Vision Fall 2013

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Everyone Matters BY DR. CHUCK KELLEY


t the age of 80, Doris Kelley was given some hard news by a team of doctors. Her husband had dementia and could not go home again. He would be a danger to himself and others without constant care. As Dad was being evaluated Mom and I visited 25 different facilities in Texas and New Orleans to explore options for this possibility. After hearing those hard words, she had about two weeks to decide where she and Dad would live out their days. For a variety of reasons, Lambeth House in New Orleans was the best fit, offering both independent living for her and skilled nursing for him in the same building but on different floors. She could be with him every day, even if Rhonda and I were out of town. And so, after living a lifetime in Texas with deep roots and deep friendships, Mom moved to New Orleans for the sake of Dad. She knew us and few others. She had only half the capacity of her heart and arthritis severe enough to make walking difficult. To walk fifty yards was like running a marathon. She had no car and knew not a soul in Lambeth House, her new home. Her husband of more than sixty years was slipping deeper and deeper into dementia. What kind of life would she have? Fortunately, she had a secret weapon.

Doris Kelley

When Mom moved to New Orleans, she came with note cards, stamps, and a pen. As she met people in Lambeth House, she began writing them notes of appreciation: staff, residents, guests who came for programs, everyone. Within a year Rhonda’s mother moved in as well. Very quickly they became known as “the sweet Baptist ladies” in a place where Baptists were rare. Mom found her place to sit at First Baptist, towards the front on the piano side, because we Kelleys have always been “piano people.” She met everyone around her, including the children. They began getting notes from her, along with birthday cards, Christmas cards, Halloween cards, valentine cards, etc. In families with more than one child, each child got a personal card for each holiday. Mom joined a Sunday School class and began writing cards to them. If you were absent, you got a card, even if you never came and she did not know you. Every Monday she lived in New Orleans she would write at least 35 cards. Her health slowly declined as time went by. Dad passed away in 2006. She went from walking unassisted to walking with a cane to using a walker. Finally, I had to insist that we move to the other side of the church, the organ side, because it was closer to her Sunday School class and the handicapped parking. This was a big deal, because we Kelleys have always been “piano people.” She was delighted to discover there were Christians over there too, including a family with two precious little girls who always sat just in front of her. You guessed it. She met all who sat around her and added them to the list she already had: birthdays, holidays, absences, etc. Everyone: adult, child, or teen got cards. She loved coming to the seminary for events: donor events, faculty events, special chapel services. You are correct! She met everyone around her. She learned about their families and their children. They were added to the list: birthdays, holidays, etc. She met the ladies in the cafeteria who prepared her food. She met the people who sang and who spoke. Her biggest problems: her pens were always running out of ink. The boxes of cards were always empty. She always needed more stamps. The arthritis was in her hands too, making writing painful, but she never stopped. If she ever had to get an IV, she would tell the nurse to put it in her left arm so she could still write her cards and notes.

Why did she do this? Everyone mattered! She knew everyone mattered to God, and if they mattered to God they mattered to her. Why did she do this? Everyone mattered! She knew everyone mattered to God, and if they mattered to God they mattered to her. Prominent or insignificant, adult or child, worker or resident, Christian or skeptic, black or white, friend or stranger. Everyone mattered. Everyone mattered to God, and if they mattered to God, they mattered to her. She spent

PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE much of her time in her favorite chair in front of Fox News, but by that chair was a large canvas bag filled with boxes of cards, pens, and stamps, carrying out her mission to be sure everyone knew they mattered. As Mom settled into her life in New Orleans, I noticed something happening. My Mom became a rock star. People always stopped to speak. She was often the center of attention. I was walking her to Sunday School class one morning and a couple stopped us to tell her they were going to be absent the next Sunday just so they could get another card from her. A stranger hardly anyone knew became a person everyone loved.

I shall never forget seeing the impact of what happens when you live with the conviction that everyone matters. On Sept. 19 at the age of 91 my Mom finally got to join her Sweetheart at the feet of Jesus in Heaven. I shall never forget seeing the impact of what happens when you live with the conviction that everyone matters. After she passed away, we mailed the last cards she wrote the night before the Lord came for her. We finished the cards she started and mailed those too. Then came the stories. Everyone told us stories of the cards they received. So many told us they kept every card she wrote to them. Children would come to me weeping and wondering who would ever write them a card now that Mrs. Kelley was gone. She was the first one ever to send mail to many a child in her circle, and we saw the deep impact when children learned they were worthy of mail. On the Sunday after her funeral, the pastor told the church of her passing and asked how many in the congregation had received a card from her. I am told nearly half the congregation raised their hands. Mom came to New Orleans a stranger from Texas. She left as everyone’s grandmother and friend. Her secret weapon: a card, a stamp, and a pen, along with the deeply held conviction that everyone mattered. Walking was difficult, driving impossible, and everything was unfamiliar. But she discovered, when everyone matters to you, you matter to everyone. As I have reflected on my Mom’s life and influence, my thoughts turned to you, the friends of our NOBTS. Most of those who pray for and give to our school have never had a class or been taught by our faculty. Most of those who help us do so because they think the work of ministers and missionaries is important, and therefore the training of students for those roles is also important. I have such stories of what happens when a student learns a scholarship is available, or they get unexpected help paying their seminary bills or their Christmas bills. They feel like they are laboring in obscurity, unknown to anyone until your gift comes and says to them: you matter to God and you matter to me! Imagine walking among the inmates in our prison programs and watching them become joy-bearers in tough places, because someone outside decided they mattered and funded a program to teach them to be a minister. It is an experience I wish all of you could have. I love calling a faculty member in for a meeting, with them wondering why in the world the president wants to talk with them, only to discover the meeting is to announce someone they do not know created an endowed chair for their faculty position with an estate gift to honor Jesus until He returns. This is what happens when you pray for us and when you give to us. You tell our seminary family, “You matter to God and you matter to us.” You will love this issue of the Vision. Don’t miss the story of what our students are doing in church planting in Wyoming. They are making an amazing impact because a group of Mississippi Baptists got involved where God is working. You will see several stories that will remind you this is indeed the School of Providence and Prayer. The faculty and trustees created a scholarship fund honoring my Mom. If you would like to participate in it, just write Doris Kelley Fund somewhere on the check, and we will get it there. Always remember, everyone matters to God. If they matter to Him, do something for the people in your life path to indicate they matter to you as well! 

FALL 2013 | VISION 1

CONTENTS FALL 2013 Volume 69, Number 2

Why Wyoming? ...



ASSISTANT EDITOR Frank Michael McCormack

plant churches and reach Wyoming with the Gospel



Seminary digs for date at Gezer


Mobilized for Missions









New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry, supported by the gifts of Southern Baptists.



• Dirt into Treasure: Giving assests for Kingdom work • End-of-the-year giving • IRA charitable rollover period extended through December • Mississippi alumni give back to NOBTS following luncheon

All contents ©2013 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 publication in both the Vision magazine and on the Alumni website.



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





MATTHEW 28 : 18-20







PROOF READING TEAM Public Relations Staff



FEATURES COVER STORY 4 Why Wyoming: Partnership aims to





• Original guiding document illustrates that doctrine matters



• Leavell College marks 20 years for B.A. Program • News Gumbo • Walmart breaks ground near seminary campus • NOBTS Christian Education certificates offer focused training without relocating • Trustees approve online initiative, add new degrees




• Kelley celebrates 30 years on NOBTS faculty; Stevens marks 25 • Faculty anniversaries • New faculty members • Seminary mourns loss of former professor Robert L. Hamblin


• Foundation led by NOBTS alum earns adoption honor • Alumnus, former professor to lead BCM/D convention • Class notes • NOBTS mourns death of Doris Kelley FALL 2013 | VISION 3


Below: NOBTS students Nicole Powell and Corey Hicks led a man to Christ on the first day of the recent seminary mission trip to Wyoming.



en New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary students went on a whirlwind church planting mission trip to Cheyenne, Wyo., this September. The students knocked on hundreds of doors in this windswept city on the western plains. They shared the gospel, conducted surveys and invited people to attend Life Point Church, a young church plant, just miles from the state capitol building. The task of knocking on doors was challenging at first. Some of the visits did not go well. But for the most part, the response was at least cordial, even if the residents were not open to the gospel.


First Day, First Door

Corey Hicks and Nicole Powell, two of the NOBTS students on the trip, had a divine appointment on the first day at their first door. As one group of four NOBTS students parked on the corner of a treelined street in Cheyenne, they noticed a man shuffling by carrying a brown paper bag. They paid him little attention as they gathered church flyers, gospel tracts and a stack of community surveys. One team of two would walk down one side of the street, the other two would take the other side of the street. They knew it was going to be a long day of going door-to-door, so they prayed and went to work. When Corey and Nicole knocked on the first door on their side of the street, they immediately recognized the man at the door – the guy with the brown paper bag. To Corey and Nicole’s surprise, the man was very open to talk with them. He immediately confessed that he was an alcoholic and said he had been to the store that morning to buy a big can of beer which he had with him in the bag. The man said he wanted a way out of his addiction. Corey and Nicole shared the gospel message, telling the man that nothing is beyond God’s power. Through Jesus, they said, God would forgive him of his sins and change him. The man was overcome with conviction and made a commitment to Christ on the spot. Then he did something amazing. The man pulled the tab on the large beer he had purchased earlier and poured it out beside his porch. The week was off to a great start. FALL 2013 | VISION 5

Top Left: Nicole Powell spends time with the children at Life Point Church in Cheyenne. Middle Left: Members of the NOBTS/Brandon Baptist Mission Team enjoy a fellowship gathering at Life Point Church.


All in all, the five-day trip was a huge success. Part of a team that also included 17 volunteers from Baptist churches in Mississippi, the group handed out close to 3,000 flyers about the church, shared the gospel numerous times, collected 120 prospect cards, and led at least seven people to faith in Christ. But why Wyoming? It seems like a natural question. Why is NOBTS involved in Wyoming church planting? What about the great cities of the United States and Canada? Why choose a place so different from New Orleans or the rural south? With approximately 576,000 residents, Wyoming is the least populous state in the United States. Cheyenne, the state capital and largest city, boasts only 91,000 residents in its metro area. Many Wyomingites live in isolated areas, giving the state the second lowest population density in the U.S. So why is a seminary, known for preparing pastors for Southern churches and missionaries for gritty urban centers throughout the world, sending teams to Wyoming? Why Wyoming? The answer is simple. With a nod to Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God,” NOBTS found out where God is working and joined Him there. The Wyoming connection developed due to a unique partnership opportunity.

Partnering to Share the Gospel in Wyoming

Above: Six NOBTS students spent the summer of 2013 in Wyoming as Church Planting Apprentices. They are (from left to right): Le Reginald Jones, Clay Carroll, Helga Parvu, Andrei Parvu, Laura Clark, and Laurie Nelson.


