Vision Spring 2012

Page 1





A Tale of Two Seminaries BY DR. CHUCK KELLEY


erhaps the most famous opening words of a novel in the history of English literature are those penned by Charles Dickens to begin A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . .” I cannot think of a better way to describe 2011 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. We had some of the most difficult and some of the most exciting times in our history, all during a 12 month period. In many ways, the story of what happened at NOBTS in 2011 and into this year is a tale of two seminaries, and it is one of the most amazing stories I have ever had the privilege to tell. The year began in conditions that can only be described as stormy. Funding for the Cooperative Program continued to decline and our budget along with it. At a February meeting, all the SBC entity heads were told the CP budget for the coming year was going to be reduced more than the normal budgeting process had indicated, meaning our CP funding would go down as well. After a flurry of meetings, it became quite clear we could not have a balanced budget unless we eliminated some faculty positions and changed other faculty positions from full time to part time. This “Great Recession” had finally come crashing into NOBTS. Working with our academic leaders to make those tough decisions was one of the hardest things I have ever done. In the midst of the financial challenges, faculty were also carrying an unusually heavy load of work on our curriculum as we developed new ways to deliver theological education to students and completed a revision of our M.Div. program. For the first six months of the year, we had hard news, hard work and not many signs of encouragement. But remember, we are the School of Providence and Prayer. As July 2011 opened, so did the floodgates of Heaven. Suddenly, 2011 became a very different year for our NOBT family. It all started when Milburn and Nancy Calhoun called to schedule a time to come to the campus and give us an exact facsimile copy of Codex Sinaiticus to add to our collection of ancient manuscripts. Then came an opportunity to acquire a 1617 edition of the King James Bible. After that, we received a gift of $100,000 to add to the Sherie Taylor Brooks scholarship, $100,000 for scholarship assistance to African-American students in honor of New Orleans pastor Dr. Fred Luter, and $100,000 for bi-vocational and small church pastors. This was Kelley followed by a stream of exciting neighborhood news. Waffle House began to build a block and a half from the campus, and to the huge excitement of our seminary family, New Orleans announced Walmart is going to build a new store in place of the dilapidated shopping center across the street. It will be so close we could walk to it. Add to this news of the Providence Fund exceeding its goal for the year, and you begin to understand why this was the greatest July NOBTS has ever had. When the new academic year began in August, the good news kept coming. The Pintlala Baptist Church of Pintlala, Ala., sent a check to establish a scholarship fund for our students. Later came a gift to address a very special need for the first time. We have had no scholarships at all for hearing impaired students until now. The widow of Daniel Johnson, one of my outstanding former students, gave us $40,000 to start such a fund. She chose not to put his name on the scholarship fund because we are both praying others will contribute to this fund and make it possible for the hearing impaired to receive financial assistance to encourage their preparation for ministry. The need for interpretation makes theological education more expensive for the hearing impaired than for others, making such scholarship assistance crucial. To honor the wife who did so much to make his education possible, another former student created a $50,000 endowment to defer the expenses of our students wives program and keep it free of charge for campus wives. Another husband from our donor family decided to honor his wife by creating a $100,000 endowment for our Home School program, which serves a growing number of children each year. Added to these and other exciting gifts, a precious family who thinks the training of ministers and missionaries is important gave us $1,000,000 to begin constructing a new building of eight two-bedroom apartments. The final total of gifts between July 1 and December 31, 2011, was $2,792,025.96. To quote an ancient Hebrew expression: Wow! The good news kept coming. Our faculty finished with an extremely productive year. They completed a full review of our M.Div. curriculum, improving it still further. For example, I was pleased to see courses on church revitalization added to both the M.Div. and D.Min. programs. After graduation last May, the whole faculty went through a training course on Internet teaching, and by the end of this year will have nearly all of our undergraduate and graduate curriculum available in an online format. They have added two new Ph.D. majors in biblical interpretation and preaching designed for “modified scheduling,” making it easier for students who do not live in New Orleans to have access to our highest level of training. The Biblical Studies Division has also designed a Bible and Archaeology Museum that will allow us to keep our ancient manuscripts, historic Bibles, and archaeological artifacts on permanent display. We have reserved the space in Hardin Student Center and are praying for a donor to help us implement the plan.


This month we were told the financial negotiations for the Walmart project are now complete and work should begin in the near future.

What God Has Done at NOBTS Enrollment and Endowment Trends

The monetary gifts kept coming as well. Year Enrollment Credit Hours Endowment We received funds to establish the new Jim and Rose Ramsey Chair of Psychology and Counseling, which the Trustees voted to 1996 1,879 33,288 $27.5 M activate this fall. I was handed a check for $1,000,000 to complete funding for the new 2005 3,797 52,368 $43.9 M apartment building and to make $100,000 in scholarship funds available for African2007 3,412* 43,153 $46.8 M American students in honor of Dr. Fred Luter and $100,000 in scholarship funds for bi-vocational and small church pastors. 2011 3,675 49,344 $56.1 M ** The total amount for these and other gifts received in the first three months of 2012 * Due to Hurricane Katrina, enrollment dipped to 3,412 before rebounding. ** Despite the recession, the NOBTS endowment grew from 2007 to 2011. is $2,289,673.86. There is that ancient Hebrew word again: Wow! Also encouraging is news from the Cooperative Program. After three years of declining revenues, CP is running ahead of budget projections for each of the last three months. We are profoundly grateful for the churches who are making great efforts to sustain this lifeline for SBC missions and ministry in the midst of the financial challenges that have touched the whole nation, and indeed the whole world. The gifts of our churches affect us every week. This leads me to address one of the most common questions I get when I visit with people about the seminary. I am often asked, “What does the seminary need most?” A school like ours has a wide variety of needs. This is why I like to say no gift to the seminary ever disappoints me. Each gift for any purpose matters. Gifts to the seminary are actually gifts to Jesus, and that makes it important to do the things He lays on your heart. If by that question, however, you mean what kind of gift does the greatest amount of good immediately, I would say a gift to the Providence Fund. Every dollar given to the Providence Fund goes straight to the operating budget of NOBTS. This means the fastest way to help the largest number of people is through a Providence Fund donation. We would appreciate it if you would consider such a gift. But never forget: any gift to NOBTS is a good gift and every gift matters however it is directed. I began this article by saying last year was a tale of two seminaries. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say the 2011-2012 year at NOBTS is a great illustration of what God’s Providence actually is. At NOBTS we have learned the Providence of God does not look like the absence of trouble. We call ourselves the School of Providence and Prayer, but we have a history filled with challenges and difficult times. God’s Providence has been manifested not in the pleasantness of our circumstances, but rather in the unfailing provision God made to see us through every circumstance no matter how difficult. In many ways, 2011 was a great illustration of every believer’s life. Trouble and blessing both played a prominent role, but the one constant was the faithfulness of God in providing grace to match our situation. This He always does for us. This He will also do for you. Our prayer is that NOBTS will be a living illustration to you that trouble does not mean God has forgotten your name, nor does blessing mean hard times will never find you again. In all times we are in His grip! In all times you are in His grip! Join us in rejoicing over the Providence of God.


SERVE and see change 2013 DATES


March 3-9 10-16 17-23



We welcome

2-8 6/30 - 4 adult and 9-15 7-13 family groups 16-22 14-20 all year! 23-29 21-27






MATTHEW 28 : 18-20






All contents ©2012 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. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is a Cooperative Program ministry, supported by the gifts of Southern Baptists.






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



• ‘Treasure Principle’ transforms living and giving • Ramsey Trust endows psychology & counseling chair • Johnson establishes fund to assist deaf students • New housing rises on NOBTS campus • In Memory: NOBTS remembers longtime Foundation Board members • Pintlala Baptist Church launches Gary and Lary Burton Scholarship Fund with $30,000 gift


• Former Muslim embraces Christ, plans mission trip to home country

On the Cover: Main photo by Gary D. Myers. Inset photos and design by Boyd Guy.















Our City. Our Home. Our Mission Field. • Fred Luter to be nominated for SBC President

NOBTS acquires 3rd printing King James Bible from 1617


I S T T H E O LO PT MATTHEW 28 : 18-20




20 22


• NOBTS ensemble featured on WWL-TV morning program • NOBTS to host campus picnic during SBC meeting this June • NOBTS celebrates first LCIW graduating class • Northern Exposure: Trips to NW, Canada enrich learning for church planting students


• Personal evangelism could break down “The Wall” of decline


• First D.Ed.Min. grad reflects on degree, ministry 10 years later • Class Notes • NOBTS remembers life of Perry Sanders


Articles by Gary D. Myers Design by Boyd Guy


he people, culture and history of New Orleans and Southeast Louisiana are as rich as the food the area is so famous for. Like a good pot of gumbo, the many distinctive ingredients of New Orleans culture have simmered over its 300 year history to make the Crescent City unlike any other city in the United States. Established in 1718 as a French settlement, La Nouvelle-Orléans was less than 50 years old when France turned it over to Spain. The treaties of Fontainebleau (1762) and Paris (1763) following the French and Indian War placed Louisiana and New Orleans under Spanish control. In 1801, the French again took control of the area. But just two years later, faced with increased military action in Europe and short on funds, Napoleon Bonaparte sold the city, along with 828,000 square miles of land, to the United States in 1803. The total cost to the United States was about $15 million – just 42 cents per acre in present day currency. Many speculate gaining the port of New Orleans and control of the Mississippi River was the real goal of Thomas Jefferson’s purchase. However, the land area included in the purchase shaped the expansion of the United States. The Louisiana Purchase almost tripled the size of the United States at the time and added portions of 15 current states to the country. With its diverse population – French, Spanish, free blacks, Caribbean islanders and others – New Orleans stood out as part of the new nation. Later, an influx of European immigrants arrived, further adding to the already rich and diverse culture. All these ingredients came together to shape the culture and cuisine of the region and led to a new style of music – Jazz – and the laissez-faire attitude encompassed in the popular New Orleans slogan “laissez les bon temps roulette (let the good times roll).” The city emerged as a cultural center at the turn of the 20th century, drawing an influx of artists, musicians and writers like William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. Such a unique culture calls for an equally unique witness, and at that, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary thrives. The seminary community has embraced its role as salt and light in this diverse, sometimes challenging city. Known as the “School of Providence and Prayer,” NOBTS is not only a schoolhouse for ministers, but also a lighthouse in the city pointing people to Jesus Christ. SPRING 2012 | VISION 5

Seminary Beginnings

This summer the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting will return to the Crescent City June 20-21. As one of the cultural hubs of the South, New Orleans has hosted the SBC annual meeting many times over the years. The first came in 1877, the most recent in 2001. For New Orleans Seminary, the most important convention in New Orleans to date came during the May 16-21, 1917, meeting. That year, messengers to the convention voted to establish the Baptist Bible Institute (BBI) in New Orleans. The institute would become the Southern Baptist Convention’s third seminary, but the first created by a messenger vote. Southern and Southwestern were started independently and later adopted by the convention.

