Vision Fall 2017

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FALL 2017

11 RYAN RICE: Charting New Waters 14 NOBTS 100: 2018 Centennial Events


Into the city



by Dr. Chuck Kelley

JESUS CLOSED THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT (Matthew 5-7) with a reminder that a house cannot stand the ravages of life’s storms unless it rests on a firm foundation. New Orleans has a particularly difficult soil for building a strong, stable foundation. So much water is present in the soil, even the cemeteries have to build tombs above ground. In spite of the challenges presented by the complicated New Orleans soil, builders learned it is possible to build a very firm foundation. To do so requires two steps. First come the pilings and then comes the slab. When the soil shifts through the years, as it inevitably will, the pilings keep the slab stable. The slab is thus able to bear the weight of the building even with changes in the soil beneath it. This approach to building a foundation often makes building in New Orleans slower and a bit more expensive than similar buildings elsewhere, but failing to take both steps creates an even greater expense as the building ages and the soil shifts. We must build carefully if we intend to build to last. As the President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I had to learn this lesson for the development of our campus. My research as a professor of evangelism taught me this principle also has to inform the work of our SBC churches


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and the building of our seminary curriculum. Foundations matter in how we do church and how we prepare our students. In the 20th century the Southern Baptist Convention became the largest Protestant denomination in the nation. For many years we grew faster than the population. That growth leveled off, and today we face a much different scenario. The SBC is in year 16 of having a growing number of churches but a declining number of baptisms reported by those churches. For a decade membership, worship attendance, and small group attendance have been shrinking. The Southern Baptist Convention continues to accomplish many wonderful things, but it is a Convention in decline. What is going on? Much of my adult life included research into what made Southern Baptists churches so effective in reaching their communities. It became clear that the presence of a twofold foundation present in most SBC churches was an extremely important factor. That foundation consisted of evangelism and discipleship embodying both a passion to reach people for Christ and a passion to teach those who were reached to live in a distinctly Christian way. These two focal points were so intertwined in Southern Baptist life, I coined a new word to

photo by Boyd Guy


describe them: Disciplism. Disciplism is an aggressive approach to both evangelism and discipleship. It means having the goal to reach people in order to disciple them and approaching spiritual development with the goal of helping people become witnesses to others about Jesus. Although widely known for an aggressive approach to evangelism, not many noticed that Southern Baptists were even more aggressive about drawing their people into Bible study and spiritual growth. Through the years the disciplism that had characterized SBC churches began to fade. The means to engage the churches in this culture of evangelistic discipleship were not reinvented or replaced, the momentum of the past ran out, and decline began to take hold. At NOBTS we are seeking to rebuild that twofold foundation. We have put both personal evangelism and spiritual formation at the heart of our curriculum to give students both training and experience in sharing their faith and walking with God. We seek to pass on this torch of disciplism to the next generation in their personal lives and in the churches they will serve. Toward that end we are building our Centennial Celebration around lighting fresh fire for Gospel Conversations and active discipleship. We ask you and all Southern Baptists to help us engage in 100,000 Gospel Conversations during our 100th year of ministry, and we created an app for both Apple iOS and Android smartphones to enable you to report on those conversations. We are sponsoring several conferences about evangelism and discipleship during this year, and we encourage you to join us in one or more of them. We are also asking our NOBTS family to engage in at least 100 mission trips of some sort during this year. We believe the coming years could be the greatest, most fruitful years in the history of the SBC. For that to happen, however, we must get the foundation right. Disciplism, a passionate engagement in both evangelism and discipleship, must undergird our churches and our individual lives. Your gifts to the Providence Fund will enhance our ability to pass on this torch to the rising generation of church leaders. Your gifts to scholarships will make seminary training affordable for students who are called to serve churches and go to the mission field. Please join us in seeking opportunities for Gospel Conversations, so that those who do not know Jesus can meet Him and be transformed by Him. Our future is as bright as our willingness to undertake the Great Commission assignment given by Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20. We must take the Gospel to our neighbors and to the ends of the earth, making disciples by baptizing and teaching all who respond to the call to repent and believe.

GOSPEL CONVERSATIONS APP Personal evangelism is deeply embedded in the NOBTS identity. Reaching the lost has been a priority since day one. A century ago, as Southern Baptist leaders met to organize the school they chose Matthew 28:18-20 as the school’s focal verse. During the centennial celebration, NOBTS hopes to mobilize the seminary family to engage in 100,000 Gospel conversations. A new phone app offering evangelism helps, a reporting tool, and follow-up assistance has been created to help track this goal. We hope God will use this goal to encourage the evangelism efforts of Southern Baptist churches and mobilize a new generation of personal evangelists who will engage the culture with the lifechanging Gospel of Jesus. In following His command to “make disciples” we are giving Christ all of the glory as people are reached and lives are changed. Will you join us in this effort to make Christ known among the nations? Visit gonobts. how/GospelApp to download the app and start recording your Gospel conversations.

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CONTENTS features FALL 2017 Volume 73, Number 2 DR. CHUCK KELLEY President

DR. JONATHAN KEY Vice President for Institutional Advancement

DR. DENNIS PHELPS Director of Alumni Relations




Art Director and Photographer

JOE FONTENOT Writer and Photographer

CHANDLER MCCALL Graphic Designer and Photographer

HUNTER BURCAW Graphic Designer and Photographer

VISION is published two times a year by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary 3939 Gentilly Blvd. New Orleans, LA 70126 (800) 662-8701 (504) 282-4455 All contents © 2017 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. Please send address changes and alumni updates to the office of Alumni Relations at the above address. NOTE: Alumni updates will be used for the publication of the VISION magazine and on the Alumni website. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry, supported by the gifts of Southern Baptists.


Barbershop Graduates Finding New Life True Life Rather Than Better A Different Type of Night Life

11 CHARTING NEW WATERS departments


2018 Centennial Events Million Dollar Monday for Scholarships Trustees Accept Unique Matching Gift Challenge Christmas Gift Catalog 2017 Calling Barnabas A Modern-Day Barnabas Leaves His Mark


Individual rights & sexuality discussed at NOBTS forum Rhonda Kelley Honored Defend 2018 To Feature Urban Apologetics NOBTS Expands Ph.D. Synchronous Video Delivery System Eight New Research Doctoral


Lemke Honored for 20 Years of Academic Leadership New Faculty Appointments Faculty Anniversaries


Former NOBTS President Grady Cothen Remembered NOBTS Mourns Loss of National Alumni President Vice-President of Development Remembered Former Preaching Professor Leaves Legacy Class Notes

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ENGRAVED BRICK HAS SOMEONE MADE AN IMPACT in your ministry or helped you in your walk with God? Perhaps you remember studying under your favorite professor or the lifelong friendships you made with fellow students.

ENGRAVED CHARACTERS 3 Lines 18 characters per line

IMPORTANT DATES Order by December 1 for the March 8 install. Order by March 18 to have in place for the Spring Graduation (May 18 & 19).

The brand new engraved brick program at NOBTS provides a tangible way to remember those times and honor those who have meant so much to you.

LOCATION Your engraved brick will be located in the new Legacy Plaza on the main campus of NOBTS, immediately in front of Leavell chapel.

Purchase an engraved brick with your name, the names of family members, someone who helped you study at NOBTS, or pay tribute to the church that made seminary possible for you.

