Spring 2017 Vision magazine

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21 NOBTS RECEIVES Reaffirmation from ATS, SACSCOC 25 SOCCER TO SEMINARY: Student Spotlight


CHAPLAINS A Different Kind of First Responder Happy Birthday, NOBTS!

Happy Birthday, NOBTS! n 1917 the Southern Baptist Convention did something new. It created a school for those answering God’s call to missions and ministry. There were two existing SBC seminaries, but each of them were started independently and later adopted by the Convention. This time Southern Baptists wanted to start from the beginning to shape a school and its mission. To that end they made an extremely unusual decision. Denominational schools are usually positioned to serve a base of existing churches. The Southern Baptists of 1917 chose a different path. They decided to make this school a mission station as well as a training center by putting it in a city with very few Southern Baptist churches. Not only was the Baptist presence very small, the city they chose was not Protestant or Evangelical in its religious life. The culture of the city was more European than American, and even the food common to the region was quite different than that on most Southern Baptist tables. The city they chose was to Southern Baptist sensibilities more


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like a foreign country than a region of the United States. New Orleans was the city chosen by the 1917 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. How non-Baptist and different was it to Southern Baptists? One rationale for putting the school in such a unique place was to let the project serve as an illustration, an example for the International Mission Board on how to start a seminary in a foreign country. Others argued it would bring Christ to a city famous for its focus on having fun and making money. All understood the school would be established to mobilize students and faculty to engage the city and culture for evangelism, ministry, and church planting. The school was to be every bit as much a mission station as a seminary. Students would learn to do by doing to learn. Long before this decision New Orleans was on the heart of Southern Baptists because of the lostness of its people and the economic significance of city’s role in the nation and the world. At the founding meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention,

by Dr. Chuck Kelley right page, top: NOBTS was founded in 1917 by an act of the Southern Baptist Convention at their annual meeting that year in New Orleans. bottom: Originally named “Baptist Bible Institute,” New Orleans Seminary was the first theological institution to be created by direct action of the Southern Baptist Convention.


the messengers also created a Board for Domestic Missions, now called the North American Mission Board. The motion to create the mission board included specific instructions “to establish the Baptist cause in the city of New Orleans.” With the creation of this school a giant step was taken in that direction. That handful of churches is now more than 100 churches and mission-points in our association alone, most of them started and staffed through the years by members of the seminary family. No one thinks of New Orleans as a Baptist stronghold yet, but we are now the second largest religious family in the city. We are still learning by doing and doing to learn. As we prepare to celebrate our 100th birthday, we plan to do so in a way that will strengthen our seminary and our churches. To do so we will be telling the amazing story of what God has done in and through this School of Providence and Prayer, encouraging all to celebrate a God whose grace is sufficient for every challenge. We will speak much of our present and our future, the points of excellence that are preparing the rising generation of ministers and

missionaries who serve the SBC and its churches. Most importantly we will use this birthday celebration to engage in even more endeavors to fulfill the Great Commission. Here are our goals for the coming year. First, we will launch the Second Century Initiative to raise $50 million to keep seminary education affordable for the rising generation of ministers and missionaries. The money will be used for scholarships, endowments, facility renovations, and the Providence Fund. Through the years we have learned we must have your financial help if we are to be both healthy and affordable for those answering the call to ministry. Second, we will engage our seminary family in 100 mission projects in our city, across our nation, and around the world. No other seminary was created with such a clear directive to do ministry training and to be on mission.

Perhaps most importantly, we seek to do something so big we need all Southern Baptists to help us. Our third goal is to have 100,000 gospel conversations with people who are lost. We were created to be both a ministry training center and a mission station. We want Southern Baptists to help us tell 100,000 people about Jesus. Can you think of a better way for a Baptist seminary established in a place like New Orleans to celebrate its centennial birthday? Please pray that God will use this birthday celebration to bring lost people to Christ, to encourage His people to have confidence in the sufficiency of His grace, and to position NOBTS for a second century of preparing all who are answering God’s call to missions and ministry. A gift to the Providence Fund today would be a great way to help us start the celebration.

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CELEBRATING THE PAST PREPARING THE FUTURE In the last one hundred years, the world has changed in almost every way except one: the lost still need the Gospel. One hundred years ago we began training those who would take that Gospel to the world. Now celebrate with us as we plan to do the same for the next one hundred years.





SPRING 2017 Volume 73, Number 1

Shining Light into the Dark Moment of Suicide When Duty Calls Where Few are Trusted: Stepping into the Private World of Law Enforcement A Visible Reminder of God’s Presence Comfort in Life’s Final Moments: Hospice Chaplains Provide Care to the Terminally Ill


DR. JONATHAN KEY Vice President for Institutional Advancement

DR. DENNIS PHELPS Director of Alumni Relations






We Can Make an Impact Together The Timothy Plan: How Every Gift Makes a Difference


Art Director and Photographer

JOE FONTENOT Writer and Photographer



Lilly Endowment Grant Helps NOBTS Students Manage Finances N.T. Wright to Speak at NOBTS NOBTS Receives Accreditation Reaffirmation from ATS, SACSCOC Trustees Approve C.E. Division Name Change, Undergraduate Study in Huntsville Amazon River Basin Trip Launches New Partnership Living Out Galatians 2:10 Soccer to Seminary: Why One Man Traveled from Jamaica to New Orleans Silver and Gold Items Highlight the Tel Gezer Dig The Dead Preachers Society

Graphic Designer and Photographer

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


Trustee Approve New Administrators, Honor Lemke as Provost Emeritus

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


Distinguished Alumni Class Notes

Cover photo of Dr. Page Brooks by Boyd Guy VISION Spring 2017


CHAPLAINS A DIFFERENT KIND OF FIRST RESPONDER DEFINING WHAT A CHAPLAIN DOES IS BOTH DIFFICULT AND SIMPLE TO DO. The jobs chaplains fill are many. The mission field where they serve, ever-expanding. Whether it is in the military or beside a hospital bed, at a crime scene or in hospice, chaplains go where others often cannot. Shining the light of Christ brightly as they live out their lives in service to others, NOBTS faculty, students and alumni serving as chaplains see God at work in unlikely places. They are a different kind of first responder.


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SHINING LIGHT INTO THE DARK MOMENT OF SUICIDE story by Marilyn Stewart photo of Dr. Tobey Pitman outside of the St. Tammany’s Coroner’s Office by Boyd Guy


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lashing red and blue lights flood the front porch in a pallet of strange hues, a look no home should have. Inside, the room is buzzing in activity, yet has the all-too-familiar feel of death. A young wife is angry that her husband left her to face life alone, angry that he chose this path. Dr. Tobey Pitman, (M.Div. ’80, D. Min. ’04) a chaplain with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s office, is on the scene as a new type of first responder, perhaps even one-of-a-kind. When his phone rings, it means another life has been lost to suicide. While chaplains to police, fire, and emergency response teams care for first responders, the twodozen member St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Chaplain Corps ministers to suicide victims’ families. Pitman has found no one, not even in emotionally charged situations, has ever refused his offer of prayer. “Prayer is one of those great elements we have in our toolkit,” Pitman recounted. “Probably the most powerful one we have.” A pastor, retired national missionary with the North American Mission Board and a chaplain

with decades of experience, Pitman knows it is impossible to predict what a “call out” will look like. Family members may be beside themselves with grief, or calm and subdued. “There’s no situation that determines what the next one’s going to be like,” Pitman said. “It can be anything and everything.” Fellow chaplain Dr. Larry McEwen (M. Div. ’86, D. Min. ’03), pastor of Slidell’s Northshore Church, described the two-year-old chaplain corps’ service as “mental health first aid.” McEwen has more than 30 years of pastoral experience. When asked to join, McEwen was serving as chaplain to the Slidell Fire Department and wondered where he would find the time. “But it just did not make sense not to make myself available to people who maybe, potentially, had no connection to the church,” McEwen explained. “The fact that I could be there and minister to them in probably one of the most traumatic times of their life … and be a light of Christ in a dark time, what could be more important for me to do?”





