian education professor Robert Vaughan is serving as interim vice president of business affairs, as well as interim registrar following the recent resignation of Stephen Prescott.

Whitehead also reported on the upcoming retirement of church music professor A.L. “Pete” Butler, the transition of Jim Elliff as resident consultant for the Midwestern Center for Biblical Revival to consultant status in August and the “promotion to heaven” of senior missions professor Lavell Seats who died March 16.

Saying, “God will call some of us to stay here and keep working, while God will call some to be a part of new beginnings” elsewhere, Whitehead announced the resignation of Jim Cogdill as vice president for academic affairs to pursue evangelistic and church growth opportunities. Cogdill will “make a move that follows his heart and call and giftedness in equipping people for the work of evangelism,” Whitehead said.

Old Testament professor Gary Smith, who served as interim dean at Bethel Seminary, will fill that role at Midwestern, Whitehead announced.

“I am excited about the future for all of the men and women of the Lord who have been serving here,” Whitehead said. “I believe Midwestern Seminary will break loose with the power of God through godly leaders if we walk daily with the resurrected Jesus. The world can’t stop us.”

During a trustee banquet, Whitehead expressed appreciation for payment of the largest pledge to the seminary capital campaign. Charles and Doris Kelley contributed $100,000 following the recent sale of their house in Beaumont, Texas. Now living in DeSoto, Texas, Kelley was elected a trustee in 1992 and continues in his second term.

    About the Author

  • Tammi Reed Ledbetter