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In 2011, Brandon Baptist Church in Brandon, Miss., began a partnership with Southern Baptist church planters in Wyoming. So far, members of that church and other churches in Brandon have traveled to Wyoming five times, canvassing neighborhoods in Casper, Cheyenne, Evansville and Torrington. On its face this is a truly unique commitment – one church halfway across the United States taking the time to send so many teams to Wyoming. The trips are even more amazing when you learn that most of the Brandon Baptist volunteers are in their 60s. Now several other churches in the Brandon area, including Crossgates Baptist Church, are now participating in the Brandon Baptist trips to Wyoming. The church has deep ties with New Orleans Seminary and one of the church’s members is a long-time seminary donor. This member, who wishes to remain anonymous, had an incredible idea – why not involve seminary students in Brandon Baptist’s church planting and evangelism efforts in Wyoming. Such a partnership would supply extra workers during mission trips and the experience would provide hands-on training for church planting students outside the Bible Belt. Even better, this member raised enough money to provide these trips to NOBTS students free of charge. In the Fall of 2012, Brandon Baptist Church launched the NOBTS partnership by taking three students and a professor to Cheyenne to provide support for pastor Zack Edwards and Life Point Church – the church was about a year old at the time. NOBTS students and Brandon Baptist members canvassed the neighborhoods of Cheyenne, knocking on doors, sharing the gospel, surveying residents, and telling people about the church. The students who went on the first trip were inspired by the tenacity and commitment of the older volunteers from Brandon Baptist. For the Brandon Baptist crew, interaction with the young seminarians offered hope for the future of the churches these ministers-in-training will one day lead. Together, the mission team led a number of people to faith in Christ and developed many contacts for the church.

Deepening the Partnership


With such a successful initial trip together, Brandon Baptist began dreaming of other ways to expand the NOBTS partnership to reach more people for Christ and help strengthen more churches in Wyoming. Working with Don Whalen Jr., State Missionary for Church Planting Strategies for the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention, the church developed a 10-week summer apprenticeship plan for seminary students. Six NOBTS students were selected for the first apprenticeship group in the summer of 2013. “This ‘high-velocity’ church planting experience provided NOBTS students with firsthand opportunities related to church planting on the mission field, as well as enabling these students to discover and develop their call to ministry and gain practical experience, confidence and skills in reaching new people groups with the Gospel,” Whalen said. Whalen designed the apprenticeship to make the most out of the summer – not only for the church planters who hosted NOBTS students, but also for the students as well. “It was a high priority in our planning that not only fruitful ministry take place, but also that students would grow in their faith, confirm their call to ministry and grow in their church planting competency,” he said. To say both things happened would be an understatement. In their ten weeks in Wyoming, the six students saw God work in mighty ways. During the summer, 39 people accepted Christ through ministry opportunities in which the NOBTS students were involved. The students also grew in their faith and boldness. For at least one student, Laura Clark, the summer was a confirmation of her call to be a church planting strategist. God often put the right student in the right place at the right time to share the gospel with someone who was ready to respond. One notable example happened on the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie. Andrei and Helga Parvu a young, seminary couple from Romania, apprenticed with Sam Martin of Laramie Valley Chapel. The Parvus decided to reach out to the University of Wyoming international student office to find out if the school had students from their home country. Wyoming did have one Romanian student, a tennis player. Andrei and Helga met with the student and discovered that she was an agnostic. After the Parvus shared their own experience of coming to Christ and discussed Jesus’ claims, the Romanian student committed her life to Christ. Talk about the right person at the right place at the right time. Two of the students experienced the launch of a new church first-hand during the summer. Clay Carroll, who served with Marty and Nancy Rostad at LifeWay Baptist Church in Torrington, participated in the launch of a new church north of Torrington in Ft. Laramie. Laura Clark, who served with Mike and Karen Sain, participated in the launch of The Journey Church in Casper. Don Whalen said there was a bit of apprehension from some of the pastors who hosted NOBTS apprentices. Before the students came, some wondered if the arrangement would be helpful to

The NOBTS team went door to door, visiting homes in the neighborhoods near the Wyoming State Capitol Building.


the churches and to the students. After the students arrived and began working in late May, the skepticism melted away. In fact, the summer apprentices were so successful in assisting the churches that Brandon Baptist and the Wyoming Convention are planning to continue the program again in the summer of 2014.

God continues to move


Two days after this year’s team returned to New Orleans on Sept. 20, Life Point Church began seeing the results of the volunteer efforts. Twelve new people visited church that first Sunday. The next week there were more visitors and two people accepted Christ during the service. One who made a decision for Christ was a 10-year-old boy whose family came because of a flyer left on their door. Stories like these make all the efforts worthwhile. Why Wyoming? Why not Wyoming? Sure the state has a small population. And residents are spread out across numerous small towns and the remote farms and ranches that dot the vast prairies and mountains of the state. But the “Go” of the Great Commission includes Wyoming. Christians must go to the ends of the earth – throughout the nations of the world, across the street and all the way to Wyoming. God is at work in Wyoming and NOBTS is playing an important role in that work.  FALL 2013 | VISION 7

Why Wyoming?


James Abernathy is a good reason By Gary D. Myers


ames Abernathy proves it is never too late in life to come to Jesus, and his story illustrates that door-to-door evangelism is still effective. His story also illustrates why the seminary partnership in Wyoming is so important. In June 2012, the World War II veteran and retired machinist answered an afternoon knock on his door. By the time the visit was over, Abernathy had committed his life to Jesus Christ. At age 92, Abernathy experienced forgiveness and new life in Christ. The couple who knocked on Abernathy’s door, Lamar and Gail Twiner, traveled to Wyoming from Brandon, Miss., to help with a new church start in Torrington – Lifeway Church. The Twiners and other members of Brandon Baptist Church canvassed the neighborhoods of Torrington to help Marty Rostad, church planter and pastor, get the word out about the new church and promote an upcoming Vacation Bible School. In 2011, Brandon Baptist Church began a partnership with Southern Baptist church planters in Wyoming. So far, members of that church and other churches in Brandon have traveled to Wyoming five times, canvassing neighborhoods in Casper, Cheyenne, Evansville and Torrington. Later, Brandon 8 VISION | FALL 2013

Baptist launched a partnership with New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to help church planting students get real-world experience ministering outside the Bible Belt. Encounters like the one with James Abernathy helped paved the way for the seminary’s involvement. Leaders of Brandon Baptist Church have encountered the same openness to the Gospel in each town they have visited. With such great openness and the vast number of people who have never heard the Gospel, the Brandon team decided to get seminary students involved in the trips. NOBTS could provide additional team members to complete the task. In turn, the Brandon team knew that these witnessing experiences would enrich the training of future church planters. The partnership is a win-win situation that is paying dividends in the Kingdom. The Twiners had knocked on hundreds of doors in Torrington before they reached Abernathy’s door. They were tired, but they knocked anyway. When Abernathy answered the door, he was gruff and grumpy at first. The Twiners asked if he had grandchildren who would be interested in VBS. His answer was short: “Grown and gone.” So the Twiners invited him to visit Lifeway Church. Abernathy said “No” because he was angry with God over the death of his wife, Dorothy. The

Facing Page: James Abernathy is a avid woodworker. Abernathy shares his works, like the reindeer puzzles pictured here, with children in the Torrington School District. Lamar Twiner, (left) and his wife, Gail, visit with James Abernathy in September 2013. The Twiners led Abernathy to the Lord during a June 2012 mission trip to Torrington.


Abernathys had enjoyed almost 70 years of marriage before Dorothy’s death on Feb. 12, 2011. Still, Abernathy invited them in and began telling his stories.

Sharing his story


Every visitor to Abernathy’s house hears about how he used to pull Dorothy’s ponytail in grade school and how he gave her the cedar chest he built in woodshop at Erie High School in Erie, Colo. The cedar chest still sits in the basement filled with school sweaters and other memorabilia from their high school years. Abernathy married Dorothy in 1941 shortly before he began serving as a Navy gunner on a ship in the Pacific during World War II. She was 19; he was 21. He and Dorothy had two children and shared seven decades of life together. Her death left him sad, confused, lonely and angry at God. Born in 1920, the son of a coal miner, Abernathy overcame a tough childhood. Abernathy’s dad was a hard man. His dad received very little education and began working in the mines in northern Colorado when he was only 11. He meted out punishment to his children with a thick leather strap. Sometimes the beatings were severe. Abernathy’s family was so poor that they usually went without shoes in the warm-weather months and they never owned a car. His mother sewed her own dresses out of flour sacks. His dad had one suit which he wore to meetings of his coal mining union. Abernathy’s ticket out of poverty – the U.S. Navy – came with great risks. During World War II, Abernathy was a forward gunner on a Navy ship in the south Pacific. He took great pride in serving his country. Abernathy’s ship traveled to some of the most dangerous hotspots in the Pacific Theater – including Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Though his job as a gunner resulted in some hearing loss, Abernathy made it out of World War II alive. After the war, Abernathy and his wife farmed in northern Colorado. Later, Abernathy secured a job as a machinist at Beech Aircraft in Boulder, Colo. Skilled with the lathe, Abernathy ultimately made precision parts for the Apollo 14 moon mission and for the first Space Shuttle mission in 1981. In the guest bedroom of his Torrington

home, a stack of certificates signed by presidents and NASA directors attest his important, behind-the-scenes role in the United States space program. After retiring from Beech, Abernathy moved to Torrington and kept busy making interesting items from wood. For years, he has demonstrated his intricate wooden puzzles during talks at the local elementary school. Abernathy left many of the puzzles behind for the children. Abernathy had a good life, until Dorothy’s health began to fail. The last years were difficult as Abernathy cared for his ailing wife. Watching her slowly drift away left him bitter. Lamar and Gail listened patiently to Abernathy tell about his wife and kids, his time as a farmer and how he made parts for NASA. Then they lovingly shared their own stories of coming to faith in Christ. They shared the gospel and told him of his need for a Savior. Abernathy’s bitterness melted away and he gave his life to Christ. With Christ, Abernathy has now put away his bitterness and experienced the joy of second birth. According to his pastor, Marty Rostad, Abernathy comes to church every Sunday and often invites others to come with him. At least two people have visited the church because of Abernathy. The Twiners visited Abernathy again in September2013. Though he was recovering from a short hospital stay the week before, Abernathy was thrilled to see them. “I think about you everyday,” Abernathy said, pointing to a picture of him and Gail taken in June 2012. During their first visit, Abernathy told them stories about his life and showed them the cedar chest that helped him win Dorothy’s heart back in high school. This time, Abernathy also talked about his church family and his pastor. He expressed great appreciation for the love he receives from his church and the weekly visits from his pastor. Abernathy recently turned 93, notching another year in his long and interesting life. However, 2012 stands out from the rest. Through the faithful witness of the Twiners, Abernathy experienced new life in Christ.  FALL 2013 | VISION 9

ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY GARY D. MYERS rchaeologist R.A.S. Macalister faced a crucial decision in late 1907 when he reached the bottom of the ancient Gezer Water System in Israel — drain and excavate the pool at the bottom step or explore the cavern beyond the pool. He chose to bypass the pool and excavate the cavern. Macalister had no way of knowing the implications his decision would have on establishing a date for the system. Now, more than 100 years after Macalister’s dig, the re-excavation of the water system by a team of archaeologists from the Moskau Institute of Archaeology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) is bringing the implications of his choice into clear focus. Leaders of the NOBTS/INPA dig believe that Macalister’s choice preserved valuable data that will help establish a date for the tunnel’s construction. During the 2013 dig, the NOBTS/INPA team began excavating the pool area searching for datable material and the source for the water. The ancient city of Gezer was a Canaanite city-state that reached its height of importance in the Middle and Late Bronze Age. Much of Gezer’s importance derived from its location near the Via Maris, an important ancient trade route. The Bible mentions the city 14 times in the Old Testament. In one of the more important Gezer entries, the Bible reports that an unnamed Egyptian pharaoh, conquered Canaanite Gezer and gave it to Solomon as a dowry (1 Kings 9:16). The account in 1 Kings 9 records that Solomon rebuilt and fortified Gezer along with Hazor and Megiddo. Archaeologists have identified a common city gate type at these three sites which could be attributed to Solomon with certainty.

