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11 TRUE SALÄ€M: Offering the Peace of Jesus to Muslims 21 SEMINARY NEWS: Trustees Approve Adrian Rogers Preaching Center

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od has a problem. It is an easy problem to understand, but it seems to be an overwhelming problem to address. God’s problem is that He wants every man and woman, every boy and girl on the earth to have an opportunity to be born again by repenting of their sin and placing their faith in Christ. John 3:16 is an eloquent expression of God’s desire that most Southern Baptists learn at an early age:

FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE. JOHN 3:16 NKJV What makes this problem so challenging for us to consider is the great complexity of humanity. We speak hundreds of languages. We live all over the globe on vast continents and small isolated islands. We have an amazing diversity of cultures, races, and communities including vast cities and tiny villages. Is it even possible to imagine getting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every man and woman, every boy and girl?


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As is always the case, God has a solution for every problem, and His solution for this problem is elegant in its simplicity. God’s solution is you, and it is me. He expects each of us who follows Christ to tell the people we know what we know about Jesus, seeking to bring them to Christ. It was Jesus Himself who made this very clear to His disciples. Consider Matthew 4:19:

THEN HE SAID TO THEM, “FOLLOW ME, AND I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN.” MATT. 4:19 NKJV This is not a Bible verse addressed to single women looking for a husband! Jesus is talking to two men who were professional fisherman as they stood on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, using language they could not fail to understand. As fishermen they spent their lives intentionally seeking to catch fish. As disciples he expected them to seek intentionally to bring others to Him. Note especially the middle of the verse: they would do this because He was going to enable them to do so. What is the connection between this expectation and the problem of giving every man and woman, every



boy and girl on the earth an opportunity to come to Christ for salvation? Think about how the Gospel got to you. I do not know anyone who heard about Jesus while they were walking along the shores of the Sea of Galilee or the streets of Jerusalem. In my case the Gospel had to get from Israel, across Europe, across the Atlantic Ocean and across half of North America in order to get to me in Beaumont, Texas. How did the Gospel make that journey? From life to life. Those first disciples learned to tell the people they knew about Jesus. Those who heard it from them told the people they knew, and on and on it went until it got to me. Life to life, person to person, the Gospel keeps traveling as long as we keep bearing witness to Christ. God knows the Gospel will get to every man and woman, every boy and girl on the earth, if each of us keeps telling the people we know, what we know about Jesus. The circle will get wider and wider. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of NOBTS. We were established in New Orleans to be a mission station, doing evangelism and church planting across the city and the region. To honor that heritage we are asking our seminary family and all Southern Baptists to help us with a mighty goal. We want to have 100,000 Gospel conversations with lost people during the year of our anniversary! Please plan to join us in telling the people we know what we know about Jesus. Please begin praying now that we will recognize the witnessing opportunities God gives us to share. Pray that hundreds will come to Christ as we have those Gospel conversations. Let’s keep the Gospel circulating and making its way across the nation and the world. Life to life. Your life and my life to the lives of the people we know and encounter. What better way to celebrate the story of this School of Providence and Prayer!

NOBTS alumni Naomi Ellis prays with a family following an outreach service in Asia. Photo by Boyd Guy

FREE ESTATE PLANNING FROM NOBTS NOBTS has partnered with PhilanthroCorp, a Christcentered estate planning firm, to offer our alumni and friends the opportunity to receive free and personalized estate and will planning. These are private consultations between you and one of the estate specialists at PhilanthroCorp. Today is a great time to begin preparing for the future of your assets. Let us help.

Call Susan at PhilanthroCorp at 1-800-876-7958 or visit



What is a Gospel Conversation? From a ‘Satisfied Customer’: The Nuts and Bolts of Door-to-Door Evangelism with Preston Nix



Vice President for Institutional Advancement

DR. DENNIS PHELPS Director of Alumni Relations




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JOE FONTENOT Writer and Photographer

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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 ©2016 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.


True Salām: Offering the Peace of Jesus to Muslims Behind the Veil: Women Reaching Muslim Women



Get Ready to Join the Celebration of our 100th Anniversary NOBTS Christmas Gift Catalog 2016


New Delivery Method Opens PHD Program to Distance Students Trustees Approve PHD Majors in Apologetics and Christian Leadership Adrian Rogers Preaching Center Caskey Center Serves as Strategic Partner for SBC Pastor’s Conference Rare Hymnals See New Life Through Online Center Devin Haun: ‘A Regular Guy’ Who Loves the LORD and Old Cars Entrust Mentoring Community Facilitates Practical Learning Doctor of Musical Arts Program Sees Amazing Growth

28 FACULTY NEWS Faculty Anniversaries Faculty Abroad


A Simple Mission – To God Be the Glory Class Notes VISION Fall 2016







“Nobody ordered us to stop. We just stopped.” r. Mark Tolbert, NOBTS professor of evangelism and pastoral ministry, lamented the change he sees in believers as he spoke about helping others share their faith. While first-century Christians were ordered to be silent or face jail time, they refused to obey. Yet many today, Tolbert noted, are silenced by much less. The church can do better. Still, fear is an emotion Tolbert understands. “I feel it too,” he admitted. While fear may be an obstacle to sharing the Gospel, other dangerous trends today are in play that call for missions without evangelism and a Gospel without a call to repentance. Dr. David Platt, IMB president (M.Div., Expository Preaching, ’02; Ph.D., Preaching, ’04) urged listeners during the fall NOBTS Global Missions Emphasis not to give in to notions that compromise evangelism or place social justice as equal to or greater than the call to repentance. “Evangelism requires the good news,” Platt countered. “The good news is that the holy, just and gracious creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women and has sent His Son, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin.” As the church rises to reclaim lost ground for the Gospel, clarity about evangelism will be important: Do generic conversations about God or Jesus count? Is it possible to witness by living a moral life? What exactly is a Gospel conversation?

USE WORDS ALWAYS A famous quote often repeated says: “Preach the Gospel at all times; use words when necessary.” While the principle that actions speak louder

than words is worth heeding, the impact it has made on a generation of believers has been numbing. Tolbert calls it a “deception.” “If I witness only with my life, I witness only of myself,” Tolbert points out. “People will watch me, they will observe me, and even if they observe a consistent life or a consistent morality, they will talk only about me or my life.” Living lives that reflect God’s moral laws is every Christian’s responsibility, Platt reminded the NOBTS audience, but it is not evangelism. “Witnessing with my life, by being a good person, by putting a TRUE EVANGELISM smile on my face,” Platt IS CALLING MEN said. “Can we just agree that’s a given? That we’re TO CHRIST. IT IS supposed to live a life SAYING, ‘HERE IS worthy of the Gospel and THE TRUTH OF that we’re supposed to be kind to people? Today, THE GOSPEL, WILL our brothers and sisters in YOU TRUST? WILL places around the world YOU RECEIVE THIS are losing their lives and it’s not because they are BY FAITH?’ smiling and doing good DR. BO RICE deeds. It’s because they are proclaiming the Gospel.” Dr. Bo Rice, assistant professor of evangelism and preaching, applauded Platt’s definition of a Gospel conversation as being the proclamation of the Gospel with the goal of persuading people to repent. “True evangelism is calling men to Christ,” Rice explained. “It is saying, ‘Here is the truth of the Gospel, will you trust? Will you receive this by

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faith?’ It is presenting the truth of the Gospel, but also taking it to the point that we call for a response.” Generic talk about God or Jesus or some spiritual subject is not enough, Platt warned, pointing out that even Mormons talk about Jesus. He urged, “The nations need the Gospel and men and women who are committed to proclaiming it with contrite courage and brokenhearted boldness wherever God leads them.”


Penn Jillette, of the magician duo Penn and Teller, was approached a few years ago by an audience member and handed a Gideon New Testament. The man’s sincerity and humbleness impressed Jillette, an outspoken atheist, and in an online video post Jillette made afterwards, he expressed his admiration for the man while, at the same time, expressed dismay at Christians who don’t evangelize. “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?” Jillette asked in the video. “How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? If I believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming at you and you didn’t believe it, and that truck was bearing down on you, there’s a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.” Tolbert pointed out that Jillette recognized that the Gospel message should compel believers to share and that the promise of eternal life should motivate every Christian to call others to repentance. “With urgency, we persuade. An eternal urgency marks our message,” Platt said, painting the picture of a parent on his knees, pleading with a child to prevent him from harming himself. “We don’t just present the Gospel; we persuade with the Gospel.” Noting Acts 2:40 and 2 Corinthians 5:11, Tolbert said that when the messenger speaks from genuine concern, the message is viewed as persuasion rather than manipulation. “This is not a coercing, but it is


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going so far as to plead,” Rice said. “If we believe what the scripture says, if we believe that Christ is the only way, then we’re not satisfied with simply saying, ‘Here’s who Jesus is’ and then turning and walking away.”

DISCIPLINED, NOT ARTIFICIAL As director of the Caskey Center for Church Excellence, Tolbert leads students in sharing their faith once-aweek in an approach meant to develop evangelism as a spiritual discipline in their lives. With a 96 percent student compliance rate, Tolbert believes the program is successful. Once questioned as to whether linking evangelism and the Caskey Center student scholarship is “artificial,” Tolbert responded that intentionality leads to strong habits. “It’s not artificial; it’s disciplined,” Tolbert explained. “Is it artificial for me to pray every day even if I don’t feel like it? Is it artificial for me to read the Bible even if I don’t feel like it? If I don’t feel like going to church on Sunday, should I stay home?” When a student struggling with sharing his faith came to Tolbert for help, Tolbert went with him into the neighborhood. After presenting the Gospel at three homes, the student confided to Tolbert that he had been terrified to share. Tolbert assured him, “You know, I was afraid, too.” Intentionality and accountability are the keys necessary for overcoming fear and making evangelism a priority, Tolbert said, something he integrates into his own life. “I need it, too,” Tolbert insists. “The

truth of the matter is, we don’t drift toward evangelism. We tend to drift away.”