Professionally trained through the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) program, the coroner’s chaplains ask first if the family has a pastor. When the answer is no — a frequent occurrence — they are prepared to say, “Think of me as your pastor.” While connecting families to local pastors and grief resources is the goal, the coroner’s chaplains are free to follow-up as needed. Once, a chaplain performed the victim’s funeral. “It was God’s hand that caused the corps to form,” recounted Charles Preston, M.D., St. Tammany Parish Coroner. “I truly cannot find the words to express my appreciation for the work this team does.” Soon after stepping into the coroner’s office and finding his staff in situations they were not trained for, Preston called on the ministerial alliance. Preston, a Catholic, knew pastors were equipped in grief counseling. In announcing the coroner’s new initiative, a local newspaper recounted an event that highlighted the need — an investigator delivering a death notice of a single father found only children at home. The official stayed with the children until the grandparents arrived. “He did the best he could,” Preston told the newspaper. “But that’s not what he’s trained to do.” Mobilizing a team of chaplains in the world of forensic medicine is unusual, Preston explained, and said he didn’t know of another team like his. The result has been impactful, Preston noted. “I’ve been so impressed with the work they do,” Preston said. “The situation can be volatile, but the chaplain comes in, calms the family members down, calms the whole scene.”

The death wasn’t suicide, but the wife was distraught. The coroner’s investigators knew what to do. The phone call they made brought Pitman, the coroner’s chaplain on call that evening, to the scene. “As I walked away, I was reminded that communities are filled with families who have no real spiritual connection, no real place to apply their faith or worship, no real place of strength in moments of turmoil,” Pitman said. The thank you notes Pitman received later from the family and the pastor he connected them to told Pitman that the ministry is making a difference. As pastor of First Baptist Church, Pearl River and chaplain also to the Pearl River Police Department, the St. Tammany local emergency operations center and the emergency planning committee, Pitman knows his community well. He knows also the coroner’s chaplain corps is unlike any other. “Every jurisdiction we’ve walked into,” Pitman explained, “they say, ‘Wow, what the coroner’s office is doing here is unique and very helpful.’”

Suicide brings hard questions and different faith traditions view it differently. One family asked Pitman, “Do you think our daughter could go to heaven?” “According to the God I know and worship, and that I find in scripture,” Pitman told them, “He’s a loving God who cares about your daughter and cares about the needs of your family. I certainly would not say that the God of the Bible would not accept someone in heaven because they’ve committed suicide.” Listening is key, Pitman pointed out, as family members pour out their hearts sharing stories of their loved one. Still, the question that haunts many is, Why? “Those are real questions. They’re genuine questions they long to know the answer to, but questions no one can answer,” Pitman assures them, pointing always to the certainties that can be known: God is with them; God loves them; and God loves their loved one. Larry McEwen agrees and knows from his years of pastoral and chaplaincy experience that answers often are not available. Even so, he comforts grieving loved ones by reminding them that asking questions does not make God angry. “We’re going to ask questions in times like these. We’re going to wonder why,” McEwen tells hurting family members. “But one thing we don’t have to question is God’s love for us because He proved that on the old rugged cross … Even though we don’t have all the answers, we do know He loves us.”


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CHAPLAINS story by Marilyn Stewart

ith his right hand raised, Dr. Adam Harwood, NOBTS associate professor of theology, pledged to defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic in service as a military chaplain. In taking the oath, Harwood stepped into history behind a long family line of military chaplains and military personnel dating as far back as the Mayflower. For Harwood, the move synced experience with ministry. “My hope is that the pastoral skills that developed while serving in church staff positions will combine with the teaching and mentoring skills that have matured while serving as a professor in order to be an effective witness for Christ in the military,” Harwood explained. “I anticipate this part-time ministry in the Guard will enhance and enrich my teaching ministry at NOBTS.” Sworn in as captain in a ceremony held on-campus Feb. 24, Harwood will serve with the 205th Engineer Battalion of the Louisiana Army National Guard, headquartered in Bogalusa, La. Harwood follows his father who served 30 years as a Navy chaplain. As a reserve chaplain, Harwood will serve one weekend a month preaching, leading worship services, counseling, offering prayers at ceremonies, and on occasion may perform weddings or funerals. In answering God’s call to chaplaincy, Harwood traces the path of another lineage, that of other NOBTS faculty, alumni and students serving as military chaplains who are taking the Gospel where opportunity calls.

left page: Dr. Adam Harwood is sworn in as chaplain with the Louisiana Army National Guard in a ceremony in the Dement Room, Frost Building, top: Col. Jeffrey Mitchell, State Chaplain, Louisiana Army National Guard, gave the charge to Harwood, middle: NOBTS professor and fellow chaplain, Dr. Page Brooks speaks during the ceremony, bottom: Harwood with wife Laura, and children (left to right) Nathan, Jonathan, Rachel and Anna. photos by Boyd Guy

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MILITARY PROTOCOL, GREAT COMMISSION ORDERS When Matthew Bryant stepped out of the pulpit and into the classroom, he looked like every other Ph.D. student working hard to earn the degree. But once a month, Bryant’s appearance changes again when he puts on an Air Force uniform with a cross on his chest. Bryant, a pastor before moving to New Orleans to enter the doctoral program in theology, knows his military service brings him into contact with people who would never step into a church. “I’ve got people who have no idea what the word ‘denomination’ means coming to me for counseling,” Bryant said. “I get to share the Gospel with them.” While service in the military means following protocol and adhering to regulations, chaplains move freely within parameters that allow them to stay true to convictions and beliefs, Bryant pointed out. In fact, Bryant added, it is required. “There is a ‘lane’ I fall within and I’m expected to operate within that ‘lane,’” Bryant explained. Military chaplains must be endorsed by an agency such as the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board or, like Bryant, the Liberty Baptist Fellowship, an arm of the Liberty Church Planting Network. Stepping outside the endorsing agency’s standard of beliefs and conduct could mean facing a military discharge. Yet, chaplains know there is a greater imperative for staying true to military code and Christ-honoring conduct, Bryant pointed out. They are “a visible reminder of the holy,” he explained, adding that how the chaplain acts, speaks and lives shapes how others view God. While chaplains may not “proselytize,” they are free to share the Gospel in sermons and with those who come to them for guidance, Bryant explained. Seeing an airman walk out of his office with a Bible and watching him grow in Christ — this is what keeps Bryant committed to the task. For Bryant, military chaplaincy is how he carries out the Great Commission. It’s an opportunity to point others to Christ. “I’m fortunate enough to have been given that position by the government,” Bryant said. “It’s a neat opportunity.”


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MEETING PEOPLE WHERE THEY ARE Dr. Page Brooks (M.Div. ’03, Ph.D. ’08), Brigade Chaplain, 256th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, felt drawn to the military from a young age but a call to ministry brought him to New Orleans for seminary. On Sept. 11, 2001, those callings converged. As Brooks joined the nation in watching the tragedy unfold, he began to think, “I should be there helping to minister to soldiers.” The path Brooks followed, in time, landed him on the NOBTS faculty as assistant professor of theology, ministrybased faculty, a position that allows him to serve also as senior pastor of New Orleans’ Canal Street Church in Mid-City. When on military duty, he is Major Brooks, leading the corps of chaplains in his charge. From his vantage point as professor, pastor, and chaplain, Brooks sees God’s hand at work. “Chaplains have the opportunity to be with people right in their work area,” Brooks explained. “We can go where others normally cannot. We are there when the opportunity presents itself.” Military chaplains are present, available, and certain that God will open doors, Brooks said. The ‘ministry of presence’ chaplains represent is an opportunity to bring the Gospel to those in need. It is an approach Brooks believes can be effective anywhere. “Civilian pastors can do the same thing,” Brooks explained, “if they view themselves as a ‘chaplain’ to their community and find ways to meet people where they are.”