INVESTMENT $250/ea. $1,000/ea for premium placement (while spots are available)


Into the city

MIAMI WHITE SAND BEACHES — 35 miles of them —

outline the edge of Miami, a city that never sleeps. From the turquoise waters of the Atlantic to the vibrant hues of Little Havana, “colorful” is a word that fits. Six million people live in the tri-county area of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach making Miami one of the most populated regions in the nation. A city where two-thirds of new residents come from another country and the Spanish, Creole and English languages dominate equally, Miami is a gateway to the world. But for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary students and alumni who serve and live among the city’s diverse population, Miami is a place where God is at work. Stories by Marilyn Stewart

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THE PULPIT WILLIE WILLIAMS, preaches from most often isn’t found at Greater Mercy Missionary Baptist Church where he serves as pastor. His most-used pulpit is the barber chair he stands behind at the Just Right Barbershop in Miami’s Overtown every day of the work week. Neighbors who drop in from Miami’s most crime-plagued neighborhood don’t mind. Conversation is one reason they come. When guidance or encouragement is needed, William’s shop is the place to go. “Everyone knows they are going to get more than a haircut,” said Williams, NOBTS/Leavell College South Florida student. “They are going to get a word from the Lord.” From sun up to sundown, often into late evenings, Williams listens to neighbors’ needs and speaks truth into their lives. The shop has proved so effective for ministry Williams dubbed those who have grown in faith or gone on to successful lives, his “barbershop graduates.” The church next door is a 900-square-foot facility that seats 60 and was once a bar. Born in Overtown but raised elsewhere, Williams returned with wife Creola to the neighborhood 12 years ago to revive his aunt’s barbershop. Securing the storefront property next door that is now the church came later, an answer to prayer. Overtown’s rich heritage of music and culture has been eclipsed by decades of decline, earning the neighborhood the label “overdose hot zone” recently by the Miami Herald. “You have to get them out of their norm, because their norm has destroyed them,” Williams said. “You have to show them a new way of life, the way Christ would want them to live.” At Thanksgiving, University of Miami football players partner with the church to provide food to neighbors and the church’s popular four-hour Safety Night at Halloween has transformed an often violent night into an evening of community-building fun. At Easter, the church’s annual Resurrection Day event features free haircuts and physical provisions. While Williams’ church is “the smallest church with the biggest heart,” success isn’t tied to a particular program, Williams insists. “Success” comes from something simpler. “You have to get their attention through showing love: you’ve got to be that walking Bible,” Williams explained. “They have to see enough of God in you and after they do, any program works.” photos by Nelson Diaz

Change and tension continue in the once predominantly African-American neighborhood through gentrification as whites and Hispanics move in. Williams’ commitment to obeying God keeps him there. At night, he logs into “Rosetta Stone” to help him learn Spanish. His advice to those wishing to reach the city for Christ is simple. “Make sure you’re a clean vessel and God will do the rest,” Williams explained. “God has the ability to draw people to Himself. You just have to lift him up.”

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by Marilyn Stewart

MENTION MIAMI, and for some, the posh “night life” of Miami Beach comes to mind. But on Friday nights in the heart of the city, a different type of night life is underway. When the clock strikes 11 p.m. — perfect for a city open 24 hours — the prayer meeting at Iglesia Bautista Palabra de Vida begins. Scores of members, from children to grandparents, gather in one room and by 1 a.m., the youngest ones are sound asleep. Carlos Rodriguez, pastor and NOBTS South Florida master’s student, teaches his congregation that prayer is “like oxygen to their lives.” From its beginning as a church plant nine years ago, the midnight prayer meeting has anchored the church’s ministry. In one case, church members saw answered prayer when a mother and daughter reconciled. Members’ commitment to fervent prayer continued to bless as the woman weathered a serious health crisis.


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“Our ministry has two major priorities: prayer and education,” Rodriguez said. “The first leads to devotion, worship and commitment. The second equips with knowledge, instruction and ethics.” Rodriguez, a Cuban native who came to America seeking religious freedom, leads his congregation of 150 to read books together, from devotional to practical. Rodriguez knows education can aid discipleship and build unity. The 15 Hispanic nations represented in the congregation are celebrated in food and fellowship and respected as Spanish phrases are selected that none find offensive. Integrating Spanish and English into worship services helps members transition as they watch children embrace American culture. “We pay close attention to how to access the American culture in a Hispanic setting while maintaining a Hispanic culture in an American setting,” Rodriguez said. “We respect that a lot.”



by Marilyn Stewart

WITH ATTENDANCE NUMBERS TIPPING 1,000 in four weekend worship services, Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Coral Park is the largest Hispanic church in Florida. But not so many years ago, the numbers were very different. Carlos Tellez, pastor (M.Div. ‘17), pointed back to the explosive growth that took place years ago under a former pastor who instituted a weekly evangelism initiative, an outreach the church faithfully continues. The church’s emphasis on evangelism is backed up with a commitment to discipleship, Tellez explained, adding that a strong connection to the community is maintained through its churchsponsored elementary school, a medical outreach benefiting the uninsured, and its vibrant children’s ministry, food program, and thriving small groups. Still, creating spiritually mature disciples who follow Christ with devotion is essential, Tellez explained. “The people need to grow up in their relationship with God. In every trouble and situation, you find the same problem, the same factor. It’s the low level of spiritual life,” Tellez said. “And we are working hard on that.” Tellez, a former pastor from Cuba who has been 5 years at the church, serves an area diverse in economics and need. The neighborhood is both middle-class and lower, Tellez points out, and always the

tension remains of reaching the secondgeneration, those born in America. “Reaching youth is difficult,” Tellez said. “The world offers them too much. It’s really hard to say, ‘Look to Jesus Christ’ when they totally put their life in the world, in money, and other things.” One family remained vigilant and faithful while facing difficulties in Cuba, but lost their fervor for the Lord with the easy life of America, Tellez said. Too often, people come to find a better life, and “forget Jesus” when they do, Tellez said. While programs and special events can draw people to church, Tellez leads Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana to stay focused on what’s important. “If you offer today what they are looking for in the church, they are going to come,” Tellez explained. “But they are going to come to the church, not to Jesus Christ. And that’s different.”

photos by Nelson Diaz

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by Marilyn Stewart




hurch planters aren’t pastors with training wheels on, North American Mission Board church planter Ryan Rice, Sr., likes to say. He adds, “Church planters are real pastors.” In small congregations where many are new converts, a church planter bears the duties that fall to every pastor, and perhaps, more so. “They are pastoring; they are loving on their community; they are making disciples,” Rice explained. Rice, master of divinity in expository preaching, leads Connect Church of Algiers, New Orleans, a congregation that launched two years ago as a church plant and met at the local country club. That status changed this year to “replant” when the young church joined with a long-established congregation and moved into its traditional church facility. Overnight, the congregation under Rice’s care tripled. With it came a fresh sense of calling. Before the merge, the older congregation struggled to keep up with the neighborhood’s changing demographic while across town, the church plant encountered challenges of its own. In a city steeped in tradition, a church without a building for some seemed unthinkable. One visitor asked Rice, “So, where do you all really meet?”

photos by Boyd Guy

Infused with the younger congregation’s keen sense that the church is more than four walls, the blended congregation today is “Gospel-shaped,” Rice said, and yearns to reach its longloved yet ever-changing community. When Rice steps outside his front door, he greets a neighbor who is white and another who is Muslim. “New Orleans is a melting pot, but sometimes you don’t see it reflected in the Body,” Rice said. “To see members come together from different backgrounds is really huge. Our church now looks like our neighborhood.”

MAKING IT WORK Some members miss the informal setting of the church plant. Others miss the hymnals. For some, Rice is the first African American pastor they’ve ever had. Navigating the potentially rough waters of generational, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds requires care, Rice noted, adding that one way forward is viewing the past differently. Rice guides his members to stay focused on the “good nostalgia,” borrowing from author Mark Clifton’s book Reclaiming Glory, and keep at the forefront memories of when they came to faith in Christ or

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when they led someone else to the Lord. “That’s when they remember, ‘It’s not about me; it’s about the person who doesn’t know Christ,’” Rice said. With a blended and diverse congregation, differences are sure to come up. Changes can be made “on a dime” in a church plant, Rice explained, but in a replant, the bigger picture comes into play. He explained, “You’re making change, but you can’t do it so fast people can’t keep up.” Rice works to stay accessible and allow each member the “grace of space” to grow. When disagreements come, he leads them back to common ground. “That’s when you ask, What’s the centrality of the Gospel?” Rice explained. “Can we stay united on that front and say there’s a task God has set before us? Can we die to self and our own personal preferences and say, ‘I’m going to love you anyway?’”