A WAITING HARVEST Tolbert often relates a story from college when a conversation with a friend about salvation ended badly. Terrified to broach the topic again, Tolbert planned to meet up with his friend, hand him a Campus Crusade magazine, “and run.” As Tolbert waited for his friend, an acquaintance asked to see the magazine Tolbert clutched between his fingertips. When Tolbert’s friend didn’t show, she asked to keep it. The following week, the young woman’s father called Tolbert to thank him, saying the magazine was the catalyst for a Gospel conversation he and his wife had long prayed for and the daughter had come to faith in Christ. “I had been an absolute coward,” Tolbert recalled. “I wasn’t even focused on her. But I did one critical thing right that day—I was available. That was literally all I did. God did everything else.” Prayer is essential, Tolbert reminds believers, and if they ask, God will bring opportunities to them. He urges believers to ask God for opportunities and to remember that Jesus promised many will respond, even in a world that seems cold to the Gospel. “It’s easy to look at our culture and look at our city and conclude that no one is interested, that no one wants to hear,” Tolbert said. “But Jesus said, ‘It’s a harvest.’”



hat happens to a people who never hear the message of Jesus? They lose their souls and all of their lives. What happens to a people who lose an hour of their week sharing the message of Christ? They will one day hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” It seems like an easy call. Yet direct, personal evangelism is something most Christians struggle with. Dr. Preston Nix is professor evangelism AND IF THEY of and evangelistic TOTALLY REJECT preaching, as well YOU AND CALL as the director YOU NAMES, of the Leavell for THAT’S A WIN TOO, Center Evangelism and BECAUSE JESUS Health. SAID BLESSED Church But if he knocks ARE THOSE WHO on your door ARE PERSECUTED on a Tuesday FOR THE SAKE OF afternoon he is THE KINGDOM. just “one of your friends from the DR. PRESTON NIX church.” That is how he has introduced himself thousands of times to the residents surrounding NOBTS. During the 10 years Nix has been in New Orleans, he has shared Jesus’ message of hope with hundreds and seen


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many repent to begin a new life in Him. However, not everyone agrees with door-to-door evangelism. Many have questioned, “Who is going to do the follow-up?” and “Is it possible to truly lead someone to Christ without first having a relationship with that person?” These are important issues that need a thoughtful answer, and Nix has learned how to incorporate them both into doorto-door evangelism. First, for follow-up Nix recommends partnering with a local church. “Don’t let the follow-up keep you from doing the front side,” he cautioned. “If you don’t do the front side, there’s no followup to be done.” When a person makes the decision to begin following Jesus, that person’s information is passed on to his church partners who immediately begin the discipleship process. Second, a stumbling block for many is the cold-call nature of door-to-door evangelism. A personal relationship beforehand would be wonderful, Nix said. However, the truth is, it is not always necessary. Like the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8, when God’s Spirit prepares a heart to receive Him, His messengers need only be faithful to present the truth. While these are intellectual barriers to door-to-door evangelism, Nix believes

there is a greater barrier still, and that is fear. After forty years of sharing his faith, Nix understands that fear is, in fact, a real barrier to believers sharing their faith. “It’s the number one reason people don’t,” Nix said. “But here’s the thing. Witnessing is a win-win-win.” There is no losing position in evangelism, Nix explained. The first win is obedience to our Lord. The Great Commission is about spreading the good news into the world. The second win is the message itself. Even if they do not accept, sharing the message is planting a seed. “And if they totally reject you and call you names, that’s a win too, because Jesus said blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of the Kingdom.” While fear can take many shapes, ultimately all fear is from Satan. “The Bible says perfect love casts out fear, and so I move ahead.”

Mitigating Rejection “For the most part, they’re not going to slam the door in your face,” Nix said. “That’s what everyone thinks.” Not so, Nix said. Most people are receptive, and only occasionally is one negative. The key is getting to your point fast; this is the first way to mitigate rejection. They want to know why you’re standing


on their porch and if what you have to say is going to be of any value to them. Moving fast increases your chances of keeping their attention. “I share very quickly. And at the door you have to move in to the Gospel like that,” he snaps his fingers, “because they’re going to give you only a couple minutes.” In these cases speed is an ally. Another way to mitigate rejection is to begin with points of common ground. Nix uses two simple techniques that can transfer to most contexts. The first is mentioning the name of the local church. Even if they’ve never visited, they’ve almost certainly heard the name before, and familiarity is often a prelude to comfort. The second common ground is the location of the church. “You know,” he will say, “we’re over on Paris avenue. ‘Oh yeah’ they say,” and now you have established a second point of common ground. Common ground can help mitigate rejection, but occasionally, however, rejection does happen. In those moments Nix likens it to getting bucked from a horse. “If you don’t get right back on, you’ll never get back on again.” What does “getting back on” look like in door-to-door evangelism? “You say, okay. I’m going to the next door,” Nix said. Since the overwhelming majority reacts friendly, moving to the next door can often help alleviate the insecurity rejection leaves. Moving on after rejection takes courage, though. In his evangelism classes, Nix tells them boldness is simply “going one step beyond your comfort level.” It is a step everyone can do, and this kind of boldness is what continues to move the conversation toward Jesus.

Getting Started “I ring the doorbell, I introduce myself, and—with a big smile on my face—I step forward and tell them why we’re here,” Nix said. “And then people will tell me almost immediately: I’m Catholic, I’m Baptist—two weeks ago, a guy was Episcopal. And I say, ‘Wonderful, we’re

not trying to get you away from your own church. We just want you to know there’s a church in this area that cares.’” Nix recounts a phrase that God has impressed on his heart. “You know, I’ve found, whether you’re Baptist or Methodist or Catholic, the most important thing is to have a personal relationship with Jesus.” The value to a statement like this is that most will agree. In over a decade of witnessing in the New Orleans area Nix has yet to have a person disagree with that statement. Many, like Catholics, even embrace it. While these kinds of conversations often happen on a front porch, they are certainly not limited to this. Nix recalls co-preaching a revival with Steve Gaines in a small Texas town years ago. To be consistent with the message they were preaching, they decided they would visit every bar in the city, striking up conversations and telling people about Jesus. In the whole of that Texas town, only one person gave them any pushback— the owner of one of the bars. Everyone else seemed genuinely interested to hear good news, Nix said.

Move to the Gospel In America, as in New Orleans, most people know about God. What they lack is the personal and restored relationship to Him. Helping people get to this understanding can be difficult. Time can be constraining. In his years of training others, Nix said he has seen a scenario often repeated. The door opens, introductions are done, but the conversation ends when the neighbor says he attends church. Nix offers an alternative approach. Nix recently talked to Todd, a 54-year-old Catholic man who thought he had a personal relationship with Jesus. As the conversation went on, it became apparent he did not. “So I talked about being born again specifically, and he realized he didn’t have Christ,” Nix said. “And he trusted Christ yesterday.” These kinds of professions are not uncommon, but many believers eager to share their faith can miss the

opportunity or get side-tracked on nonessential issues. What matters, says Nix, is to focus on the personal relationship with Jesus and the believer’s assurance of salvation, because many confuse their church membership or denomination affiliation with salvation. “Rather than Baptist or Catholic, I keep going to ‘according to the Word of God,’” Nix said. Moving it back to Scripture keeps denominational differences from hiding the Gospel, while keeping the Spirit-inspired truth forefront in the conversation. PART OF THE Focusing on what REASON I’M A God’s Word says WITNESS LIKE I opens a clear path AM IS BECAUSE to God’s invitation. I’M A SATISFIED However, in most cases, pushback is CUSTOMER. not the problem DR. PRESTON NIX one encounters. Often, the problem is agreement. “I see you agree with everything I’ve just said,” Nix will say. “But it sounds like you’ve never taken that step of faith.” Making this distinction is critical to helping people see the difference between attending a church or believing God and having a personal relationship with Him, but this is far from easy. “Many people,” Nix cautioned, “when the person puts up resistance— they just fold. But I don’t do that. I press on.” He follows up with, “Is there any good reason why you’d not be willing to receive God’s good gift of eternal life?” The point is not to be pushy, but to be a clear communicator of the truth. Most people are reasonable about this question. Nix will often explain his probing by letting them know he believes the Christian life truly is the better life. “Part of the reason I’m a witness like I am is because I’m a satisfied customer.” While salvation is not something that can be forced, Gospel conversations— even if they do not lead to immediate fruit—are often a seed planted and prepared for the next encounter.

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True Salām


rowing up in America with a Muslim father and a Christian mother left NOBTS student Debbie Pierson* confused about what God is really like. Does he require unquestioned submission to his will, as Islam taught? she wondered. Or is He the God of the Bible who freely gave His Son to rescue humanity from sin? For Pierson, salvation came down to a choice between a “God who takes” and a “God who gave.” Sitting in her bedroom one night as a young teen, Pierson knew what she had to do. “There is only one person who can take my sins away,” she decided. “Only Jesus can do this.” Answering God’s call brought Pierson to New Orleans Seminary where she studies missions in the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) program. At NOBTS, she joins other students in sharing the Gospel with those who have come from distant shores. With two mosques in the city—one on each bank of the Mississippi River—the Muslim population in New Orleans is growing. As Pierson and other NOBTS students reach out to their Muslim neighbors, they find a listening ear. Dr. Mike Edens, professor of theology and Islamic studies, notes that many Muslims have never known a Christian willing to live out the faith in a genuine, “incarnational” way. The God Muslims know is not so much a loving Father who cares for his children as he is the One to whom they must submit, the One who calls on followers to bear up under whatever choices he makes. “How sad to have no assurance of God’s interest in you,” Edens explained. “How different the Gospel is that says, ‘I go to prepare a place for you,’…that says ‘I came not into the world to condemn the world but that the world through me might be saved.’ How different is the Triune God who is complex in his essence and yet bonded together in love.” Around the globe, Muslims are coming to faith in Christ in unprecedented numbers, but in Western culture, the trend does not hold. That can change, Edens points out. The need is great. The opportunity is here. Will the body of Christ respond?