right page: Capt. Matthew Bryant is an Air Force Reserve Chaplain serving with the 403d Reserve Wing, Keesler Air Force Base, and a Ph.D. student in theology. photo by Boyd Guy


story by Marilyn Stewart photo of Dr. Jeff Nave by Boyd Guy

WHERE FEW ARE TRUSTED: STEPPING INTO THE PRIVATE WORLD OF LAW ENFORCEMENT rading in seat time in front of a computer for tactical defense and firearm training, Dr. Jeff Nave (M.Div. ’96, Ph.D. ’02), NOBTS professor of psychology, turned his sabbatic leave two years ago into a stint at the police academy. As a fully certified police officer, Nave enters a world civilians typically never see. As a police chaplain, he finds an open door to ministry. Unlike most police chaplains, Nave is armed. And unlike most chaplains, he volunteers to pull an all-night weekend shift twice a month serving alongside officers during the toughest hours of the week. There, ministry opportunity comes along as the door creaks opens into the private community of law enforcement. “No matter how guarded you are, if you spend twelve hours in a car with somebody you have no choice but begin to reveal yourself,” Nave said. “That’s where


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the real meaningful ministry takes place.” “Functional introverts” is how Nave describes the men and women who trust their fellow officers with their lives, but are unsure of anyone without a badge. Law enforcement officers see the worst of society, Nave explained, and for them, few can be trusted. One officer Nave befriended stands near the door at church during the sermon, too uncomfortable to sit on a pew beside people he doesn’t know well. A division commander once summed it up succinctly, Nave explained. “A police officer’s mind is locked up like Fort Knox,” Nave repeated, “but once you get inside you realize it’s a haunted house.” As NOBTS director of testing and counseling who has several specializations to his name, Nave’s teaching schedule is full. But whether it’s in the classroom, at church providing pastoral care, or in a squad car on a long night’s shift, Nave has a listening ear.

LEAVING ROOM FOR TRUTH The tragic shooting of a New Orleans police officer earlier this year drew national attention and plummeted the city into shock. Testimonies of a young life dedicated to the Lord marked the officer’s memorial service, capped off by the parents’ moving tribute to their son’s love for his Savior. “They were honored to be able to lay their son at the feet of Jesus,” Nave said, relating the parents’ message. But at a different funeral, a service for an officer whose life reflected a different commitment, remarks from fellow officers betrayed a poor understanding of grace. In situations like that, Nave responds in a way that keeps communication for the Gospel open. “Sometimes, it’s about leaving room for the truth,” Nave explained. To mourners whose friend died without Christ, Nave’s response was, “I’m certain he’s in the hands of the God who loved him more than anyone on this earth and loves him still.”

CHAPLAINS story by Marilyn Stewart photos of Dr. June Wilder at a New Orleans Police station by Joe Fontenot


ith 25 years of law enforcement experience under her belt, there’s not much Dr. June Wilder (M.Div. ’07, D.Min. ’16) hasn’t done. The job titles on Wilder’s resume track from criminal interrogator to crime scene investigator to parole officer. Even dispatcher is on the list. “Heard it, seen it, been in it,” Wilder likes to say about a career she knows well. “Just about any situation.” Adding to her resume last year the title of vice president of chaplaincy services, Baptist Community Ministries, Wilder oversees a team of 12 chaplains, with four chaplains serving the New Orleans Police Department and eight in the New Orleans area healthcare system. The journey toward chaplaincy certification is multi-stepped and requires precision, so much so that Wilder devoted her doctor of ministry project to it. While stepping into the role of police chaplain in a setting so familiar to Wilder might seem easy to do, earning officers’ confidence took time. “They are their own community. It’s quite enclosed,” Wilder said. “Even with my background, it still took a good six to nine to twelve months to gain their trust.” No two days are alike for police officers and the same is true for police chaplains, Wilder explained. While law

enforcement officers approach even difficult situations with expertise, the presence of a chaplain can lend perspective on life in the midst of death, Wilder added. A newspaper photographer once captured the stabilizing presence a chaplain can provide in snapping a picture of Wilder keeping vigil beside a child’s body as investigators worked the accident scene around her. Officers often tell her that when the chaplain shows up, they “breathe easier.” “We are the reminder that God is present,” Wilder explained. “They’ll tell me, ‘Okay, the chaplain’s here. Now I can focus.’” As a former law enforcement officer, Wilder is permitted to carry a gun, but as a chaplain she is unarmed. Still the badge around her neck is prominent always. She has found being a woman has not been a hindrance. “I tell them, I’m not your partner, I’m not your girlfriend, your wife or your mother,” Wilder said. “I’m none of those people. I’m just this whole other person that cares very much about you and will not judge you.” Patience, a dependence on God’s grace, and a calling are the prerequisites, Wilder said. “I believe that every day I’m fulfilling God’s will for my life because I’m doing what He wants me to do. I’m being where He wants me to be,” Wilder said. “I’m confident the Holy Spirit is going to do His work. I let Him do what He’s there to do, through me.”

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story by Travis Milner photos of Duane Gidney (left) and Earl Hodges (right) by Travis Milner

COMFORT IN LIFE’S FINAL MOMENTS: HOSPICE CHAPLAINS PROVIDE CARE TO THE TERMINALLY ILL he faintly lit room falls quiet. No one dares to speak as they weep quietly. The air is heavy; the walls close in around. All eyes are on one person. His body remains, motionless, but his spirit has left him. A gentle knock on the door, and a solemn man walks in. With him, a sense of comfort and peace relieves the tension. Opening his Bible, he calmly, yet confidently states, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Duane Gidney (M.Div. ’13) has served as a chaplain at Canon Hospice for four years, providing pastoral care for those in the critical final moments of life. As he works alongside the nurses, social workers, and counselors, he helps provide holistic care for the mind, body, and spirit. “Since I am a Christian, I believe the redeeming of the spirit is important,” Gidney explained. “I want to make sure I bring people the dignity they deserve, the dignity God has given each one of us.”


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Though challenging, chaplaincy has given Gidney numerous opportunities to share his faith and witness life change in others. At times, he has performed baptisms for patients who desired to be baptized before they died. Others have come to faith in Christ through his witness. In many cases, this leads to mutual encouragement between patient and chaplain. “When my daughter was born, patients and family members cared more about my daughter than about what was going on in their own lives. Many patients encouraged me in my fatherhood,” Gidney said. Since death can come at any moment, even for him, Gidney urges everyone on hospice care to live to the fullest measure. “I encourage people that they are still alive, right now,” Gidney tells patients. “Do what you need to do now.”



arl Hodges (M.Div. ’73) has ministered at Canon Hospice for 12 years and serves currently as Director of Pastoral Care. “My duty as a chaplain is to ensure the patients and families are provided the spiritual care they need,” Hodges said. “Many patients and families do not have a pastor, so I become their pastor.” During his time at hospice, Hodges has conducted approximately 100 funerals. “I never planned on doing this,” Hodges explained. “If you had given me a list of 50 ministry positions, hospice chaplain would have been the last. But it’s the most rewarding ministry I have ever done.” Hodges’ goal is to see patients and families come to peace with God. Although difficult, he guides those entrusted to him to a place of spiritual and emotional healing. However, being a chaplain has presented several unique challenges.

“I knew I would administer several funerals, but I never imagined I would conduct weddings as well,” Hodges said. Once, he officiated a wedding for a patient. Five days later, he conducted her funeral. The imminence of death is a sobering thought for everyone, but especially for hospice chaplains. Every day, they minister to those at the precipice of death. Even if hospice patients are not responsive to others in the room, the chaplains continue to pray with the patients and speak to them. Hodges has seen many non-responsive patients pray scripture with him. For him, it is a sign that ministry does not cease until the final breath. “The most difficult aspect of my role is also the most rewarding,” Hodges said. “I may be the last person a patient hears or prays with. We stand [with them] on the edge of eternity.”

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ADVANCEMENT NEWS by Dr. Jonathan Key photo by Boyd Guy

WE CAN MAKE AN IMPACT TOGETHER his past February, the church I serve here in the New Orleans area hosted the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine,” a prom night experience for those with special needs. Ours was one of 375 churches across the globe to come together and honor these 75,000 guests and their caregivers. Though an incredible experience in and of itself, the actual evening was not what impacted me the most. Rather, I found myself blown away, yet again, at all that is accomplished when the entire church family comes together for a common goal — each member doing what he or she can, using the gifts, skills, and resources God has provided. By comparison, the church I serve is not large, but what we were able to accomplish that night, simply by coming together, was nothing short of amazing. Over the course of the last several years, NOBTS has seen God provide in ways that are exceedingly and abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined. Major gifts from wonderful friends of the seminary have enabled building projects to move forward, provided emergency funds for those impacted by flooding and other devastation, and, at times, afforded scholarships allowing students to stay in school when life circumstances took different turns. For many of us, though, we hear about these gifts — $10,000, $100,000, and even $1,000,000 — and while we celebrate, we think to ourselves, “Not me. I’ll never be able to do that.” And then, we don’t. We don’t give at all because we don’t think what we might be able to give could actually make a difference. My friends, that line of thinking could not be more mistaken.