10 VISION | FALL 2013

In 2005, Steve Ortiz renewed the excavations at Gezer to study the area near the Solomonic gate with a consortium of schools that included both New Orleans Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The NOBTS/ INPA water system excavation, led by NOBTS professors Dan Warner, Dennis Cole and Jim Parker, along with INPA chief archaeologist Tsvika Tsuk, flowed out of the main Gezer dig, which is currently sponsored by Southwestern. In Macalister’s early 1908 quarterly excavation report, he presented a detailed explanation of the water system and explained his decision to move on to the cavern, calling the excavation of the pool “a difficult, expensive and (from the archaeological point of view) profitless task.” To facilitate the crossing of the pool area, Macalister laid a “causeway” of stones, effectively sealing the ancient content below. Late in the 2012 dig season the NOBTS/INPA team discovered a layer of white chalky stones which had melded together and covered most of the pool surface. There is no doubt that the layer is Macalister’s causeway. “For us, this was a ‘gold mine,’” said Dan Warner, associate professor of Old Testament and archaeology at NOBTS. “When Macalister laid the causeway over the water pool, he preserved for us everything underneath from further contamination and other intrusions from his excavation.” When NOBTS and the INPA began re-excavating the water system in 2010, establishing a date for the system’s construction was the foremost goal. Several dates for construction have been proposed over the years. Macalister believed that the water system is a product of the Middle Bronze during the height of Gezer’s influence as a Canaanite city-state. Others attribute construction of the system to Late Bronze Age Canaanites. Another prevalent view attributes construction to the Israelites during the time of Ahab.

For us, this was a ‘gold mine.’ When Macalister laid the causeway over the water pool, he preserved for us everything underneath from further contamination and other intrusions from his excavation. –Dr. Dan Warner Late or early, dating of the system offers insights into the peoples of the Bible and their understanding of engineering and hydrology. Proving one of the earlier dates, for instance, would shed light on the development of Canaanite engineering skills and contribute to a better understanding of the geopolitical situation.

The 2013 Dig Season The team went into the three-week dig season in May and June 2013 determined to find the bottom step of the water shaft and systematically excavate the area under the causeway. Most of the first two weeks of the dig were spent searching for the bottom step and cleaning Macalister’s causeway. Tons of debris and rocks were removed in the process. When the bottom step was located on June 3 and the causeway area cleared, the team excavated three probes in the pool area. Each of the pool probes reached a depth of more than six feet before the end of the season and the bottom of the pool was discovered in only one probe — the one just below the bottom step of the water shaft. The material encountered below the causeway was bagged and pulled from the water system by a crane. Once on the surface, volunteers sifted the wet, silty mud using wire mesh screens and water. The probes yielded large amounts of broken pottery sherds, charcoal samples and other ancient material. The dig directors are confident that the pottery from the water pool will yield an approximate date for the construction of the water system. After preliminary reading of the pottery in the field, the sherds and others items were transported to pottery experts for further

Former NOBTS trustee Bill Bailey guides a bag of debris as it is pulled from the ancient water system at Gezer.

analysis. A separate lab will examine and date the charcoal samples. Completing the research in the Gezer water system will require a fifth dig season in the tunnel. NOBTS and INPA will return to the site in May and June of 2014 to complete the systematic excavation of the water pool. Once the water pool is completely cleared, the excavators should have a better understanding of the source of the water and hopefully ascertain a solid date of the system. All of the material removed from the pool will be wet sifted and the items gleaned will be analyzed in the lab. After the 2014 dig season and subsequent analysis, the NOBTS/INPA team will publish their findings. Macalister’s discovery of the water system was an important step in understanding the ancient city of Gezer and its inhabitants. He produced detailed descriptions, drawings and measurements of the system, which offered the NOBTS/INPA team valuable data for planning their dig. In many ways, Macalister’s excavation work in the cavern was ultimately a disappointment. The cavern probes Macalister’s team dug yielded little ancient material. Shortly after Macalister completed his cavern probes, torrential rains sent all the rocks, dirt and debris his team had removed back down into the water system. With the system backfilled, Macalister moved on to excavate other areas at Gezer. The water system was left untouched for more than 100 years. By the time the NOBTS/INPA began re-excavating the water system in 2010, more than two thirds of the rock-hewn shaft was filled with debris. Dating the material Macalister left below the causeway, and ultimately establishing a date for construction, will help complete the unfinished work in the water system.

join the 2014 Dig

John Canada, left, and Brian Mooney clean the floor of the pool in the Gezer Water System. Just left of Canada is a portion of the “causeway” of stones laid by Irish archaeologist R.A.S. Macalister in late 1907.

The 2014 Gezer dig is set for May 25 - June 13, 2014. Volunteers are welcome. The cost is $1,800 for the three-week season, or $600 per week, plus airfare. Costs cover room, board and weekend travel. Participants are responsible for their own flights to and from Israel. Preference will be given to threeweek participants. For more information, contact Dan Warner ( or Dennis Cole ( 

FALL 2013 | VISION 11

Books, papers, desks—these are all a necessary part of the learning experience, and seminary is no exception. However, the unique experience of a seminary student is the ability, and indeed the mandate, to put academic knowledge into immediate practice. Jeff Turner and Naomi Ellis, two NOBTS students, had a recent opportunity to do just that on a mission trip to India.

“We went to Machilipatnam, a small fishing and farming village. We worked with an orphanage that is led by Pastor Babu. Babu took us to a village where he had planted a church over a period of time. We spent the next three days preaching services to the villagers there. Throughout the services, we witness incredible humility and repentance among the nationals—over one hundred people crying out to the Lord for grace. The villagers allowed us to pray over them for a significant time after the service, long enough that we missed the ferry to the other side of the river. They were broken, and they realized it. They were hungry and thirsty, and they knew that Jesus Christ was the only way to be satisfied. It was a humbling thing, to be used by the Lord in that way. I am forever going to remember that night, and the impact the gospel has across all cultures.” ~ Jeff Turner

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“We spent our last afternoon at the AIDS/HIV Home where about twenty-five children are supported right now. Every month of life is worth celebrating for these kids that have been served a death sentence by their diagnosis. Babu spoke of the little children that have passed away while living at the home and how he grants them “dying wishes.” One little boy when asked what he wanted before he passed away simply replied “an apple.” So Babu made it happen. I was broken. Babu shared this painful, honest story as I was surrounded by twenty-five giggling, joyful children who were being taught to seek their peace in Jesus. We left the home with heavy, abundantly-blessed hearts. The Lord had shown me such extreme poverty and suffering in the days of this trip, and yet I had NEVER seen the true joy of Christ until I looked in the eyes of the persecuted believers of India.” ~ Naomi Ellis

Because of private gifts of support, seminary training is more accessible to God-called men and women. It is touching lives in cultures across the globe by equipping our students to carry the Gospel there. “My theological training definitely had an impact on my trip to India. Without my classes I would not have rightly handled the Word of God for those pastors who don’t have the benefit of the training I have! However, remove the classes, and I can still say my time here has been essential to my growth. Just spending time with the professors and staff on campus— people who invest in you, not just in your education. They open their lives up and allow you to see what good and bad choices they have made, how the Lord has worked in them. Their incredible life and ministry experience is invaluable. Without this seminary, and of course the grace of God, I would not have felt adequately prepared to minister to pastors in India.” ~ Jeff Turner So if this mission of grace and truth is as important to you as it is to us at NOBTS, and if you desire like us to see lives and communities and nations changed through the sending out of pastors and missionaries, would you prayerfully consider partnering with us? Private gifts of support to the Providence Fund help to ensure a quality and affordable education for students like Jeff and Naomi. For more information please call Randy Driggers in The Office for Institutional Advancement at (800) 662-8701, ext. 8002. FALL 2013 | VISION 13


Dirt into Treasure: Giving assets for Kingdom work



arnabas is introduced to us in Acts 4:36-37 as a man with a generous and faith-filled heart. He provides us with a great example of a way of giving that is not widely recognized – gifting assets rather than cash. The Book of Acts tells us that “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas, sold a field he owned and brought the money and laid it at the apostle’s feet.” What’s remarkable about this example is that Barnabas did not choose to increase his giving from his harvest, say from 10 percent to 20 percent. He found what God was doing in the first century church so compelling that he desired to be a part of it by giving not the first fruits of his labor, not the harvest, but the field itself – the proceeds from the sale of his land – to the work of Christ. In Barnabas’ day, he could sell his field and give all of that money to the church without any tax penalties. However, modern day giving is quite different – and more complicated. The laws in the United States make it more tax efficient at times for someone to give an asset such as a field or stock or other assets rather than giving cash. By avoiding longterm capital gains tax, you not only receive more tax benefits, but more of the gift goes toward the Lord’s work. What about you? Do you have any “fields” that you would like to see invested into the ministry of NOBTS? Samples of modern day “fields” are investment real estate, public stock, property/land, business inventory, stock in a family business, or an IRA (See the article on the extended tax-free rollover of IRA fund income on the facing page). God calls us to steward all that He gives us; not just our income. However, giving assets can be complicated – that’s when we need trusted advice. If you would like to find out whether or not this makes sense in your situation, please visit Here you can learn more about gifting stock, real estate, and retirement assets. From there, if you would like more personalized assistance call the NOBTS Office of Institutional Advancement at (800) 662-8701,

ext. 8002, submit a contact form, or call (800) 876-7958, to connect with a representative from PhilanthroCorp, our Estate Planning and Planned Giving partners. There is no cost for PhilanthroCorp’s services. 