STARTING SMALL For M. Div. student Ryan Melson and his wife and Michelle, their first contact with Muslims was at home in Alabama before the family’s move to the New Orleans campus. Melson leads


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Westbank Baptist Church, a church plant in the New Orleans area that sits adjacent to a quickly growing Muslim community. While in Alabama, the couple led an Iranian husband and wife to faith in Christ through a friendship that developed at Michelle’s workplace. A second friendship at work, a Moroccan woman, deepened as Michelle cared for the young Muslim wife as she endured three miscarriages. Her shame of not being able to bear children was followed by further heartache when the husband proved unfaithful. Now in New Orleans, Michelle stays in touch and continues to share with her friend the good news of a God who loves unconditionally. After their move to the seminary, the Melsons longed to reach out to other Muslims with the Gospel, but didn’t know where to begin. “Our ‘big’ strategy was to find where they are and start conversations,” Ryan Melson explained. “That’s all we knew to do.” The Arabic greeting meaning “peace be with you” that Ryan Melson often uses drew startled looks at first from the Muslim men he met, but today they welcome him in. Learning even a little Arabic is enough to open RYAN MELSON doors, Melson has found. During Ramadan, Melson’s congregation prepares baskets of dates, nuts and fruits for Muslims friends to enjoy at sundown when the daily fast is broken. In the past, church members left the baskets at popular restaurants and grocery stores. This year, the congregation delivered 200 baskets to the local mosque where Muslims from Palestine to West Africa to Uzbekistan attend. When Melson invited the imam to his home for the “breaking of the fast” at sundown, the imam turned the invitation around, asking Melson and his wife to join them for the evening meal at the mosque. At the imam’s encouragement, Melson brought friends from church, including some women members. Publicly,


Salām means “peace” in Arabic. *Name changed due to security concerns. †


the imam welcomed them as “our friends from Westbank Baptist Church.” The result was an opportunity to talk about Jesus. “The women were very, very engaging,” Michelle Melson said, explaining that a woman read a passage from the Quran that spoke of Jesus and Mary, then asked them directly what they believed. “In the mosque,” Michelle Melson said with amazement, “we talked about Jesus.” When volunteer mission teams come to New Orleans to serve, Ryan Melson takes them into restaurants run by Muslim friends. He sees it as a “winwin” situation, providing patronage for Muslim entrepreneurs while giving Christians the opportunity to engage Muslims, often for the first time. Mission team members light up when they realize, “This is something we can do back home.”

THEY FEAR US While some in the west fear Muslims, the feeling can be surprisingly mutual. Coming from a worldview where religion is melded with national identity, Muslims are confused by a culture unhinged from religious belief. For Muslims, America’s sins as a nation are thought of as a failure of Christianity. “Muslims are as afraid of speaking to us as we are afraid of speaking to them,” Ryan Melson said. “They look at us and wonder if we are like the people on TV or in the news.” While wary of Americans or Western culture, Muslims’ beliefs about God are tinged with fear as well. Muslims speak

of hoping their good deeds outweigh their bad on the day they stand before Allah in judgment. They hope Allah will accept them. “They say God is merciful and that he forgives, but they also fear God in a bad way, not because he is holy,” said Autumn Miller, a missions student in the M. Div. program. “They believe the end times are near and it makes them afraid.” The Gospel is a message of grace that Muslims need to hear. It is a message that warms hearts to the Lord. ”Don’t be afraid to make contact,” Ryan Melson urged. “You love people, you pray for them, you ask God to work in their hearts and to show you where he’s at work, and then you join him.”

THE URGENCY OF NOW Arguing theology or a point of doctrine with a Muslim is often just that, nothing more than a debate, Pierson pointed out. But telling a story is different. “When I say, ‘Let me tell you a story about a woman who bled for 12 years and then touched the hem of Jesus’ clothing,’ they stop. They listen,” Pierson said. “Their Quran is not written in story, but they’re oral learners and they love stories.” Reaching Muslims involves scaling the historical, emotional, and theological walls that divide Christians and Muslims. Websites such as tell God’s story in a form that Muslims will listen to and provide a model for Christians in sharing God’s story. Apologetic resources offered through the annual NOBTS Defend the Faith conference and degree offerings in apologetics help equip believers in

reaching Muslims. The Sabiil Videos, produced as Edens interviewed Christian and Muslim leaders on important theological points, provides an online resource for understanding what Muslims believe. The chance that a terrorist would enter the country in the guise of a refugee is miniscule, Edens insisted. Even so, a greater danger exists. Edens tells the following story every opportunity he gets: Sayyid Qutb came to DON’T BE AFRAID America in 1947 TO MAKE CONTACT. and returned YOU LOVE PEOPLE, home to Egypt three years later, YOU PRAY FOR having had no real THEM, YOU ASK engagement with GOD TO WORK IN the Gospel. Years THEIR HEARTS later, as he awaited AND TO SHOW YOU execution in an WHERE HE’S AT Egyptian prison, Qutb penned the WORK, AND THEN m u l t i - v o l u m e YOU JOIN HIM. commentary on RYAN MELSON the Quran In the Shade of the Quran, the work used by Osama Bin Laden, Baghdadi the Caliph of the Islamic State, and Boko Haram. “Every fundamentalist Muslim in the world today is a student of Sayyid Qutb,” Edens pointed out. Edens said he wonders how different the world would be if Christians had not squandered an opportunity to reach Qutb. He wonders, What if Qutb had become a voice for Christ? “If the world stands, there’s a Sayyid Qutb in our midst today,” Edens asked. “What will we do about it?”

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THE VEIL Women Reaching Muslim Women BY MARILYN STEWART

er head is covered. She does not make eye contact with those around her. More than any man, including her husband, she stands out in a crowd as heads turn when she walks by. She is a Muslim woman living in America.

REACHING MUSLIMS They are the loneliest women I have ever met,” said Michelle Melson, wife of NOBTS student and church planter Ryan Melson. “But they are the kindest women I’ve ever met.” In the grocery store, at the PTA, even at the gym, Muslim women are fast becoming a part of the national fabric. As NOBTS women students reach out to the Muslim women around them, they are finding connections common to all women who long for friendship and want the best for their children. In a day when political tensions about immigration cut deeply, Muslim women may feel the isolation and aloneness in a keen way. Now more than ever, an opportunity to offer genuine friendship and build bridges for the Gospel is present. “The Muslim culture is the most hospitable, most welcoming I’ve ever met,” Michelle Melson said. “They want to ask questions. They want to engage you. They want to know what you believe. It’s a prime opportunity for us as Christian women to reach out to them.”

LONELY When Lizzy McElrath, former International Mission Board (IMB) worker and wife of adjunct faculty member Jamie McElrath, advises American women on how to start a conversation with Muslim women, she often tells them to treat them no differently than anyone else. “They’re on your turf,” McElrath said. “If what you say or do is appropriate in your home culture, then it’s appropriate.” Taking the first step can be as simple as recognizing opportunities when they come, McElrath said, giving as an example the day a friend discovered her new neighbor, a Somali woman, bending over the car engine with a can of oil in her hand. McElrath’s friend, an independent American woman skilled in the basics of auto mechanics, offered the woman help, then proceeded to check the oil, top off the water in the radiator, air up the tires, and finished by giving her Somali neighbor a crash course in car maintenance. Take advantage of opportunities and “use whatever’s around you to build a bridge,” McElrath urged. Simple hospitality, sharing a hobby, or inviting someone over for a baking lesson

is a way forward to reaching those who live on American soil and yet continue living in a man’s world. Autumn Miller, M. Div. in missions, once worked in Burkina Faso teaching marketable skills to women who had been widowed or abandoned by their husbands. With little education, Burkina Faso women had few resources to support themselves when life circumstances changed. “The men have all the rights,” Miller said of the Burkina Faso culture. “The women have nothing.” In America, Miller goes out of her way to speak to Muslim women she meets in public. For some women, appearances in public are subject to the husband’s approval. Going to places and businesses that Muslim women frequent is a tact Miller uses, including shopping weekly at a market next to a popular Mediterranean restaurant. At a grocery store in New Orleans, Miller helped a Shiite woman searching for pure honey. As they talked, the woman related that she, unlike other Muslims, was not afraid of Americans and invited Miller over to her house. As their friendship grew, Miller realized her friend was distraught over health issues, happenings in her war-torn country back home, and other concerns. Hair thinning and weight loss followed as stress took its toll on Miller’s friend. For Shiite women especially, the pain of isolation is real. “She really has no way to deal with stress or find peace,” Miller explained. “Muslim women are lonely. They have no American friends, including some who have been here for 40 years.”

DON’T LET IT PASS YOU BY McElrath stressed that Christians can be hospitable to Muslim friends and, at the same time, remain uncompromising in their belief that Jesus is God the Son. It is a distinction from Islam that must be upheld, McElrath urged, adding that praying with Muslim friends can be a way to demonstrate the preeminence of Christ. When a Muslim friend asked Michelle Melson not to use Jesus’ name when praying, Melson replied simply, “That’s the way I pray.” The explanation was sufficient. Melson explained, “So, I continue to pray in Jesus’ name and she

continues to let me.” As God brings the world to America’s front door, the opportunity to take the Gospel to every tongue, tribe, and nation is nearer than ever before. Many in nations cordoned off to the Gospel are coming to America’s shores. The opportunity to reach them is now. “Don’t be afraid,” McElrath said. “You have religious freedom. Use it. Take advantage of it. Don’t let it pass you by.”