‘KEEP PLOWING’ Five years after feeling certain God had called them back to Algiers, Rice’s hometown, Rice and wife Seane saw


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the doors to return finally opened. The long wait had been marked with earnest prayer, difficulties and setbacks. Looking back, Rice sees God’s plan at work. “Church planting is such a hard thing,” Rice said. “You have to deal with so much adversity. You can’t quit. You have to keep plowing. All those things [that happened] really prepared us for where we are right now.” Rice’s journey to church planting began in college the day he met Seane, his future wife. A non-believer at the time, Rice was taken aback when Seane told him something no one else had ever told him. She said, “I’ll be praying for you.” Through the couple’s courtship, Rice’s future father-in-law poured into Rice’s life in a model for ministry and evangelism. “He didn’t let up,” Rice recounted, adding that when he came to faith in Christ his life was “radically changed.” As he leads Connect Church, Rice sees the same Titus model of discipleship at work as older members invest in the lives of younger ones, including himself. “One of the joys is being able to pastor a generation who has fought battles I have yet to fight,” Rice said. “When you sit

down with them and you hear their heart and how they came to faith in Christ, it makes you love them even more.” Rice spoke at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference in Phoenix, June 12, and drew from Phil. 2:12-18 to encourage pastors to “live lives poured out for Jesus.” Though ministry can be difficult, Rice urged listening pastors to remain faithful and stay focused on Christ. “Keep plowing in the lane God has set you in,” Rice said. “Keep following wherever He has placed you. You can continue on if your eyes are set on Jesus.”

LIVED OUT Ryan Rice, Jr., age 8, has watched the Gospel take root in others’ lives as well as his own. Baptized last year, the child longs to see his Muslim friend come to faith in Christ. When Rice goes door-to-door in the neighborhood, he takes his son with him. Rice knows his son is watching and will model what he sees lived out. Understanding what the Church means and what living on mission means will help safeguard against disillusionment when disappointment comes along, Rice explained. “What I would love for him to see is that the church is alive,” Rice said. “It’s a place where Jesus is glorified, a place where the Gospel is the focus and the mission and where believers are not just calling one another brother and sister, but living it out.”


Empowering the Pulpit Preaching Conference w/ Jim Shaddix & Dr. Robert Smith Jr. in partnership with Love Worth Finding

February 5 (M)

Centennial Celebration in Shreveport, La.

February 15 (Th)

Leavell College 25th Anniversary Celebration

February 26-27 (M-Tu)

Centennial Celebration in Clinton/Jackson, Miss.

February 23 (F)

Senior Fest on the Road w/ Dr. Chuck Kelley

March 6-8 (Tu-Th)

Campus Revival & Crescent City Praise

March 15 (Th)

Women’s Ministry Event w/ Anita Renfroe

March 15-20 (Th-Tu)

Centennial Celebration in Miami, Fla.

March 16 (F)

Women’s Ministry Leadership Conference

April 6 (F)

Senior Fest New Orleans w/ Dennis Swanberg

April 16 (M)

Centennial Celebration in Atlanta, Ga.

April 20-21 (F-Sa)

Caskey Conference w/ Dr. Frank Page & Dr. Robert Smith Jr.

April 30 (M)

Centennial Celebration in Nashville, Tenn.

June 12-13 (Tu-W)

Lafayette, La.

Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas

Alumni Luncheon (Wednesday)


MILLION DOLLAR MONDAY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS WHEN NOBTS President Chuck Kelley began his day Aug. 7 he had little idea of the blessings to come: Two gifts totaling one million dollars for student scholarships were received that day. “This has been one of the greatest Mondays in the history of the institution and quite an exciting way to begin a new academic year,” Kelley said. “It was a ‘Million Dollar Monday.’” NOBTS will distribute more than $200,000 of the money this school year designated for student scholarships. And one-half will be used to endow a scholarship fund which will provide annual scholarships for years to come. The gifts will assist African American students studying on the main campus or at the North Georgia Hub in metro Atlanta; small church pastors in Montana; and expository preaching students from Mississippi. One anonymous donor sent a check for $200,000 to be used as a part of the Fred Luter Jr. African American scholarship program — a scholarship established in 2011. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars will provide scholarships in New Orleans; $50,000 will fund scholarships at the North Georgia Hub. “Southern Baptists need to become more and more racially and ethnically

diverse if we are to reach our nation and our world,” Kelley said. “An anonymous donor has been greatly blessed and inspired by the ministry of pastor Fred Luter and wants more God-called African Americans like Dr. Luter to be able to receive quality theological education.” To date the seminary has awarded $878,616 through the Fred Luter Jr. Scholarship Fund — $800,641 in New Orleans and $77,975 through the North Georgia Hub. “We have watched these scholarships literally change the composition of our student body,” Kelley said. “Our goal is to continue to enhance the diversity in our seminary family and to encourage a growing diversity within the Southern Baptist Convention.” The largest gift — $550,000 — provides full-tuition scholarships for small church pastors in Montana and establishes an endowment to perpetuate the initiative. Fifty thousand dollars will be used to fund the initiative for the first two years while the endowment corpus builds. After the first two years, interest drawn from the $500,000 endowment will be used to fund the scholarships. The scholarship is available to Montana pastors studying at the undergraduate or graduate level. Two students from

Montana already have been identified and will immediately receive the scholarship. Kelley hopes that initiatives like the Montana scholarship program will inspire additional scholarship donors. One of the donors from “Million Dollar Monday” also provided $250,000 in scholarships for Mississippi students to study expository preaching through the Adrian Rogers Center for Expository Preaching at NOBTS. The new preaching scholarships will launch during the fall semester of 2018. “Dr. Adrian Rogers is one of the most significant graduates in the history of NOBTS,” Kelley said. “He was quite well-known as a Southern Baptist leader, but the hallmark of his ministry was always outstanding biblical exposition. We want to raise up a whole generation of preachers in the tradition of Dr. Adrian Rogers.”

TRUSTEES ACCEPT UNIQUE MATCHING GIFT CHALLENGE During their fall 2017 meeting Oct. 4, the NOBTS trustees voted to accept a giving challenge to mark the seminary’s birthday. The matching gift challenge was initiated by an anonymous seminary donor and could result in as much as $500,000 in donations. The donor agreed to match any trustee gifts up to a total of $250,000.


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The donor stated that the gifts could come from current or former NOBTS trustees or their friends and acquaintances. The gifts will count toward the $50 million dollar Second Century Initiative — a fiveyear fund-raising effort tied to the school’s centennial celebration.

photo by Boyd Guy

by Gary D. Myers


GIFT CATALOG 2017 If only Christmas could last all year … When the shopping’s done and the gifts are wrapped, the joy of the season can thrill the heart. That special Christmas warmth lives on all year when you give a gift that continues to bless. The NOBTS Christmas catalog has something for everyone on your shopping list when you give in honor of a family member or in memory of a loved one. Make your selections and a personalized card will be sent to the honoree showing the giver’s name and the direction in which the gift will be directed. Or choose to have the card(s) sent to you to put under the Christmas tree. Suggested donations are included inside or you may make your own gift in any category.