Your giving helps prepare students for ministry now


s you read through this edition of the VISION, you will read about just some of the ministries NOBTS students are involved in during their time at seminary. They do not just attend class. They do not just spend their time studying. NOBTS students are involved in doing the work of ministry. The focus of this edition is on a new church planting partnership in Wyoming. Church planting is an area of ministry in high demand today. To prepare students for their fields of ministry it takes all of us sharing in a vital work. As God calls young men and women to ministry, New Orleans Seminary not only helps prepare them academically, but also provides invaluable “handson” ministry experiences. Affordable seminary education and on the field ministry training is made possible by our faithful and generous donors. If you are an Alumnus or Friend of the Seminary, let me encourage you to join with us in preparing ministry leaders. Make a commitment to give a monthly gift of any size to the Providence Fund. A gift to the Providence Fund helps us keep tuition as low as possible. Perhaps, many of us were recipients of another’s generosity during our seminary days. You can also consider establishing a scholarship endowment or other endowment opportunity or you can give to a building project. Our most important brick and mortar project need is student housing. Campus housing remains full and to see growth on the main campus we need more units. If you have an area of interest in ministry, we can assist you in creating a gift. The end-of-the-year giving period is upon us and is an excellent time to make a substantial gift. Give me a call at (800) 662-8701, ext. 8002, or email Never has there been such a time and need for seminary-trained leaders on the fields of ministry. Pray with us and for us as we shape ministry leaders for their fields of service. 

Consider NOBTS for end-of-the-year giving


s you contemplate year-end giving options, please consider New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Although the seminary receives Cooperative Program funding, it is not enough to cover the cost of seminary education for our students. Your gifts help the seminary keep student tuition as affordable as possible. All gifts are tax-deductible, whether they come through the mail or the Internet at NOBTS qualifies for most matching gifts programs, too. Supporting theological education truly does make you a friend of the ministry. For information about end-of-the-year giving, call (504) 816-8002 or (800) 662-8701, ext. 8002 or email

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IRA charitable rollover period extended through December


he American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) extended the IRA charitable rollover through December 2013. If you are over the age of 70 ½, you may direct your IRA custodian to make a qualified charitable distribution up to $100,000 directly to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary to help us underwrite current programs and keep the cost of a seminary education affordable. We can also discuss other giving options. This distribution fulfills the required minimum distribution (RMD) amount for 2013. To discuss the details of making such a gift, please call Randy Driggers at (504) 816-8002 or (800) 662-8701, ext. 8002, or email him at 

Mississippi alumni give back to NOBTS following luncheon


s attendees entered the New Orleans Seminary alumni luncheon during the Mississippi Baptist Convention meeting in October, each paid $10 for the meal. At the end of the luncheon, as people walked out, each of the 154 guests received an NOBTS giving envelope containing $10 – the price of their meal. Mississippi alumni president Britt Williamson announced that his church, First Baptist Church in Rolling Fork, had paid for the meals. He challenged the alumni to send the $10 to NOBTS as a donation. Williamson encouraged the alumni to add additional funds to the envelope before mailing it to NOBTS. This is just one of the creative ways NOBTS alumni are making a positive financial impact for current students attending their alma mater. 

*New for Alumni & Friends of the Seminary*

NOBTS No Cost Planned Giving Solution Have you ever thought about what happens when your Will doesn’t follow your will? Too often, a lifetime of hard work and commitment to God results in our most precious gifts and possessions being redirected by some stranger. Tax laws change. Perhaps you’ve moved to another state or your assets have changed in nature or value. All require you to revisit your Estate Planning or Will documents. And if you’ve yet to begin planning, every day you wait is another day of uncertainty about what happens to your possessions when you enter God’s Kingdom. Don’t let a probate judge determine the destiny of your estate. Call Susan at PhilanthroCorp at 800-876-7958. She will set a time for you to speak with one of the PhilanthroCorp estate specialists who will help you create or update your will.

For more information, visit:

FALL 2013 | VISION 15



NEWS Gumbo NOBTS FINISHES 2012-2013 ACADEMIC YEAR WITH 3,824 STUDENTS New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary enrolled 3,834 students during the 2012-2013 academic year. That is the second largest enrollment in school history and largest since Hurricane Katrina. NOBTS remains one of the largest seminaries in the world, the second largest in the Southern Baptist Convention.



Leavell College graduates participate in the commencement service May 17, 2013 in Leavell Chapel.


eavell College reached a significant milestone during the 2012-2013 academic year. The seminary’s undergraduate college celebrated the 20th anniversary of its bachelor’s degree program. From its very beginnings, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has offered some kind of undergraduate work. In fact, most early seminarians earned Bachelor of Divinity (B.Div.) degrees at NOBTS. That degree was roughly equivalent to today’s Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree. Early on, those without a college education could earn undergraduate diplomas, certificates and degrees while gaining ministry training. However, after the B.Div. gave way to the M.Div., students could not earn a bachelor’s degree at NOBTS for many years. That all changed 20 years ago when Dr. Landrum P. Leavell II, the seminary’s seventh president, reorganized the School of Christian Training and renamed it the College of Undergraduate Studies at NOBTS. The college continued to offer certificate and associate programs, but it also added a bachelor’s degree program. In October 2001, NOBTS trustees renamed the school in honor of the Leavell family, which produced two NOBTS presidents and many other ministers. When the forerunner of Leavell College started, the school had only 25 to 30 students. Now, Leavell College has more than 1,500 students. The college offers two bachelor’s degrees (Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry and Bachelor of Arts in Music), four associate degrees (Associate in Christian Ministry, Associate in Church Music, Associate in Preschool and Children’s Ministry and Associate in Women’s Ministry) and numerous certificates. For more information about Leavell College, visit www. 

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The Southern Baptist Research Fellowship named Albert Hung (Ph.D., Psychology and Counseling, May 2013) Researcher of the Year for 2013 for his dissertation, “Dimensions of Forgiveness: A Study of the Relationships among Understanding, Receiving, and Granting of Forgiveness among Selected Christians with a Chinese Cultural Background.” His dissertation involved an extensive Greek and Hebrew study of forgiveness in the Old and New Testament, and the development of two bilingual scales, one to measure understanding of biblical forgiveness, and the other to measure the experience of being forgiven. Stephanie Edge (Ph.D., Christian Education, anticipated May 2014) placed second with her dissertation, “An Examination of the Relationships among the Transformational Leadership, Spiritual Maturity, and Chronological Age of Women’s Ministry Leaders in Selected Southern Baptist Churches.”

PREVIEW WEEKEND DRAWS LARGEST NUMBER OF PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS The Office of Student Enlistment at NOBTS recently completed the largest ever Preview Weekend for prospective students. Eighty-eight prospective students attended the October event along with many additional family members.

GATEKEEPER GETS DESIGN UPDATE The Office of Public Relations at NOBTS recently launched a new and improved online presence from The Gatekeeper, the weekly student newsletter. The new site offers many new or upgraded features, as well as, better social media integration. The new online Gatekeeper is available at Click the “Follow” button to subscribe.


NOBTS ANOGLA PRISON PROGRAM FEATURED IN NEW YORK TIMES The New York Times recently published an article describing how Leavell College of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is making a profound difference in the lives of inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola). The article, “Bible College Helps Some at Louisiana Prison Find Peace,” is just the latest coverage of this meaningful program. The program has helped transform Angola from the bloodiest, most violent prison in the American prison system to one of the safest. Leavell College graduates, though fewer than 300 in an inmate population of 5,000, lead 80-100 men to the Lord each year.

WALMART BREAKS GROUND NEAR SEMINARY CAMPUS Walmart broke ground Sept. 10, at the site of a new store in Gentilly, just steps from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary campus. Dr. Blake Newsom, Preaching Professor and Dean of Chapel at NOBTS, voiced the opening prayer during the ceremony. Demolition of the old Gentilly Woods Shopping Center, vacant since Hurricane Katrina, is nearly complete. The new Walmart is slated to open in fall 2014. 

DEFEND THE FAITH SET FOR JANUARY Defend the Faith, an apologetics training conference at NOBTS, is set for Jan. 5-10, 2014. The five-day, five-night conference includes outstanding worship and presentations by Gary Habermas, Nancy Pearcey, Douglas Groothuis, Greg Koukl, Sean McDowell, Mary Jo Sharp, Robert M. Bowman, Jr., James Walker and Bob Stewart. For more information about the conference, visit

GREER-HEARD FORUM IN FEBUARY FEATURES CRAIG AND CARROLL The Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum, set for Feb. 21-22, 2014 at NOBTS, will feature William Lane Craig and Sean Carroll. This year’s topic is “God and Cosmology: The Existence of God in Light of Contemporary Cosmology. For more information, visit


Pictured at the Walmart groundbreaking are (from left to right) Michael Marsiglia with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, Victor Gordon with the Pontilly Neighborhood Association, NORA’s John Singleton, State Sen. J.P. Morrell, John Mims with Walmart, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans City Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, State Rep. Jared Brossett and NOBTS Professor Blake Newsom.