HOW TO REACH OUT Hospitality speaks to the Muslim culture and welcoming new neighbors with small gifts can be a start to building new friendships. Fruit, nuts, and dates make good gifts any time. Invite Muslim friends to dinner. There are few restrictions, but pork, pork products, and dishes cooked in lard made from pork should be excluded. (Butter is fine.) Refrain from using real vanilla due to its alcohol content. Inviting Muslim women to social events build friendships while also presenting opportunities for new friends to learn English better, something many desire to do. Here are some ideas for activities that can be done in groups or individually: Cake decorating, flower arranging, cardmaking or scrapbooking parties help Muslim women participate in and learn American traditions and crafts. Organize a “Find the Perfect Man” party using biblical characters with faults, such as Abraham who lied about his wife or David who had an affair. Conclude with Jesus, the perfect man. This is a good Valentine’s Day event. Holiday of the Month parties focus on the food, traditions and meaning of fun and whimsical holidays, such as Groundhog Day, or the meaning of Christian holidays like Easter and Christmas. For July 4th, a menu of watermelon and hot dogs can be paired with a baseball motif and an explanation of the meaning of religious freedom. Graduation could be the theme in May. Valentine’s Day could include cardmarking or a Find the Perfect Man party. Teach conversational English using Bible stories or short stories with morals, such as the Gift of the Magi, and discuss its meaning of sacrifice and love.

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ADVANCEMENT NEWS imagine all that God might have in store for the second century of His seminary. More information will be coming soon. As a matter of fact, let me urge you to make plans now to join us for chapel online, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017. On this day, our president, Dr. Chuck Kelley, will be sharing our vision for the Centennial. We are indescribably excited about the activities and goals we feel God has placed before us. Within the manifesto of his latest work, Chase the Lion, Mark Batterson makes the following statements:  Set God-sized goals.  Pursue God-given passions.  Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.


TO JOIN THE CELEBRATION OF OUR 100TH ANNIVERSARY By DR. JONATHAN KEY hen I initially began writing this article, I thought a creative approach would be to research major inventions that have come to be over the last 100 years. Creative, yes. Realistic, not in the least. To quote someone else’s ancient Hebrew expression: “Wow!” It is an amazing wonder what has been inspired over the course of the last century. From there, I began to do some homework regarding the last 100 years: world events, leaders and influencers, church history, and so on. To think of all that has transpired during my brief lifetime alone is awe-inspiring; to think on the past century is almost overwhelming. Almost 100 years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention voted to begin a seminary here in New Orleans. Who we are today, this place of Providence and Prayer, stands on the shoulders of numerous men and women who faithfully answered God’s calling on their lives. These giants of faith call us to remember where we have been and challenge us to follow faithfully as they have done. So, get ready. Consider this little note your “Save the Date.” Next October, we begin a year-long celebration (Oct. 3, 2017 – Oct. 2, 2018) and want every member of the NOBTS family to be involved. As we take the time and opportunity to celebrate our past and who we have been, we will also be celebrating who we are today as well as casting a vision for our future and who we hope to be. As I think on all that has transpired over the last 100 years, I can only begin to


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I think what you’ll hear on Jan. 26 is just that: a celebration of God-sized goals that reflect the God-given passions of this incredible place, this place of Providence and Prayer. I’m excited to invite you to join us as we go after this dream!

NOBTS CHRISTMAS CATALOG FIND A GIFT, HELP STUDENTS, MAKE LASTING MEMORIES Do you remember the Christmas when the gifts you were giving became more important to you than the ones you were getting? Can you recall laboring over figuring out the “perfect” gift to give that particular person? Do you remember the Christmas when a tangible gift didn’t quite express what you wanted to communicate… and you struggled to come up with something that would be more of an experience, more of a memory? Can you picture your loved one’s expression as you shared that moment? Do you remember Christmas when you realized how difficult it was to shop for everybody on your list because it seemed like they pretty much already had everything they needed and something inside of you wanted to do something more, something eternal? Well, this could be that Christmas! Enclosed you will find our first ever NOBTS Christmas Gift Catalog. These are simply opportunities for you to give in honor or in memory of a loved one, while investing in the students, ministries, and purposes of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Not sure what to give that special loved one? How about a gift that will impact eternity? Take a look at the NOBTS Christmas Catalog and see how you can be a part of our story this Christmas!



This year, put NOBTS under the Christmas tree by giving a gift in honor of or in memory of a loved one. When you give through the Christmas 2016 catalog, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will send a personalized card directly to your family member or friend being honored. Each card includes the name of the person being honored, the name of the person making the gift and the direction in which the gift will be applied to make a difference that lasts all year. Suggested donations are included or, you may make your own gift in any category.


EMERGENCY STUDENT FUND The phone call in the middle of night, an unexpected repair bill that drains a student’s bank account—life can turn upside down in a moment’s notice. When these moments come, the Emergency Student Fund is ready to help. For families in need, the Christmas season can be particularly difficult. Your gifts make “home for the holidays” possible for students who otherwise could not travel home this Christmas season. A TANK OF GAS $30 GIFTS FOR THE CHILDREN $150 TRAVEL FUNDS $300

STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS Juggling family, ministry, and class responsibilities—often while holding down more than one job—isn’t easy. A gift for student scholarships is an investment not only in the lives of students, but in each life those students touch wherever they go. Your gifts help students answer God’s call as they prepare to carry the Gospel around the world. ONE CREDIT HOUR $225 ONE 3 HOUR CLASS $675 ONE SEMESTER, 9 HOURS $2,025

THE LEEKE MAGEE CHRISTIAN COUNSELING CENTER Going outside the seminary gates to help hurting people is one goal of the Leeke Magee Counseling Center. While services are provided free to the NOBTS family, biblical, evidence-based counseling is provided to the community on a sliding-fee scale, a service that puts the love of Christ into action.


THE NOBTS PRISON EXTENSION CENTERS The class of May 2016, the first-ever graduating class of the NOBTS extension center at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, included 13 proud and happy graduates. Three months later, historic flooding damaged the prison. Your gifts provide books and needed resources for a scattered student body while the women’s prison rebuilds and supports the NOBTS/Leavell College prison extension center program serving five prisons in four states. TEXT BOOKS FOR ONE SEMESTER $150 ONE CREDIT HOUR $225 ONE GRADUATION CEREMONY $1,000


THE PROVIDENCE FUND Still looking for a place to give? The Providence Fund provides support to the entire seminary. A gift to the Providence Fund is the quickest way to ensure that every need is met and every academic and ministry program benefits. Your gift to The Providence Fund helps in these areas: • STUDENT COSTS • FACULTY SUPPORT AND ENRICHMENT • OPERATIONAL NEEDS OF CAMPUS • INSTITUTES AND RESEARCH CENTERS • ACCESSIBLE THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION • MINISTRY OUTREACH


Join us in celebrating NOBTS’ 99th anniversary with your $99 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 or call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 1-800-662-8701, 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.


Photo by Boyd Guy

NEW DELIVERY METHOD OPENS PHD PROGRAM TO DISTANCE STUDENTS By GARY D. MYERS new doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) delivery system at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary opens the research-based degree to non-residential students while upholding high academic standards and fostering a vibrant learning community. The new approach, known as SYNC at NOBTS, allows the seminary to offer seminars and colloquia to Ph.D. students via synchronous interactive video regardless of where they live. The Association of Theological Schools’ (ATS) Commission on Accrediting approved the new model for a three-year experimental period. 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 Orleans-based 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.

“With the technology available today, we can create a community of learning that is separated by distance,” said Charlie Ray, director of the research doctoral program at NOBTS. “Simultaneous streaming video allows people anywhere in the world to join the classroom here. That extends our walls to help people answer God’s call.” Offering real-time video with significant interaction between main campus and distance students was key to gaining ATS approval for the pilot program, said Ray. This ability to foster an interactive, vibrant academic community was not only a non-negotiable to the accrediting agency but also vital to the established values and demands of the seminary’s research doctoral program. All the Ph.D. seminars and colloquia may be taken in the SYNC format. However, distance students must complete certain aspects of the degree on the main campus including the week-long research and writing course, qualifying exams, oral exams, and the dissertation defense. During the three-year experimental period, careful research will compare the achievement of distance students in relation to their residential counterparts based on fulfillment of course objectives and outcomes. This research is designed to test the long-term viability of the SYNC model. The new distance approach comes at a time when an increasing number of NOBTS Ph.D. students are serving as pastors and ministers, Ray said. Currently, close to 16 percent of the school’s Ph.D. students are serving as senior pastors. Still others are serving the local church in other ministry areas. According to Ray, that number will likely increase with the addition of SYNC initiative. Full rollout of the new synchronous video model will begin during the spring semester when four seminars and four colloquia will be available in the SYNC-enabled format. The seminars and colloquia will be offered in the areas of biblical studies, evangelism, missions, preaching/biblical exposition and theology. For more information about SYNC-enabled Ph.D. courses, contact the research doctoral program at (504) 816-8010 or visit

TRUSTEES APPROVE PHD MAJORS IN APOLOGETICS AND CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP n recent meetings, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s board of trustees approved a doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) major in apologetics and in Christian leadership. Dr. Robert Stewart, director of the NOBTS Institute of Apologetics, noted, “In our postmodern, post-Christian culture it is simply irresponsible for Christian ministers not to be equipped apologetically. “This means that our seminaries have to be on the leading edge of academic work in stating, defending and providing reasons for the faith once delivered to the saints.” NOBTS offers the professional degree M.A. in Christian Apologetics; a research-based M.A. (Apologetics); and the M.Div. Islamic Studies and the M. Div. Christian Apologetics.