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Each of us has a story of God’s provision for our lives and our seminary experience that came by the way of the gift of a generous donor. Generosity isn’t a matter of the bank account, it’s a matter of the heart.

THINK ABOUT IT … How were you impacted by someone else’s gift to the seminary? Did someone’s gift to the seminary help you pay for tuition one semester? Did someone’s gift to the seminary help you pay rent once or twice? Christmas gifts? Groceries?

Every dollar given is a dollar that students don’t have to pay. And now we’re expanding that. With the brand new Timothy Plan, the first of our new giving “identities” to be rolled out this year, you will have the opportunity to take that first small step to make a Kingdom impact. Together, we can do it. One by one, dollar upon dollar, blessing after blessing.



HOW EVERY GIFT MAKES A DIFFERENCE Simply put, the Timothy Plan lets everyone get involved. Never thought of yourself as a donor? Think of this as an experiment — something you can try out for a year or two. For example, what if you were to take your graduation year and give just that amount per month for the next 12 months? TAKE THE CLASS OF 1980 FOR EXAMPLE – A single monthly gift of $19.80 would add up to being a total gift of $237.60. That’s a full credit hour for a student. Give that same amount over the course of the next three years and the total is $712.80. If 10 people from the Class of 1980 were to give that much, the total over three years would be $7,128.00. OR LOOK AT IT FROM ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE – If one person from each year, 1980–1989, gave his/her year for 12 months, that would total $2,381.40. If 10 people from each class, 1980–1989, gave their year, we’re looking at $23,814.00. NOW, LET’S TAKE IT TWO STEPS FURTHER – If just one person from every graduating class between 1968 and May 2017 (50 years), gave his/her year for one year, that total comes to $11,905. And if 10 people from each class — 500 people — gave just their year … that’s $119,550. It only takes a few people to invest over a hundred thousand dollars into Kingdom work! And that’s only the beginning. Maybe life circumstances or God’s calling led you another direction before you could graduate. Maybe you’ve never attended NOBTS, but God has placed on your heart a passion for those He continues to call to vocational ministry. Whatever the case may be, the heartbeat of the Timothy Plan remains the same: EVERY gift makes a difference, especially when they come together. Your starting point could be $20.17 a month (2017), or it could be $100 per month in honor of the seminary’s upcoming Centennial Celebration. Whatever God lays on your heart, He will bless beyond comprehension. With the Timothy Plan, it’s not as much about the size of the gift, but rather about the entire NOBTS family coming together and collectively glorifying God. Give it some thought. Go to www.nobts.edu. Click “GIVE” and try it for a year. Then sit back and watch God work through you and your gift as you become the very blessing to someone that someone else was to you!

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SEMINARY NEWS MICHAEL POGUE RECEIVES THE PATHFINDER AWARD New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary student Michael Pogue received the 2017 Caskey Pathfinder Award during the No Restraints Conference April 22. Pogue, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church near Meridian, Miss., was honored for his commitment to personal evangelism. Under Pogue’s leadership, the church has established a 7:1 yearly member to baptism ratio. For every seven members, the church has one baptism. The average member to baptism ratio is 50:1 for Southern Baptist Convention churches, meaning the average church has one baptism for every 50 members.

LILLY ENDOWMENT GRANT HELPS NOBTS STUDENTS MANAGE FINANCES New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary has received a $125,000 grant as part of the ongoing Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers. NOBTS was one of 67 theological schools across the nation in 2013 to receive the initial grant providing three years of funding for the seminary’s financial education program, known as Program for Research and Education Preparation (PREP). The current grant provides continued, partial support for the program. Michael Wong, PREP director, said the initiative has helped students pay down debt and make healthy financial choices while in seminary. The new grant will further integrate PREP into the life of the seminary and help make financial education available to more students. Initiated by the Lilly Endowment to improve the economic well-being of future church leaders, the grant supports PREP in helping students develop financial skills pertinent to current as well as future Michael Wong needs. Components of the program target students Photo by Travis Milner at various stages of education and into postseminary ministry positions. “The decline in Cooperative Program support from Southern Baptist churches is shifting more of the cost for theological education to students. This is making the problem of debt more likely among SBC seminary students,” NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said when PREP was created. “We are deeply grateful to the Lilly Foundation for their help in working with our students on a crucial issue that could limit the ways they serve our churches and hinder their access to foreign mission fields waiting for a gospel witness.” Lilly Endowment is a private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 to support the causes of religion, education and community development.


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ENGAGING ISLAM ONE FOCUS OF DEFEND 2017 In Abdu Murray’s nine-year journey from Islam to faith in Christ, he rarely encountered Christians who could defend their faith. Murray, the North American director of the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, spoke at Defend 2017, Jan. 2-8, that brought together noted apologists to help Christians engage Islam, other religions, and worldviews prevalent in today’s culture. Plenary speakers included Sean McDowell, author of 18 books on apologetics including several co-written with his father Josh McDowell; Braxton Hunter, former president of the Conference of Southern Baptist Evangelists; Craig Hazen, author and renowned apologist, Biola University; Robert Bowman, Jr., Institute for Religious Research; Greg Koukl, Stand to Reason Ministries, and others. More than 75 breakout sessions on topics of theology, philosophy, culture, and ethics were led by leading apologetic speakers and Southern Baptist seminary and Baptist college professors. Topics included the reliability of scripture, evidence for the resurrection, science and creation, responding to counterChristian groups, and others. Defend 2018, Jan. 8-12, will include a track for urban apologetics addressing specific challenges relevant to the urban context. Dr. Robert Stewart, Greer-Heard Chair of Faith and Culture, is the director. Visit www.nobtsapologetics.com/defend to view video recordings of plenary sessions and information about next year’s conference, Jan. 8-12, 2018.

SEMINARY NEWS STANFIELD LECTURES HIGHLIGHTS PREACHING THROUGH ACTS Stephen Rummage led the Stanfield Lectures April 10-11. The lectures are named for former preaching professor V.L. Stanfield. This year the lectures focused on developing a plan for preaching through the Book of Acts.


STEVE GAINES, SBC PRESIDENT, CHAPEL GUEST SPEAKER Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. and president of the Southern Baptist Convention spoke in chapel at NOBTS on April 4. In the afternoon, he led the free “Share Jesus Like It Matters” event and gave away copies of his book by the same name.

ED STETZER, PHIL WALDREP HEADLINE NO RESTRAINTS CONFERENCE Ed Stetzer and Phil Waldrep headlined the No Restraints conference hosted by the Caskey Center at NOBTS. The conference, April 21-22, provided resources for bivocational and smaller membership church ministers.


The Meaning of the

Atonement November 10-11, 2017

Evangelical scholar Ben Witherington III and Jewish scholar Amy-Jill Levine dialogued on “Christians, Jews and Jesus,” at the NOBTS Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum, March 25. The speakers found many points of agreement regarding the “historical Jesus,” but diverged on whether Jesus is the Messiah. For recorded material, visit www.greerheard.com.

N.T. Wright, preeminent New Testament scholar and author of The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion joins Cambridge University New Testament professor Simon Gathercole in dialogue on “The Meaning of the Atonement,” Nov. 10-11, at NOBTS, for the 14th annual Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum. Second-day event presenters include distinguished scholars Michael Horton, Kevin Vanhoozer, Douglas Moo, and Edith Humphrey. The Greer-Heard Forum, made possible through the generosity of Bill and Carolyn (Greer) Heard, provides a venue in which respected scholars of differing opinions dialogue on issues of religion, science, philosophy and/or culture. For registration and information, visit www.greerheard.com.