MUSIC SCHOLARSHIP Christmas Carols and songs of Advent make the season bright. Whether it’s the old, familiar hymns of yesterday or a contemporary soulstirring tune, the story of the Christ child set to music can lift a weary heart. At NOBTS, music students dedicate time and talent to God so that through the beauty of music others may be drawn to Him. Your gifts allow a music student to devote quality time to the development of God-given gifts.


LEEKE MAGEE COUNSELING CENTER Counseling is one of the most effective ways NOBTS is reaching out to the community. Through our counseling center, those in need of counseling services are able to hear from a Christian perspective. Your gift helps those with financial needs receive the counseling services they desire.



MOSKAU INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY To better understand the context of the Bible, the Moskau Institute at NOBTS leads an archaeological excavation in Israel. This handson research fosters a deep love for God’s Word in the students who participate and makes a significant contribution in the field of biblical backgrounds. The cost of the three-week excavation is steep. Your gift offsets part of a young scholar’s cost to participate in this lifechanging experience.



HOMESCHOOL SUPPORT Many student families on the main campus choose to homeschool their children through the Christian Home Educators Support System (C.H.E.S.S.). Encouragement, accountability and resources are available to student families as they explore education with Christ at the center. Upwards to 100 K-12 students are served annually as parents and teaching professionals work together and aim for excellence in education. Your gift to C.H.E.S.S. supports learning activities such as field trips and co-op classes that enrich the lives of every child as they learn together and grow in the Lord.



MISSION TRIPS Around the world or at home, NOBTS students carry the Gospel to those in need of a Savior. Students traveled this year to Utah, India, the Amazon River Basin, and other places to shine brightly the light of the Gospel. Your gifts help a student experience God at work in places where the light of the Gospel is needed. This Christmas, give to help a student Go and Tell.



$100 $750

DEFEND 2018 What do you call four nights, five days, dozens of today’s top Christian speakers, and the chance of a lifetime? DEFEND 2018. This NOBTS apologetics conference equips hundreds of students annually to respond to culture’s toughest questions on faith. Your gift helps give a student the opportunity to learn from leading scholars how to clear away obstacles to faith so the Gospel can take root.




CHRISTMAS BENEVOLENCE FUND For one student family on campus, the news that there would be no gifts this year was devastating to a young child. But because of the Christmas Benevolence Fund, the family’s joy on Christmas Day was unbounded. The family’s Thank You note that followed expressed heartfelt thanks. “I praise God for His amazing faithfulness and never-ending love. May God bless you abundantly for sharing.”







lence Fund o v e n Be

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIP When Mariane Armbrust Strube (M.Div., Christian Education) left her home in Brazil, she left behind family, a job, possessions, and a culture that operated in her heart language. Learning to navigate within a new world was not easy, but Mariane answered God’s call with confidence, knowing she was in the center of God’s will. Internationals face limits on work other students do not. Your gifts make the transition easier for NOBTS students from 42 countries who follow Christ in obedient service.



THE PROVIDENCE FUND The one-stop shop for all gifts is right here. Each gift given through the Providence Fund assures that every need is met and every academic program and seminary ministry benefits. The Providence Fund provides the quickest path to help as many as possible in these areas: STUDENT COSTS FACULTY SUPPORT AND ENRICHMENT OPERATIONAL NEEDS OF CAMPUS INSTITUTES AND RESEARCH CENTERS ACCESSIBLE THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION



Join us in celebrating NOBTS’ 100th anniversary with your $100 gift toward The Providence Fund. Each gift is special, every giver appreciated as we move toward next year’s centennial celebration of God’s faithfulness.




Please use the enclosed envelope to make your gift, give online at, or call the Office of Institutional Advancement at (800) 662-8701, ext. 3252. To ensure that the personalized card mailed directly to your family member or friend being honored will be received by Christmas, gifts need to be received by NOBTS on or before December 16. Thank you so much for your partnership in the ongoing ministry of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.


CALLING BARNABAS ONE OF THE ASPECTS OF OUR CENTENNIAL we are especially excited about is our upcoming chapel schedule. Be sure to check out the calendar online at as we look forward to a great year of powerful messages from numerous special guests as well as our very own faculty. Specifically, we are walking through the book of Acts throughout the Centennial year and working all the way through Founders' Day, October 2018. Our hope, by the end of the journey, is to have a resource we can provide our students with more than 40 notes and outlines of expository sermons they can use where they serve and lead. In the last Vision magazine, we introduced the first of our new giving identities, The Timothy Plan. Simply put, the Timothy Plan allows everyone to be involved at a level that is realistic for their life circumstances. For those of you who are alumni, we are asking you to consider making the monthly commitment of “your year.” For example, if you are a May 2017 graduate, (congratulations, by the way) this would mean $20.17 a month. To NOBTS friends who faithfully and simply love our school, we welcome you jumping in at any amount. You may also want to start with the current year, 2017, or perhaps, in honor of the Centennial, your gift might be $100 a month. Building on the Timothy Plan, we’d like to introduce you to The Barnabas Project. As you meet Barnabas during our journey through Acts, the character quality that jumps off the page about this man is found in his very name. Barnabas means “Son of Encouragement.” And it is with that attribute in mind that we ask you to consider joining this particular level of giving through our seminary. The Barnabas Plan asks for two commitments: First, we are asking for a financial commitment of $2000 a year for at least three years ($6000 total). Ten percent of the gift will be invested in our Providence

by Dr. Jonathan Key

Fund which benefits the operating budget of the seminary. When the Providence Fund is healthy, everything else is healthier. The remaining 90 percent will be divided between the two semesters. This amount covers one three-hour course and provides significant assistance with textbooks. Secondly, we are asking the giver to become an actual Barnabas, an encourager in the life of a student. We know students will benefit from three or four contacts during the course of the semester — texts, emails, handwritten notes or phone calls — but our Barnabas Encouragers would benefit, as well. Seeing what God does in others’ lives is always a blessing. Obviously, this isn’t an original concept. It is a New Testament model. At the conclusion of Acts 4 — after the birth of the early church and the arrival of the Holy Spirit — we are introduced to Barnabas. The Scripture says, “Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” (NASB) Encouragement. It’s the first thing we learn about Barnabas. And we see it over and over again in his life and ministry. Some friends of the seminary are already doing this. Larry Black (MCM ’62) is a faithful donor, but his greatest contribution to students is the time he invests in their lives. He is their mentor, a friend, a model, and an inspiration.

YOU, TOO, CAN BE A BARNABAS Give it some thought. Pray about it and give us a call at (800) 662-8701, ext. 3525. We would love to be the conduit through which God uses you to impact eternity.

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THE WAY LARRY BLACK (MCM ’62) pours his life into others, some call him a modern-day Barnabas. Whether it’s treating students to lunch at a New Orleans restaurant, picking up the phone to encourage them in their studies, or dropping in at church where a student serves on staff, Black is giving back a blessing he and wife Sandy received decades ago when God first called them to seminary. With the help of friends and donors, the couple founded the Larry Black Ministries, a non-profit ministry that provides the Larry and Sandy Black Scholarship to four music students each semester and has gifted the NOBTS music department with the latest in music technology. And though his beloved Sandy went home to heaven 18 months ago, Larry continues the ministry that at its core is about people. “It’s an unbelievable reward to be involved in a young person’s life who is studying for the ministry, to experience some of their joys and experience some of their downturns, which do come,” Black explained. The dream to help students began with a letter that arrived more than 55 years ago when then-NOBTS music professor Dr. Plunkett Martin invited Black to consider seminary. Finances were a leap of faith until Black received word that an anonymous benefactor had pledged his support. “I never knew his name,” Black explained. “But as long as we were in school, we got a check every month. We said then, ‘We hope we can do that someday.’”