Christian education certificates offer focused training without relocating


ew Orleans Seminary is committed to making ministry training available to God-called men and women anywhere in the world. One way the Christian Education Division at NOBTS is achieving that is through a lineup of eight graduate certificates. The certificates offer focused study in church administration, children’s ministry, recreation and sports ministry, adult discipleship, church and community ministry, teaching, youth ministry, and women’s ministry. Each certificate requires 15 hours of study, except for the graduate certificate in youth ministry, which requires 17 hours. In addition to traditional classroom, hybrid and workshop formats, the courses will be offered online. The new certificates will be available fully online by the 2014-2015 academic year. The graduate certificates are aimed at meeting a real, growing need in local churches. Two trends in the local church led the

NOBTS faculty to develop the new graduate certificates. First, some ministers in churches may have an undergraduate degree from a Baptist university or a Bible college. They’re connected to ministry and, while they desire more focused ministry training, moving away from their place of ministry is not an option. These eight graduate certificates give them that opportunity. A second target group is “second career” ministers. Many churches are raising up leaders from the congregation who experienced a call to ministry later in life. These ministers have college degrees and have led successful careers, but they lack formal ministry training. The certificate programs will equip these ministers for effective ministry. For more information, visit graduate-certificate-in-christian-education.html  FALL 2013 | VISION 17


Trustees approve online initiative, add new degrees



ew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s board of trustees approved an initiative to launch four new fully-online degrees, two new classroom degrees, and created seven new extension sites during their fall meeting Oct. 8, 2013. The board approved a plan by the NOBTS administration to petition the seminary’s accrediting agency, theAssociation of Theological School in the United States and Canada (ATS), for approval of the four online degrees. In addition to three online degrees already offered, NOBTS will seek approval for a fullyonline master of divinity, master of arts in Christian education, master of arts in apologetics and master of missiology. In 2012, the trustees approved three fully-online degrees – the Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts (theology) and Master of Arts (Biblical Studies). The Master of Theological Studies degree was already approved by the seminary’s accrediting agency, Association of Theological School in the United States and Canada (ATS). The seminary petitioned ATS for approval for the two other degrees. The petition was granted and NOBTS began offering the three degrees in a fully-online format during the spring 2013 semester. NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke said the seminary “has long been a national leader in distance education, so offering these new degrees online is continuing a pattern of innovation and excellence for which we have achieved national recognition.” Each of the degrees will be offered both in fullyonline and traditional “in-person” classroom formats. Most of the courses in these degree programs will be available online, at extension centers and on the main campus. Lemke said the initiative is designed to provide as many options as possible for students. “The evidence shows that many students find it difficult to complete an entire degree online,” Lemke said. “The great thing that NOBTS offers the distance learning student is a cafeteria of options that students can tailor to their own needs. They can choose from taking courses in our extension centers all over the Southeast, hybrid courses that meet just a few times a semester, weeklong workshop courses and travel courses. “All these degrees are offered entirely online, but at NOBTS students can choose to mix in some in-person classes to interact with faculty members and fellow students if they prefer,” Lemke said. The new degree programs in archaeology and chaplaincy approved by trustees, meanwhile, will combine traditional, in-person instruction and opportunities to gain real-world, hands-on experience. Trustees approved a new 46-hour Master of Arts degree in Biblical Archaeology. The degree flows out of the seminary’s


Amy Brogan sorts and marks pottery found in the pool area of the Gezer Water System. The new NOBTS M.A. (Biblical Archaeology) will train students in Biblical backgrounds, Biblical languages, archaeology methodology and ceramic analysis.

ongoing archaeological excavation at Gezer and is designed to prepare students for research in biblical archaeology and biblical studies. Students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in archaeology field work at Gezer and subsequent dig sites in Israel. With strong emphasis on biblical languages, biblical backgrounds, history and archaeology, the degree provides the foundation needed for students to pursue a doctor of philosophy degree in a related field. The archaeological dig is supported by the Michael and Sara Moskau Institute of Archaeology and the NOBTS Center for Archaeological Research, which co-sponsor the seminary’s Bible Lands Museum. The degree is the second program at NOBTS to utilize a mutual partnership with a state university. In this case, the partnering school is Mississippi State University (MSU) and the MSU Cobb Institute of Archaeology. MSU will provide instruction for NOBTS students in specialized areas such as ceramic analysis and anthropology. MSU students will receive instruction in biblical languages and Semitic inscriptions from NOBTS faculty members. “The program we have developed with Mississippi State in archaeology, allowing us to utilize the technical skills the university has – and add, for them, the skills we have in biblical languages and biblical backgrounds – is an exciting partnership,” NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said The master of arts (biblical archaeology) degree is the second program at NOBTS to utilize a mutual partnership with a state university. In this case, the partnering school is Mississippi State University (MSU) and the MSU Cobb Institute of Archaeology.

SEMINARY NEWS In October 2012, trustees approved the first partnership with a state university – a dual degree partnership with the University of Southern Mississippi which allows NOBTS students to be dually enrolled in a seminary degree plus, through USM, a master of social work (MSW) degree. Trustees also approved an 84-86 hour chaplaincy specialization for the master of divinity program. The new specialization is designed to prepare students for military, hospital, industrial or police chaplaincy. The new specialization offers 15 hours of specialized training related to chaplaincy and a three-hour practicum component.

Chaplains must learn to navigate the theological, psychological, political and pastoral all at the same time. This specialization will train a new generation of chaplains to be the most effective they can be wherever God places them. – Dr. Page Brooks “The chaplaincy specialization is coming at a unique time in our society,” said Page Brooks, assistant professor of theology, ministrybased faculty and chaplain with the Louisiana National Guard 256th infantry brigade. “Chaplains are pastors in the secular place, whether it be in the military, hospital or nursing home. “Chaplains must learn to navigate the theological, psychological, political and pastoral all at the same time. It appears as though the balance of maintaining a ministry presence in the secular places will only get more tenuous as time goes on,” Brooks continued. “This specialization will train a new generation of chaplains to be the most effective they can be wherever God places them.”

Lemke said chaplains often are called to minister in the midst of crisis. The specialization will address this and other factors unique to chaplain ministry. “As a former chaplain in four hospitals and a member of the medical ethics committee of two other hospitals, I have seen how hospital chaplains make a difference in the lives of the patients and their families,” Lemke said. “Chaplains have opportunities to minister to people in crisis even more than local church pastors have. This M.Div. specialization provides focused training for those who feel called into this crucial ministry.” Trustees also approved three extension centers in Alabama and four certificate teaching sites in Georgia and Louisiana. Heritage Bible College in Huntsville, Ala., was approved as a graduate extension center. Forest Lake Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and First Baptist Church in Rainsville, Ala., were approved as undergraduate and graduate centers. Approved to offer undergraduate certificate courses were Central Baptist Church in Douglasville, Ga.; the Monroe Extension Center at North Monroe Baptist Church in Monroe, La.; Treasure Coast Baptist Association in Fort Pierce, Fla.; and Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Ga. In other curriculum-related actions, trustees approved a new graduate certificate in family ministry and a new internship specialization option for Christian education students. The new internship specialization is designed to allow extension center students in the master of divinity and master of arts in Christian education programs earn course credit and hands-on experience in a local church setting. 

Free online seminary courses at NOBTS open to all


ew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary launched new online learning options in Fall 2013 – Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). These courses are free to those who are not seeking academic credit. For a fee, academic credit can be earned in these courses. See for current tuition rates. The fall 2013 semester offered three MOOC. However, six courses will be offered in spring 2014 semester: • Sermon on the Mount (English) with Dr. Jimmy Dukes; • Supervised Ministry 1 with Dr. Blake Newsom; • NOBTS, SBC, and the Cooperative Program with Dr. Lloyd Harsch; • Jesus and Islam with Dr. Michael Edens & Mr. Brad Roderick; • Disciplemaking with Dr. Thomas Strong; and • Exploring Paul’s Final Written Words: 1-2 Timothy, and Titus with Dr. Thomas Strong.

“Your computer is the door to our classroom. We offer you the best of both worlds,” said Dr. Craig Price, Associate Dean of Online Learning at NOBTS. “We would love to partner with you to accomplish your educational goals while you work in the field. A growing number of NOBTS students attend class daily from their points of ministry and missions around the globe.”

Online learning courses are a great way for continuing education, expanding biblical knowledge, or earning credit toward a degree without having to commit to time in the classroom. These MOOCs are great whether you live in New Orleans, across the continent, or across the globe. For more information about Massive Open Online Courses at NOBTS, visit and click the “Free Online Courses - MOOC” tab.  FALL 2013 | VISION 19


xamining the content of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s first doctrinal statement, the Articles of Religious Belief, NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke drew a straightforward yet profound conclusion: doctrine matters. Speaking to the seminary family during the Founders’ Day chapel service Oct. 1, 2013, Lemke illustrated the importance of doctrine to the school’s first faculty and urged the importance of doctrinal vigilance today. This emphasis on right doctrine was established at NOBTS before the first class was taught in 1918 with the Articles of Religious Belief, a document which predates the first Baptist Faith and Message by seven years. The Founders’ Day at NOBTS, held each October, commemorates the official launch of the Baptist Bible Institute (BBI) in New Orleans on Oct. 1, 1918. Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention approved the creation of the school that would become New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1917. On Oct. 1, 1918, the faculty of the new school convened to inaugurate the first president, Byron Hoover DeMent. During the ceremony, DeMent and the first faculty signed the Articles of Religious Belief as a commitment to teach right doctrine. Lemke examined and explained the doctrinal statement during the Founders’ Day chapel service as a part of a year-long, school-wide emphasis of the seminary’s core value of doctrinal integrity during the 2013-2014 academic year. Lemke opened his examination of the Articles of Religious Belief by reading Jude 1:3-4. Lemke called special attention to the phrase “contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all,” noting Jude’s emphasis on the importance of doctrine. “In the early days of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, then known as Baptist Bible Institute, there was an effort to be sure that we were conveying and communicating the ‘faith once delivered to the saints,’” Lemke said.

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When BBI launched in 1918, the Board of Directors charged DeMent, B. E. Gray, and I. J. Van Ness with the task of developing the doctrinal statement, Lemke said. Drafts were written and submitted by DeMent and W. E. Denham, a member of the first BBI faculty. After additional work by DeMent, the new confessional statement was approved by the BBI board on Aug. 29, 1918. I think we can say with some Since 1918, all 397 trusteeelected faculty members have assurance that the Articles of Religious Belief was a signed the document, Lemke said. The first version of the new and unique document Baptist Faith and Message that was written by the in 1925 was added as the early faculty of Baptist Bible primary doctrinal statement Institute. at NOBTS, along with – Dr. Steve Lemke subsequent revisions in 1963 and 2000. In his analysis of the Articles of Religious Belief, Lemke searched for possible sources for the document. Borrowing from existing confessions might have been expected. Lemke examined the New Hampshire Confession, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Abstract of Principles, and other confessional statements as likely candidates from which DeMent and Denham could have borrowed. However, Lemke’s search, which included direct comparisons with important Baptist confessions and Google searches of key phrases, revealed little evidence of verbal similarity with any prior confession. “I think we can say with some assurance that the Articles of Religious Belief was a new and unique document that was written by the early faculty of Baptist Bible Institute,” Lemke said. After discussing the history of the confession, Lemke reviewed and analyzed the content of the Articles. The document contains 10 articles covering issues such as the