Lispey’s call for action was answered in 1917. And on Oct. 1, 1918, the new seminary opened its doors, meeting first at local Baptist churches. Soon, the school purchased the former location of Sophie Newcomb Memorial College in the Garden District. The faculty, students and administration took seriously the convention’s call to reach New Orleans. From its very beginnings, BBI emphasized evangelism and ministry in the city, busing seminarians throughout the city for street preaching and witnessing opportunities. In 1946, the trustees voted to change the name from Baptist Bible Institute to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and in 1953, the school moved to a beautiful new campus in the city’s Gentilly neighborhood to accommodate its growing enrollment.

“A seminary there would plant the Baptist cause in this city in a way that would immediately command the attention and respect of all. It would be planting the siege guns at the enemies’ gates. It would rally the Baptists and put heart into them and equip them for their work as nothing else could. This is mission territory in every direction from the city.” - P.I. Lipsey Baptist work had always been slow and difficult in New Orleans. First Baptist Church formed in 1843 with 10 charter members and Coliseum Place Baptist Church followed in 1854. Both churches struggled initially with financial difficulties. Only two additional churches, Valence Street (1884) and St. Charles Avenue (1898), were founded in New Orleans before the turn of the 20th century. But P.I. Lipsey, editor of the Mississippi Baptist Record, believed a theological school would help the cause of Christ in the city. He wrote an editorial in 1912 commending the work of Southern and Southwestern and implored the convention to develop a third seminary in New Orleans. “A seminary there would plant the Baptist cause in this city in a way that would immediately command the attention and respect of all. It would be planting the siege guns at the enemies’ gates. It would rally the Baptists and put heart into them and equip them for their work as nothing else could. This is mission territory in every direction from the city,” P.I Lipsey wrote.

LEFT: Students board a BBI bus to go out into the community for witnessing opportunities in this early photograph. ABOVE: A student shares the Gospel with a farmer in the French Market. 6 VISION | SPRING 2012

Fred Luter to be nominated for SBC President

Another Historic Convention

The 2012 SBC annual meeting promises to be just as historic as the 1917 convention that established NOBTS. Rev. Fred Luter, a New Orleans native and pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, will be nominated as president of the Southern Baptist Convention (see related article). If elected, Luter will be the first African American to serve in that role. His election as president would truly be a historic day for Southern Baptists. The annual meeting provides a great opportunity for alumni and friends of New Orleans Seminary to return to the city and visit the seminary. In conjunction with the convention, the seminary will host a campus picnic on June 21 (details on page 18). All alumni and friends of the seminary are invited to come and see how God is using the seminary to impact New Orleans for Christ.


NOBTS students Natalee Morris and Lydia Colvin talk with a man at a ministry site near campus. The ministry site, sponsored by a local church offers a hot meal and a chance to hear the Gospel each Wednesday evening.

Staying in New Orleans In the late 1990s, after Chuck Kelley was named as the seminary’s eighth president, the school began looking to the future of the New Orleans Seminary and the campus. The campus needed renovations, technology upgrades and new housing. The curriculum and scheduling needed an update. As a part of their work, the 15-member committee, representing a wide cross-section of the NOBTS family, looked at the possibility of relocating the seminary. Ultimately, the committee recommended that the seminary remain where it started – in New Orleans. In March of 1998, trustees affirmed the recommendation and approved a massive revisioning of the school that brought new housing, innovative technology and a revised curriculum designed to prepare students for 21st century ministry. “Today we say to Southern Baptists, you have a seminary on mission in New Orleans,” Kelley said at the time.“We will teach the students you send us to learn ministry by doing ministry. We will learn to function and thrive in an urban setting so that our churches can learn to function and

Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention by David E. Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans. “Fred has been among Southern Baptists for more than 20 years as a pastor. He has taken a church that was at death’s door to the largest worshiping congregation in the state of Louisiana among Southern Baptists,” Crosby said. “He has been a great evangelist and has baptized thousands of people through these years of ministry.” The fact that Luter is African American would make his election a historic moment for Southern Baptists, Crosby said. “Our election of Fred Luter as the first African American president of the SBC will send a great, hopeful, powerful message to our city, our culture, our convention and our country,” Crosby said. “For many, it will make them rethink who Southern Baptists are, and it will help us reach the new diversity that we find in our cities. “For Southern Baptists to elect Fred Luter heralds a new era of inclusion – of working together in our diversity,” Crosby continued. “It is a statement that people of all ethnic groups make up the Southern Baptist Convention and are honored.” Luter, who often calls himself a “street preacher from the Lower Ninth Ward,” has made a significant mark on Southern Baptist life. A popular preacher at conferences and seminaries across the country, Luter became the first African American to preach the keynote sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention in 2001. At last year’s annual meeting in Phoenix, Luter became the first African American to serve as the convention’s first vice president. Known for boldness in proclaiming the Bible, Luter is a native New Orleanian who became pastor of Franklin Avenue in 1986 at a time when the church was fading as its surrounding neighborhoods were in transition. Under his leadership the church was given fresh life. Membership grew to around 5,000, and each Sunday the church draws nearly 7,000 worshipers. NOBTS President Chuck Kelley, a longtime co-laborer with Luter in New Orleans, affirmed Crosby’s nomination of Luter. “Slice off any aspect of a pastor’s work, and Fred Luter does it well,” Kelley said. “Look at him as a leader, and his work in the aftermath of Katrina is the stuff of legend. Check his calendar and you will find him active at every level of SBC life, including the grunt work of committee meetings no one even knows he attends. Invite him to preach and everyone will remember him and want him back. He is as Southern Baptist as Southern Baptist gets.”


Fred Luter, right, pictured with NOBTS President Chuck Kelley in the Leavell Chapel, is a frequent chapel guest preacher. SPRING 2012 | VISION 7

thrive in an urban setting. We will train students in a cross-cultural environment so that they will be ready, willing and able to go anywhere God calls to do ministry.” Kelley vowed that NOBTS would remain true to the mission entrusted to the seminary in 1917. The unique urban setting offered “the perfect laboratory for preparation for ministry,” he said. Following Hurricane Katrina, a mere seven years after that important decision to keep the seminary in New Orleans, the seminary faced its darkest hour. The damaged campus needed a complete restoration. It would be both costly and time consuming. Faced again with the option of relocating or rebuilding, the trustees unanimously voted to keep the school in New Orleans. The special called meeting Sept. 26-27, 2005, took on a focused, hopeful tone from the beginning. The trustees did talk about the possibility of relocation. However, early in the meeting there was a unified commitment to return to New Orleans to offer help and hope to the hurting community. “I am very excited about the passionate commitment of the trustees to the city of New Orleans,” Kelley said. “After talking through the [issue], there was absolutely no reservation, no hesitation, that New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is and always will be New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.” “We know New Orleans carries some risks, but it has never been a seminary for the faint of heart,” Kelley added. “We are comfortable with a future in the hands of God.” 8 VISION | SPRING 2012

The rest is history. Southern Baptist volunteers poured onto the NOBTS campus to help the school rebuild. Volunteers saved NOBTS millions in restoration labor costs. The faithful NOBTS donors gave sacrificially to help with the effort. The result has been amazing.

Embracing the Mission Now and throughout the seminary’s close to 100-year history, students, professors and staff members have passionately embraced the mission zeal of the founders of BBI/NOBTS. They work each day to share the Gospel message throughout the city of New Orleans. Long before the waters of Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans and threatened its future, NOBTS actively engaged the city with evangelism and ministry. But Katrina served as a catalyst that intensified the seminary’s efforts to reach the city. Following the storm, NOBTS mobilized to meet the needs of a hurting New Orleans community. The seminary community helped neighbors gut and rebuild their homes and served as an anchor for the recovery efforts in the Gentilly neighborhood. In the midst of this ministry and service, the seminary’s commitment to evangelism remains strong. Each semester students share the Gospel with thousands of people through the seminary’s evangelism practicum program. Thousands more hear the Gospel as students mingle in the city and interact with its residents outside of class.


The New, New Orleans

to these issues and begun sharing a strong message of hope. Opportunities for Gospel witness arise quickly in the context of loving, Christ-like service to others who are affected by these In the seven years since Katrina, New Orleans has experienced problems. a renaissance of sorts. The city is once again a popular tourism Each week NOBTS students, faculty and staff members help destination. Local musicians and artists are in high demand. feed and clothe the homeless, tutor children, coach sports teams and Finally, serious attention has been given to the city’s long problem minister to international students and port of poor and failing schools. Many lagging workers through local church ministries. These schools have been restarted as charter acts of service come naturally through the schools. And while there is much work yet seminary’s emphasis on integrating academics to be done on the education front, the city and practical ministry. has become a model for revitalizing failing Additionally, a growing number of schools. female NOBTS students are involved with Major sporting events are a fixture in Inward, a volunteer effort to reach out to New Orleans, bringing in thousands of women ensnared by human trafficking people who pour millions of dollars into and the adult entertainment industry. The local businesses. In January, the city hosted Inward ministry, sponsored by several local college football’s BCS Championship game. churches, has been successful in sharing In March, New Orleans hosted the men’s the Gospel and helping women escape college basketball Final Four. The big prize PHOTO BY BOYD GUY this harmful, abusive lifestyle. These brave is coming in 2013 when the Superdome will host the NFL Super Bowl. The financial The commitment to evangelism is embodied volunteers have helped reunite families and in the school’s mission verses, Matt. 28:19-20. restore broken relationships. impact has been tremendous. The School of Providence and Prayer But even with all these good things truly has a unique witness in this most unique city. New Orleans happening, New Orleans is still a city in need of a Savior – gripped isn’t always an easy place to be, but to the seminary it’s home. by a number of lingering social problems such as crime, hunger, New Orleans Seminary’s mission field starts at the front gate and homelessness, at-risk youth, poverty and human exploitation. Members of the seminary family have turned their attention extends throughout the world.  SPRING 2012 | VISION 9



LOUISIANA A 400-year Journey

NOBTS acquires 3rd printing King James Bible from 1617


By Frank Michael McCormack

n 2011, English speakers – and Christians in particular – celebrated the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James “Authorized Version” of the Bible. The King James Version, heralded both for its longstanding value as a translation of Sacred Scripture and for its impact on the English language, was first commissioned in 1604. Just seven years later, in 1611, royal printer Robert Barker produced the first copies of the new English version of the Bible. A second printing took place in 1613, with a third following in 1617. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary recently acquired a copy of the King James Bible from that 1617 printing. The Bible came from a former Primitive Baptist minister and his family who live in Atwood, Tenn. The past year of the Bible’s history is meaningful for the family and quite exciting for the seminary, which hopes to one day display the Bible in a museum dedicated to Bible history and biblical archaeology. But the close to 400 years prior to that remain somewhat of a mystery. The Bible was printed in Barker’s own London print shop. Due to high demand for the Bible, later printings were done at several London printers and bound at Barker’s shop. Judging from the Bible’s size – measuring 15.5 inches tall by 11.5 inches wide by 5:25 inches deep – it was probably used as a lectern Bible or in some other official ministry setting. Little else is known about the Bible’s history, though, for close to 250 years. In 1860, according to an inscription near the front, the Bible was presented to Anne Early as “the gift of her beloved father,” Edward Early, on October 24 of that year. No occasion is named for the gift. Members of the Early family lived both in England and the United States in the mid-1800s, so it’s possible the Bible had already crossed the Atlantic by then.