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NOBTS RECEIVES ACCREDITATION REAFFIRMATION FROM ATS, SACSCOC The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) Commission on Accrediting and the Southern Association of Colleges and School Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) have reaffirmed accreditation of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for the next 10 years. SACSCOC, the regional body for accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in Louisiana and 10 other states — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — reaffirmed the seminary’s accreditation last December. ATS, the major accrediting body for seminaries and divinity schools, voted to reaccredit NOBTS in February. Accreditation reaffirmation is much more than a once-per-decade formality — it is a comprehensive examination of the institution, the academic equivalent to a forensic audit. The demanding process reaches to every corner of the seminary and takes about two years of disciplined work to complete. The task is exacerbated by the different reporting and assessment requirements of the two main accrediting bodies. The reaffirmation process begins with a compliance audit completed by the institution. The school reviews data from the past 10 years, assessing the quality of academic programs and seeking ways to improve. Documentation and assessment are essential aspects of the compliance. This work is completed by an accreditation leadership team composed of faculty members, administrators and staff members in the case of SACSCOC reaffirmation. ATS reaffirmation is a faculty-led task.


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After the intensive compliance study is complete, a compliance report is developed by the institution and submitted to the accrediting bodies. The document addresses how the school is conforming to the accreditation standards agreed upon by member schools and how the school is documenting this compliance. The last step of the process includes a visiting team of academic peers, as well as staff members from the accrediting body, which completes a report based on interviews conducted during the on-site visit and the institution’s own report. The on-site team, in its report, recommends action to be taken at the next annual meeting. The team has the option to recommend reaffirmation, recommend that a school be placed on probation, or recommend benchmarks for improvement before reaffirmation. As a part of the reaffirmation, SACSCOC requires schools to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) designed to provide measurable improvement in an academic area. NOBTS developed a QEP designed to improve academic writing. The plan calls for a host of writing helps, resources and services for students. Known on campus as “The Write Stuff,” the most visible aspects of the QEP initiative is the new NOBTS writing center which opened on Feb. 16 of last year. While the QEP is focused on graduate students, the writing center and online resources will be available for all students. In addition to accreditation by SACSCOC and ATS, NOBTS maintains accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).

SEMINARY NEWS TRUSTEES APPROVE C.E. DIVISION NAME CHANGE, UNDERGRADUATE STUDY IN HUNTSVILLE The New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees approved a name change for the Division of Christian Education and added undergraduate study at the Huntsville, Ala., extension center during their fall meeting April 12. The board also approved a $24.3 million budget and made several significant curriculum adjustments including name changes for the seminary’s counseling degrees and the reinstatement of the church history major in the doctor of philosophy program. The new name approved for the C.E. Division, Division of Discipleship and Ministry Leadership, is designed to better reflect new nomenclature of local church ministry positions. However, the name of the division’s most popular degree, the master of arts in Christian education, will not be affected by the division name change. The board approved the addition of an undergraduate program at the existing extension center in Huntsville, Ala., utilizing students transferring from the on-site but now closed Legacy Christian University. The board elected Frank Cox, pastor of North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, Ga., to serve as board chairman. R. Bryant Barnes Jr., pastor of

First Baptist Church in Columbia, Miss., was elected as vice chair and Jack Bell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hornbeck, La., was elected secretary/treasurer. The board approved the following curriculum plans for counseling degrees to comply with Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) accreditation requirements: Master of Arts in Counseling with Specializations in (1) Clinical Mental Health Counseling and (2) Marriage and Family Counseling Master of Divinity with Specialization in Marriage and Family Counseling Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision In other academic moves, trustees approved: Reinstatement of the Doctor of Philosophy major in Church History Relocation of the Jacksonville, Fla., Extension Center to the new Florida Baptist Convention Center

FACULTY, STUDENTS PRESENT PAPERS AT HBU THEOLOGY CONFERENCE Four NOBTS professors and students presented papers March 2-4 at the Houston Baptist University Theology Conference, with the theme “How the Bible Came into Being.” The conference was hosted by Houston Baptist University and Lanier Theological Library. Dr. Rex Butler, professor of church history and Patristics, presented “Sacred Writings in Perpetua’s Diary” and Dr. Adam Harwood, associate professor of theology, presented “Weighing the Books: A Model for Evaluating Competing Canonical Traditions.” Recent graduate Dr. Jonathan Patterson and Ph.D. student Tommy Doughty also presented papers. The conference considered the formation of the biblical canon, the literature and its theological significance.

AMAZON RIVER BASIN TRIP LAUNCHES NEW PARTNERSHIP Dr. Ken Taylor, professor of missions, and M.Div. student Irwin Wasswa traveled to the equator in October 2016 in the launch of a new partnership with Amazon Hope, a ministry to people in the Amazon River Basin. The team traveled by boat down the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon River, stopping at villages along the river banks to share the Gospel. Taylor described the confluence of the black water of the Rio Negro with the lighter-colored Amazon as a visual image of a place in need of the Gospel, a place where “light versus dark” meet as the story of Jesus is shared. The four-day trip saw about 150 come to faith in Christ. Mission teams are slated to return to the area in May and October 2017.

Irvin Wasswa shared the gospel with these seven young men through a translator. All seven came to faith in Christ.

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Living Out Galatians 2:10 he cinder block buildings that frame the narrow street became sanctuary walls the moment the music began. Singers with swinging tambourines, loud speakers, and people filled the alley-way and made it impassable, yet no one seemed to mind. Each of the more than 100 people that packed the street had been invited by one man — a new believer in the village — to hear the message four NOBTS students had traveled far to bring them. “I had heard the story of Jesus many times, but I still didn’t believe,” NOBTS team leader and D.Min. student Boyd Guy (M.Div. ’13) said as he began his testimony. “Not until God began to answer my prayers.” Guy’s journey to faith in Christ and to belief grounded in evidence strikes a chord in a region where Jesus is often seen as one more god among a million “deities.” Embracing Christ as the One true God may come with a cost. Persecution may follow. For NOBTS master’s students Irvin Wasswa, Michael Pogue, and Drake Nosco the ten-day spring break trip led by Guy meant four days of fruitful ministry wedged in the middle of six days of travel. Though brief, the days overflowed with activity as the team led a two-day pastors conference, preached in three villages, shared God’s love in an HIV children’s home, and presented the Gospel to more than 425 people. “Though I love the people of the region, God reminded me that His love for them is so much more than mine,” Guy said. “My love, though my heart breaks for them, stands in stark contrast to how much the Father truly loves them.”

A HUNGER TO LEARN Some traveled from as far as eight or nine hours away. Many cannot read. For the pastors gathered at the NOBTS


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story by Marilyn Stewart left page: Boyd Guy shares his testimony in a village gathering, right top: Michael Pogue shares John 3:16 at the HIV home for children, middle: Irvin Wassawa preaches to pastors at the training conference, photos by Boyd Guy and Michael Pogue

team-led pastors conference, much of their training comes through hearing, memorizing, and repeating. Serving tiny congregations separated by distance, some pastors travel by bicycle to as many as a dozen churches to preach a sermon they heard someone else preach first. “It was refreshing,” Nosco explained. “And convicting. It was a good reminder for myself to see how eager the pastors were to learn.” On his previous trips to the area, Guy led team members to preach by exegeting a scriptural passage. This time, Guy adapted his recent seminar papers and taught on the formation of the Old and New Testaments, how the Bible came to be, and the reliability of the biblical texts.

Alone and viewed as outcasts, children with HIV are forced to live isolated from others. Many have been orphaned by the disease. Others, by suicide as parents buckled to the shame they had brought on their families. With the children gathered on the lawn outside the HIV home, Pogue shared his “favorite verse” — John 3:16. As team members took turns speaking to the youth, they told the children they were made in God’s image and loved by Him. “I’ve been blessed to travel all over the world and do mission work on five continents,” Guy recounted. “But there is something different for me about Asia. It’s not the culture, climate, or lack of Christian presence that shocks my senses, but rather the humbling circumstances the majority of the world’s population lives in every day.” Galatians 2:10, and the instruction to make every effort to care for the poor, reminds Guy of every believer’s responsibility. Those he has met in Asia — the starving 17-year-old girl in her third trimester of pregnancy or the gang of 10-year-old boys fighting to ward off predators — bring the scriptural directive to life. When Guy thinks of the Asian people, he realizes how much he cares for them and thinks, “These are my people.” Then Hosea 2:23 comes to mind and he understands that God’s love for them far exceeds his own and he knows, “They are His people.”

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n any given Friday night, Roberto Taylor might be found playing soccer at a park in New Orleans. But for this NOBTS student from Jamaica, the game was once more than a weekend pastime. Taylor arrived at NOBTS in August of last year to pursue a master of arts in biblical studies. Taylor grew up in Port Antonio, a small town in Jamaica, and earned both a bachelor of arts and masters of arts in religion at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Jamaica. Taylor was introduced to NOBTS when Dr. William Warren, professor of New Testament and Greek, visited Taylor’s university in Jamaica. Taylor visited NOBTS for the first time in 2011 for a Greer-Heard conference. “I kind of fell in love with the place,” he said, “and I made a promise to myself, that if I ever got the opportunity, I would come back.” Taylor described the process of applying to seminary and for a student visa as “tedious.” When all of the paperwork finally came through only weeks before classes began in August of 2016, Taylor faced another all too common challenge for students today — raising funds. “I had to come up with 80,000 Jamaican dollars in two weeks ... that’s a lot of money,” Taylor said. He needed to pay for tuition, transportation, and his student visa. “I didn’t grow up rich, I wasn’t financially stable, and just going to university was probably something in our family that was a big deal,” Taylor said. “I’m a survivor ... but at this point, I didn’t know where the money was going to come from.” Though it seemed impossible, God provided everything Taylor needed at the right time. Within two weeks, Taylor was able to get the funds he needed through the generosity of family members and other individuals, and the


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Wednesday before classes began he was on a plane, headed for the United States. Taylor trusted in God’s provision and guidance, and was free from worry. “During the process I thought: If it’s God’s will it will come through. If it’s not then it won’t.” But having the opportunity to study in New Orleans is not the only time that God has worked in Taylor’s life. “I grew up in the church, and I got baptized at a young age, I was leading out in service, but to a point, my first love was always soccer,” explained Taylor. Although as a teenager he knew God, Taylor’s life revolved around soccer. Taylor played for the Jamaican national team, and was looking toward a career in soccer. He had his sights set on signing a contract to play internationally. “Soccer became the thing for me … [I was] baptized in the lifestyle of a baller,” said Taylor. The Lord intervened in Taylor’s plans, and in 2006 he suffered a major knee and ankle injury, putting the brakes on his soccer career. “I realized it was a blessing in disguise because I had kind of lost my way,” Taylor admitted. The injury ended his full-time commitment to the game, and was God’s

story by Crystal Lyons portraits by Travis Milner

way of calling Taylor to religious studies. For the first time, Taylor considered pursuing a college degree, and he began his studies at Northern Caribbean. The disappointing end to his soccer journey turned out to be the beginning of the journey that eventually led Taylor to New Orleans. Now Taylor has a new favorite pastime — working with Biblical manuscripts. He says he has fallen in love with collating and transcribing Greek manuscripts. With the help of Dr. Warren, Northern Caribbean University established a manuscript center while Taylor was attending. Currently, Taylor works in the H. Milton Haggard Center for New Testament Textual Studies (located on campus) as a transcriber. His responsibilities include collating manuscripts, looking for inconsistencies in the text, and comparing and contrasting different manuscripts to see the development of the text. Teaching New Testament at the university or seminary level is Taylor’s vision for the future. “I may be able to provide a different twist, or some diversity … a new perspective,” he explained. When asked where he hopes to teach, Taylor responded, “To me, the world is a field. If Jamaica comes calling I’ll go there, if here comes calling I’ll go here, but wherever in the world that the opportunity arrives, I will go.”


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2 3 1

SILVER AND GOLD ITEMS HIGHLIGHT THE TEL GEZER DIG story by Gary Myers #1: The opening of the water system, #2: The Canaanite gate,#3: A complex of rooms related to the city wall. photo by Sarah Simon


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efore the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God warned His people through Moses to avoid the idols of the Canaanites. Joshua reiterated this strict warning against the Canaanite gods after the people crossed the Jordan. Unfortunately, the Israelites did not heed these warnings. The idols and false gods of the Canaanites proved to be a snare to the people from the time of the Conquest until the Exile. This summer, the Tel Gezer Water System Excavation team from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary encountered the remnants of rampant Canaanite idolatry firsthand. The team uncovered a silver pendant devoted to Canaanite and Mesopotamian deities and part of a mold used to fashion clay goddess plaques. Both items provide strong evidence of Canaanite fertility cult activity at Gezer. The Gezer water system excavation is a joint project of the Moskau Institute for Archaeology at NOBTS and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) along with Liberty University School of Divinity, a dig consortium member. The excavation is directed by Dr. Dennis Cole, Dr. Jim Parker and Dr. Dan Warner of New Orleans Seminary, INPA chief archaeologist Tsvika Tsuk and Eli Yannai.

The primary focus of the excavation is the massive, ancient water system which provided a water source inside the walls of Gezer. For the past seven years, a team of archaeologists and volunteers have been investigating the site in an effort to determine who constructed the ancient water system and when it was constructed. The team also excavated in the Canaanite gate and a complex of rooms associated with the city wall in order to understand how the gate and wall interacted with the water system. The silver pendant was discovered, along with a cache of other items, in the complex of rooms associated with the wall. The cache of items had been wrapped in a linen cloth and placed in a clay “container” made of two bowls. The container was then hidden in the foundation of one of the rooms. Warner believes that the cache represents a “foundation deposit” meant to bless the room. “Finding a foundation deposit like this one in what appears to be a public storeroom is rare,” Warner said. “Surely it had a religious function; an offering to gods to make sure the structure would remain standing.” The pendant includes a disk embossed with an eight-pointed star and prominent crescent shape. Irit Ziffer from the Israel Antiquities Authority


Left: Silver and gold items, including an amulet and scarab, fused together by heat and corrosion. Middle: Amulet representing a Canaanite goddess and Mesopotamian god. Right: Stone scarab with a gold fitting.

(IAA) believes the star disk represents the Canaanite fertility goddess Ishtar and the crescent symbolizes the Mesopotamian moon god Sin. In the cache along with the pendant, the team found a stone scarab set in a gold frame which served as a fitting for a ring or a necklace. A scarab is a beetleshaped Egyptian amulet engraved with a name or symbol and used to make impressions in clay — the ancient equivalent of a rubber stamp. Another scarab was found in the same complex of rooms, though the second one did not include a gold frame. Daphna Ben-Tor, the curator of Egyptian Archaeology at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and expert on scarabs, analyzed both scarabs after the dig. Based on the design and engraving, Ben-Tor attributed the scarabs to the Hyksos period — a time when foreign leaders ruled Egypt. “The Hyksos, who are believed to be Semitic and likely coming from the Levant, possibly the area of modern-day Turkey, would have been kinsman with the Canaanites, if not the Canaanites themselves,” said Jim Parker. “This period is dated by scholars like Ben-Tor to the 15th to 17th Egyptian dynasties, dating 1650-1550 B.C.” “This demonstrates the cross-cultural interaction of the occupants of this part of the world and gives us background to the biblical narrative regarding the travels of Jacob and his sons to and from Egypt and the eyewitness account given in Numbers 13:27-29,” Parker said. One of the most important finds in the cache was the linen cloth. According

to organic material specialists Naama Sukenik and Orit Shamir from IAA, only two other samples of Middle Bronze Age II (MB II, 2000-1550 B.C.) linen have been found in Israel to date. The researchers were able to discern the type of raw material used as well as techniques the weaver used to splice the fibers into longer threads. During previous dig seasons the team discovered multiple broken clay goddess plaques in the water system. This year, the team discovered part of a mold used to make these figures. The clay goddess mold, representing the Canaanite goddess Astarte or the Egyptian goddess Hathor, was discovered deep in the water system. The cache of objects and the mold represent the most important finds to date for the water system excavation team. Team leaders believe the objects will help establish a MB II construction date for the water system.