“The area of leadership has become one of the most popular specializations among students in our doctor of ministry and doctor of educational ministry programs, and we wanted to offer this focused training in our Ph.D. program as well,” said Dr. Steve Lemke, NOBTS provost. Leadership specializations in the M.Div. program include the concentration in ministry leadership and administration and the concentration in pastoral leadership. The Christian leadership major is designed to prepare students to lead in local congregations as well as teach at colleges, universities and seminaries or serve in administrative or leadership roles with the various boards, entities and commissions of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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Trustees approve expository preaching center named for alumnus, renowned preacher

New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustees have approved the establishment of an Adrian Rogers Center for Expository Preaching. Additional initiatives also were approved during the trustees’ fall meeting to enhance the training of local church pastors and other church leaders—a Christian leadership major in the doctor of philosophy program and several enhancements to the seminary’s master of divinity program. “Dr. Adrian Rogers is one of the most significant alumni in the history of NOBTS—well-known for a lifetime of excellent expository preaching,” President Chuck Kelley said following the trustee meeting. “This center will enhance our ability to train students and prepare them to open God’s Word and teach through great expository preaching over the years of their ministry.” Rogers, who died in 2005 after 33 years as pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., earned the bachelor of divinity (equivalent to today’s master of divinity) at NOBTS in 1958. The Memphis-area pastor and three-time SBC president launched his radio and television ministry “Love Worth Finding” in 1987. Through Love Worth Finding, millions of people were impacted through Rogers’ preaching. Building on Rogers’ legacy of expository preaching, the new academic center will promote training and skill development for Dr. Adam Hughes current students and pastors alike. In addition Photo by Travis Milner to providing leadership and promotion for the preaching degrees in the academic program (master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees with expository preaching specializations and the biblical exposition major in the doctor of philosophy program), the Rogers Center will host conferences and lectureships in expository preaching. The center also will develop preaching resources to assist local church pastors. Led by Dr. Adam Hughes, NOBTS professor of expository preaching and dean of the chapel, the Rogers Center will officially launch in January 2017. For information about the Rogers Center, visit


VISION Fall 2016

The Caskey Center for Church Excellence at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will serve as a strategic partner for the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference in Phoenix. The partnership will include financial and logistical support. “The Caskey Center for Church Excellence at NOBTS is delighted to partner with the 2017 SBC Pastors’ Conference in Phoenix to highlight the role of the smaller membership church in Southern Baptist life,” said President Chuck Kelley. “We are passionately committed to encouraging all pastors to make excellent biblical exposition in the church and consistent Gospel conversations with those outside the church the building blocks of their ministries.” The news follows the historic election of Dave Miller, pastor of WE ARE ONE Southern Hills Baptist OF THE ONLY Church in Sioux City, ENTITIES IN THE Iowa and editor of SBC COMPLETELY the SBC Voices blog, DEVOTED TO as the president of SMALLERthe 2017 Pastors’ Conference. Typically MEMBERSHIP a position reserved AND BI-VOCATIONAL for larger church MINISTRY. pastors, Miller ran on a platform emphasizing DR. MARK TOLBERT expositional preaching and celebrating the contributions of smaller churches in the SBC. Miller’s church, which averages around 200 in worship, is in good company. Eighty-nine percent of the convention’s 47,000 churches average 250. “We are one of the only entities in the SBC completely devoted to smaller-membership and bi-vocational ministry,” said Dr. Mark Tolbert, Caskey Center director. “The Caskey Center serves as a champion for our smaller churches throughout the convention. We look forward to sharing research, highlighting best practices and celebrating the significant work of our smaller churches.” Tolbert considers the partnership a “win-win” arrangement. The Pastors’ Conference receives financial and logistical help needed to put on a large-scale event. The Caskey Center can promote intentional Gospel-centered conversations to a larger gathering of Southern Baptists. “Above Every Name” is the theme for the 2017 Pastors’ Conference. Speakers will preach verseby-verse through the book of Philippians.

SEMINARY NEWS DEFEND 2017 OFFERS DEFENSE OF CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW January 2-6, 2017, the NOBTS Institute of Christian Apologetics presents the annual week-long apologetics conference focused on presenting a rational defense of the Christian worldview in an increasingly secular society. Headlining speakers include Abdu Murray, Sean McDowell, Greg Koukl, Craig Hazen, and more. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions with over 19 speakers. The conference offers up to nine hours of master’s level course credit, and the fee is waived for all college students. Dr. Rhyne Putman, assistant professor of theology and culture at NOBTS, is the director. To register, visit

BEN WITHERINGTON HEADLINES 2017 GREER-HEARD FORUM This one-day conference, March 25, 2017, is a point-counterpoint conversation between respected scholars of differing opinions who dialogue on critical issues in religion, science, philosophy, and culture. Ben Witherington III, a top evangelical scholar, joins Amy-Jill Levine, a selfdescribed “Jewish feminist,” in discussing the topic “Christians, Jews, & Jesus.” The event is presented by the NOBTS Institute of Christian Apologetics, directed by Dr. Robert Stewart. The event is funded by the generosity of William Heard and his late wife Carolyn. For more information and to register, visit The subsequent Fall 2017 event will feature N. T. Wright, a world-renowned New Testament scholar.

‘TALKING ABOUT RACE’ SPEAKERS SAY RECONCILIATION BEGINS WITH INCARNATIONAL LIVING Discussing race in America is complex, difficult, risky and necessary. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary opened what many hope will be an ongoing conversation on Sept. 27 during the “Talking about Race” conference. Sponsored by the seminary’s Institute for Faith and the Public Square (IFPS), the event brought together Andrew Young Jr., Noel Castellanos and Raymond Bakke – three men who have given their lives and careers to some of the most vulnerable people in American society. Young, a civil rights icon, served as a pastor, mayor, congressman and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Castellanos, chief executive officer of the Christian Community Development Association, has ministered to urban Latinos since 1982. Bakke, a pastor and urban ministry professor, is founder and executive director of International Urban Associates, an organization dedicated to taking Gospel to the urban centers of the world. The men set a hopeful tone from the start sharing stories from their own experiences. Rather than a call for sweeping change through specific action, the men encouraged grassroots change, one person at a time. The solution, in their view, comes when people of different backgrounds and ethnicities live out life

Noel Castellanos, chief executive officer of the Christian Community Development Association, discusses incarnational, cross-cultural living during the “Talking about Race” conference. Photo by Travis Milner

together. Ultimately, each speaker placed their hope for lasting reconciliation in Christ. “It was an exciting and thoughtprovoking event,” said Dr. Lloyd Harsch, NOBTS professor and IFPS director. “The speakers addressed reconciliation out of their own personal experience in light of biblical teaching.” “Reconciliation is not an academic goal. It becomes a reality on the personal level as each person listens to the story of the other person and begins to intentionally live Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of treating each other by the content of our character, not the color of our skin,” he said. For more about the Institute for Faith and the Public Square or to watch a video recording of the “Talking about Race” event, visit

SENIOR FEST SET FOR APRIL 7 Senior adults are invited to participate in Senior Fest 2017, April 7, on the New Orleans Seminary campus. President Chuck Kelley is the featured speaker and the event will include engaging worship, fellowship with other believers, and insightful breakout sessions led by NOBTS faculty and friends. The cost for the one-day event is $40 for early registration. After March 9, 2017, the cost increases to $43. For additional information or to register for Senior Fest, visit www.nobts. edu/ccm/senior-fest.html or call 504.816.8106.

VISION Fall 2016


RARE HYMNALS SEE NEW LIFE THROUGH ONLINE CENTER By GARY D. MYERS he pungent, musty smell of antiquity fills the air as Dr. Ed Steele, music professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell College, positions an old, leather-bound book on an odd-looking scanner. With the press of a button the scanner comes to life, a light passes over the page, and before long a scanned page appears on Steele’s computer screen. Steele spent much of his recent sabbatical scanning and digitizing page after page from rare hymnals in the NOBTS library. To date, Steele has scanned and digitized close to 30 of New Orleans Seminary’s 400 plus rare hymnals and a few hymnbooks from private collections. The digitized hymns are available in Adobe PDF format, free of charge, at hymnological-research/ – the online home for the new Center for Hymnological Research. “Because of their condition and their age, although we have them, the rare hymnals are not usable, or available or accessible,” Steele said, pointing to a shelf full of rare hymnals. “Now the accessibility comes from this scanner.”


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Photos by Joe Fontenot Most of the rare hymns in the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary collection were donated by Edmond Keith. Others were obtained by professor emeritus Harry Eskew, who taught hymnology at the NOBTS for 36 years.

The Martin Music Library at NOBTS holds more 5,000 hymnals which were donated by Edmond Keith, a layman who loved hymnody. Most of the rare hymnals in the NOBTS library are a part of the Edmond Keith Collection – some dating to the early 1700s. Others were obtained through the efforts of Harry Eskew, who taught hymnology at the seminary for 36 years. While many of the hymnals in the Keith Collection can be checked out and studied, access to the rare hymnals has been limited. The rare hymnals are stored in the John T. Christian Library’s climate and humidity controlled rare book room along with the seminary’s other rare books. Meticulous care is required when handling any book from the rare book room. Limited access is required to preserve the fragile, aged physical copies. The 1713 Hymns in Commemoration of the Sufferings of Our Blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, Compos’d for the Celebration of his Holy Supper by Joseph Stennett is among the oldest Steele has digitized so far. Another notable hymn book Steele digitized is A Collection of Hymns, for the Use of the People called Methodists compiled by John Wesley from 1780. Throughout the collection of rare hymnals, the songs of Isaac

SEMINARY NEWS Watts and the Wesley brothers often appear. Digital copies of numerous early Baptist hymnals also are available on the Center for Hymnological Research website. “We’ve had a few scholars who would fly in because they knew what we had … this was a treasure trove hidden from the world,” Steele said. “Because these are rare, they have not been available to the public. What we are doing is making them available.” Scanning and digitizing a rare book is a difficult, painstaking task without the proper equipment. A person can accomplish the task with a traditional flatbed scanner and basic software, but the process is inefficient, time-consuming, and risks damaging the fragile book. New scanning technology provides automation which speeds up the process. Regardless of the innovation, scanning a book is still time consuming – accomplished by scanning one, two-page “spread” at a time. The new NOBTS scanner, an Opus FreeFlow Bookeye 4 with specialized software, is designed to accommodate even the most fragile books. The crystalBECAUSE OF clear, high resolution scans preserve THEIR CONDITION the text of the hymnals with AND THEIR AGE stunning detail. The adjustable ... THE RARE scanning platform can be used flat to scan an open book lying flat or HYMNALS ARE NOT USABLE, OR at a v-shaped angle to accommodate a book with a fragile spine which AVAILABLE OR will not open completely. The ACCESSIBLE. scanning software automatically NOW THE corrects skewed portions of the scan ACCESSIBILITY regardless of the position of the book at the time of scanning. After COMES FROM scanning each two-page spread, the THIS SCANNER. software merges all the scanned files DR. ED STEELE into one PDF document which is ready to be uploaded to a webpage. With music so deeply entwined in the Sunday morning worship services of most churches it is hard to believe how recently hymns entered the church. According to Steele, reformers like John Calvin only allowed the singing of Psalms and that tradition held sway for many years. For nearly 100 years many congregations sang only from these “psalters.” Benjamin Keach, a Baptist pastor in England, first promoted hymn singing in 1675. Isaac Watts, born in 1674, began writing hymns as a teenager. Young Watts faced bitter criticism when he began writing and promoting hymns. Steele believes that it was the quality of Watts’ writing that eventually led to wider acceptance of hymns in church. Hymns by Watts, and the Wesley brothers (John and Charles) were among the first to be published. Later, George Whitfield brought the hymns of Watts to America during his “Great Awakening” revivals in the mid-1700s. The earliest hymn books did not include music, only the text. As hymn singing spread in America, publishers began producing “tune books” like the Sacred Harp in the 1830s to teach singing in rural areas of the South, Steele said. Many of the songs used in the great revivals of the 1800s in Kentucky

Dr. Ed Steele positions a rare hymnal on the scanner in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s John T. Christian Library.

were from these collections. The tune books utilized many of the Watts hymns set to “shape notes.” The Southern and Western Pocket Harmonist and The Southern Harmony are among a number of rare shape-note tune books Steele has digitized. The tune books were among the first books to include music along with the text of hymns. “One advantage of the scanner is the possibility of scanning other collections loaned from individual private collections,” Steele said. “My desire is that the Center for Hymnological Research would become a resource for the collection of these rare hymnals and to provide an opportunity for others to make their collections available digitally to the research community.” Scanning the entire rare collection will be an ongoing, longterm effort, Steele said. Some might say a labor of love. In fact, Steele believes scanning the currently held rare hymnals in the NOBTS library will stretch beyond his career into the next generation of music professors at NOBTS.

VISION Fall 2016





ot rod shops” plus “New Orleans” aren’t the typical search engine keywords incoming New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary students use when job hunting in New Orleans, but for Devin Haun, (M.A. in theology) they were a providential choice. Haun, 24, got the job he wanted— mechanic for a classic motors restoration shop—but landed also an unexpected role in “Big Easy Motors,” a History Channel reality show that debuted last summer. In each episode, the crew restores a classic car to dazzling beauty for big profit at auction. When Haun walked into the shop his first day on the job, he stepped onto the production stage as filming for the pilot began. Though he was the newest addition to the 14-member crew, Haun appeared in all 16 episodes and his bio is one of only five featured on the show’s webpage. While working on muscle cars is a job Haun loves, he sees it also as an opportunity for the Gospel. Haun points out that when power tools are present, injury and setbacks will be, as well. He knows it is a place where a believer’s shortcomings will be on full display. “My co-workers see me for who I am,


VISION Fall 2016

flaws and all, but they see that my flaws are not what defines my relationship with Christ; my flaws make it necessary,” Haun explained. “I need salvation and I can’t do it on my own. However, my flaws don’t keep me from Him.” The shop is The Bomb Factory in Bywater, a slice of New Orleans along the Mississippi River that celebrates the city’s imaginative style. Restoring old cars to fresh beauty is art, Haun explained, and appeals to a crew that boasts collectively of one Ph. D., three masters, and eight bachelor degrees. “We are regular guys who love old cars,” the shop website reads. Haun, a gentle giant and father of a three-yearold daughter, fits the bill. During filming, the crew worked 10-12 hour days, maxing out one week at 78 hours. For Haun, production meant squeezing in a summer school class, Dr. Rex Butler’s “Heresy and Orthodoxy in the Early Church,” between long hours at work. While rebuilding engines may seem out of the ordinary for a young man preparing for ministry, Haun is right at home. His earliest memories are of holding the flashlight while his father, a mechanic and a used car dealer, changed

out the brakes on the family minivan. Being a skilled mechanic in an academic world sets him apart, but Haun is as comfortable with a book as he is under the hood. Philosophy is a newfound interest and his future may one day include a Ph.D., Haun hopes. With an average of 1 million viewers per Big Easy Motors episode, Haun has at times been recognized in public. But the bigger win, he said, is the acceptance he’s earned with co-workers at the shop. “This is an open door for the Gospel,” Haun explained. “When you have guys that put their pants on like everybody else, do their job to the best of their ability, and when they leave work they’re just as cut up and bruised as everyone else, there’s a respect level that comes along with that.” Turning “long-forgotten piles of junk” into customized beauties is how the show is billed, but Haun has his eye on another type of restoration. Haun, with wife Nicole, moved from Tuscaloosa, Ala., to the seminary to follow God’s call to church planting and church revitalization. Greater still is the restoration Haun lives out daily at work of a Gospel of grace and a Savior who breathes new life into “long-forgotten” vessels.




eginning with the fall semester of 2015, the Entrust mentoring community became a unique opportunity for students to take a class in the form of a one-on-one mentorship. Students serving in local churches and ministries gain practical experience and advice from “seasoned veterans” as they work through class material. Several classes are offered in this format, and participants meet weekly with their mentors to discuss both the class material and the practical details of their areas of service. The mentoring program is flexible and allows students to complete their classes off campus, at times quite far from campus. Jessica Albritton is currently taking a mentoring class for the second semester. She serves in the youth department at First Baptist New Orleans, but her first semester in the mentoring program took place in Georgia last summer. Albritton served as a summer intern in the youth ministry department of the Georgia Baptist Missions Board. She traveled all summer, helped with administrative work for the summer camps, and learned from more than one member of the Georgia youth team. Albritton is studying Christian Education with a specialization in Youth Ministry, so the internship was a great fit. Putting theory into practice is a major perk of the program. “You go over some really deep stuff,” Albritton explained. “You not only go over the class material in theory, you get to work on ways to implement it into the ministry that you are serving in. Then you get to evaluate it and see if it’s working.” Justin Morgan is part of the program for the second year. His mentor is the pastor of Edgewater Baptist Church where Morgan has served as the leader of a mission team, and serves currently as

the disaster relief point person. Morgan has received guidance and support, even in areas that are a struggle for him. Through Morgan’s role as mission team leader, his mentor gave him the opportunity to speak in front of the church, conducting trainings for the trip and for cross-cultural ministry in general. At first, Morgan wasn’t comfortable. “One of my fears that I would like to work on is public speaking. A benefit of the mentoring experience was [my mentor] giving me the opportunity to speak in front of the church.” While NOBTS students can study theory in a classroom, most agree that hands-on experience is also valuable and even more so when given the opportunity to overcome a fear with the encouragement of a trusted leader. An added bonus for students in the mentoring program is the personal relationship they build with their mentors. “The best part for me personally is that I just have a better relationship with my pastor,” Morgan said. “He’s pastoring lots of people, and I’ve never been really good friends with a pastor. Over the past year, just because my pastor has decided to pour into me and challenged me, it’s created a friendship and a respect. The relationship that was built [through the program] is probably the most beneficial thing.” Morgan knows that the mentoring relationship is one that will last. He looks forward to being a pastor one day and knowing his mentor will still be there to call on for advice. “... Years after I leave, when I have a question or an issue, I’ll have a good friend. I know I can call and he’ll pick up.” Jessica Albritton is also grateful for

NOBTS student Jessica Albritton, Chirstian Education with a specilaization in Youth Mininstry Photo by Boyd Guy

the friendship she has built and tells of a memorable meeting with her mentor: “I had been going through a lot that week ... and I felt so overwhelmed. I was almost in tears when I walked through the door to meet with her. She looked at me so sweetly and just began loving on me and encouraging me. ...We were laughing by the time we finished that day. I remember walking in feeling so defeated and walking out feeling like a burden had been lifted.” Currently six classes are offered in the mentoring format, including Church Leadership and Administration, Church Evangelism, and Spiritual Formation. With more than 70 students enrolled in mentoring classes this semester, the mentoring program is sure to produce many similar stories of friendship and growth in the months to come.

VISION Fall 2016



Photo by Travis Milner

n June, Jieun Yun, a doctoral student in the doctor of music arts (D.M.A.) program at NOBTS, was interviewed by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans for a Bach concert she performed at her church. Yun is one of record numbers of students currently in the NOBTS doctor of musical arts program. In the last few years, the music division at NOBTS has seen a full enrollment in its doctoral program. Dr. Darryl Ferrington, the director of the program, believes the high enrollment is due to the changes implemented in the last decade. “It seems as though what we are offering is resonating with what needs are out in the church music community,” Ferrington explained. This is in part because NOBTS is first a community seeking to help God’s people work out His calling in their lives. And so the starting point is: Is this a God calling? Ferrington’s passion is to see music be a unifier in the church, be it a younger generation with guitars and drums, an older generation with hymns, or some combination of the two. “If Christianity is to survive, we need an attitude of grace and unity toward one another. If the church is to grow, we need that.” A conviction Ferrington holds deeply is, “Worship is about the heart’s expression to God.” Dr. Ed Steele, professor of music in Leavell College at NOBTS, says God’s calling is critical. “We are training the teachers,” Steele said. Many songs have lyrics that sound right at first, but upon a closer listen


VISION Fall 2016

have words that are not at all biblical. “We want our students to be adequately trained to become a theological filter for the theology that’s taught in those songs.” But just because the program’s first focus is on ministry does not mean it is soft. It is demanding, Ferrington insists. The program includes a full dissertation, as well as other academic rigors associated with a Ph.D. Through the years, the perennial advice to students has been: “difficult but doable.” This high standard of preparation was recently illustrated in Tyler Brinson, a D.M.A. student, who won the 2015 GMA Dove Award for Choral Collection of the Year. The program itself trains students in research, performance, teaching, ministry, and denominational leadership, allowing students to focus on the applied disciplines of voice, piano, organ, composition, or conducting. For what has traditionally been a performance-oriented degree, the D.M.A. at NOBTS today is different. It has an additional research component, allowing students to make their focus primarily on research in worship/ hymnology. Ferrington notes that this new approach is one of the largest draws of new students. In addition to the musical education, there are two significant takeaways a student can expect to gain from a D.M.A. at NOBTS. The first is the camaraderie among students. “They lean on each other. They become a tight-knit cadre.” And with a big smile, Ferrington added, “That’s a

wonderful thing to see.” But there is another key takeaway— the sweat equity. Doing the hard work required to progress through the program produces a sharper skill set, and it is this sharper skill set that enables NOBTS’ students to become better tools in God’s hands. The 2016 fall enrollment has 15 students. This is over three times previous years’ numbers. A significant factor is the program’s remotely accessible format. Dr. Michael Sharp, professor of worship studies, says this format “has removed the distance barrier” and “allow[s] students who live in other regions of the “WORSHIP country to take advantage IS ABOUT of our advanced degree THE HEART’S opportunities in church EXPRESSION music.” Sharp added that students are able visit TO GOD.” the main campus “only DR. DARRYL three times per semester FERRINGTON for short seminar-style workshops.” Many D.M.A. students have families and established ministries where they live. Uprooting to move here and then to move back again after graduation may be impractical. The new D.M.A. program seeks to help students maintain their local ministry, while pursuing God’s call to a deeper education. To students considering the program, he poses this key question: “Are you willing to give God the chance to do something with your life that you [may have] never considered?”



New faculty members at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary signed statements of doctrinal commitment during the NOBTS Convocation Sept. 13. Five new professors signed the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and continued the tradition of signing the NOBTS Articles of Religious Belief, a document drafted by the NOBTS faculty soon after the school’s founding nearly 100 years ago and prior to the development of the first Baptist Faith and Message in 1925. Signing the documents were Dr. Jeffrey Farmer, associate professor of church ministry and evangelism in NOBTS’ Leavell College; Dr. Beth Masters, assistant professor of collegiate ministry, ministry-based faculty; Karla McGehee, instructor of Christian education, Leavell College; Dr. David Odom, associate professor of student ministry; and Dr. Brooke Osborn, assistant professor of psychology and counseling, Leavell College.

THIRTY YEARS DR. JEANINE BOZEMAN Senior Professor of Social Work

THIRTY YEARS DR. DENNIS COLE Professor of Old Testament and Archaeology

FACULTY PROMOTION DR. PAGE BROOKS was promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor of Theology (Ministry-Based).

ANYONE CAN BE SAVED: A DEFENSE OF ‘TRADITIONAL’ SOUTHERN BAPTIST SOTERIOLOGY David L. Allen, Eric Hankins, and Adam Harwood Wipf and Stock, 2016 Anyone Can Be Saved articulates a biblical-theological explanation of the doctrine of salvation in light of the rise of Calvinistic theology among Southern Baptist churches in the United States. Although many books address the doctrine of salvation, these authors consciously set aside the CalvinistArminian presuppositions that have framed this discussion in western theology for centuries. The contributors are unified in their conviction that any person who hears the Gospel can be saved, a view that was found among earlier Baptists as well as other Christian groups today. Dr. Adam Harwood is Associate Professor of Theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He sits in the McFarland Chair of Theology, is the Director of the Baptist Center for Theology & Ministry, and is the Editor of The Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry.








DR. CHARLIE RAY, Professor of New Testament and Greek


DR. JERRY BARLOW, Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Work DR. MICHAEL SHARP, Professor of Worship Ministries


DR. WILLIAM DAY, Professor of Evangelism and Church Health DR. ARCHIE ENGLAND, Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew DR. JOE SHERRER, Professor of Adult Education (Ministry-Based)

VISION Fall 2016


NOBTS FACULTY ABROAD Study and ministry go hand-in-hand for NOBTS faculty as they serve on mission wherever they go. In 2016, NOBTS faculty traveled to the far points of the globe for research and service. From linguistic research in Canada to ministering to crew members on a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico to teaching in Australia, faculty members have worked to further God’s Kingdom.














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VISION Fall 2016



Photo by Boyd Guy

ou’ve mispronounced my name for years,” New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Registrar Paul Gregoire tells graduation candidates each semester as graduation rehearsal gets underway. “Today, I’ll mispronounce yours.” Gregoire (of French origin; pronounced Greg-wah) marked his 100th graduation in 25 years as NOBTS Dean of Admissions and Registrar when the class of May 2016 filled the pews at the seminary’s Leavell Chapel. Announcing graduates’ names as they cross the graduation stage is a responsibility Gregoire takes seriously. Some names—like Tiendrebegogo—are harder to say than others. With more than 10,000 diplomas bearing his signature, and counting, Gregoire has learned to jot down notes during rehearsal to ensure each candidate’s name gets pronounced correctly. As dean of admissions—the only Southern Baptist seminary registrar to hold both offices—Gregoire’s investment begins before the ink dries on the acceptance letter. And though students come and go, his greatest joy remains the same. “It’s seeing that student through from application to graduation,” Gregoire


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said. “All the way through.” Jeffery Friend, pastor of New Orleans’ Suburban Baptist Church, has known Gregoire as advisor and professor from his earliest days on campus 18 years ago. After Friend completed an associate’s degree, he went on to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, and in May 2016, the doctor of educational ministry degree. “Dr. Gregoire is one of the few whose name appears on all four of my diplomas and on my short list of heroes,” Friend said. At six-foot-five and 400 pounds, Friend towers over Gregoire’s shorter frame. Still, Gregoire is a man Friend looks up to. “Dr. Gregoire possesses the uncanny ability to take my complicated questions and give me amazingly simple solutions,” Friend said. “Each time I approached him with a situation, he would hear me out and either give a credible solution or suggest where I could find the answer to my problems.” Gregoire was recruited for the NOBTS staff in 1987 as the seminary first stepped into the computer age. As a student by day and computer analyst by night at a local pathology lab, Gregoire was a good fit as the registrar’s office went online. Six years later, Gregoire was named registrar.

Much has changed since Gregoire’s earliest days on the job when registration meant long lines snaking through the library and four-part McBee slips handsigned by faculty members. For today’s students, online registration makes class selection a mere “click” away. As enrollment continues to swell with new programs, innovative degree plans and expanded accessibility to theological education, NOBTS graduates around 500 per year. For Gregoire, some graduations are more memorable than others.

A WALK TO REMEMBER The mother and father who pulled Gregoire aside before graduation at Phillips State Prison, Buford, Ga., were medical doctors whose son had been incarcerated on drug charges. With gratitude for the seminary, the parents told Gregoire their son had turned down parole in order to stay and finish his degree. As Gregoire set out diplomas for another graduation, this time at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, a woman approached him. “He’s never finished anything in his life,” the mother recounted about her son. “Today, he graduates.” Gregoire understands the impact a


WE HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH BOTH HIS LIFE AND HIS PROFESSIONAL SKILLS. DR. CHUCK KELLEY theological degree can make. He knows also the importance of family. Gregoire helped countless others move toward graduation, all while earning degrees of his own. Gregoire holds the associate, master’s and Ph.D. degrees from NOBTS, completed while pastoring St. Bernard Baptist Church in Chalmette and while raising, with wife Mae, their two sons, both Eagle Scouts like their father. Once, a student was granted special permission to participate in the Ph.D. hooding ceremony prior to the completion of his dissertation. The student’s father was dying of cancer. “I’ll never forget that,” Gregoire said. “That’s the only time we’ve done that.” Gregoire has taught classes, issued diplomas, and overseen the tedious task of seeing that graduation runs smoothly. On graduation day, he stands next in line behind the president as newly-minted graduates file out. When renovations at Leavell Chapel forced graduation one year to move to First Baptist Church, New Orleans, a glitch in the lineup sent administrators filing up to the platform in an unplanned “crisscross” manner. The maneuver delighted spectators, but the “mixup” was not to be repeated. Gregoire explained simply, “We don’t make a mistake twice.”

LIFE UPSIDE DOWN Hurricane Katrina sent shock waves through the seminary community and the challenge of salvaging a semester for a student body scattered across the nation was unlike any other. Graduation that year at the Church at Brook Hills, Birmingham, December 2005, was the seminary family’s first “reunion” since the storm. Emotions were raw when Gregoire was forced to explain to three students at rehearsal

that their diplomas had been inadvertently left behind at NOBTS’ temporary offices in Atlanta. Late that evening, Gregoire slipped quietly out of town, driving all night to retrieve the diplomas and make it back in time for the morning graduation. At a restaurant following the ceremony, Gregoire discovered his meal had been paid for, a “thank you” from a delighted student who found his diploma in its rightful place, after all. “Add to the normal impossible expectations faced by many a registrar the challenges of operations after the Katrina catastrophe, the massive curriculum changes that simultaneously affected the degree plans of most students, the advent of online degrees and keeping up with students all over the world, and many other such issues, all while serving as a pastor of an SBC church in a difficult area of New Orleans, and you have a man at the very top of his profession, sustaining excellence over an extended period of time,” Kelley said. “We have been blessed with both his life and his professional skills.” When Gregoire thinks of graduation, the sight and sound of 1,500 people on their feet singing “To God Be the Glory” comes to mind. For him, that is the goal of life. The brother of a man Gregoire once provided marital counseling came to thank him, saying, “You saved my brother’s life.” In Chalmette, a close-knit community that is home to the Gregoire family, the school district thanked him for his service to the high school by naming him the 2016 “Volunteer of the Year.” Commitment to hard work and simplicity of mission are the hallmarks of Gregoire’s life. When he looks back over his contribution to NOBTS, Gregoire explains simply, “I did the best job I could the whole time I was here.”