Byron Hoover DeMent, the first president of Baptist Bible Institute, signs The Articles of Religious Belief on Oct. 1, 1918, during his inauguration service. W. E. Denham, far right, coauthored the doctrinal statement along with DeMent. sole authority of Scripture, the triune God, sin and Satan, Atonement, Christ as Savior, conversion, the final resurrection of humans, and the church and its ordinances. Lemke offered three ways to analyze the articles. The focus, he said, must be on what subjects the original writers were addressing in their time, not the issues of present-day Baptists. “There are three issues that I think were preeminent in their day, the first two more important,” Lemke said. “The first was the fundamentalist-modernist controversy. The second is the “Baptist distinctives” literature that was very popular at the time,” Lemke said. “And the third … the Calvinist-Arminian distinctions were at least in the background,” though perhaps not as pressing as today. According to Lemke, at the turn of the century, many evangelicals began promoting a more conservative approach to Christianity. Two leading evangelicals, A. C. Dixon and R. A. Torrey, produced a 12-volume work between 1910 and 1915 know as The Fundamentals. The volumes explained and articulated five “fundamental” beliefs of the Christian faith. These doctrines were biblical inspiration, authority and inerrancy; the virgin birth of Christ; substitutionary atonement purchased by Christ on the cross; the bodily resurrection of Christ; and the coming physical return of Christ. “I believe that the Articles affirm all five of these fundamentals,” Lemke said. He pointed to the articles on the authority of Scripture (Article I), the virgin birth of Jesus (Article II), substitutionary atonement (Articles II and IV), the bodily resurrection of Christ (Article II), and the physical return of Christ (Article II). “The second way of analyzing the Articles is to look at the Baptist distinctives literature,” Lemke said. “This was really important in the early 1900s, as Baptists began trying to articulate and distinguish their beliefs from the beliefs of other denominations. In the Articles there is an immense appreciation for what we would call Baptist distinctives.” He pointed to Article VIII which expresses the Baptist view of the church including the identification of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the two ordinances of the church. The article

also presents Baptist views of the mode and type of baptism: immersion of believers. Contrary to the Catholics around them, the BBI faculty affirmed the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Jesus’ death and denied the actual presence of Jesus’ body in the bread and wine, Lemke said. “It is Article X that is most clear out of this Baptist distinctive literature. It is entitled ‘Baptist Loyalty to Distinctive Baptist Doctrines,’” Lemke said. With Article X, the founders of BBI affirmed that Baptists stand for biblical truths that cannot be compromised, Lemke said. Article X upholds the principle of cooperation with other Christians, but not to the point of denying clear teaching of the Bible. “The third way of analyzing this is dealing with the Calvinism-Arminianism discussion and I think this was an issue of waning interest in 1918,” Lemke said. “Certainly, the Articles do seem to represent an effort to be somewhere in the middle ground, affirming both the sovereignty of God and the freedom of human beings.” Lemke closed the Founders’ Day chapel by drawing several conclusions. “Doctrine matters,” Lemke said. “There is a reason that even before the first student came to Baptist Bible Institute, the trustees and initial faculty made it an issue of significance and importance to write out the doctrinal parameters within which they would teach.” Second, Lemke said that NOBTS is a confessional seminary. Students are taught in all areas of knowledge, but faculty members only advocate the particular perspective voiced by the Articles of Religious Belief and the Baptist Faith and Message. Third and fourth, “We are both conservative evangelicals and we are Baptist believers,” Lemke said. “We believe in distinctive Baptist beliefs and doctrines. As Baptists we believe some things not just because they are historic Baptist beliefs, but because we believe they are true to what the Bible says.” “We can join in that lineage that goes back to Jude, that we share in this common salvation with many others, but more than that, joining with him to ‘contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all.’ May God bless us as we enter into that sacred effort.” 


Byron Hoover DeMent and W. E. Denham, the primary authors of The Articles of Religious Belief, signed the original, typed copy of the school doctrinal statement on Oct. 1, 1918.

FALL 2013 | VISION 21


Kelley celebrates 30 years on NOBTS faculty; Stevens marks 25



huck Kelley, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was honored for 30 years on the faculty during the seminary’s fall convocation service. Kelley, who also serves as an evangelism professor at the seminary, was recognized Sept. 3 along with Gerald Stevens, Professor of New Testament and Greek, who marks 25 years at the seminary. Tom Harrison, chairman of the NOBTS board of trustees and executive pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, La., offered a special word for Kelley and other faculty members celebrating anniversaries. “As part of the trustees, it’s a great pleasure to recognize these men and women who have served here so faithfully,” Harrison said. “These men and women have sought to do that in each of our lives so that we can go out and be a greater part of the Kingdom of God.” During his tenure at NOBTS, Kelley has served as Professor of Evangelism, Chair of KELLEY the Division of Pastoral Ministries, Director of the Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health and now president. He challenged those present to remain faithful to God’s call, even when that call is different than expected. Kelley shared his personal road to serving on the faculty of New Orleans Seminary. “I did not ever in my life imagine the role of seminary professor for me,” Kelley said. “I came to seminary to be an evangelist.” Kelley said it was longtime professor Joe Cothen who first asked him to consider teaching. “Now to be 30 years old and offered the opportunity to teach and be on the faculty of one of the largest seminaries in all the world was a great honor and a great privilege,” Kelley said. Kelley said he wasn’t initially interested in the offer, particularly because it was not what he wanted to do in ministry. But through talking with his wife Rhonda and with other mentors and counselors in his life, Kelley was convinced that joining the NOBTS faculty was God’s will. Still reluctant, he hit the road for the entire summer speaking at youth events. He didn’t return until 2 a.m. the day of faculty workshops.

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“That was as long as I could put it off,” he recalled. “I’ll never forget that moment in the classroom two weeks after classes began when I had the experience of seeing exactly why God wanted me here and the realization that God had been preparing me all my life for this.”

Stevens marks 25 years as NOBTS professor Kelley contrasted his call to teach and serve at the seminary with New Testament and Greek Professor Gerald Stevens’ story. Unlike Kelley, who stepped directly into a teaching role, Stevens did not experience an immediate open door to being a professor. That delay came in spite of Stevens’ profound conviction that God had called him to teach at seminary. “He prepared all of his life for that calling, learning Greek and the New Testament, pouring his life [into his studies], because he knew God wanted him to be a seminary professor,” Kelley said of Stevens. “And God opened up a wonderful opportunity for him to sell cars – nothing close to his calling.” Stevens later had the opportunity to be a collegiate minister, which was closer but still not what he wanted to do deep down. Kelley said he remembers eating dinner with Stevens at a New Orleans restaurant, both marveling at how God would open a door for Kelley at the seminary and not Stevens. But it wasn’t too long before Stevens did receive that call to teach. And 25 years later, he remains passionately committed to that calling. “Every class scheduled on any syllabus for any course at any time has never been missed,” Stevens said. “[I’ve] never canceled a class for any reason.” During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the seminary put the fall 2005 semester on hold for just over a month. However, committed faculty members like Stevens developed online methods to complete every class scheduled that semester. “My call to the class is fundamental and inviolable,” Stevens said. “That call is a sacred duty sanctified by God and sealed in my heart. That call is the air I breathe.” The NOBTS faculty recognized Stevens’ dedication and calling during the spring 2013 semester by honoring him with the Marvin Jones Award for Classroom Excellence. “I was greatly honored to receive this award and the recognition of my fellow faculty members,” Stevens said.  STEVENS


Faculty Anniversaries 20 Years

Dr. Harold Mosley Professor of OT & Hebrew

Dr. Thomas Strong Professor of NT & Greek; and Dean of Leavell College

Seminary mourns loss of former professor Robert L. Hamblin

Dr. Kenneth Taylor Professor of Urban Missions

15 Years • Dr. Eddie Campbell, Professor of English, Leavell College • Dr. John Gibson, Professor of Communication, Leavell College • Dr. Loretta Rivers, Associate Professor of Social Work • Dr. Robert Stewart, Professor of Philosophy and Theology

10 Years • Dr. Reggie Ogea, Professor of Leadership and Pastoral Ministry • Dr. Jeffrey Riley, Professor of Ethics • Dr. Edward Steele, Associate Professor of Music

New Faculty Members

Dr. Hal Stewart Assoc. Professor of Discipleship

Dr. Adam Harwood Assoc. Professor of Theology

Dr. Bong Soo Choi Professor of NT & Greek

Dr. Jonggill Lee Assist. Professor of Expository Preaching

Dr. Jody Dean Assist. Professor of Christian Education

Dr. Craig Garrett Assist. Professor of Psychology & Counseling


obert Lee Hamblin of Huntersville, N.C., died Sept. 30, 2013, at the Levine and Dickson Hospice House. He was born June 29, 1928, in Hamilton, Ohio, to Millard Filmore Hamblin Sr. and Rhoda Alice Muncy Hamblin. He was 85. Hamblin leaves his wife of 65 years, Mary Ruth Miller Hamblin and children, Bobbie Ruth Hamblin Monger (Warren Allen Monger) of Maryville, Tenn.; Karis Jan Hamblin Kremers (Mark Stuart Kremers) of Cornelius, N.C.; and Mary Carole Hamblin Dibble (Sweyden Ernest Dibble) of Manchester, Conn. He leaves eight grandchildren and a great granddaughter. He grew up in Memphis, Tenn., where he felt the call to ministry while he was a high school student. He graduated from Memphis Technical High School. He went on to graduate of Union University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree. He was a Distinguished Alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, having received the Bachelor of Divinity degree and the Doctor of Philosophy Degree. Hamblin served as pastor of Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo, Miss., for 22 years and served for six years as professor at New Orleans Baptist Seminary. He also served as Vice-President of the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board). He was an active leader in the Mississippi Baptist Convention, serving as a member of the Executive Committee and president of the convention. A popular preacher, Hamblin preached in all 50 states and in more that 40 countries around the world. He has written eight books and numerous articles on preaching, evangelism and biblical interpretation. At NOBTS, Hamblin was a beloved Associate Professor of Evangelism during his tenure and a member of the NOBTS Foundation Board. He left NOBTS in1982 he began his tenure at the Home Mission Board and later returned to NOBTS to teach. The NOBTS Robert Hamblin Chair of New Testament Exposition was launched in his honor several years ago. 

FALL 2013 | VISION 23

By Gary D. Myers


ecent Leavell College graduate Clara Linda Wilkes is on a journey across the United States and Canada serving as a missionary in a motor home. As she wheels from town to town to minister, she is living out a dream nearly 10 years in the making. The call of God to such an adventurous mission endeavor was the last thing on Wilkes’ mind in 2005. For seven years, she had lived in the constant pain of post-polio syndrome. The illness sapped her energy and left her prone to falls resulting in serious injuries. As the illness progressed, Wilkes had to walk with a walker and was discussing with her doctor about the use of a wheelchair. Wilkes experienced the death of her husband of 30 years, remarriage, and divorce during this same seven-year period. A fall in 2005 resulted in a wrist broken in four places. But it was Hurricane Katrina that pushed the Louisiana native to her breaking point. As she watch the horrifying scenes of the storm play out on television and heard of the devastation it caused her friends and family, she wanted to help. Due to her own health trouble, Wilkes was unable to do anything but sit at home and watch the news from afar. It was during this difficult time that God called Wilkes to ministry. “God told me He had a plan for me and that if I would just trust Him, He would work it out,” she said. “That’s what kept me going.” Though she was not sure how God could use her due to her circumstances, Wilkes said “yes” to God that day. She had no idea just how big of a journey – literally and figuratively – God’s call would bring to her life. She followed one step at a time – even when those steps were extremely painful.