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INVESTING IN PEOPLE Praise music, the use of string and wind instruments in worship, and the computer were unheard of the day Black walked across the graduation stage. “I really respect the fact that though Larry earned his degree years before the technology, he’s very sensitive to the fact it is something we really need,” said Dr. Greg Woodward, music division chairman. Thanks to the Larry Black Ministries, the music division is home to three smart board screens that work like a “marker board” and allow the professor to write, draw and erase as well as access internet data. When class ends, material and notes from the board can be instantly forwarded to students via a QR square. Along with a practice piano, Larry Black Ministries provided set up a NOBTS music computer lab for student use in composition, arranging, and music notation. The new technology does more than benefit today’s student, Woodward said, adding, “It’s a real recruiting tool.” While Black understands the benefit of technology, he leaves the new machines to others. Investing in others for the sake of God’s kingdom is the legacy he wants to leave. “I’d rather be dealing with people,” Black explained. “To me, that’s a thrill.”

Opposite page: L to R Dr. Michael Sharp, Dr. Greg Woodward, Sandy Black, Larry Black, Dr. Darryl Ferrington, Dr. Ed Steele Left: Kyle Sparks, Larry Black, Jonathan Statham Below, top: Larry and Sandy Black Below, bottom: Rachael Putman

photos by Boyd Guy

‘SONS AND GRANDSONS’ Jonathan Statham first received the Larry and Sandy Black Scholarship as a Leavell College student, but is a recipient again as he enters the master’s program. For him, one aspect stands out. “Getting to know Mr. Black has been the best part,” Statham said. “I know his legacy and his commitment to serving the Lord through music. To be able to spend time with him is a huge blessing.” When Black speaks of the students he’s come to know, he calls them by name. Those whom he has mentored through the years are his “sons” and “grandsons” in ministry. Joe McKeever, a long-time friend and Black’s former pastor, once described him in an online blog as a “motivator” who “sees strengths in people they did not know they had.” Black prefers to think of himself as focused. The need is great for music ministers who can lead blended worship and also a choir, Black said, adding, “We need to help.” In changing times when opinions on church music can divide, Black sees the choir as central to a music minister’s success. Black said the choir he led for 34 years at First Baptist Church, Jackson, Miss., grew from 31 members to 363 by staying true to their moto, “More than music; we are family.” “The choir will help you stay a long while,” Black tells those he mentors. “Invest yourself in people. They will come to your aid.” Black should know. After all, “people” are his business.

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story and photo by Gary D. Myers

ADVOCATES FROM SEVERAL perspectives on same-sex marriage and LGBT rights discussed the emotionally and politically charged issues, which often pit the church against the prevailing culture, during a forum at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The “Rights and Sexuality: Where Individual Freedoms and Civil Rights Meet” event was sponsored by the seminary’s Institute for Faith and the Public Square. Lloyd Harsch, the institute’s director, noted, “What we are trying to do with the Institute for Faith and the Public Square is to provide a safe environment for rational conversation on difficult issues where we can listen to each other and find common ground.” Tony Campolo, professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, and SarahJane Guidry, executive director of Louisiana’s Forum for Equality, advocated for acceptance of same-sex marriage and greater LGBT protections. Craig V. Mitchell, a Christian ethicist and political scientist, and Travis Weber, a lawyer with the Family Research Council, argued for traditional marriage and protections for those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds. Forum organizers described the speakers as respectful, modeling civil discussion on matters of deep and passionate disagreement. Mitchell opposed same-sex marriage by articulating the heart of the evangelical


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A VIDEO OF THE FORUM IS AVAILABLE UNDER THE PAST EVENTS TAB AT WWW.FAITH-PUBLICSQUARE.ORG argument against the practice — homosexuality is at odds with Scripture. However, Mitchell was clear that the church must oppose those who would mistreat LGBT individuals. “The church is supposed to be salt and light,” Mitchell said. “We need to call sin what it is; at the same time we need to show the love of Christ. We need to love the sinner while hating the sin.” Mitchell acknowledged missteps by the church in its attempts to love the LGBT community while upholding a biblical view of marriage. However, he sees the stance on homosexuality as a sin as the key point of tension between the church and LGBT advocates. Campolo opposed same-sex marriage until two-and-a-half years ago when his view shifted toward acceptance of same-sex marriage in part due to his work counseling homosexuals. Campolo acknowledged that he could be wrong on homosexuality. While Campolo and Mitchell disagreed on same-sex marriage, the two found some common ground on the issue of

church-state entanglement in marriage. The state licenses both the couple who is getting married and the clergy member who conducts the service. It is the clergy member, Campolo said, who solemnizes the union. Yet in America, these functions are mingled together. “If you want to get married in Amsterdam you go down to the city hall and you register and a civil ceremony takes place,” Campolo said. “If you want a religious blessing, you then go to the church and the minister or the priest blesses the relationship. Separating the two things solves all the problems.” Mitchell agreed that separating the civil and religious aspects of marriage could relieve some, but not all, of the conflict regarding same-sex marriage. Even with the separation of the civil and religious aspects of marriage, he said the church must still point out sin and call for repentance. “No one likes to be called a sinner, yet every one of us is,” Mitchell said. “It is the job of the church to remind people.”

SEMINARY NEWS RHONDA KELLEY HONORED Celebrating 20 years of a women’s ministry program making an impact around the world, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary honored Rhonda Harrington Kelley, wife of NOBTS President Chuck Kelley, for her integral role in the NOBTS program. A presentation in chapel Sept. 26 was followed by a luncheon in Kelley’s honor where the Rhonda Harrington Kelley scholarship benefiting women in academics was announced. NOBTS/Leavell College offers Women’s Ministry Certificates at the undergraduate and graduate levels and an undergraduate minor in Women’s Ministry to train women to lead women’s

photo by Boyd Guy

ministries in churches. Concentrations are offered with graduate degrees.

DEFEND 2018 TO FEATURE URBAN APOLOGETICS DEFEND, Jan. 8-12, 2018, equips believers to answer questions about the faith the culture often demands. An urban apologetics track — new this year — features leading African-American voices Lisa Fields, founder and president of the Jude 3 Project, and Christopher Brooks, apologetics radio host and former pastor of a large-member church in Detroit. Special plenary speakers include leading resurrection scholar Gary Habermas; Craig Hazen, Biola University; Tim McGrew, Western Michigan University; Jeff Zweerink, Reasons to Believe, and others. For information, visit:


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COMEDIAN ANITA RENFROE, MARCH 15, TO OPEN WOMEN’S EVENT Funny, musical and talented, Anita Renfroe

NOBTS that allows remote students to

earned internet fame with her “Mom Song”

join a class through live synchronous

sung to the William Tell Overture. Renfroe

video. Because the sessions are live and

highlights an evening of encouragement for

connected, students ask the professor

women, Thursday, March 15, 7 p.m., in the

questions, and interact with other

opening session of the NOBTS Women’s

students, all from their remote location.

Leadership Conference.

“Having completed two courses last

Cindy Townsend and Chris Adams

semester in the NOLA2U format, I can

are featured speakers, Friday, March 16.

attest that it is truly exceptional,” said

Activities include worship, workshops, and

NOBTS student Louis Johnson.

panel discussions.

The value of NOLA2U is that it incorporates human interaction into distance learning. “I love the NOLA2U approach. It is the best delivery system we’ve found since I cannot be on campus,” said Dr. Rick Yount, one of NOBTS’ visiting professors. NOLA2U also gives distance learning students the same resources in-class students have for learning difficult subjects. Yount, who also teaches statistics — a subject difficult for many — notes that “speaking explanations face to face is the key.” Through NOLA2U, remote students now have this ability. “We wanted something that was more like the normal class experience for

Dr. Norris Grubbs, provost. “NOLA2U provides the in-class experience with our best professors with the convenience of logging in from the home or office.”

SENIOR FEST LAFAYETTE SET FOR FEB. 23 Senior Fest goes on the road with a new half-day event, Feb. 23, 2018, at First Baptist Church, 1100 Lee Ave., Lafayette. Dr. Chuck


NOBTS WRITER RECEIVES BCA AWARD FOR FEATURE Marilyn Stewart, Vision magazine managing editor and assistant director of news at NOBTS public relations,

leaders Max Anders, Robert Coleman and Michael Kelley spoke at Xcelerate 2017, Oct. 19-20, on the NOBTS campus. Anders is the creator and general editor of the 32-volume Holman Bible Commentary Series, pastor, and author of the bestselling 30 Days to Understanding the Bible and his recent work, Brave New Discipleship. Coleman, author of The Master Plan of Evangelism and longtime leader of the Institute of Evangelism for the Billy Graham Center, Wheaton College and Dean of the Billy Graham International Schools of professor of discipleship and evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. The author of Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God and Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life, Kelley is the director of discipleship for LifeWay Christian Resources.

received a writing award during the 2017 Baptist Communicators Association Wilmer C. Fields Awards Competition and Communications Audit. The article, “‘A Regular Guy’ Who Loves the Lord and Old Cars” garnered third place in the Feature Writing Division, Single Article (Less than 750 words) category.

AMAZON SMILE: YOU SHOP, AMAZON GIVES Shop, and help NOBTS help others answer God’s call. Every purchase you make at generates a contribution to NOBTS of 0.5 percent of the purchase price. With no added cost

DENNIS SWANBERG HEADLINES SENIOR FEST NEW ORLEANS Dennis Swanberg, Christian comedian, pastor and motivational speaker, is the featured speaker for Senior Fest, April 6, 2018. The one-day event held on the NOBTS campus features worship, fellowship with other believers, and insightful breakout sessions led by NOBTS faculty and friends. The registration fee of $40 covers a light

Kelley is the featured speaker. The cost is

breakfast and lunch. The deadline to register

$12. To register

is March 15. Visit

html or call (504) 816-8106.

senior-fest.html or call (504) 816-8106.

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Renowned discipleship and evangelism

Evangelism, is the distinguished senior

people who could not attend classes in New Orleans,” said NOBTS Provost


to you, Amazon Smile puts your shopping dollars to work all year long. To get started, go to com and select New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as your favorite charitable organization. Amazon Smile will do the rest. Enjoy shopping!

SEMINARY NEWS NOBTS EXPANDS PH.D. SYNCHRONOUS VIDEO DELIVERY SYSTEM In 2016, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary launched the synchronous interactive video delivery system in the doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) program. At first only certain Ph.D. majors were offered in the new format. This fall, the new delivery system has expanded to encompass all Ph.D. majors at NOBTS, except counseling. Counseling students still meet on campus three weekends per semester. However, the counseling Ph.D. will implement the synchronous option during the fall 2018 semester. The synchronous interactive video delivery system allows Ph.D. students to participate in seminars and colloquia regardless of where they live. Unlike other online study models in which the student interacts with course material on his or her own schedule, SYNC requires a set meeting time each week — just like the main campus Ph.D. students. Non-residential students will access live streaming video from the New Orleansbased classroom via Blue Jeans video conferencing software. Distance students and residential students alike will be able to participate in real-time interaction with each other and the professor. January and summer mini-term workshop courses and testing components are available only on the main campus. Students are able to complete up to two-thirds of the program at a distance. For more information about the


photo by Joe Fontenot

Dr. Rex Butler, Professor of Church History and Patristics at NOBTS, dressed as Martin Luther in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation Oct. 31. Butler attended Faculty Prayer Meeting and Chapel as the German monk. Here, Butler reenacts Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the chapel door at Wittenberg in 1517.

EIGHT NEW RESEARCH DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary recently announced the establishment of eight research doctoral fellowships for students. The fellowships are designed to assist outstanding students in pursuing the highest level of academic preparation through the Doctor of Philosophy program or the Doctor of Musical Arts program. Each endowed fellowship pays most or all tuition and fees for a doctoral student up to four years. A fellowship is typically awarded to a student at the start of his or her doctoral studies. The fellowship can remain with students throughout their program of study for up to four years. To continue to receive funds for the full four years, students must remain in good standing as determined by the Associate Dean of Research Doctoral Programs. While not limited to students at the New Orleans campus, preference in awarding is given to residential students. Current Research Doctoral Fellowships The Milton and Charlotte Williams Fellowship in Preaching

synchronous interactive video Ph.D.

The J. Duncan Boyd III Memorial Fellowship in Old Testament and Hebrew

courses, contact the research doctoral

The Lallage Feazel Fellowship in Instrumental Music

program at (504) 816-8010 or visit www.

The Thomas S. and Mary Wheeler Messer Fellowship in New Testament and Greek

The Charles Ray Pigott Fellowship in Apologetics The Charles Ray Pigott Doctoral Fellowship for Minority Students The C.C. Randall Research Fellow for the Leavell Center for Evangelism & Church Growth The Harold and Lucille Harris Ph.D. Fellowship in Christian Counseling For more information, contact the Research Doctoral Program office by phone: (504) 282-4455, ext. 8010; or email:

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by Gary D. Myers

THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Provost Emeritus Steve Lemke prepared for a job he never dreamed he would have. Each degree, each ministry experience, each teaching position added to the unique and diverse skillset he would need as NOBTS provost.

Steve and Carol Lemke photo by Boyd Guy Lemke was honored this fall for his 20 years of service as the top academic official at NOBTS. Under his leadership the school experienced dramatic growth, became an educational innovator, weathered a major hurricane and rebounded. In August, Lemke assumed the new role of vice president of institutional assessment, a crucial position in today’s higher education landscape. Dr. Norris Grubbs was appointed as provost. In honor of Lemke’s long, successful tenure at NOBTS, the trustees named him provost emeritus. Serving as a provost had never crossed Lemke’s mind until NOBTS


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President Chuck Kelley called to offer him an interview. Even considering the position took a bit of “mental rewiring,” Lemke recalls. “The things that I enjoy most are preaching and teaching,” Lemke said. “I am the son of a teacher and I look at things from a teacher’s perspective. To think about going into administration was kind of a foreign concept.” As Lemke considered the offer, God called to his mind all the unique ways he had prepared for the role of provost. None of it was planned by Lemke with the goal of becoming a provost. It was simply God’s providence at work. Lemke had a unique educational background. After earning the master of divinity degree, Lemke earned a master of arts in Christian education degree before earning his Ph.D. in ethics. Lemke began to see how the work of a provost would benefit from his educational background and his experiences as a church staff member, pastor, Baptist college professor, seminary professor and a division chair. “I’m a generalist. I am interested in all sorts of disciplines,” Lemke said. “What the Lord brought to mind was that maybe I was being prepared for this in a way that I had not imagined.” Lemke accepted the NOBTS position and began working with the faculty and administration to reshape the curriculum and delivery models. Lemke credits the successes the seminary experienced during his time as provost to the hard work of the faculty, other administrators, trustees, and students. “I have been a part of a process that the Lord has blessed,” Lemke said. “I can’t take much credit for it.” Early on, Lemke and the faculty reworked the master of divinity (M.Div.) program, reorganizing it around the competencies needed for local church ministry. NOBTS also instituted M.Div.

specializations which became very popular and helped attract students to the main campus. The seminary also switched from an eight-week term system to the semester system. Under the term system, students were required to attend class four days per week. The schedule severely limited the reach of the main campus. The semester system allowed students who study on the main campus to come one or two days per week and, according to Lemke, extended the distance students could live from campus and still participate in main campus classes. Lemke worked with the counseling faculty to develop the master of arts in marriage and family counseling program which qualified graduates for licensure, while offering a strong focus on local church ministry and Christian principles. The resulting degree offered a biblically-informed and biblicallysound degree which met state licensure standards. The degree became one of the seminary’s most popular programs. Another idea Lemke championed was the Baptist College Partnership Program (BCPP). Lemke devised a way for seminary students who had been religion majors in college to test out of some introductory seminary courses. The Baptist College Partnership helps qualified students complete seminary studies up to two semesters quicker than those who need the introductory courses. The change in schedule, M.Div. revisions, the new counseling degree, BCPP, and other initiatives helped NOBTS become the largest Southern Baptist seminary for a brief period before Hurricane Katrina devastated the campus. While NOBTS is no longer the largest SBC seminary, enrollment rebounded and the seminary is still benefiting from the initiatives set in motion under Lemke’s leadership.