There is another century-long gap in the Bible’s story between the inscription and the 1970s. The Bible reemerges in Atwood, Tenn., in the 1970s when Samuel Thomas Tolley, a Primitive Baptist minister, bought another Primitive Baptist pastor’s library, which included the 1617 King James Bible. “[The previous owner] had been collecting Baptist literature for years and years,” said Mike Tolley, Samuel Tolley’s son. “He was getting old and my dad bought his whole library. We don’t know what he gave for it.” Mike Tolley said neither he nor his sister remembers the previous owner’s name or where he acquired the Bible. The 1617 King James Bible, he said, was a treasured part of his father’s library. During his more than 50 years in ministry among Primitive Baptists, Samuel Tolley published a Baptist newspaper and worked toward building a historical library for Primitive Baptists. His personal collection, besides the 1617 King James Bible, included scores of Primitive Baptist books, records and other documents. “He devoted his whole life to publishing his newspaper and building his library,” Mike Tolley said. In the 1990s, Samuel Tolley began to sell his personal library, Mike Tolley said, in hopes that it would benefit Baptists for generations to come. “It all wound up in the [Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives] in Nashville,” Mike Tolley said. “They got just about everything from dad’s library.” Everything, that is, except the 1617 King James Bible, which Samuel Tolley had promised to give to his son and daughter, Ellen Lovett. The Bible passed to Mike Tolley and his sister about five years ago when Samuel Tolley developed Alzheimer’s Disease and retired from the pastorate. By the spring of 2011, Mike Tolley and Lovett decided to sell the Bible, not just to raise extra funds but also to allow other Christians to study and learn from it. And that’s where New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary comes into the story. Around May 2011, Mike Tolley offered to show the Bible to his interim pastor, Joey Gowan, a former New Orleans Seminary student. Gowan said when he saw the Bible and learned that Tolley and Lovett were interested in selling it, he knew just who to contact. “At that very moment, Dr. Harsch’s name came to mind,” Gowan said, referring to New Orleans Seminary church history professor Lloyd Harsch. “I went home and emailed Dr. Harsch right away.” Harsch recalls that email very well. “He said, ‘I had you for Baptist Heritage in 2007, and I remember you talking about all the great books we have in our library. I’m an interim pastor here in Atwood, Tenn., and there’s a member of our church who has some old books, including a third edition of the King James Bible,” Harsch said, recalling the letter from Gowan.

Within weeks, Harsch was in touch with Gowan, then Tolley. He got permission in the summer to negotiate a purchase price for the book. In August 2011, the seminary formally acquired the Bible and arranged for it to be stored at the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives in Nashville. The Bible was brought back to New Orleans the following month. The seminary was able to purchase the book thanks to a private donation from Tom Messer Jr. and his wife, Carol. Messer’s parents, Mary Wheeler Messer and the late Thomas Messer Sr., both NOBTS graduates, have been longtime seminary donors. Tolley said he was extremely pleased for the Bible to go to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. “I didn’t want it to be in a private collection,” he said. “I wanted it to be in a historical place. For my dad’s memory, I’d rather it be in a library where people will have access to it and learn from it, and not in a private collection.” “We’re really grateful to Mike and Ellen and their willingness to make this available to us. It’s a great addition to our library for research, particularly with the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies,” Harsch said. “It greatly enhances the ability of our students to do research and understand how God has provided the Bible for us.” Gowan said, for his part, he is thrilled to be a part of the Bible’s history now. PHOTO BY BOYD GUY “I’m a history nut and flipping through it was like history coming alive,” Gowan said. “That’s a rich history and legacy, and I was happy to be a part of this.” At the present, the 1617 King James Bible at New Orleans Seminary is being held in the school’s Rare Books Collection at the John T. Christian Library along with other rare books and Bibles. Harsch said he and other seminary officials hope to develop an oncampus museum for this Bible and other rare items in the future. L


The inscription in the Bible reads “Anne Early / The gift of her beloved father / Edward Early / 24th of October / 1860.” SPRING 2012 | VISION 11


‘Treasure Principle’ transforms living and giving



ne of my favorite books is The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn. Over the past 10 years I have distributed close to 500 of these books to clients. It is a book that transformed the lives of many believers by correcting their view on money. The book lays out six keys related to this “Treasure Principle”: 1. God owns everything, and I am His money manager. According to Scripture, “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants. ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD almighty” Psalm 24:1. This relates to Scripture in verses like (Psalm 24:1, Leviticus 25:23, and Haggai 2:8). After reading these Scriptures, Alcorn wrote in The Treasure Principle, “God is making it pretty clear. Right about now you may be saying, ‘Wow! I guess I don’t own anything but myself.’ Wrong! You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). It is true that we don’t even own ourselves! Understanding this truth puts more importance on how we manage what He has given us while we are living. But being good stewards relates to more than how we manage money now. It means making sure we have a plan in place to transfer assets to heirs and, possibly, a ministry in which you believe. 2. My heart always goes where I put God’s Money. According to Scripture, “The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep” (Ecclesiastes 5:12). Why? Because his heart is where his treasure is. “And he can’t rest securely until his treasure rests securely,” Alcorn wrote. When you put your treasures somewhere, there your heart will follow. 3. Heaven, not earth, is my home. Now more than ever, many believers are living a two track life. One is the “Worldly Track” where we give just enough to the Lord to feel good about it and still are able have the latest technology, cars, and boats. The second track is the “Spiritual Track.” Living the Spiritual life will keep your focus on God and understanding, in the biblical context, there is nothing wrong with having a new car or a new TV as long as we are being good stewards of what God has given to us. Paul said, “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).

4. I should not live for the dot but for the line. Life on earth is like a dot. “From that dot begins a line that extends for all eternity and is never going to end,” Alcorn wrote. We are going to spend eternity in one of two places, heaven or hell. For all of us that have experienced the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are going to spend eternity in heaven. “That is a great and mighty thing,” Alcorn wrote. “Let’s all live for the line.”

We will spend only a few seconds in the time of eternity on the dot (earth). Our focus should be on the never-ending line of eternity. Don’t live for the dot. 5. Giving is the only antidote to materialism. Paul said: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). “Materialism,” wrote Alcorn, “is joyless self-destruction, and Paul offers a solution which is the joyful antidote of giving.” “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17). 6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living but to raise my standard of giving. Jesus said something very similar: “Give, and it will be given unto you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). Alcorn says, “For the seeds God supplies, we are not only to consume the seed or wealth that God has given us, but we also are to be planting it and investing it.” There is much truth in this little book. These six principles will help us live balanced lives as a steward of all God has given us. As God blesses us, we are to bless others. If you need help creating a Christian estate plan or have questions, please call me at (504) 816-8002 or email rdriggers@ The seminary’s partnership with PhilanthroCorp, a Christ-centered estate planning firm, allows us to offer our Alumni and Friends of the Seminary a free and completely private estate planning service. 

“Give, and it will be given unto you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” - Luke 6:38 12 VISION | SPRING 2012


Ramsey trust endows psychology & counseling chair



ose Ramsey is a cheerful giver. She is the kind of generous supporter the Apostle Paul mentioned in 2 Corinthians 9:7. Her cheerful way heaps encouragement and unleashes a smile on all who meet her. Rose and her late husband, James, a former executive with Shell Oil, lived in the New Orleans area for many years. They were active members of First Baptist Church in New Orleans where James was a deacon. The couple even helped start Norco Baptist Church in Norco, La., while living in the area.


Front Row: Rose Ramsey presents a $416,880 check to NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. Back Row (left to right): Jim Lee, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement; Director of Planned Giving, Scott and Cindy Ramsey, and Randy Driggers, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

James and Rose have been longtime supporters of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, starting when Landrum P. Leavell II was president. James, the son of a Southern Baptist preacher, served as a leader in the seminary’s first city-wide fund raising campaign among the New Orleans business community. When James retired from Shell, the couple moved from New Orleans to Austin, Texas, but the Ramseys continued to support and encourage the seminary they loved. James passed away in March of 2008. This past February, Rose and her son, Scott, returned to the seminary campus to deliver the Ramseys’ largest gift yet – $416,880 – to establish the James D. and Rose Ramsey Chair of Psychology and Counseling. The money was placed in the New Orleans Baptist Seminary Foundation, and the interest generated by the gift will pay the salary of an NOBTS counseling professor. “It was easy to keep the seminary in mind. We were so pleased with the school,” Ramsey said. “We decided to do something for the school.” The gift comes at an important time in the life of the seminary. NOBTS is currently the only SBC seminary offering a licensure

“It was easy to keep the seminary in mind. We were so pleased with the school. We decided to do something for the school.” ROSE RAMSEY track in counseling. Because of this, the seminary is seeing significant enrollment growth at both the master’s and doctoral levels. By next fall, seminary officials believe the psychology and counseling doctoral program will become the school’s largest Ph.D. program. The Ramsey gift will help the program by ensuring that master’s and doctoral students who want to become licensed counselors will have the best instruction and mentoring available. The gift also has a unique back story, with ties to a family dairy farm in Nashville, Tenn. Rose Ramsey’s family operated a successful dairy farm there, and when her great uncle died, he left Rose shares in the business. The Ramseys decided to set aside the money they received from the farm and place it in a charitable trust to benefit the seminary. That trust grew into the gift benefiting the seminary’s psychology and counseling program. “We decided that God gave it to us and we would give it to the seminary,” Ramsey said. “It was that simple.” During the February meeting with Ramsey, NOBTS President Chuck Kelley offered a personal word of thanks for the Ramseys’ love of the seminary. “We thank you very, very much. You have been such encouragers for the seminary from the very first day you connected with Dr. Leavell and the school,” Kelley said. “You have been great personal encouragers for me.” “This [gift] is going to help us provide one of the most distinctive programs in the Southern Baptist Convention. We are offering something to students that they literally cannot get anywhere else in a Southern Baptist school,” Kelley said. 

THE DeMent


Byron Hoover DeMent, the seminary’s first president, raised money for the newly formed Baptist Bible Institute in the early 1900’s. As DeMent raised money, he simply told the story of the enterprise, lifted up its ideals, gave a vision of its needs and possibilities, and let the message work its way into the hearts of people. He is the inspiration behind the DeMent Society, formed to honor those who have included NOBTS in their estate plans. Would you like to be counted among these members who have a passion to see God’s kingdom grow and to see His causes advanced through theological education? Contact the Office for Institutional Advancement at NOBTS at (504) 282-4455, ext. 3252.



New student housing rises on NOBTS campus



onstruction began in February on a much-needed student housing unit at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. The construction was made possible by a $1.7 million gift. The building is scheduled to open Aug. 1. “This opens up housing space for us in the most in-demand housing unit we have, which is the two-bedroom apartment,” said NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. “We are thrilled about it. It will give more families a chance to be here and experience seminary and the life of the community.” The new building, which will include eight two-bedroom apartments for student families, is being built on Providence Place in an open space near the intersection of Mirabeau Street. The location is near many of the other family housing units and the main seminary recreational areas. “It’s a great location,” Kelley said. “It is right at the heart of everything on campus. It is within walking distance for all classes.” In October 2011, the full trustee board approved the construction of the building but did not settle on a location. At the time, seminary officials identified two potential locations for the new housing – a site near the back of campus and the Providence Place site. The site at the back of campus had long been a part of the seminary master plan; however, administrators believed the Providence Place site could be a better location. A study confirmed the site’s feasibility and the location was submitted to the trustees for approval. The executive committee of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustee board, which met in December 2011, unanimously approved the location of a new student apartment building, clearing the final hurdle for the much-needed housing project. The building, named Grace Apartments, will be built debtfree thanks the $1.7 million donation given by a private family foundation based in Louisiana.



Construction workers raise walls on the second floor of The Grace Apartments. The project is on schedule for an Aug. 1 opening date.

Kelley said the new apartments represent a significant milestone for the seminary. The school lost 92 two-bedroom apartments in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The Oaks Apartments, which were under construction during the storm, added 48 new two-bedroom apartments in 2006 – one year after the storm. Since the completion of The Oaks, NOBTS has added 16 additional apartments. The Grace Apartments project will bring the total post-Katrina construction total to 72 new, twobedroom apartments. Kelley said, given the current enrollment growth trends, eight more apartments will be needed in the coming years. He said the Providence Place site has room for another eight-bedroom apartment building if funds become available. 


Johnson establishes fund to assist deaf students



tephanie Johnson knows the challenges facing a potential seminary student who is deaf. She watched as her husband, Daniel, tried to follow God’s call to seminary only to encounter closed doors. Ultimately Daniel overcame the challenges, attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and earned a Master of Divinity degree. Daniel went on to serve as a minister to the deaf and a North American Mission Board church planting strategist until his death in Jan. 16, 2011, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Now Stephanie has given the initial $40,000 gift to establish a new fund at NOBTS – the Accessible Theological Education for the Deaf Fund – aimed at helping deaf students receive training for missions and ministry. “My dream is that the deaf of the world will be evangelized,” Johnson said about her decision to start the fund. “That will come through the education and theological training that men and women who happen to be deaf are going to be able to receive here at the seminary.”

“My dream is that the deaf of the world will be evangelized. That will come through the education and theological training that men and women who happen to be deaf are going to be able to receive here at the seminary.” STEPHANIE JOHNSON Johnson is quick to point out that the fund will not be named after Daniel. She said that her husband would not want that kind of attention. Her hope is that the deaf Southern Baptists will embrace this new fund and join her in supporting it. Providing adequate services for deaf students at NOBTS will require additional fund gifts. The goal of the fund is to help break down one of the major barriers for deaf students – the added cost of hiring an interpreter. That was the obstacle that nearly ended Daniel’s quest for ministry training. Daniel was born on the mission field to SBC missionaries serving in Chile. Daniel became deaf at age eight, and his parents left the mission field due to his deafness. But Daniel never lost his mission zeal and always had a passion to see the deaf at home and around the world come to Christ. He knew God was calling him to ministry and calling him to seek theological training. When Daniel first applied to a Southern Baptist seminary, the school affirmed his call and agreed to accept him, but did not have funding to help with an interpreter. The school suggested that Stephanie accompany her husband to class to take notes and interpret. But she also needed to work to pay for tuition and living costs. The Johnsons felt as if God had closed a door. Daniel decided to try another school before giving up on seminary. This time he applied to NOBTS. The response from NOBTS was identical, the school affirmed Daniel’s call and welcomed him as a student, but he would have to provide his own interpreter. This time, thanks to the funding from the Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) and several NOBTS students who knew sign language, Daniel’s story didn’t end with another closed door. He enrolled at NOBTS in 1982 and completed the Master of Divinity degree in 1985.


Stephanie Johnson presents a $40,000 check to NOBTS President Chuck Kelley during a Jan. 17 chapel service.

Johnson presented the fund’s initial gift to NOBTS President Chuck Kelley during the chapel service Jan. 17. Kelley, who taught Daniel in an evangelism course at NOBTS, remembered him as a passionate minister of the Gospel and a dedicated student. “I remember him as a very passionate minister determined to reach a group of people who are largely overlooked in our culture. He was a great man of God,” Kelley said. “I pledge to you Stephanie that we will do our best to take what you have sown as a seed for the glory of God and make it grow and bear fruit in the [deaf community].” To honor and support Johnson’s efforts, a small contingency from the Southern Baptist deaf community attended the ceremony. Members of Canal Blvd. Baptist Deaf Church in New Orleans, First Baptist Deaf Church in Baton Rouge, La., and Woodhaven Baptist Deaf Church in Houston, Texas were there as well as Jeremy Parks, International Mission Board (IMB) Deaf Affinity Group missionary to Ecuador, and Jim Booth, NOBTS alumni and retired minister/missionary to the deaf. Janie Powell and NOBTS student Angela Scruggs served as interpreters for the service. Johnson said the lack of funding for interpretive services for deaf students, especially those following God’s call to international missions, burdened Daniel until his death. The IMB requires 20 hours of seminary training for its career missionaries. The requirement is the same of deaf men and women who feel called to serve overseas and the increased financial burden of interpreters can be a hindrance for some deaf students. Johnson is hopeful that her gift and similar gifts from others will help alleviate the extra costs to deaf students and mobilize more missionaries. The International Mission Board affinity groups dedicated to reaching deaf peoples estimates that there are as many as 28.9 million deaf people living outside the United States. The IMB currently has about 50 missionaries serving among the deaf. Johnson hopes the new fund will lead to greater missions outreach to the deaf people of the world.  Want to help with the Accessible Theological Education for the Deaf Fund? Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (504) 282-4455, ext. 3252. SPRING 2012 | VISION 15


In Memory The seminary mourns the loss of three long-time members of the Foundation Board: George E. Estes Jr., Milton L. Williams and Marie Mitchell McPherson.

George E. Estes Jr.

Pintala Baptist Church launches Gary and Lary Burton Scholarship Fund with $30,000 gift The impact of Gary and Lary Burton’s ministry at Pintlala Baptist Church runs deep. So deep that the church, located in a rural area near Montgomery, Ala., named their new scholarship at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in honor of these twin brothers. A $30,000 gift was given to the seminary in November 2011 to launch the scholarship. Gary started as the church’s pastor 40 years ago, just a few months before he graduated from NOBTS with his Master of Divinity degree. Lary stayed longer at NOBTS, ultimately earning a Doctor of Philosophy degree. He now teaches world religion courses at Troy University-Montgomery and is an active member at Pintlala. Lary sings in the choir and coteaches a Sunday School class with his brother. Several times he has served as the church’s interim music minister. Gary said that pastoring Pintlala for 40 years has been a fun journey. One of his fondest memories involves the way the church built its new sanctuary about 20 years ago. The founder of BASSMASTERS, who is a member at Pintlala, enlisted several professional fishermen and hosted a series of four fishing tournaments to raise money for the sanctuary. George H.W. Bush, who was President at the time, came to the event several years in a row. The tournaments were a success, raising over $1 million for construction costs. Lary said he was honored and humbled that the church chose to name the scholarship in honor of him and his twin brother. “I hope this scholarship will allow students who are letting finances hold them back from going to go ahead and go to seminary,” Lary said. Gary echoed Lary’s words. “I hope it will ease the financial burden of students and will continue the fine tradition of theological education that we have received,” he said. “My brother and I have great memories of New Orleans and we feel like we received the best [training]. This is a small way for our church to give back.” The scholarship is designed to help students who need it most. The members had been so blessed by the ministry of the Burtons, they just wanted to help others train for ministry at NOBTS. 


George E. Estes Jr. of Gulfport, Miss., 82, died April 23, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Martha Anne Bishop Estes; his sons, George Estes III (Debbie) and James Neal Estes (Lynn); four grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren. Estes was a member of First Baptist Church in Gulfport, where he was a deacon, Sunday School teacher and member of many committees. A lawyer, Estes earned an undergraduate degree from Mississippi College before earning the Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1950.

Milton L. Williams

Milton Williams of Santa Fe, N.M., 90, died June 23, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Charlotte Hollis Williams; his son, Milton Williams Jr. (Claudia); his daughter, Charlotte Anne Williams Stallcup; three grandsons and a great-grandson. An engineer and founder of a pipeline service company, Williams lived in Shreveport, La., for many years. He was a member of Broadmoor Baptist Church for more than 60 years, where he served as director of the Sunday School and sang in the church choir. Williams served as a Trustee at NOBTS from 1983 to 1993.

Marie Mitchell McPherson

Marie Mitchell McPherson of Denham Springs, La., 81, died Sept. 8, 2011. She is survived by her son, John E. McPherson Jr. (Melinda), two grandchildren and a greatgranddaughter. She was preceded in death by her husband, John E. McPherson Sr. She was a member of Watson Baptist Church. McPherson taught in the Livingston Parish School System and Brighton Academy before her retirement. In addition to her other academic degrees, McPherson earned a Master of Religious Education degree from NOBTS in 1978.


Former Muslim embraces Christ, plans mission trip to home country



he road that led Brahima Nabi Toure to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary was longer, and had more twists and turns, than that of many students at NOBTS. Toure, a truck driver by trade and a Master of Divinity student at the seminary’s North Georgia Hub, is originally from Burkina Faso, a nation of about 16 million in Western Africa. The long road from Toure’s village, Diebougou, Burkina Faso, to the Atlanta area ultimately led him from Islam to faith in Jesus Christ. It also led him to his wife, Mikyong, and to a call to ministry. And that long road, Toure said, will ultimately lead him back to his village as a minister of the Gospel. His ministry there will be the first. Toure said he always dreamed of coming to the United States. He even majored in English in college, in part because of that desire. Then, in 1998, a friend who already lived in the States connected Toure with a farmer in Wisconsin. A main motivation for leaving Burkina Faso for the United States, Toure said, was to provide for his large family. Toure spent only one planting season in Wisconsin, though. As it turns out, the Wisconsin weather was a little extreme for the native Burkinabè. Toure abandoned the Midwest for the Southeast in February 1999 when he moved to Atlanta, joining a large contingent from Burkina Faso. He worked a number of jobs, anything from washing cars to working behind the counter at a gas station. And work he did, sending much of his take home pay back to his mother and siblings in Burkina Faso. But the hard work and loneliness of being a newcomer to the United States took its toll. By the time he turned 40 in the mid-2000s, Toure hit a wall. “I started panicking. I had nothing – no money, no wife, no kids,” he recalled. “I spent all these years working, and not only working, wasting my life. I was a secret alcoholic. In my bitterness, all I could do was drink.” But in the midst of his crisis, Toure met his future wife, Mikyong, a Korean and a Christian. “When I looked at her, I saw my filthiness. And what was amazing about her was that she was happy,” he said. “She was so happy, and I started envying her happiness. And she loved me.” Toure said he began to notice how Mikyong would divide her income between her tithe and missions giving at her Korean church. He also watched closely how she read her Bible. She was passionate about her faith and prayed. One thing, though, threatened to derail their relationship – there was a possibility that Mikyong could not have a child. In Toure’s culture in Burkina Faso, having children is of utmost importance. Their fears were confirmed after visiting an area doctor. Most likely, they would not be able to have children. Toure said, though distraught and disappointed, Mikyong nonetheless leaned on her faith. About the same time, the couple drove from Atlanta to Seattle to visit a friend. Toure drove, and along the way, Mikyong constantly shared with him words of wisdom from the Bible. He was amazed at her knowledge of the Bible. In response, he decided to match her Christian faith by being a good Muslim. “I tried to read the Koran, but I didn’t feel the same passion as her,” Toure said. One day, Toure put down his Koran and picked up a tract Mikyong had brought from her church. “Something stirred in my heart,” he said. “I took her Bible

Brahima Nabi Toure with his wife, Mikyong.

and opened it from the Book of Genesis and started reading and reading. And I never stopped from that day.” On Mother’s Day 2009, Toure attended church with Mikyong. He said that morning he had read Psalm 23 and focused on the part that says “I prepare a table for you.” There was a meal after the worship service, and Toure sat at the pastor’s table. Knowing that Toure had not yet placed his faith in Christ, the pastor offered to pray with him after the meal. Overcome with emotion, Toure began to kneel, then sob, then lay prostrate as he cried out to God. A wave of peace passed over him, he said, as he received the Holy Spirit. Just a few weeks later, Toure was baptized in Lake Lanier near Atlanta. He and Mikyong were married immediately afterward. Toure got more and more involved in ministry work through his church and continued to grow in his faith, but he had not yet shared his testimony with his mother. Then, while on mission in India, Toure said he felt impressed to call his mother. He called and told her where he was, and she asked why he would be in India. “I said, ‘I’m on a mission for Jesus.’ I said, ‘I’m one of them. [Jesus] sent me here on a mission to share the Gospel,’” Toure recalled. His siblings “cried for weeks and months” and his mother had to be taken to the hospital, they were so distraught. Since his conversion, Toure has continued sending money back home and reaching out to his mother and siblings. Gradually, he said, they’re talking to him more. He said he knows it’s difficult for them to accept him as a Christian. “When you go to my village, [my family] owns the mosque. They are very proud to be Muslim. They know nothing else. I’m a shock to the whole family,” he said. “I’m really standing alone, but I’m really not alone.” With a deep desire to know the Bible and share his faith, Toure began studying at the North Georgia Hub about three semesters ago. “I believe my calling is to serve in Africa or the Middle East,” he said. That call to “overseas” missions, he said, starts at home in Diebougoug, Burkina Faso, among his own family. Toure said he hopes to travel there with Mikyong sometime this year. “I want to take it as a mission trip to explore the land,” he said. “I know He has great plans for them. In my family, there has never been a Christian.”  SPRING 2012 | VISION 17


NOBTS ENSEMBLE FEATURED ON WWL-TV MORNING PROGRAM The afternoon call on Feb. 24, took NOBTS Professor of Music Education Darryl Ferrington by surprise. “An organization called Interfaith Communications International was looking for a church choir or group to promote their hymn sing, which was being held at Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church [in New Orleans] March 4,” Ferrington recalled. Interfaith Communications International is a New Orleansbased, independent Christian organization that promotes unity and understanding across the spectrum of Christianity. It’s leadership is comprised of representatives from Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal and United Church of Christ churches.

The group reached out to Ferrington and asked specifically if he would be interested in and able to put together a small ensemble to sing hymns during the Feb. 27 broadcast of WWL-TV’s morning news show. Even though he had little more than two days notice, Ferrington jumped at the chance. He spent the weekend gathering singers and hymns to sing. The 8-person ensemble – which included staff, students and spouses from NOBTS – then met that Sunday to practice for the following morning. “It was a wonderful experience – just flying by the seat of your pants!” Ferrington said. The ensemble arrived at the WWL-TV station on Rampart Street at 6:15 a.m. Feb. 27, and sang throughout the two hour broadcast. Hymns included “In Christ Alone,” “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder” and “All Creatures of Our God and King.” “We sang probably eight times during the two hours, anything from a 30 second spot to a full three minute song,” Ferrington said. Ferrington said he hopes a group from NOBTS will again get to sing on WWL-TV’s morning show – only this time with a little more advanced notice. Still, he said it was an honor and a great experience “to sing of our Lord as well as our seminary” on the show. 


NOBTS to host campus picnic during SBC meeting this June Act now, a limited number of tickets are available For the alumni and friends for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, a trip to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in New Orleans won’t be complete without a trip to NOBTS campus. That’s why this year’s alumni and friends reunion will include a picnic on campus and a worship gathering in Leavell Chapel. The Office of Alumni Relations will host the campus picnic for alumni and friends, Wednesday, June 20, following the Convention’s morning session. The picnic will be served on the Leavell Chapel Quad lawn. In addition to seeing the campus and connecting with friends and former classmates, NOBTS President Chuck Kelley will update attendees on the previous year’s developments and activities at NOBTS. The Distinguished Alumni for 2012 will be named and an alumni treasurer will be elected. The program also will include a report from national alumni president Jay Johnston on the accomplishments and activities of alumni chapters for the past year, a 50-year anniversary recognition of the class of 1962, and a remembrance of the alumni who have died during the past year. The meal will be catered by Corky’s Bar-B-Q. The menu includes pulled pork sandwiches, spaghetti, cole slaw, baked beans and brownies. Tickets are $8 per person if purchased by June 11, $10 afterward. A limited number of tickets are for sale and seminary officials expect an overwhelming response. Those who plan to attend are encouraged to purchase tickets early. To purchase tickets, visit the online ticket sales site at www. or send a check payable to NOBTS to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Attention Alumni Relations, 3939 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70126. Checks mailed in to purchase tickets must be received by June 11. All tickets will be picked up at the seminary’s convention booth in the Morial Convention Center exhibit hall. 



NOBTS celebrates first LCIW graduating class



ew Orleans Seminary celebrated a defining moment when it held a special off-campus commencement service Jan. 18 for 19 women incarcerated at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW). The graduation ceremony celebrated the culmination of the seminary’s inaugural certificate training class at the prison, which began last January. Of the original 20 participants who began class, 19 completed the required courses and earned their certificates; the other participant was released from prison early. Dr. Rhonda Kelley, Director of Women’s Ministry Programs at NOBTS, complimented the women on their accomplishments and acknowledged the program’s success was brought from being only a dream by a lot of effort and prayer from many different people. “It has been our heart’s desire to have a seminary program at LCIW similar to our program at Angola,” Kelley said. “We have seen how God’s work of redemption has positively impacted the offenders, their families and the prison culture. Only God can imagine how the student ministries can change the LCIW campus for His glory.” NOBTS President Chuck Kelley pointed out to the graduates their graduation was part of God’s plan for their life. Referencing the story of Hagar from Genesis 16, Kelley noted it was the first time in scripture God made a promise to a woman. Hagar knew God as the “God who sees.” “God saw you,” Chuck Kelley said, “and he knew that he could do something with you, and that’s where this started. Not with New Orleans Seminary, not with Warden Rodgers, not with Warden Cain, not with my wife. It started when God saw you.” Graduate Sandra C. echoed Chuck’s message when she said learning about God’s plan was one of the greatest lessons of her training. “I enjoyed learning about the Old Testament. It was profound to me to see how God has been working to redeem his

people the whole time. I didn’t know how deep his plan was. I didn’t know he had a plan. Others spoke of how their study taught the importance of knowing God’s word and living a godly life. “Before, I didn’t know the importance of it [the Bible]. Now I’m like a sponge to it, compared to my old life, and I wouldn’t dare go back,” said another graduate. Speaking before the conferral of the certificates, inmate Angela also spoke of the success of the program. “I want others to see that whether bound or free, lives can be changed. … We all have to go through trials and tribulations to get us where God desires us to be. I’m still not fully where I want to be, but I know that God is steadily working in and through me to make me the person that he wants me to be.” The women are excited to continue their studies. Because of the success of the initial program, NOBTS has begun an associate’s degree program. This semester, the students are studying: introduction to ministry, introduction to counseling, worship perspectives, and English grammar. In addition, seven new students are beginning the program. One new student, Melissa, spoke of an early life in church. “I kind of fell away from God and wound up in jail when I was 19.” Melissa, now 33, spoke of how the seminary’s program offers a second chance to fulfill God’s call on her life. “I finally realized that God had not given up on me, but I had walked away from him. I just gave everything to him and he opened the door for me. When God opens up a door, you have to walk through it.” Melissa hopes to complete all of the seminary’s offerings before she is released, and she is excited to see what God will do with her life. Her attitude reflects the goal of the program, which is to transform the prison from the inside out. “This is a really special day for us because it is the first graduation that we have had,” said Warden Jim Rogers, “and we hope one of many, many more.”  SPRING 2012 | VISION 19


NEWS Gumbo NOBTS LAUNCHES iPHONE APP New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s new iPhone app is now available at the iTunes store. The free app launched early this spring. Created by a team of seminary administrators, professors and staff members, the app includes news articles, chapel messages, academic information, maps and more. The Greek and Hebrew flash card feature is one of the most exciting app tools for students and alumni alike. The flash cards can help users learn and retain key Greek and Hebrew words. Each card displays a Greek or Hebrew word, then, with a touch, the card spins to reveal the English translation of the word. The highly customizable card decks allow language students to focus attention on specific words they need to learn. We hope you will try out this app and be on watch for additional apps and digital publications from NOBTS. For those of you who do not have an iPhone, NOBTS plans to develop an Android version of the app. The download is available at iPhone App Store.

FALL GRADUATION SET RECORD New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary set a fall graduation record as 244 graduates received degrees on Dec. 17 – 66 more than the previous fall record set in 2003. The graduating class included 24 doctoral graduates.

FOLLOW THE GEZER DIG ONLINE An archaeology team from New Orleans Seminary will continue to excavate and explore the massive, ancient water system in Gezer, Israel, this summer. The third dig season will begin May 27 and ends June 15. You can follow the team’s progress at or through the NOBTS Facebook and Twitter sites.

Dr. Jong Gil Lee, front left, and Dr. Mark Tolbert, front right, led the first class of the Korean D.Min. Program in January.

NOBTS LAUNCHES KOREAN DMIN The Korean Doctor of Ministry Program launched at the seminary’s North Georgia Hub in January. Seven students participated in a Program Overview workshop which was teamtaught by Dr. Jong Gil Lee, Director of the Korean Doctor of Ministry Program and Dr. Mark Tolbert, Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program on the main NOBTS campus.




The decline of Southern Baptist churches is well documented. Estimates put the number of plateaued or declining churches at between 70 percent and 89 percent. Membership is stagnant and churches are finding it increasingly difficult to effectively reach people with the Gospel. The Gurney Evangelism Lectures, set for Sept. 25-27, at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will offer practical steps churches can take to foster evangelism and help stem this decline. The theme for the lecture series is “What’s Happened to the Harvest? The Decline of Evangelism in the Southern Baptist Convention and Proposed Solutions.” Sponsored by New Orleans Seminary’s Leavell Center for Evangelism and Church Health and the Perry R. Sanders Center for Ministry Excellence, the lecture series and pastors conference will feature John Bisagno, pastor of emeritus of First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. Known as a powerful, evangelistic preacher at conferences and crusades, Bisagno made evangelism a priority at FBC Houston. The church added thousands of members under his watch including 15,000 new members by baptism. Bisagno will present lectures at 11 a.m. on Sept. 25, 26 and 27. He will lead a pastors conference on developing evangelistic churches from 1-4 p.m. on Sept. 27. The first lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 25, will focus on “What’s Happened to Our Evangelistic Preaching?” The following day, “What’s Happened to Our Burden for the Lost?” will be the focus. The final lecture on Thursday, Sept. 27, will ask “What’s Happened to Our Personal and Public Gospel Invitations?” The pastors conference — “How to Build an Effective Evangelistic Church” — will explore the practical ways pastors and church leaders can foster evangelism in the local church. The Tuesday and Thursday sessions will be held in Leavell Chapel in conjunction with the school’s regular twice-weekly chapel services. The second lecture and the pastors conference will be held in the Leavell Center.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has named Steve Lemke, Provost and Professor of Theology and Ethics at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, to the Louisiana Board of Ethics. He will represent the 2nd Congressional District. The ethics board is made up of 11 members. The governor appoints seven to represent congressional districts. The others are nominated by independent university presidents. The state ethics board administers and enforces laws dealing with conflicts of interest, campaign finance disclosure and lobbyist registration and disclosure laws.

200 SENIOR ADULTS PARTICIPATE IN SENIOR FEST ON NOBTS CAMPUS More than 230 senior adults participated in the third annual Senior Fest at New Orleans Seminary March 23. The one-day event included keynote sessions by NOBTS President Chuck Kelley and Dr. Allen Jackson, Professor of Youth Ministry at NOBTS. Participants also attended two breakout sessions on a wide range of Christian living, season-of-life and church-related topics. Senior Fest 2013 is scheduled for Friday, April 12, 2013.

NGA KOREAN STUDENTS PARTICIPATE IN MISSION TRIP TO HAITI Ten Korean graduate students from the North Georgia Hub participated in a January mission trip to Haiti. Dr. Ken Taylor, Professor of Missions at NOBTS’s NORTH ATLANTIC OCEAN main campus, led the trip. Mrs. Seon Caribbean Yang Kim Lee served as the translator Sea for the team. HAITI PORT-AUThe trip was facilitated by a PRINCE graduate of the NGA Korean Program who is now serving as a missionary in Caribbean Sea Haiti. The mission team visited several orphanages, colleges, homes, factories, and a television station, to share the Gospel. Port-dePaix

GOREE AND HOOVER RECEIVE HIGH MARKS AT NATS COMPETITION Two students from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Division of Church Music Ministries received high honors in their respective categories at the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Louisiana Chapter Spring Student Auditions March 10 at Nicholls State University in Thibodeaux, La. Mark Goree, a Bachelor of Arts in Music student from Somerville, Ala., and Jennifer Hoover, an M.Div. (Church Music and Apologetics) student from Topeka, Kan., each finished second in the singing competition that included more than 150 contestants. Both students study with Dr. Chris Turner, Assistant Professor of Voice at New Orleans Seminary.


Hoover SPRING 2012 | VISION 21


Trips to NW, Canada enrich learning for church planting students



he balance between classroom education and practical experience is a serious consideration for most seminary students. Dr. Damian Emetuche, Director of the Nehemiah Center for Church Planting and the Day Center at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, is committed to helping his students achieve both. “My philosophy for training church planters is the same as that of training a medical doctor. I have a clinical bias,” Emetuche said. “You have to take a doctor to the hospital, not just give him books to read. He must be able to smell a disease and see what it looks like. It is not all glamour, it is bloody and smelly and messy. Some may not want to deal with the mess.” The clinics he conducted this year took place in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, in November 2011 and in Toronto in March 2012. Emetuche led the teams of students who learned firsthand from church planters in the field what planting a church is like. “It is hard to read about church planting and fully understand what this type of ministry actually looks like,” NOBTS missions student Jenna Shaw said. “On this trip we met over a dozen different church planters, all with different types of churches in different contexts.” Marie Barreto, who is pursuing a Master of Divinity degree with specialization in Church Planting, said the November trip enabled her to see how Christianity is growing in the non-Christian culture of the Northwest. Barreto and classmate Jason Thomas identified some of the obstacles church planters must overcome, such as lack of immediate church or team support, different perceptions of church culture, and the challenge of connecting with the community. “They [the church planters] focus on building relationships with the people there,” Barreto said. “It’s all relational.” Thomas gave an example of how Epic Life Church, a Seattle congregation, was reaching the community. The church received a building from a congregation that had disbanded and turned it into a community center. “Now, it’s no longer ‘that church on the corner,’ but it’s being used to meet the needs of the community,” Thomas said.


Emetuche says another benefit of the tours is the exposure to diversity. “Most of our students are from the South, and in the South we don’t have much diversity—mostly black and white. [Elsewhere], you see a mosaic of cultures that is the future of America.” The diversity extends beyond cultures, but also drives different church planting models. Shaw explained, “[The trip] opened my eyes to a different ministry and cultural context and showed me that church doesn’t have to look the same everywhere.” Thomas worked with two Asian American church planters. One pastor had moved to Seattle because his wife had taken a job there. The church he planted was in response to the need he saw for his Vietnamese neighbors. The other church planter came to the area with the intention of starting a church, but his congregation is more ethnically diverse. Thomas said he learned from them, that “No matter how innovative we think we can be, we’re not going to build a church. God is going to build a church.” Barreto echoed Thomas’ understanding that all the work, including the call, must come from God. “The biggest thing I learned is if God has not called you, do not go,” she said. The lesson, however, was one of encouragement for Barreto who has answered God’s call to serve this summer in Montreal. “It’s about being willing to take risks and stepping out of your comfort zone but prayerfully seeking God’s will,” she said. “I’ll be losing some of my jobs on campus, but I know that’s where He wants me to be.” Another lesson learned involved the definition of success. Thomas said success must be defined not by numbers but by faithfulness. “I need to be a little more faithful to where I am,” he said. “Sometimes we can get caught up in where we think we will be. God has me here right now for a reason.” Emetuche is convinced that diversity will continue to increase in America due to immigration trends and globalization. For that reason, he intends to continue this approach to church planting, taking students out of the classroom and into the field. “I teach them the concepts, principles of church planting, and take them to the field where they can see,” he said. Emetuche will lead a group a church planing students on a trip to Los Angeles later in the semester. 


Personal evangelism could break down ‘The Wall’ of decline EDITOR’S NOTE: “Voices,” an occasional first-person series in Vision, will highlight the writing of NOBTS faculty members, students and alumni as they address issues important to the Southern Baptist Convention and its churches. BY DR. BILL DAY

FIRST-PERSON: Last year the number of baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was 331,008. Except for a minor increase in 2009, our baptisms have been declining since 1999. In just 10 years, our baptisms have declined more than 87,000 (a 21 percent decrease). The number of baptisms in the SBC are now at the lowest since 1948 when we had 310,226. We wait each year to see a turn-around. After all, we’ve had declines before now. We console ourselves by remembering that periods of decline have eventually been followed by periods of increase. We think surely the end of our decline in baptisms will occur this year, only to be disappointed again and again. While many know this decline in baptisms is bad, it is worse than people realize. Actually, baptisms in the SBC have been on a plateau since 1950. From 1936 to 1950 we had the greatest period of increasing baptisms in the history of the SBC, growing from 191,933 to 416,867. Since 1950 our overall situation has seen brief periods when baptisms increased followed by a similar period of decline. When you look at the total picture, our baptisms have been on a plateau for 60 years! Nothing we have done seems to have changed this picture. We have hit what I call THE WALL. Evangelism campaigns, programs for Sunday School growth, emphases on revival, and the planting of new churches have not been able to knock down The Wall. What is the solution to our baptism decline? How can we knock down The Wall? We could point to our denomination and say, “Fix it!” Let’s plant more churches. Let’s have a renewed commitment to evangelism. Let’s pray for revival. We could look to our churches and say, “Get on the ball!” Deacons, Sunday School teachers, and members, stop being so involved in meetings and focus on our most

important task – evangelism. We could say our baptism decline is a denominational or church problem. The downside of this approach is that it would take extensive planning, time, money and work. While this approach may work over time, there is a quicker way to knock down The Wall. In 2009 we had 122,285 clergy in the convention. Consider these startling ideas: If in 2010 each member of the clergy in the SBC had led one more person to Christ and baptized them, the number of baptisms in the SBC would have been 454,606 not 332,321. This number almost equals our best year in baptisms. Moreover, if each member of the clergy had reached one more person for Christ each quarter of last year and baptized them, we would have baptized 821,461. Expanding this idea, if our clergy would set a goal this next year to reach one more person per quarter and, in addition, our deacons, teachers, and members followed this example, we would see millions saved and baptized. We must realize it’s not just my brother or my sister but it’s me, Oh Lord, standing in the need of sharing the Gospel. Then, The Wall will come tumbling down.  This article also appeared in the (Louisiana) Baptist Message.


NOBTS partners with PhilanthroCorp, offers free estate planning to alumni and Friends of the Seminary


state planning is a very important task, yet one that is easy to procrastinate on. If you do not have an estate plan in place that will ensure provision for your family while protecting your estate from unnecessary taxation, or if your estate plan is out of date, we urge you to take action to remedy this situation. For Christians, there is an added dimension to estate planning – recognizing that God is the owner of our estate places us in a responsible position as a steward. It is important that we use our estate assets to their fullest potential during our lifetimes for us personally, for our family, business and for His glory. As a steward, we must also arrange for the most efficient and effective transfer of our assets at death to individuals or ministries who will continue to use them to reflect biblical values. While almost all of the reasons for procrastinating are understandable, none will serve to lessen the reality that the absence of an estate plan can have devastating impact on family members and on an estate. A proper estate plan should accomplish the following: • Express God’s plan of stewardship. • Provide for financial and guardianship needs for all dependents. • Transfer the assets God has entrusted to you to individual and ministry beneficiaries. • Transfer your estate in a tax efficient manner with the least possible amount of heartache, cost or delay. To learn more about this ministry, please visit our website at www. or call our friends at PhilanthroCorp, a Christcentered charitable estate planning firm that we have partnered with, at (800) 876-7958. We have retained them so they can serve you, at no cost, as our thanks to you for your stand with the seminary. PhilanthroCorp does not sell any products and any financial information you share with them will be kept completely confidential. PhilanthroCorp will help make estate planning not just a pleasant experience for you, but one with eternal significance. 

BOOKS by Alumni The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide Gene C. Fant Jr. Crossway, 2012

Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition Series, edited by David S. Dockery In The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide, Gene C. Fant Jr. looks at liberal learning through a Gospeloriented lens, arguing that the great thinkers of history were all interacting in some way with how God reveals himself through the realm of knowledge. Fant calls for embracing the best of that past while freshly applying it to today’s world, preparing students for a lifetime of connecting their education to the work God has for them. Fant lays out a vision of education that carefully prepares students to pursue their calling. He outlines the history of liberal arts, responses to its criticisms, and the unselfishness that it fosters. In our global culture, filled with new opportunities for living out the Gospel, the liberal arts offer students the foundation they need: a framework based on a belief in transcendence and absolute truth. With that kind of preparation, they can become spiritually and intellectually empathetic people who are equipped to serve God, the church and their society. Gene C. Fant Jr. is Professor of English and Vice President for Academic Administration at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. He earned the Master of Divinity degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1991.


First D.Ed.Min. grad reflects on degree, ministry 10 years later



t’s been a decade since Carey Froelich walked across the stage in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Leavell Chapel. During that May 18, 2002, commencement, Froelich became the first student ever to graduate with a Doctor of Educational Ministry (D.Ed.Min.) degree from any school. The D.Ed.Min. degree, which the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) first approved in June 1998, is similar to the seminary’s popular doctor of ministry (D.Min.) degree, but specially designed for students with a master’s degree in Christian education. The D.Min. and the D.Ed.Min. are part of New Orleans Seminary’s Professional Doctoral program, which boasts more than 300 students today. Now, 10 years removed from earning his D.Ed.Min. degree, Froelich recalls what led him to NOBTS and to the Doctor of Educational Ministry program. Froelich said it was at First Baptist Church of New Orleans that he first sensed a call to the ministry, though he went to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to pursue a Master of Religious Education degree. He graduated from SWBTS in May 1972. He previously earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Houston Baptist College. While in Texas, Froelich served churches in the Houston, Plainview and Forth Worth areas. He also served at First Baptist Church of Weatherford, Texas. He moved to Emmanuel Baptist Church in Alexandria, La., then went to University Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., in 1981. He served there from 1981 to 2003 – nearly 23 years. It was toward the end of his tenure there that NOBTS began offering the D.Ed.Min. degree and that he began to consider advanced ministry study. “Number one, it was the congregation I served. As a university community, a number of people had terminal degrees. We were very close to the [LSU] campus. The congregation itself had an emphasis on academics and excellence in achievement,” Froelich recalled. And into that academics-oriented community stepped longtime NOBTS professor of church history Dan Holcomb, who served as interim pastor of Froelich’s church. “I actually took a couple of different seminars under his leadership,” Froelich said. “They (Holcomb and his wife, Olga) are a very direct connection to my applying for the program and pursuing the program.” While in the D.Ed.Min. program, Froelich’s research project focused on using the Socratic method of questioning when engaging people who had been estranged from God and the church. His study was inspired by a 1960s and 70s church training program that taught interactive listening. Interactive listening goes beyond just hearing what someone said to more deeply understanding what the person means by the words he or she uses. “That always impressed me. We had used the model several times in churches, and I kept coming back to it,” Froelich said. “So I built a lot of what I did in my project around equipping my class that I worked with to use the interactive listening method.”

Froelich said he still employs that interactive listening method and added that effective listening skills are keenly important for ministers of the Gospel. Today, Froelich ministers at First Baptist Church of Baytown, Texas, and continues to put the tools he gained in the seminary’s D.Ed.Min. program to work. He said a huge focus of his ministry today is to equip Bible study leaders to teach students how to apply Bible study lessons to their everyday lives. He said Bible studies have to go beyond mere history lessons to application. “It’s not my intention to say that understanding the depth of the Scripture itself, and the background and context, is not important and not to be done,” Froelich said. “But if we only stay there, we’ve learned a wonderful history lesson, but has it been only about information distribution? Has it been transformative? I can be inspired about what Jesus did, but am I going to be inspired to change my life and my activity?” Froelich said it’s all about different levels of learning. “There’s knowledge, there’s attitude, and there’s behavioral change. We’re trying to push more and more toward behavioral change,” he said. Froelich encouraged ministers considering a D.Ed.Min. or other advanced degree to go for it. “Go quick. Do it. To borrow the Nike commercial, just do it,” he said. “It really is valuable.” Froelich said the long time he spent out of the classroom – from 1972 to 1999 – gave him pause, but that those years of experience were also valuable in the classroom. “The fact that I was able to bring as much practical experience made those studies far more meaningful to me than they would have been had I done that right out of seminary,” he said. And that’s what sets the Professional Doctoral program apart. Students must have at least three years of post-master’s degree ministry experience to enter the program. Ten years in, the D.Ed. Min. program has about 50 students, and the entire Professional Doctoral program has more than 300.  Dr. Carey Froelich has published a blog post on Transformational Teaching-Learning at Pursuing Ministry Excellence is the official blog of the NOBTS Professional Doctoral program.



CLASS Notes 1960s

Dawson, Mike H. (BDiv ’63) of Columbia, Tenn., has retired from First Baptist Church of Columbia, Tenn. He has served as a transitional interim pastor in several Tennessee churches. Fant, Gene C. Sr. (BDiv ’63/MDiv ‘73*) of Nashville, Tenn., preaches on Nashville radio station WSM-650 Sunday mornings at 7 a.m. on Faith for Living. Haughton, Jerry (ThMH ’68) has published 14 theological books and two novels for the Amazon Kindle.


Childs, William (Bo) (MDiv ’76) of Franklin, Tenn., retired in November 2010 from Tennessee Baptist Foundation after 17 years of service as President-Treasurer.

Champion, Lonnie Leon (ThM ’71) of Wilmer, Ala., celebrates 50 years in the ministry in 2012, along with his wife, Jean Orso Champion. He spent 25 years as a pastor and 22 and a half years with the IMB. Fields, Bruce (MRE ’79) serves as Associate Pastor/Pastoral Care at First Baptist Church, Gainesville, Ga. He was recently honored for 20 years of service at the church. Shivers, Frank (ThM ’74) of Columbia, S.C., has just released his book Spurs to Soul Winning. Visit www.frankshivers. com for more information.


Booth, John (DMA ’86) of Hannibal, Mo., toured western Ontario, Canada, with the Missouri Music Men in May 2011. Dease, Steven “Lyle” (MDiv ’86) of Chatom, Ala., serves as Uruguay Team Strategy Leader with the IMB.

Henderson, David (MRE ’81) of New Port Richey, Fla., and his wife, Denise, started Eagle’s Landing Baptist Church in June 2000. He is now in his 12th year as pastor, and his son, Ross, is now serving as associate pastor. McKinnon, Edward Kurt (MCM ’80) is the Minister of Music of First Baptist Church, New Port Richey, Fla. In December 2010, the church had 200 professions of faith after their presentation of the Singing Christmas Tree. Moncada, Edwin (MDiv ’88) of St Louis, Mo., participated in “International Friendship Week,” a national emphasis on befriending internationals both on campus and in communities. The event was sponsored by the Baptist Collegiate Network. *Exchanged BDiv for MDiv



Estate Planning Solution Have you ever thought about what happens when your Will doesn’t follow your will? When estate plans aren’t distributed to match the wishes of the giver, it’s a result of two very unfortunate issues:  The Will has become out of date.  There was never a Will to begin with.  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. They will help you create or update your will.

For more information visit:


Glenn, Michael (MDiv ’98) of Slocomb, Ala., recently moved from First Baptist Church Union Grove to pastor at Christian Home Baptist Church near Slocomb. Petty, H. Michael (MDiv ’97) of Plantation, Fla., serves as director of Gulf Stream Baptist Association in Hollywood, Fla. The association has planted 31 churches in the last four years. Taylor, Samuel (MDiv ’90) is the pastor of Mountain View Baptist Church in Phil Campbell, Ala. The building was destroyed by a tornado in April 2011. The church is planning to rebuild starting in May 2012.


Burton, James (MDiv ’01) of St. Robert, Mo., was called to pastor First Baptist Church, Swedeborg, Mo., on Oct. 5, 2011. He retired from U.S. Army on November 1, 2011, where he served as a NAMB-endorsed chaplain. Clark, Jonathan (MDiv ’07) of Ponchatoula, La., is the Baptist Campus Ministry Director at Southeastern Louisiana University. Davis, Aaron (MDiv ’00) of Birch Tree, Mo., is preparing to relocate to Hawaii in July where he will plant a church in Ewa Beach on the island of Oahu. Johnson, Emma (MACE ‘07) recently published her first Jail and Prison Letter Ministry Guide. The guide is available by writing to P.O. Box 114, Pearl River, LA 70452. Nelson, David (MACE ’07) has been serving as the Minister of Education/ Outreach at Thomasville Baptist Church in Thomasville, Ala., since June 2011. Satterwhite, Donald (MDiv ’89, DMin ’03) was recently called as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Eagle Lake, Fla. Satterwhite, Ronald (MA Missiology ’05) is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Port Tampa, Fla. Since 2008, the church has started two language missions and two new congregations.


Clark, Jonathan (MDiv ’07) and his wife, Erin, welcomed their second son, Frazier Clark, into the world on Aug. 10, 2011.


Agee, Robert D. (BDiv ‘62) of Lebanon, Tenn., died Oct. 11, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marie Stallings Agee, their three children, and other family members. Aldridge, G. Morrell (MDiv ‘84) of Alabaster, Ala., died on Dec. 29, 2011. He is survived by wife, Deanna, one daughter and other family members. Beckler, Michael Leon (attended ‘64) of Owensville, Mo., died June 20, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Mildred M. Beckler, and other family members. Benedict, Douglas E. (MRE ’86) of Oak Grove, Miss., passed away Jan. 16, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Gail, and other family members. Berry, Morgan M. “Pops” (DPCT ’53) of Merced, Calif., passed away Sept. 17, 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife, June. They are survived by their three daughters and other family members. Bowdler, Caroline (MRE ’46) died July 19, 2011. She is survived by her four children and other family. Brister, C.W. Jr. (BDiv ’52/MDiv ’74*) passed away Aug. 9, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Gloria, and other family members. Campbell, Paul W. (ADPM ‘89) of Bay Minette, Ala., passed away July 7, 2011. He is survived by his son, John Mark Campbell, daughter, Jennifer Sigle, and other family members. Campbell, Rita J. (attended ’88-92) of Bay Minette, Ala., died March 20, 2008. She is survived by her son, John Mark Campbell, daughter, Jennifer Sigle, and other family members. Carpenter, L. Wendell (MRE ’55) of Gainesville, Ga., passed away Jan. 26, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marguerite, and other family members.

Castleberry, Dr. James Michael “Mickey” (ThM ’69) of Montgomery, Ala., died Nov. 9, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Joette Castleberry, and other family members. Chapman, Archie G. (BRE ’59) died July 3, 2008. Craig, James H. (MSM ’57) of Durham, N.C., died on Jan. 1, 2012. He is survived by a sister and other family members. Crawford, John (BDiv ’56/MDiv ‘72*) of Hartselle, Ala., died Nov. 12, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Elizabeth Lord Crawford, and other family members. Davis, Ewell (MDiv ’92) of Birmingham, Ala., died on Dec. 2, 2011. He is survived by wife, Pamella, three children and other family members. Davis, John T. (BDiv ‘46) of Eugene, Ore., passed away Feb. 18, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Luelva Wilson, and other family members. Davis, Chaplain (LTC) Pat H. Sr. (BDiv ’54 /MDiv ‘73*) died Aug. 3, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Ethelene, two children and other family. Dean, Bryant (EdD ‘72) of Baton Rouge, La., passed away Feb. 22, 2012. He is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. Duck, Robert M. “Bob” (MRE ’64) of Montgomery, Ala., died Nov. 21, 2011. He is survived by his niece, Kim Duck Windsor, and other family members. Fain, John (BDiv ’54) of Jonesboro, Ga., died Nov. 25, 2010. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, DeLores Fain, and other family members. Fawcett, Carl E. (BDiv ’58) died April 22, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Barbara, three children and other family. Fleming, Sullivan Lamar (MRE ’65) of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., passed away Nov. 18, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Mary Frances Fleming, and other family members. *Exchanged BDiv for MDiv SPRING 2012 | VISION 27

ALUMNI NEWS Fussell, Esther Mae (attended 1948) of Gardendale, Ala., passed away Nov. 5, 2011. She is survived by her daughters, Faith Fussell Valenta and Paula Fussell Voigt, and other family members. Gillespie, Lorena B. (MRE ’69) of Clemson, S.C., died on Dec. 16, 2011. Goodwin, James D. (DMin ’77) of Marietta, Ga., passed away Jan. 6, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Barbara, and other family members. Graham, Sam E. (BDiv ’65) died Aug. 9, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ida, three children and other family. Greene, Marcus B., Sr. (attended 1968) of Jacksonville, Fla., passed away Dec. 15, 2006. He is survived by his wife, Billie, and other family members. Greene, Marcus “Marc” Bryant, Jr. (MCM ’85) of Pensacola, Fla., passed away on Jan. 30, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Hope Greene, and other family members. Guilbert, Fred W. (BDiv ’63) of Texarkana, Ark., died on Oct. 14, 2010. Hall, Kim (MDiv ’85 and DMin ’89) of Plano, Texas, died Oct. 21, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Martha Miller Hall, their two sons, and other family members. *Exchanged BDiv for MDiv


Hamilton, Richard L. (attended ’93) and wife, Colleen Hamilton (attended ‘93), both died on March 16, 2010 in Prentiss, Miss. They are survived by their three daughters and other family. Hardin, Max (DPCM ’66) of Knoxville, Tenn., died Nov. 7, 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Mary Louise Clark. He is survived by his wife of 11 years, Delores Brown, and other family members. Harrell, James (BDiv ’56) died July 9, 2011 in Ridgeland, Miss. He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, two children and other family.

Johnson, Allen C. (BDiv ’54) of Baton Rouge, La., died Aug. 29, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Earlene, four children and other family members. Johnson, Daniel C. Jr. (MDiv ’85) of Wilson, N.C., died Jan. 16, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie Brown Johnson, and other family members. Keebler, Eugene (ThD ‘53) of Mobile, Ala., passed away Feb. 19, 2012. He is survived by his daughters, Candi Keebler and Christina DeCoste, and other family members. Kirkland, Agnes D. (MRE ’47) died on March 30, 2005, in Charleston, S.C.

Haywood, Bill (DPPM ’76) of Rainbow City, Ala., died Nov. 19, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Judy, and other family members.

Kirkland, Julius M. (THM ’47) of Summerville, S.C., died on Nov. 27, 2011. He is survived by his two daughters and other family members.

Hinton, Ruth W. (attended ’57) of Jasper, Ga., died on Oct. 23, 2011. She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Von J. Hinton, and other family members.

Low, Robert (MRE ’62) of Shelby, N.C., died Dec. 18, 1994.

Hurt, Hubert O. (BDiv ‘50/MDiv ’72* and DMin ’78) of Fort Smith, Ark., died Sept. 20, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Eva, two children and other family members. Inman, Calvin C. (MDiv ’72) of Athens, Ala., died on Dec. 30, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Lucile, a son and other family members.

Mardant, Jerrell R. Sr. (ADPM ’92) died Sept. 3, 2006 in Bessemer, Ala. He is survived by his wife, Brenda, four children and other family. Massey, Joyce Irene Bellows of Salt Lake City, Utah, died Sept. 26, 2011. She is survived by her children and other family members.

ALUMNI NEWS McEachin, Thomas (MCM ’67) of Jefferson, Ga., died Sept. 12, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Mary Blair McEachin, and other family members. Mims, Michael R. (ADPM ’87) died July 6, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Karen, and other family. Pippens, Glenn E. (BDiv ’60/MDiv ‘74*) of Daleville, Ala., died July 16, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Martha, two children and other family. Pryor, Neale T. (THD ’69) of Searcy, Ark., died Sept. 25, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Treva Terrell Pryor, and other family members. O’Claire, Joseph Richard (attended ’93) died July 20, 2011, in Dothan, Ala. He is survived by two sisters and other family. Renfroe, James E. (MDiv ’77) of Fitzgerald, Ga., died on Dec. 11, 2011. He is survived by two sons and other family members. Robinson, Gerald J. “Jack” (DPRE ’64) of Winnabow, N.C., died April 28, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Patricia, and other family members. Ross, James D. Sr. (MRE ’95) died Aug. 24, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Elnora, two children and other family. Wray, Russell L. (BDiv ’58) of Butler, Ala., died May 23, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Bette Wray, and other family members. Sansing, Pauline M. (attended ’42) died Aug. 17, 2010. Sharp, David Conrad (MACE ’92) of Madison, Tenn., died Nov. 1, 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Sharp. He is survived by his grandchildren and other family members. Sjolander, Douglas R. (MRE ’69) of Pineville, La., died Nov. 30, 2011. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Bertha, two children and other family members. *Exchanged BDiv for MDiv

NOBTS remembers life of Perry Sanders Dr. Perry Sanders, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Lafayette, La., passed away Monday, March 26, 2012. He was 84 years old. Sanders served there for 47 years before retiring in 2006. Born in South Carolina, he came to Louisiana to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Sanders was a long-time member of the NOBTS Foundation Board and the Professional Doctoral Program – The Perry R. Sanders Center for Ministry Excellence – is named in his honor. In 1985, Sanders received the Distiguished Alumus Award from NOBTS. He served two terms as president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, served both SBC mission boards, and chaired the Southern Baptist Convention Committee on Committees. A frequent speaker at conventions and evangelistic conferences, he brought the closing message to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1981.

Stewart, Kenneth A. (attended ’89) died on Dec. 17, 2008, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He is survived by his three daughters and other family. Summerlin, Herbert (BDiv ’57) of Repton, Ala., died Dec. 13, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Inez, a daughter and other family members. Sumner, William E. (THM ’71) died Sept. 13, 2011, in Knoxville, Tenn. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Wilma, a daughter and other family members. Syfrett, Evelyn Taylor (attended ’53) of Ladson, S.C., died Nov. 10, 2011. She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Rev. Harold W. Syfrett, and other family members. Thornton, Bobby R. (BDiv ’60) died July 28, 2011, in Columbia, Miss. He is survived by his wife, Helen, three sons and other family.

Under Sanders’ pastorate, First Baptist Church implemented an aggressive outreach program and grew from 1,209 members to almost 5,000. The church expanded property and buildings to portions of seven city blocks, including the purchase of the former Mt. Carmel School property. In 2004 First Baptist completed construction of a 2,000 seat sanctuary.

White, Alvie “Pete” (MDiv ’81) of Picayune, Miss., died on Nov. 13, 2011. He was preceded in death by his wife, Irene Haggerton White. He is survived by two nephews and other family members. Wilson, Joseph “Joe” (BDiv ‘60) died July 4, 2011, in Jackson, La. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Peggy, three sons and other family. Wiseman, John Charles (DPCH ’67) of Kansas City, Mo., died Sept. 15, 2011. He is survived by his brother, Arthur Wiseman, his son and daughters, 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 Updates will be used for publication in both the Vision magazine and on the Alumni website. SPRING 2012 | VISION 29

New Orleans

baptist theological seminary 3939 GENTILLY BLVD | NEW ORLEANS, LA 70126

Non-Profit Org. U.S. POSTAGE


Permit No. 100 New Orleans, LA