GEZER WATER SYSTEM: A BRIEF HISTORY In the Middle Bronze Age, Gezer grew from a small village into a heavily fortified city-state. The Canaanites built high stone walls, massive towers and a mudbrick gate system to protect the city. When Irish archaeologist R.A.S. Macalister excavated the water system from 1906 to 1908, he attributed it to Middle Bronze Age Canaanites. However, his primitive archaeology methods along with persistent theories about the systems in Hazor and Megiddo led many to dismiss his claims about the Gezer system.

Shortly after Macalister’s excavation at Gezer, a retaining wall collapsed and refilled the water system with dirt rocks and debris. It remained untouched for 102 years. Since 2010, the NOBTS/ INPA team has removed tons of debris to reach the area where Macalister stopped his excavation. Pottery evidence found there suggests a construction date between 2000 B.C. and 1550 B.C. The Canaanites likely built the water system during the height of Gezer’s prominence as a Canaanite city-state. Recent evidence suggests that the Megiddo system may be a product of the same time period.

A BIBLICAL PARALLEL TO THE GEZER SYSTEM While a MB II date would place construction between 500-800 years before the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the water system can shed light on the Canaanite people and their culture — a culture which plays such a formidable role in the Old Testament. The water system, along with the massive defensive walls and gate, illustrate an advanced society with great technical know-how, significant engineering skills. The Bible provides one tantalizing parallel which provides additional dating clues. In 2 Samuel 5:6-9, David’s men utilized a “water shaft” to invade and conquer the fortress of Zion/Jerusalem. The rock-hewn system has been located in the “City of David” area in Jerusalem. Visitors can walk the entire length of that Canaanite system.

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The Dead Preachers Society story by Joe Fontenot photo by Boyd Guy



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very Tuesday morning before sunrise, a small group quietly gathers in an offshoot room next to the 170-foot tall chapel that serves as a towering landmark for NOBTS in the city of New Orleans. It is not a clandestine meeting, but something profound still happens at each gathering of the Dead Preachers Society (DPS). “We’re studying dead preachers, but we’re trying to become dead preachers — crucified preachers,” said Dr. Adam Hughes, dean of the chapel and assistant professor in expository preaching. “It’s only from there that we learn to be the preachers God has called us to be.” Dr. Jim Shaddix started the Dead Preachers Society at NOBTS in 2002. At the time he was mentoring David Platt (M.Div. ’02, Ph.D. ’04) and Tony Merida (M.Div. ’02, Ph.D. ’06) — both of whom attended the first DPS meetings, and both of whom have gone on to make discipleship a central part of their lives. Beyond the study of preachers from the past, DPS is an investment in the students of today. “The intent of DPS,” said Shaddix, “was to invest in

guys in an iron-sharpening-iron kind of way as part of their discipleship journey.” Discipleship and mentoring have been a thread from the beginning. The name, Dead Preachers Society, is a play on the 1989 movie, the “Dead Poets Society,” where a small group of kids sneak away from school and form a club dedicated to the forgotten poets and heroes of their past. “There is no initiation,” laughs Hughes. “It’s not like the movie.” Each week DPS gathers to look at the lives and ministries of dead preachers and ask the question: What is laudable? The flip-side is true, too. Hughes gives the example of the great preacher, George Whitfield, who intentionally did not marry the woman he loved but instead married one he only mildly liked. His rationale? He did not want to be drawn away from his preaching. “We don’t want to be like that,” said Hughes. Not everything from preachers of the past is a pattern to copy today. And this is the deeper reason the Dead Preachers Society exists. Captured in the words of E.M. Bounds, “crucified preaching can only come from a crucified man.”

The point is that a mature ministry only comes from spiritual formation and the brotherhood of fellow believers, Hughes explained. “The guys that I’m the closest to on this planet, I only see once or twice a year. I met them when I was in seminary, and I know that if anything ever happens — they have my back.” These are the kinds of relationships DPS is designed to foster. “Discipleship happens in the messy parts of life,” said Hughes. To let them watch how you work, then be a part of that work, and then finally, to be sent off to do the work themselves. Hughes’ vision for DPS is to see lifelong relationships form, and then to see the pattern of discipleship carried forward. For Hughes, personally, DPS has meant being a pastor again. “God called me to [teach], but it was harder than I thought to leave the pastorate,” he said. “For me, DPS has been the avenue to pastor again. Getting to disciple, mentor, shepherd — it’s come out of this group.”

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Dr. Adam Hughes

Dr. Jamie Killion

Dr. Adam Hughes was elected by the NOBTS board of trustees as the assistant professor of expository preaching. Hughes also serves as dean of the chapel and director of the Adrian Rogers Center for Expository Preaching at NOBTS. Hughes came to NOBTS last year from First Baptist Church West Albuquerque, N.M., where he served as senior pastor. An Arkansas native, Hughes earned the bachelor of arts degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and both the master of divinity degree and the doctor of philosophy degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Jamie Killion was elected as associate professor of voice and conducting. Earlier this semester, Killion defended his dissertation in the doctor of musical arts program at the University of Oklahoma and will graduate in May. He holds a master of church music degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and spent nearly 20 years in music ministry at churches in California, Oklahoma and Texas. Before coming to NOBTS, Killion taught voice at California Baptist University.



Dr. Rhyne Putman

Dr. Jake Roudkovski

Dr. Randy Stone

Dr. Sandy Vandercook

From Assistant Professor to Associate Professor of Theology and Culture

From Associate Professor to Professor of Evangelism and Pastoral Leadership

From Associate Professor to Professor of Christian Education

From Associate Professor to Professor of English and Education in Leavell College

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FACULTY NEWS Dr. Steve Lemke From Provost to Vice President of Institutional Assessment

TRUSTEES APPROVE NEW ADMINISTRATORS, HONOR LEMKE AS PROVOST EMERITUS New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees approved three new administrators during their fall meeting April 12. The board approved the creation of a new vice president position to oversee institutional assessment and named current provost, Dr. Steve Lemke, to the newly created post. Lemke, who has served 20 years as NOBTS provost, will transition to the vice president of institutional assessment role in August. The board also honored Lemke with the title of provost emeritus. NOBTS President Chuck Kelley said that increased assessment requirements from the seminary’s two main accrediting bodies — the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges — precipitated the development of the new leadership position. Kelley called Lemke a natural choice due to his long tenure as provost and his involvement the past two ten-year reaccreditation cycles. Lemke, he said, will be charged with creating a “culture of assessment” at NOBTS. The trustees approved Dr. Norris Grubbs (M.Div. ’97, Ph.D. ’02), professor of New Testament and Greek and current associate provost for extension centers and enrollment management, as the seminary’s new provost. He will assume the new role in August. Grubbs joined the Leavell College faculty in 2000 as an instructor in New

Testament and Greek while completing his doctor of philosophy degree at NOBTS. He was elected associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Leavell College upon completion of his Ph.D. Grubbs holds the bachelor of arts degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and the master of divinity degree from NOBTS. The trustees also approved Dr. Jonathan Key (M.Div. ’12, D.Min. ’15) as vice president of institutional advancement — the office which oversees fund-raising efforts, alumni relations, communication, and marketing. Key replaces Randy Driggers who left the role due to ongoing health issues. An assistant professor of Christian ministry in Leavell College, Key previously served as the assistant to the president and director of student enlistment at NOBTS. He received the Broadman and Holman Seminarian Award. Kelley also announced that Dr. Jody Dean (B.A. ’03, M.Div. ’06, Ph.D. ’13), assistant professor for Christian education, has been appointed as senior regional associate dean for Louisiana and Mississippi.

Dr. Norris Grubbs

From Associate Provost for Extension Centers and Enrollment Management to Provost

Dr. Jonathan Key

From Assistant to the President and Director of Student Enlistment to Vice President of Institutional Advancement

RILEY TO SERVE ON SBC RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE Dr. Jeffrey Riley, professor of ethics, has been named to the Committee on Resolutions for the June 13-14 SBC annual meeting in Phoenix by Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines.

Dr. Jody Dean

Appointed Senior Regional Associate Dean for Louisiana and Mississippi VISION Spring 2017




Chris Adams BACMIN ‘04 Senior Lead Women’s Ministry Specialist, LifeWay Christian Resources

Christopher Martin MDIV ’03 Executive Director/Treasurer Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention


VISION Spring 2017

GENE FANT TO LEAD NORTH GREENVILLE UNIVERSITY TIGERVILLE, S.C. (BP) – Gene C. Fant Jr. has been named the eighth president of North Greenville University in Tigerville, S.C. Fant, 53, has served as provost and chief academic officer since 2014 at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was introduced as “God’s man” for North Greenville by trustee chairman Bill Tyler at a Feb. 23 news conference at the NGU campus following a unanimous trustee vote. Fant earned a bachelor of science degree from James Madison University, a master of arts in English from Old Dominion University and a master of divinity from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary — the third generation of his family to graduate from the seminary. He earned a doctor of philosophy degree in English literature and a post-doctoral master of education at the University of Southern Mississippi. Additionally, he holds a certificate in educational management from Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Fant said he was attracted to NGU by its history of producing transformational leaders for the church and society. “Throughout my career, everywhere I go, I run into people whose lives have been touched by North Greenville University and its alumni, students, faculty, coaches and staff,” said Fant, who will assume his duties at NGU June 1. “I hope to build on that solid foundation of influence and extend it into new areas. “North Greenville’s Christ-honoring heritage has impacted our region and indeed the world since its beginning, and I look forward to leading the university as we follow God’s calling on our shared lives.” In describing himself as “the son of a Baptist pastor and the grandson of a Baptist pastor,” Fant said it is his “absolute rock-solid belief ” that state Baptist conventions and their affiliated institutions have both a synergistic relationship and a stewardship relationship. “[W]e as an institution have

a responsibility to the people who have sacrificed and ... worked to do things ... as a high and holy calling.” At Palm Beach Atlantic, Fant has led the campus in a renewed commitment to a Christ-first mission, joining Christian dedication to academic excellence. About a dozen new academic programs have been launched in healthcare, business and science, and he was instrumental in forming the Titus Center for Franchising, which benefits from a $1.5 million startup gift. PBA President William M.B. Fleming Jr said, “The Palm Beach Atlantic University community applauds Gene’s selection as president and will continue to pray for him and Lisa as they lead NGU onward and bring an inexpressible joy to their new university family.” Prior to his PBA service, Fant, a native of Laurel, Miss., spent two decades teaching and serving in leadership roles at three Southern Baptist-affiliated schools — Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Mississippi College in Clinton and William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss. He is a writer, speaker and lay preacher. He has written or contributed to nearly a dozen books and many academic and press articles. He serves as a contributing blogger at The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Vitae” and at First Things’ “First Thoughts.” His most recent book is “The Liberal Arts: A Student’s Guide” (Crossway).

ALUMNI NEWS DEATHS BASS, JULIUS H. (MX ’87), of Bay Springs, Miss., passed away May 28, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Earlena Montgomery Bass. CAMEUS, IGLANE F. (ACS ’96), of Ruskin, Fla., passed away June 29, 2013. COLLINS, DON L. (MCM ’63) of Conway, Ark., passed away Oct. 22, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Peggy Smith Collins. DORTCH, TIMOTHY H. (APM ’01), of Richland, Miss., passed away May 24, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Pam Dortch. EGEDY, CHARLES R. (THD ’64) of Huntsville, Ala., passed away Nov. 18, 2016. He was preceded in death by his wife of 35 years, Betty Chance. He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Joyce White Blass Egedy. FARRAR, RUTH F. (AX ’45) of Landrum, S.C., passed away Nov. 26, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband.

HORTON, MARILYN F. (MX ’64) of Pensacola, Fla., passed away July 25, 2015. LAWRENCE, MARY T. (MRE ’53) of Forest, Miss., passed away Nov. 05, 2016. She was preceded in death by her husband. LEE, WILLIAM B. (BDIV ’66) of Gardendale, Ala., passed away July 28, 2016. He was preceded in death by his wife of 66 years, Dorothy Jo Lee. MCBRIDE, BENNIE J. (MRE ’72) of Alexandria, La., passed away Oct. 14, 2013. MORRIS, CYNTHIA D. (MRE ’85) of Ocean Springs, Miss., passed away March 27, 2016. PENTON, ROBERT D. (AX ’67) of Bogalusa, La., passed away Nov. 28, 2016. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dotty.

PUTNAM, JAMES W. (BDIV ’64) of Carthage, Miss., passed away Nov. 23, 2016. He was preceded in death by his wife, Jewell. ROBERTS, WILLIE M. (AX ’48) of Brookhaven, Miss., passed away Oct. 22, 2015. She was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene L. Roberts Sr. SMITH, CLARENCE O. (BDIV ’59) of Tuscaloosa, Ala., passed away Oct. 27, 2016. He is survived by his wife, Janis. STEWART. RON A. (BDIV ’63), of Jackson, Miss., passed away Dec. 25, 2015. He is survived by his wife, Shelby Jean Pigott Stewart. WATTS, LEM D. (MX ’71) of Jackson, Miss., passed away July 27, 2016. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Vicky Watts. WELLBORN, JEFFRY C. (MDIV ’85) of New Orleans, La., passed away Nov. 15, 2016.

FORMER NOBTS PROFESSOR, SIMMONS REMEMBERED Dr. Billy E. Simmons, 85, of Long Beach, Miss., passed away on Jan. 11. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Florene Abernathy Simmons; his son, Billy Craig Simmons; his daughter, Charissa S. Mallonee; grandsons, Collin and Connor Mallonee; and other family members. Simmons received his bachelor of arts degree, with special honors, from Mississippi College in 1956. He subsequently entered NOBTS and

earned a bachelor of divinity degree in 1959 and a doctor of theology degree in 1962. In 1968, Dr. Simmons joined the faculty of East Texas Baptist University in Marshall, Texas. In 1976, he became a professor of New Testament and Greek at NOBTS. He also served as chairman of the Biblical Studies Division at NOBTS. He authored five books: A Functioning Faith, Resplendent Themes, Galatians, The Incomparable Christ, and Be Born in Us Today.

WILLIAMS REMEMBERED AS EVANGELIST, SEMINARY PRESIDENT OF LUTHER RICE Noted evangelist and NOBTS alumnus Gene Williams, 89, passed away December 18, 2016. Williams was the former president of Luther Rice Seminary. Born in 1927, Williams began preaching at the age of 15 when the minister did not show up for a service. He entered vocational evangelism after serving as pastor of churches in Texas, Louisiana, and Alabama. During his ministry, he led more than 2,000 revival

meetings in America and more than 135 overseas crusades. Williams taught evangelism and missions at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in the early 1970s and in 1982 became president of Luther Rice Seminary, serving until 1992. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Baylor University, a master of divinity degree and the doctor of philosophy degree from NOBTS.

VISION Spring 2017


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CELEBRATING OUR CENTENNIAL On-Campus Events October 3, 2017 – Founders’ Day Chapel/ Kick-Off Celebration October 18-20, 2017 – Xcelerate Conference November 10-11, 2017 – Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum January 29-31, 2018 – Preaching/Evangelism Conference (partnership with Love Worth Finding) February 15, 2018 – Leavell College (25th) Celebration March 6-8, 2018 – Campus Revival w/ Crescent City Praise March 15, 2018 – Women’s Ministry Special Event (Anita Renfroe) March 16, 2018 – Women’s Ministry Leadership Conference April 6, 2018 – Senior Fest with Dennis Swanberg April 20-21, 2018 – Caskey Conference June 12-13, 2018 – Southern Baptist Convention and the Alumni & Friends Luncheon (Dallas, Texas) June through August, 2018 – Summer Community Ministry and MissionLab October 2, 2018 – Founders’ Day Chapel/ Conclusion Off-Campus Events – (Dates TBD) Birmingham, Alabama Miami, Florida Orlando, Florida Marietta, Georgia (North Georgia) Shreveport, Louisiana Jackson/Clinton, Mississippi Nashville, Tennessee

Permit No. 100 New Orleans, LA