Jeff Audirsch was elected by the NOBTS board of trustees as Associate Professor of Biblical Studies in the seminary’s Leavell College. Audirsch comes to NOBTS from his position as Associate Professor of Christian Studies, Shorter University, Rome, Ga., and from prior service on the faculty of Brewton-Parker College where he was named Outstanding Teacher, 2010-11. He holds the M.Div. (’03), Th.M (’07) and Ph.D. (’10) degrees from NOBTS.

Dr. Bill Day, retiring after 16 years of service, was named Distinguished Research Professor occupying the Gurney Chair of Evangelism and Church Health. Day will continue in his role as Associate Director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health.

photos by Boyd Guy




Professor of Church History and Patristics


Professor of Theology and Islamic Studies


Professor of Preaching


Associate Professor of Evangelism and Pastoral Leadership


Professor of Christian Education


Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry VISION Fall 2017





Dr. Grady C. Cothen, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, 1970-74, passed away May 19 at the age of 96. Cothen was the first NOBTS alumnus (M.C.T. ’44) to serve as president, coming back to the school after a quarter-century of denominational experience. During his tenure, the seminary moved toward a “unity of ministry” structure reflecting a more integrated approach to education. The Doctor of Ministry (D. Min.) degree was launched during his presidency. Cothen built his reputation by growing churches and strengthening Baptist institutions, often under

challenging circumstances and was known for his peacemaking abilities. “Few Southern Baptist leaders have made so deep a mark in so many different places as did Grady Cothen,” said NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. “He came to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary when it was in a crisis. He brought stability and a foundation upon which our future was built. We thank God for giving our Convention such an excellent leader.” Following his tenure at NOBTS, Cothen served as executive of the board for the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention (LifeWay) until his retirement in 1984.




Dr. Ron Bradley Holman, 49, of Leesburg, Ga., entered heaven Sept. 5, 2017 following an extended battle with cancer. Holman, M.Div. (’93), Th.M. (’07) and Ph.D. (’07) was serving as associate pastor of First Baptist Church, Albany Ga., and as the NOBTS National Alumni President at the time of his passing. With a life calling to share the Gospel, Holman dedicated more than 25 years of ministry to churches in Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky and Florida. He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Stacy, and their three children.

James Randall (Randy) Driggers, age 61, of Cottondale, Ala., formerly of Selma, Ala., died Aug. 27, 2017, at home surrounded by family. Services were Aug. 30, 2017 with Dr. Chuck Kelley officiating. Randy served NOBTS as Vice-President for Institutional Advancement prior to his passing. In previous service, Randy worked with the Alabama Baptist Foundation. He was a graduate of Sanford University and NOBTS (M.Div. in Christian Education, ’98). He is survived by his wife, Paula, a daughter, son, and four grandchildren.

Dr. Luther M. Dorr, Sr., 84, of Oneonta, Al., died July 18, 2017. He was a professor of preaching at NOBTS for 17 years and a pastor for more than 60 years. He graduated from Mississippi College and received a B. Div. (’59) and a Th.D (’68) from NOBTS. He was the author of the book “The Bi-Vocational Pastor,” a frequent writer for the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board and served churches in Alabama, Mississippi, Maryland, and Virginia. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Nell Dorr.

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ALUMNI NEWS DEATHS ADAMS, CLARK (attended ’76) of Newton, Miss., passed away July 5, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Jo Ann, daughters, grandchildren and other family members.

BROWN, DENNIS J. (MCM ’82) of Niceville, Fla., passed away May 26, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Leah, their children, grandchildren, and his siblings.

AKRIDGE, CLAVIS E. (attended ’77) of Mobile, Ala., passed away July 10, 2017. He is survived by this three daughters, four grandchildren, and other family members.

BULLARD, NELSON E. (BDiv ’59) of Pensacola, Fla., passed away Aug. 8, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Hazel, a son, daughter, seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and two great-greatgrandchildren.

ANGLIN, CHARLES F. (ADPM ’80) of Pinson, Ala., passed away July 19, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Diane, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and his sister. ANTOINE, MURPHY (MDIV ’84; MRE ’85) of Gretna, La., passed away March 12, 2016. ARNSDORFF, MARION (attended ’78) of Fleetwood, N.C., passed away Feb. 3, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Katherine, their daughter, two sons, and other family members. ASH, RALPH W. (attended ’59) of Phoenix, Ariz., passed away Jan. 18, 2017. He is survived by his son, step-sons, and their families. ASHLEY, RUBY (BRE ’56) of New Market, Tenn., passed away May 18, 2017. She is survived by her three daughters and four grandchildren. BAIN, JIMMY R. (MRE ’68) of Baton Rouge, La., passed away June 14, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Betty, their children and grandchildren. BARBER, JAMES (DPPM ’75) of Nesbit, Miss., passed away May 22, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ruby, their children, twelve grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. BARNES, LAURA S. (attended ’59) of Annapolis, Md., passed away May 25, 2015. Survived by her husband of 62 years, Rev. Charles Barnes, a daughter, son, and grandchildren. BRASWELL, TERRY L. (ADPM ’83) of Lithia Springs, Ga., passed away Feb. 22, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Kathy, their children and grandchildren.

CALDWELL, JAMES L. (MCM ’61) of Columbia, S.C., passed away Aug. 26, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, two sons, a daughter, and grandchildren. CARROLL, EDWARD P. (EdD ’79) of Anderson, S.C., passed away April 29, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marion, a daughter and two grandchildren. CHRISTIAN, SUSAN H. (MRE ’79) of Martinsville, Va., passed away July 28, 2017. She is survived by her husband, John, and their son and his family. COLE, HOWARD E. (MDiv ’79) of Bossier City, La., passed away June 1, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Donna, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other family members. COLEMAN, JAMES (attended ’63) of Pensacola, Fla., passed away June 7, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Katie, and two daughters. COMER, JACK D. (BX ’62) of Bethany, Okla., passed away April 15, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Betty, three sons, seven grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and one great-greatgrandson. CRUZ, GABRIEL (attended ’93) of Lakeland, Fla., passed away Jan. 26, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Noemi, their three daughters and five grandchildren. DEAN, ROBERT JAMES (BDiv ’57; ThD ’61) of Madison, Tenn., passed away July 13, 2017. He is survived by his sons, grandchildren, and other family members. DEJAGER, WALTER (ADPM ’85) of Duluth, Ga., passed away July 15, 2017. He is survived by his son, daughter, their spouses, grandchildren and nine greatgrandchildren.