24 VISION | FALL 2013

God began leading Wilkes to seek out training to prepare her for ministry. She initially contacted New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell College in 2005 and liked what she heard about the school. However, deep down she hoped to find a school closer to Houston, where she lived at the time. The urging she needed came when Leavell College sent her a follow-up letter encouraging her to begin classes. She applied and began taking women’s ministry workshop classes. During this time, Wilkes lived in Houston and came to stay in New Orleans only during workshop weeks. Things slowly began to turn around for Wilkes. She found a loving and supportive church home in Second Baptist Houston’s North Campus in Kingwood, Texas. The congregation put her to work in women’s ministry and she began to think this was what God had put on her heart back in 2005. Wilkes earned the Women’s Ministry Certificate and Advanced Women’s Ministry Certificate in 2009. But instead of settling in at her church in Houston, Wilkes sensed God’s call to full-time study in New Orleans. She moved to the Crescent City and began Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry studies at Leavell College in January 2010. Adjusting to her living arrangements at NOBTS was difficult at first. She had been living in a 1600 square foot condominium in Houston. But at NOBTS, she was in a much smaller Courtyard apartment. Looking back, Wilkes now sees this as God’s way of preparing her for the even smaller living arrangements she would have after seminary. During her time in New Orleans, her post-polio syndrome improved. She experienced less frequent falls and less pain. Because of her earlier women’s ministry studies, Wilkes was able to apply

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT those hours toward her bachelor’s degree to finish school in only three years. As she neared completion of her studies, Wilkes began to think about a future in ministry. As Wilkes prayed for clarity, she developed a unique idea for ministry. She wanted to travel around the country in an RV helping with specific missions and ministry needs, staying at each location several months at a time. Wilkes sold her condominium in Houston and after graduation bought a used motor home. She planned to head out on the road with Campers on Mission. Each step of the journey, God confirmed the calling and paved the way for her ministry. “NOBTS had a significant part in this journey,” she said. “I could not have asked for a better place to help me through this experience. My professors, their teaching and their supportive care for us was extraordinarily inspirational to me.” On Good Friday 2013, Wilkes arrived at Ridgecrest for her first ministry stop. After three weeks at Ridgecrest, Wilkes moved on to an extended stay with a resort ministry in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Wilkes worked with Southwest Area Resort Ministries (SWARM) in North Carolina for four months. During this time, she led music for Sunday worship services at the numerous campgrounds throughout the area. She also helped volunteer church groups minister to the campgrounds through day camps and other programs, and helped SWARM minister at area festivals. The highlight of her summer came during a festival in Bryson City, N.C. SWARM hosted a tent with face painting and balloon animals and used this time with families to share the gospel. On July 4, Wilkes struck up a conversation with a 33-year-old father while his two daughters had their faces painted. During the conversation, the man decided to give his life to Christ. It was the first time in her many years as a believer that God used Wilkes to lead a stranger to faith in Jesus. She was elated. During the fourmonth stretch in North Carolina, 11 people came to faith in Christ through the SWARM ministry. There were also challenges in North Carolina that she didn’t expect. Before the SWARM summer programs began, Wilkes helped with a Wednesday night music and mentoring program for children at a local church. The church bused in children from all walks of life, including many who were in difficult family situations. On one occasion, Wilkes had to report suspected abuse to the state

child protective agency. It was heart rending, but God gave her the strength to reach out to the children in love. Wilkes also participated in a prison ministry program for women and had her heart and eyes open to the particular struggles these women had to overcome to continue their lives in the outside world. From North Carolina Wilkes traveled to Pittsburgh, Pa., and then to rural West Virginia looking for opportunities to serve. However, the stops in Pittsburgh and West Virginia involved shortterm ministry with women and before long, Wilkes was looking for another place to serve. She finally located another ministry opportunity in Pennsylvania, but it would be three weeks before the church was ready for her to begin.

“NOBTS had a significant part in this journey, I could not have asked for a better place to help me through this experience.” Wilkes travelled to Carlisle, Pa., planning to use those three weeks resting and sightseeing at places like Gettysburg and Washington, D.C. A fall a month earlier left her with a painful case of cracked ribs. Shortly into this period of rest Wilkes developed kidney stones. At the time the Vision staff caught up with Wilkes, she had been in Carlisle for a month receiving kidney stone treatments and working on her ministry plans for this winter. “Before the kidney stones the ministry was going really, really well,” she said. Once the kidney stones have cleared, Wilkes plans to head to Lake Wales, Fla., to work with a homeless women’s ministry during the winter. Despite the cracked ribs, kidney stones and other challenges she faced, Wilkes remains unwavering in her sense of calling. Next summer, Wilkes will travel back to North Carolina to help with SWARM for several months. Then she will drive to West Virginia for several months of ministry to women in difficult circumstances. Once her time in West Virginia is complete she will travel on to another place to do ministry. So, if you pass a motor home, bearing the message “God Bless You!” somewhere between Florida and West Virginia next summer, it just may be Wilkes following the call of God to her next assignment. 

Keep Going! God Bless You!

FALL 2013 | VISION 25


Foundation led by NOBTS alum earns adoption honor


rossroads NOLA, a New Orleans-based foundation focusing on adoption and foster care and led by Anna Palmer (MDiv ‘09), was recently honored as Angels in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). “Crossroads NOLA is a true angel for the more than 460 foster youth in southeast Louisiana. By working with Louisiana’s faith community to recruit and certify suitable foster families, as well as support families through the foster care and adoption process, Crossroads NOLA is helping more children grow up in loving, protective homes,” Landrieu said. “I hope that their hard work and strong example will inspire others to stand up for vulnerable children throughout Louisiana, the country and the world.” 

Alumnus, former professor to lead BCM/D convention


ill McRaney, a former Florida Baptist church planting and evangelism strategist and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary professor, has been elected as Executive Director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/ Delaware. Since 2011, McRaney has served as team strategist for Florida Baptists’ English-speaking church planting team in Jacksonville, Fla., after previously directing the convention’s evangelism strategy department. McRaney returned to field ministry in his native Florida after serving as Professor of Evangelism, from 1996-2007. He taught multiple evangelism and church planting courses for master of divinity students as well as professional and research doctoral candidates. Originally from Dade City, Fla., McRaney is the cofounder and senior consultant for the Ministry Enhancement Group, which works to increase the effectiveness of Christian leaders, church planters and churches by providing biblically-based and cutting-edge methods, strategies and training for the church of the 21st century. McRaney has written several books, including The Choice: Life’s Most Important Decisions – 40 Day Experience, published by LifeWay Christian Resources in 2005, and the widely used The Art of Personal Evangelism: Sharing Christ in a Changing Culture, published by Broadman & Holman in 2003. McRaney earned two degrees from New Orleans Seminary: a Doctor of Philosophy degree in evangelism and discipleship in 1992 and a Master of Divinity degree in biblical studies in 1989. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Mississippi State University. McRaney and his wife Sandy have three children, Blakeney, Hadley and Macy.  – Shannon Baker/BP


CLASS Notes 1960s

Eskew, Harry (MSM ’60), emeritus faculty member now in Macon, Ga., has written articles for the Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology on Gospel Hymnody and on the English and American Hymnody Collection of the Pitts Theology Library of Emory University. Fant, Ramona (attended ’62), also known as Mona Faith, has been elected to William Carey University Hall of Fame. She is currently the host and executive producer of the multi-award winning syndicated radio show, “Faith for Living with Mona Faith,” which airs on the home of Grand Ole Opry, WSM 650 AM, and other stations. She has written and co-written more than 300 songs, and her song “He Gave it All,” co-written with her son Gene Clint Fant Jr. (MDiv ‘91), was nominated for Song of the Year in 2012 by the U.S. Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians and was on the Christian Country Top 100 chart for 18 weeks.


Carr, Jeremy (MDiv ’05), recently published an ebook, Sound Words: Listening to the Scriptures, about the centrality of the Bible in discipleship. Carr serves as Lead Teaching Pastor at Redemption Church in Augusta, Ga. The book is available at


Ayres, Jody W. (attended ’12) of Marietta, Ga., passed away on Oct. 9, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Gail Sleeper Ayres, and other family members. Bernard, Louis (attended ‘94) of Lehigh Acres, Fla., passed away on Aug. 9, 2008. Bezanson, Edward N. (BDiv ‘64) of Bunnell, Fla., passed away on Dec. 2, 2005. Black, Thomas W. Jr. (DMin ’77) of San Antonio, Texas, passed away on May 22, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Juanita J. Black, and other family members. Blount, Larry (BDiv ‘57) of Magnolia, N.C., passed away on May 7, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Blount (attended ’57). Bowdler, George Albert, Jr. (BDiv ’46, ThM ’47, ThD ’48) of Saluda, S.C., passed away on Jan. 25, 2013. He is survived by his children and other family members. Bridges, Maryrose (attended ’62) of Gulfport, Miss., passed away on April 23, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Rev. Arnold Bridges, and other family members. Brown, James S. of Covington, La., passed away on Jan. 11, 2012. He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Lorraine Mercer Brown. Burris, Charles L. Sr. (MDiv ’04) of Baker, La., passed away on Oct. 5, 2009. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Earnestine Jackson Burris, and other family members.

Alderman, Glenn A. (MDiv ’05) of Haughton, La., passed away on July 12, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Robin Kirkley Alderman, and other family members.

Burriss, Joseph L., II (attended ’91) of Colombia, S.C., passed away on March 30, 2013. He is survived by his wife Lisa Anne Wiseman Burriss, and other family members.

Alfred, Deborah J. (MACE ‘01) of New Orleans, La., passed away Sept. 30, 2011.

Caine, Billy G. (BDiv ‘63) of Moulton, Ala., passed away on Dec. 22, 1994.

Ash, Ford M. (ACM ’03) of Gainesville, Ga., passed away on March 6, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Christine Ash, and other family members.

Callen, Michael (ADPM ‘89, attended ‘95) of Minden, La., passed away on May 4, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Suzonne Callen (attended ’94).