VISION Fall 2016



GEBHARD, JAMES (MRE ’56) celebrated his 65th year of marriage with his wife, Dorothy, his 65th year of Christian ministry, and his 87th birthday this year. Gebhard is pastor at Penitas RV Park Church in Penitas, Texas.


GOFORTH, JAMES L. (THM ’67) recently published a book about his life in ministry title The Meanderings of a One Horse Preacher: The extraordinary work of God through an ordinary man. The book is available at and the Amazon Kindle Store.


LEE, RON (MDIV ’78) retired as senior pastor of Princess Anne Plaza Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Va., after 29 years of ministry. LEGGETT, TIMOTHY (MRE ’77) is the director of the early childhood education degree program at Arkansas Tech University.


LOMBARD, BECKY PARKER (MCM ’87, DMA ’91) received the Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to undergraduate education, student learning, and campus life. Lombard serves as Chair of the Music and Fine Arts Division at Truett-McConnell University in Cleveland, Ga.


CATE, JEFF (MDIV ’93, PHD ’97), Professor of New Testament at California Baptist University (Riverside), had two essays published by Mohr Siebeck in a new volume entitled Book of Seven Seals on the manuscripts of the Revelation of John. One essay analyzes a small, enigmatic papyrus fragment from the seventh century of the book of Revelation that was found in Egypt in the early 20 century. The other essay compares two miniature Greek NT manuscripts that were both copied from the same exemplar in the 13 century. The books are available at and COOK, DAVID (BA ’96) graduated with a Doctor of Ministry degree from GordonConwell Theological Seminary. His project was titled “Grand Legacy: a Handbook for Grandparents who wish to share their faith in Christ with their Grandchildren in an Age-Appropriated Manner.” FLOWERS, MIKE (MDIV ’90) is the pastor at Southside Baptist Church, Andalusia, Ala., and founder of UNTIL Ministries (A Ministry of Church/ Leadership Revitalization), www.

2016 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS Dr. Chuck Kelley MDiv ’78, ThD ’83 NOBTS President


VISION Fall 2016

HALLMARK, CLAY (MDIV ’96) is the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lexington, Tenn., after 15 years of service as pastor of First Baptist Church in Marion, Ark. During his time in Arkansas, Hallmark served two terms as president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.


DAVIS, AARON (MDIV ’00) published his debut novel, Street Preacher with eLectio Publishing.

DAUS, DAVID (MDIV ’02) serve as a full-time hospice chaplain, bi-vocational pastor at Rogers Baptist Church in Collins Ga., and Reserve Air Force chaplain.

DEATHS ADAIR, BLANTON L. (BX ’66), of Hartselle, Ala., passed away March 17, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Helen Adair. ALLISON, ALTA MAE (MX ’54), of Memphis, Tenn., passed away Oct. 3, 2015. She is preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Dr. John Philip Allison. ANDERSON, BRUCE (BDIV ’57), of San Antonio, Texas, passed away March 28, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte Anderson. BEATTY, DAVID B. (ADPM ’93, MX ’97), of Acworth, Ga., passed away Jan. 28, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Claudia Gail Beatty. BLACK, SANDRA “SANDY” (AX ‘62), of Jackson, Miss., passed away Feb. 26, 2016. She is survived by her husband, Larry Black. BRASELL, TRAVIS C., JR. (AX ’78), of Gadsen, Ala., passed away November 12, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Candy Brasell. BURRELLI, FRANCIS R. (ADPM ’87) of Fort Myers, Fla., passed away Jan. 2, 2016. CAMPBELL, ROBERT W. (MRE ’65), of Somerville, Tenn., passed away Jan. 9, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ann Campbell. CLARK, LESLIE R. (BX ’60), of Memphis, Tenn., passed away Jan. 23, 2016. COOK, WILLIAM T. (MDIV ’86), of Salisbury, Md., passed away Aug. 17, 2015. He is survived by Alice L. Cook, his wife of 43 years.

ALUMNI NEWS ROGERS, STAFFORD J. (BDIV ’57), of Baton Rouge, La., passed away Feb. 9, 2016.

CREWS, BRADLEY H. (MRE ’78), of Warner Robins, Ga., passed away Jan. 13, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Jackie Crews.

LASSETT, JOSEPHINE SCHUTZ, of Fairhope Ala., passed away Feb. 24, 2016. She is preceded in death by her husband, Rev. George W. Lassett in 2015.

DEAN, GEORGE ADRIAN. (THM ’67), of Twin Falls, Idaho, passed away April 21, 2016. Adrian was preceded in death by his wife, Judie Dean.

LITTLE, JOYCE C. (AX ’79), of Jay, Fla., passed away May 30, 2015. She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Rev. Thomas Little, Jr.

DILL, CHARLES B. (THMH ’68), of Des Moines, Iowa, passed away February 11, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Shirley Pepper Dill.

LITTLE, THOMAS, JR. (MDIV ’79), of Jay, Fla., passed away Jan. 23, 2016. He is preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Joyce Carnley Little.

SHAMBURGER, HENRY G. JR. (BDIV ’52, MRE ’55) of Ridgeland, Miss., passed away July 14, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Dorothy Talbert Shamburger.

DOUGLAS, JERRY K. (MRE ’64), of Knoxville, Tenn., passed away Feb. 8, 2016. She is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Ernest Douglas.

MCCLENDON, WILLIAM C. JR. (AX ’92), of Atlanta, Ga., passed away Feb. 25, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Brenda McClendon.

SKINNER, JERRY L. (MDIV ’87), of Ridgeland, Miss., passed away Feb. 13, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Skinner.

ENSOR, ROBERT E. (ADRE ’81, ADCM ’81), of Elizabethton, Tenn., passed away March 8, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Joyce Frank Ensor.

MCWILLIAMS, CARRIE B. (MRE ’63), of Weatherford, Texas, passed away Jan. 24, 2016. She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Roy McWilliams.

STOCKSTILL, ERNEST R. (BDIV ’55), of Baton Rouge, La., passed away Feb. 9, 2016. He is preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Ruth Stockstill.

ESKRIDGE, ROBERT L. (THM ’68), of Painted Post, N.Y., passed away Jan. 7, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Barbara Eskridge.

MURPHY, LINDSEY (CX ’98), of Tupelo, Miss., passed away Feb. 9, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Lisa Murphy.

WALLACE, RAY E. (MDIVEX ’73), of Shreveport, La., passed away Feb. 29, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Bobbye Gwin Wallace.

FAAS, RUDY O. (MCM ’62), of Naples, Fla., passed away Jan. 8, 2016. He is survived by his wife Linda Faas.

OVERCASH, JAMES R. (MRE ’72), of Brentwood, Tenn., passed away June 8, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jean Overcash.

WATSON, JOHN H. (MDIV ’76, MRE ’77), of Richardson, Texas, passed away March 1, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Jory Rust Watson.

OWEN, ANNE P. (PX ’59), of Nashville, Tenn., passed away May 18, 2016. She is survived by her husband, James W. Owen, Sr.

WAYNE, WILLIAM C. (BDIV ’64), of Lafayette, La., passed away Jan. 20, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Carolyn Ann Wayne.

PILGRIM, JAMES M., JR. (BDIV ’58), of West Columbia, S.C., passed away Feb. 12, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Gladys Geneva Pilgrim.

WELFORD, THOMAS W. (BDIV ’60), of Hammond, La., passed away May 14, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Jayne Stacey Welford.

PITTS, JERRY P. (MDIV ’81) of Jackson, Miss., passed away July 10, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Beverly Pitts.

WYNN, RICKY J. (MX ’92), of Madison, Miss., passed away Jan. 28, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Vickie Wynn.

POWERS, JOE C. (BDIV ’54), of Oklahoma City, Okla., passed away Jan. 21, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Irma Powers.

YARNELL, CARL F., JR. (MRE ’64), of New Market Tenn., passed away May 28, 2016. He is preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Mary Pate Yarnell.

FOX, JOYCE B. (DPRE ’59), of Gardendale, Ala., passed away March 2, 2016. She is preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Walter M. Fox. FREEMAN, JEAN C. (DPRE ’57), of Racine, Wis., passed away May 3, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband of 55 years, Bill Freeman. GRAHAM, CAROLYN M. (NX ’89), of Fairhope, Ala., passed away Jan. 30, 2016. She is preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Dr. Charles Graham. HEARD, CAROLYN GREER, of Baton Rouge, La., passed away Feb. 14, 2016. She is survived by her husband, William Lee Heard, Jr. HINES, WILLIAM E. (AX ’54), of Shreveport, La., passed away March 3, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Jeanette Hines.

ROSS, ELNORA COOPER, of New Orleans, La., passed away Jan. 1, 2016. She is preceded in death by her husband, James D. Ross.

RINAS, RITA J. (MRE ’84), of Curryville, Mo., passed away March 15, 2016.

VISION Fall 2016


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Vision Fall 2016  

Gospel Conversations: Finding a Clear Vision for an Urgent Mission

Vision Fall 2016  

Gospel Conversations: Finding a Clear Vision for an Urgent Mission