DRAPER, CHARLES W. (PhD ’00) of Louisville, Ky., passed away June 25, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Retta, son, daughter, and six grandchildren. EVANS, DONALD E. (attended ’55) of Jefferson City, Mo., passed away March 21, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Azelene and children. FAULK, C. MOODY (BDiv ’61) of Hartford, Ala., passed away Feb. 9, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Betty, their two daughters, son, and six grandchildren. FLOWERS, MILDRED L. (BRE ’56) of Laurel, Miss., passed away Aug. 15, 2017. She is survived by her son, daughter, grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and other family members. FORTUNE, JACKIE W. (BDiv ’62 exchanged for MDiv ’74, MRE ’62) of Knoxville, Texas, passed away July 14, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Faye, a son, daughter, grandchildren and other family members. GARDNER, NELSON A. (MCM ’68) of Gainesville, Fla., passed away Dec. 1, 2016. GARNER, BILLY C. (ThM ’71) of Sandersville, Ga., passed away July 1, 2017. He is survived by his daughter, two grandchildren, one brother, and four sisters. GRAY, CHARLES F. (BDiv ’64) of Collierville, Tenn., passed away May 21, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, daughters, grandson, his sister and two brothers. GRINDLE, MICHAEL E. (MDiv ’78) of Atmore, Ala., passed away June 24, 2017. Survived by his wife, Barbara, two brothers, and other family members. HALL, JOSEPH W. (ThM ’67) of Lucedale, Miss., passed away Aug. 15, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Betty, their sons, daughter, grandchildren, and other family members. HAMRICK, HOWARD (attended ’54 and ’73) of Scottsboro, Ala., passed away Feb. 22, 2017. He is survived by his wife Betty, their daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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ALUMNI NEWS MOAK, ZACK R. (attended ’91) of Brookhaven, Miss., passed away March 8, 2017. He is survived by his daughter and her family, two sisters, and other family members and friends. MULLINS, LARRY J. (attended ’66) of Mobile, Ala., passed away April 24, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Marion, their children and grandchildren.

ROBERT LEONARD (BOB) HARRINGTON (attended ’62) Famed New Orleans evangelist Bob Harrington, known to many as “the Chaplain of Bourbon Street,” passed away July 4, 2017 in Stigler, Okla. Harrington is survived by two daughters: Rhonda Harrington Kelley (Chuck) of New Orleans and Mitzi Harrington Ramsey Woodson (Steve) of Stigler, Okla.; four grandsons, and two great-grandchildren. HIGGINS, DUDLEY D. (MDiv ’04) of Shreveport, La., passed away March 1, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Gloria, their sons and grandchildren. HOPE, JAMES (ThM ’68) of Cleveland, Tenn., passed away May 10, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Theresa, children, and eight grandchildren. HUCKABEE-KENNON, DORIS A. (attended ’83) of Jackson, Tenn., passed away July 19, 2017. She is survived by her husband of 20 years, Jerry, and other family members. LEACH, TOMMY L. (BDiv ’67, ThM ’67) of Union, Miss., passed away April 16, 2017. He is survived by three sisters. LOVELADY, JOE R. (BDiv ’58, ThM ’60) of Oxford, Miss., passed away May 30, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Betty, son, three grandchildren and his brother. MADDOX, KENNETH (MDiv ’82) of Quinton, Ala., passed away June 23, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Vicki, their children and grandchildren. MASLIN, ROGER W. (DMin ’75) of Melbourne, Fla., passed away April 15, 2017. He was preceded in death by his wife, Martha, and is survived by his children, three grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren. MILLER, ANNA (MRE ’48) of Ocean Springs, Miss., passed away May 17, 2017. She is survived by her three children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. 33

VISION Fall 2017

NEWCOMB, ALVIE RAY (MRE ’68) of Counce, Tenn., passed away April 27, 2017. He is survived by his son, his sisters, other family members and friends. NORTHERN, THOMAS E. (BDiv ’62) of Dandridge, Tenn., passed away Sept. 8, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Anna Joyce, a son, grandchildren, and other family members. NUTT, KENNETH R. (BRE ’61) of Arcadia, La., passed away June 4, 2017. He is survived by his sons, eight grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. ODUM, INA (attended ’52) of Panama City, Fla., passed away May 23, 2017. She is survived by her children, eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and her brother. PITRE, PERSHING E. (attended ’49) of Plaquemine, La., passed away July 19, 2017. He is survived by his daughters and other family members. PORTER, THOMAS H. (MCM ’71, EdD ’81) of Mesquite, Texas, passed away July 24, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Nanna, and children. PYLE, BOBBY E. (ADPM ’86) of Clay, Ala., passed away July 21, 2017. He survived by his wife of 50 years, Janice Spann Pyle, their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. RAY, CHARLES A. (BDiv ’51; ThD, ’58) of Carrollton, Miss., passed away on Oct. 12, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary Elizabeth Ray. RICHARDS, W. WILEY (BDIV ’60, ThD ’64) of Graceville, Fla., passed away April 15, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Betty, two sons, nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. ROPER, ROBERT T. (BDIV ’59) of Fountain Inn, S.C., passed away Feb. 6, 2017. He is survived by his wife, June, their two sons and a daughter. ROWND, ROBERT K. (BDiv ’53) of Morganton, N.C., passed away April 22, 2017.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Verlene. SANDERS, JOHNNY L. (BDiv ’63) of Monroe, La., passed away Aug. 21, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Rebecca, a son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren, and other family members. SLAUGHTER, JAMES E. (attended ’89) of Hattiesburg, Miss., passed away Feb. 22, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Susan, two children and other family members. SNEAD, ROBERT (MCM ’56) of Alpharetta, Ga., passed away June 1, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. SPIGENER, TOMMY R. (attended ’75) of Spring, Texas, passed away July 19, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Martha Jean Woodward Spigener, their daughters and their families, and other family members. STAMPS, ROBERT E. (BACM ’17) of Winfield, Ala., passed away May 22, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Lisa Stamps, a daughter, a son and grandchildren. STEED, WILLIAM A. (MRE ’66) of Houston, Texas, passed away Feb. 12, 2017. He survived by his wife of 58 years, Leta, daughter and son. SUMMERLIN, ALINE F. (MRE ’66) of Chattanooga, Tenn., passed away Sept. 4, 2017. She is survived by her husband, Philip, son, and five grandchildren. TATUM, ROBERT D. (MRE ’69, MDiv ’73) of Vinton, La., passed away Aug. 7, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Helen, two daughters, a son, and many grand and great-grandchildren. WELLNER, ROBERT H. SR. (MDiv ’88) of Shorterville, Ala., passed away Feb. 10, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Susan, five children, seven grandchildren and five siblings. WILKINSON, A. BYRON (ADPM ’92, BGS ’93) of McComb, Miss., passed away Feb. 14, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Annette, two sons, three grandchildren and other family members. WILLIAMS, THOMAS F. (attended ’58) of Smiths Station, Ala., passed away Aug. 5, 2017. He is survived by his wife, Frances, their children, 16 grandchildren, and 21 great-grandchildren. YOUNGBLOOD, JIMMY M. (attended ’70) of Bessemer, Ala., passed away Aug. 26, 2017. He is survived by his brother, his children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

TEL GEZER EXCAVATION PROJECT MAY 27 - JUNE 14, 2018 Join in the excavation of the Canaanite water system and city gate at Tel Gezer, Israel. The water system is the oldest and largest known system of its kind. Dig in Israel for one, two, or three weeks. Trip includes weekend tours to important biblical sites throughout Israel. • $1950 (three-week season) or $650 per week +Airfare • Costs cover room, board and weekend travel. • Academic Credit Available.

REFORMATION TOUR MAY 22 - JUNE 3, 2018 Visit the sites where the Reformation began as the 500th anniversary celebration continues. Learn the history of the revival fires that swept Europe when Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door. Tour sites in the Czech Republic, Germany and in Switzerland. • $2995 for qualifying students • $3995 for non-students • Academic Credit Available. Learn More |

MISSION TRIPS YEAR-ROUND OPPORTUNITIES The Providence Cultural Institute is dedicated to educating, training, sending, and leading believers to take part in the Great Commission through short-term mission projects. Connect with the Providence Cultural Institute to learn about the many short-term mission opportunities around the world. Learn More |

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