Caqui, Ramon Torres (ADPM ‘90) of Cayey, Puerto Rico, passed away on June 7, 2012. He is survived by his family and friends. Carden, Ramon Earl (MCM ’69) of Marietta, Ga., passed away on Dec. 19, 2012. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Sue Carden. He is survived by his daughter and other family members. Cleveland, Ronald G. (ADPM ‘92) of Snellville, Ga., passed away on September 18, 2005. Cleveland, Starret D. (ADPM ‘92) of Greensburg, La., passed away on Oct. 12, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Iris Cleveland and other family members. Clifton, Vernon R. (BDiv ’53) of Live Oak, Fla., passed away on Sept.29, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Myrtle Robinson Clifton, and other family members. Davis, Samuel C. Jr. (BACMin ’11) of New Orleans, La., passed away on April 5, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Trinity Davis, and other family members. Dean, Herman (ThM ’67) of Eastaboga, Ala., passed away on Aug. 4, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Miller Dean and other family members. Dixon, Marjorie (MRE ’57) of Atlanta, Ga., passed away on Jan. 30, 2004. She is survived by her husband, John P. Dixon (BDiv ’57) and other family members. Duncan, Billy R. (attended ’77) of Waco, Texas, passed away on July 31, 2005. Duncan, Charles C., Sr. (BDiv ’49) of Shreveport, La., passed away on Aug. 3, 2013. He is survived by his family. Eyre, Wendell (DCT ’54) of Cape Girardeau, Mo., passed away on Sept. 12, 1992. Finley, Ervin S. (attended ’52) of Florence, S.C., passed away on June 3, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Betty Hodge Finley, and other family members. FALL 2013 | VISION 27

ALUMNI NEWS Fonville, Ruth M. (attended ’62) of Colorado Springs, Colo., passed away on April 15, 2013. Fordham, W. A. (MDiv ’61) of Petal, Miss., passed away on July 1, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ethel Hover Fordham, and other family members. Gibson, Gene (attended ’69) of Meridian, Miss., passed away on May 23, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Pat Gibson, and other family members. Gresham, Edward Bruce (MRE ’81) of Merigold, Miss., passed away on Aug. 10, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn Paul Gresham, and other family members. Hardy, Ralph T. Sr. (attended ’99) of Lakeland, Fla., passed away on Nov. 30, 2006. Harris, James H. (BDiv ’50 exchanged for MDiv ’74) of Hickory, N.C., passed away on Sept. 25, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Norma Nuhrah Harris (DIPM ’49), and other family members. Hill, Ronald C. (ThD ’61) of Greensboro, N.C., passed away on Aug. 11, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Evelyn, and other family members. Hinton, Von J. (BDiv ’58) of Jasper, Ga., passed away on May 13, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Ruth Whitfield Hinton. He is survived by his children and other family members. Holdcraft, Laverne (MRE ’49, MSM ’55) of Tahlequah, Okla., passed away on Aug. 3, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Asberry Holdcraft, and other family members. Holmes, Joe N., Sr. (attended ’00) of Saint Petersburg, Fla., passed away on May 21, 2004. Holstead, Charles (BDiv ‘56) of West Monroe, La., passed away on March 30, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Elsie Holstead, and other family members.

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Hoover, Darrel D. (MCM ’79) of New Orleans, La., passed away on Sept. 2, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Karen Daniels Hoover, and other family members. Hudson, Carl Allen, Sr. (BDiv ’56) of Jackson, Miss., passed away on Aug. 24, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Dottie Leavell Hudson, and other family members. Hughes, Jerry (attended ’71) of Natchitoches, La., passed away on Feb. 2, 2009. Irving, Roy G. (MRE ’58) of Santa Barbara, Calif. passed away on Sept. 25, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife, Joann Irving, and other family members. Kay, Joseph M. (MCM ’75) of Greensboro, N.C., passed away on April 8, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Debbie Kay, and other family members. Langworthy, Warren O., Sr. (BDiv ’56) of Clinton, Miss., passed away on July 4, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, Edna Langworthy. He is survived by his children and other family members. Littleton, Charles B. (BRE ’56) of Saraland, Ala., passed away on Sept. 17, 2013. He is survived by his beloved wife of 26 years, Doris Littleton, and other family members. Madden, Myron C. of Slidell, La., passed away on June 4, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Ann Thomason Madden (MRE ’70), and other family members. Mapp, Nolan (attended ’70) of Brandon, Miss., passed away on March 25, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Gladys Mapp, and other family members. Mathis, Amy (MDiv ‘03) of Kinards, S.C., passed away on March 30, 2013. She was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her brother and other family members.

McPeake, Joye E. (attended ’55) of East New Market, Md., passed away on May 29, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, Rev. Granville David McPeake (BDiv ’56). She is survived by her children and other family members. McRae, Donald Andrew (BDiv ’62, EDD ’68) of Orlando, Fla., passed away on June 23, 2011. Moore, James F. (ThM ’71) of Chattanooga, Tenn., passed away on March 8, 2012. . He is survived by his wife, Sue Petty Moore, and other family members. Morgan, Andrew T. (ThM ’73, DMin ’79) of Bogalusa, La., passed away on July 21, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Helen Jane Melton Morgan, and other family members. Morgan, Glenn H. (BDiv ’59, DMin ’76) of El Dorado, Ark., passed away on Sept. 5, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Margaret, and other family members. Neal, Donald E. (BRE ’54) of Rock Hill, S.C., passed away on May 12, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Nelle Brown Neal, and other family members. Nelson, Edward (MRE ‘64, MRE ‘64, EDD’72) of San Angelo, Texas, passed away on March 28, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Gladys L. Nelson, and other family members. Pardue, James D. (BDiv ’57) of Clinton, N.C., passed away on June 30, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Judith Pennebaker Pardue, and other family members. Parkman, Nathaniel (CCM ’02) of Purvis, Miss., passed away on May 12, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Tommie Ann Parkman, and other family members. Polk, Helen M. (CCT ’52) of Monroe, La., passed away on Aug. 1, 2013. She is preceded by her husband, Robert Polk. She is survived by her brother and sister and other family members.

ALUMNI NEWS Price, Robert (BRE ‘49) of Youngtown, Ariz., passed away on June 9, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Gladys Price. Prickett, Edgar B. (DPSC ‘58) of Odenville, Ala., passed away on Aug. 18, 2013. Purvis, James T. (attended ’60) of Macon, Ga., passed away on July 31, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Doris Hicks Purvis, and other family members. Putman, James S. (attended ’51) of Simpsonville, S.C., passed away on Dec. 13, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Jean S. Putman, and other family members.

NOBTS mourns death of Doris Kelley


oris Weisiger Kelley, mother of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson, wife of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson, died Sept. 19 at her home in New Orleans. She was 91. The Kelleys were members of First Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas, for more than 50 years until they moved to New Orleans in 2002. Once there, Mrs. Kelley began serving at First Baptist Church in New Orleans where she was known as a “prayer warrior” and committed supporter of mission work. She attended Sunday school and worship every week until recently when her health declined. In addition to her ties to NOBTS and Southwestern Seminary, Kelley and her late husband, Charles Sr., were longtime supporters of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

Quinley, Howard E. (ThM ’72) of Magnolia Springs, Ala., passed away on April 15, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Faye Quinley, and other family members.

by his wife of 55 years, Gayle Thornton Smith, and other family members.

Ragins, Lewis E., Sr. (MDiv ’91, DMin ’97) of Gulfport, Miss., passed away on July 4, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Marsha Thompson-Ragins, and other family members.

Smith, William L. (BDiv ’54) of Long Beach, Miss., passed away on Sept. 22, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Carolyn Brand Smith, and other family members.

Rollins, Leonard L. (attended ’52) of Lexington, N.C., passed away on Dec. 7, 2001.

Stewart, Mack P., Jr. (BDiv ’48, ThD ’51) of Baton Rouge, La., passed away on Sept. 1, 2013. He is preceded by his wife, Wilma Conlay Stewart. He is survived by two brothers and a sister and other family members.

Rollins, Mary F. (MRE ’52) of Lexington, N.C., passed away on Aug. 8, 2013. She is preceded by her husband, Leonard Rollins. She was survived by her children and other family members. Sartor, Sandy (CCM ’03) of Pearl, Miss., passed away on Dec. 3, 2011. Shelton, Jackie (MDiv ’78) of Muscle Shoals, Ala., passed away on April 2, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, BenAnn, and other family members. Shepherd, John L. (ThM ’68) of Knoxville, Tenn., passed away on Sept. 13, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Elise Gentry Shepherd, and other family members. Smith, Louis F. (BDiv ’60 Exchanged for MDiv ’73) of Jackson, Miss., passed away on July 5, 2013. He is survived

Smith, Sollie I. (attended ’39) of Jackson, Miss., passed away on Sept. 7, 2009.

Studstill, James (BA ’66) of Plant City, Fla., passed away on April 8, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Louise C. Studstill, and other family members. Thompson, Joseph E. (DPCH ’69) of Baton Rouge, La., passed away on Aug. 16, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Fay Adams Thompson, and other family members. Thompson, Robin K. (MDiv ’80) of Oxford, Ala., passed away on Sept. 5, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Marie Thompson, and other family members. Vickery, Etrulia H. (attended ’61) of Spartanburg, S.C., passed away on July 6, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband, Doyle Vickery. She is survived by many friends and family members.

Wilson, Clara M. (attended ’48) of Denham Springs, La., passed away on November 18, 2007. Wilson, Harold G. (DPPM ’78) of Prentiss, Miss., passed away on May 17, 2004. Wilson, Harry W. (CCT ’49) of Denham Springs, La., passed away on July 10, 2013. He was preceded in death by his wife, Clara Wilson. He is survived by his daughters and other family members. Wilson, Newton (MRE ’70) of Hattiesburg, Miss., passed away on April 23, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Becky Wilson, and other family members. Williams, Andre (attended ‘00) of Starkville, Miss., passed away on Nov. 23, 2008. Young, Bobbie J. (CBT ’01) of Kenner, La., passed away on April 15, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Johnny Ray Young Sr., and other family members.

Send Your Updates

Please send your Class Notes items to the Office of Alumni Relations at NOBTS, 3939 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70126 or alumni@ Updates will be used for publication in both the Vision magazine and on the Alumni website.

FALL 2013 | VISION 29

Non-Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE

New Orleans


baptist theological seminary

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February 21-22, 2014

The Existence of God in Light of Contemporary Cosmology Dialogue Participants:

William Lane Craig, Talbot School of Theology

Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology

Craig has authored, co-authored, or edited over 30 books, including Creation Out of Nothing: A Biblical, Philosophical, and Scientific Exploration (2004); The Kalam Cosmological Argument (2000); Theism, Atheism and Big Bang Cosmology (1995); and Time and Eternity: Exploring God’s Relationship to Time (2001). His articles have appeared in professional journals, including The Journal of Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, Philosophical Studies, Philosophy, and British Journal for Philosophy of Science.

Carroll is the author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time (2001), and Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity (2001). He has written for Discover magazine, Scientific American, New Scientist, and other publications. His blog Cosmic Variance is hosted by Discover magazine, and he has been featured on television shows such as The Colbert Report, National Geographic’s Known Universe, and Through the Wormhole hosted by Morgan Freeman.

ALSO SPEAKING: Robin Collins (Messiah College), Alex Rosenberg (Duke University), Tim Maudlin (New York University), and James Sinclair (US Navy) New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary