Vision Spring/Summer 2014

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Cuba Cuba The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coasts and islands be glad.

The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coasts and islands be glad.


And Then God Laughed



od has a sense of humor. I am reminded of this with every twist and curve as life unfolds. By 1983, I managed to be enrolled in some form of school for the 25th consecutive year. You can well imagine how eager I was to be out of school and into my calling of itinerant evangelism. All of our plans toward that end were coming together beautifully, and then God laughed. While I focused on the end of my student days, the Lord intended to make that moment the beginning of my teaching days. Dr. Landrum P. Leavell II and Dr. Joe Cothen stunned me by asking me to stay and teach evangelism. My wife, my friends, and my spiritual advisors added to the shock by strongly encouraging me to accept this unexpected opportunity, and God found ways to make it unmistakably clear my calling now was to be a professor. God laughed because I thought this was a tough and traumatic decision, but within weeks of working the other side of a classroom, I realized all of my life had been preparation for this role. That was the 1983-84 academic year, and 30 years later I am still on the faculty of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. My school days are yet to end.

The Campus Radical So many vivid memories of the journey leap up for attention whenever I look back. A simple survey I took at the beginning of my first class revealed how intimidating sharing Christ was to most of those God called, and in that moment I found a reason to be in the classroom. We had to add experience to lectures. Creating a plan to send every student into the city to share their faith for a semester was not popular, but I got to watch as experience turned student apprehension into confidence and fruitfulness. Students got deeper and deeper into learning to share their faith and every semester many led someone to Christ for the first time. Within the faculty I was a champion for change. Advocating such radical concepts as the use of color graphics and images in the classroom, allowing doctoral students to use computers and printers to prepare dissertations, turning demographic data into charts and graphs that laymen could easily understand and apply to their churches, accepting statistics as a research language for some doctoral students (I was asked to quote Psalm 23 in statistics during one debate), and such things kept life interesting as I pushed and prodded. Did I mention God has a sense of humor? That “radical” list sounds very plain today. Yesterday’s radical is today’s normal and tomorrow’s history. Surely God must chuckle at times as He pushes us forward past the comfort of what we know into the uncomfortable confrontation with what we have yet to learn. What eventually becomes clear is that His pushing us into the future never stops. There will always be a new normal that seems radical in the present. Truly God does have a sense of humor. I was fully, deeply immersed in the call to teach evangelism, loving it, and being fruitful in it when the call came to add serving as President to

my identity as a professor. I quickly learned the list of things a professor never thinks about and presidents cannot stop thinking about is a long list. After learning to prepare lectures I had to learn to rebuild a campus. The skills to equip students had to become the skills to recruit, resource, and guide a faculty. The Lord always tinkers with our lives. Yet one thing has not changed throughout this journey: preparing those God calls for effective service is at the heart of all that NOBTS does. Finding joy in that makes 30 years feel like 30 minutes.

Big News for Small Churches Did I mention that God has a sense of humor? In April, we received a gift to launch the largest project in the history of NOBTS. The focal point of this largest project ever is the leadership of our small churches. An anonymous donor has given us money to launch the Caskey Center for Church Excellence. The center will provide full tuition and fees for 100 students who are full-time or bivocational ministers of Louisiana churches with fewer than 250 people attending worship. Each student will also receive a major Bible software package to assist with their studies. In their training, we will emphasize enhancing their preaching skills and evangelism skills. Students in this program can choose certificate, undergraduate or graduate degrees and can study on campus, in extension centers or online. The pastors and staff members of small Louisiana churches will be able to receive the finest in ministry training at virtually no cost. Can you hear the heavenly chuckle? Our biggest gift is for the smallest churches. What you may not realize is that these churches and their leaders are the backbone of the SBC. In Louisiana, about 90 percent of our churches have 250 or


Images from Dr. Chuck Kelley’s recent trip to South Korea

less attending each week. That number is almost identical to the number of small churches in the whole SBC. We are a Convention of small churches. This big gift is for the biggest block of our church leaders. I am already praying that God will give others a burden to help us train more of these pastors who play such a large role in the life of the SBC.

Small Problems for a Big Gospel Make no mistake about it. Southern Baptists are at a crucial and difficult crossroad. We are struggling with fruitfulness as we have never struggled before. Our membership is in decline. A growing number of our churches are closing their doors forever. Can we learn to grow again? And God laughs, for the transforming power of His gospel is undiminished. The question is not “Can we?” but “Will we?” Our inmate students in the toughest prison in America have now started 28 churches on the cell blocks of Angola, transforming a difficult, dangerous place into the talk of the justice system in the United States. Three other prison programs are having a similar effect under conditions none would call favorable, and we are only $25,000 away from launching another program in a Florida prison. We can flourish under difficult conditions. In March, I had an opportunity to spend a week in South Korea. The gospel only arrived there in recent history, and the nation was deeply wounded by a war that created much chaos and destruction. And yet the church is flourishing. Some of the largest congregations in the world are in Seoul, a city of more than 10 million people. Southern Baptists are struggling to make an impact on our largest cities, but the Koreans are showing us it can be done with the amazing power of Jesus and

His gospel. They have models of how to do church in urban environments that could give us some insights in how to impact our great cities. This summer a number of our students will be heading to Wyoming again to do evangelism and church planting activities. In an area where Baptists are neither strong nor big, God is at work changing lives and drawing people to salvation and church membership. A donor is making this summer immersion in missions possible, and I am so grateful. Our students will be able to see and participate in unleashing the power of the gospel in a place where ministry is not easy. We must always remember God has a sense of humor. As you wrestle with the very real problems of life and ministry that do come to all of us, be reminded our God laughed in the face of death and conquered it, laughed in the face of determined persecution and brought His people through it, and still laughs today at the idea that our problems are too hard for Him. Read Isaiah 40:28-31 and enjoy a chuckle with the God who loves you and will care for you! Your gifts to NOBTS, a seminary in the most unBaptist of places, are a testimony to the fact that we serve a God who can do the hard things. May the Lord bless and keep you!


Less time in Class


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Earn an advanced degree without leaving your current place of ministry. TAKE THE NEXT STEP Visit or call 1.855.662.8701 We are ready to help you begin your seminary education.





SPRING/SUMMER 2014 Volume 70, Number 1 DR. CHUCK KELLEY President MR. RANDY DRIGGERS Vice President for Institutional Advancement

The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coasts and islands be glad.

DR. DENNIS PHELPS Director of Alumni Relations GARY D. MYERS Editor

CARISSA CROWLEY Editorial Assistant/Proofreader










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


DEPARTMENTS NEWS 20 10 ADVANCEMENT • NOBTS launches Caskey Center, offers NEW

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.

Three Sabbatical Journeys of Dr. Rex Butler

MATTHEW 28 : 18-20


All contents ©2014 New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. All rights reserved.




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

Walking by Faith: Blind Student Finds Blessing in Challenging Course




MATTHEW 28 : 18-20





hope and love amoung Baptist in Santiago de Cuba


STEPHEN JENNINGS Assistant Art Director

FEATURES STORY 4 COVER Cuba: Glimpses of Christian faith,


BOYD GUY Art Director & Photographer



FRANK MICHAEL MCCORMACK Assistant Editor & Lead Copy Editor

free study to La. small church pastors and bi-vocational ministers • More than donors, you are partners • in ministry



• Upcoming Events at NOBTS • Trustees approve creation of Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center • Fifteen earn Leavell College degrees at Louisiana women’s prison • NOBTS to offer fully online M.Div., other online degrees • Kelley hosts evening with students at Morning Call in City Park • News in Brief • NOBTS receives $250,000 grant from Lilly Endowment



• Rhonda Kelley co-authors communication guide for women, serves as editor for study Bible • Faculty Promotions • Lemke, Putman featured in PBS program on rise of Calvinism in the SBC • Brown to serve as church and community ministries professor


• Class Notes • 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients • Alumni luncheon set for June 11 in Baltimore • NOBTS remembers Jim Gibson

Cover photo: San Pedro de la Roca Castle, Santiago Bay, Cuba, by Frank Michael McCormack SPRING/SUMMER 2014 | VISION 3

Cuba The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coasts and islands be glad.

Psalm 97:1: The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coasts and islands be glad. Story & Photography FRANK MICHAEL MCCORMACK

Glimpses of Christian faith, hope & love among Baptists in Santiago de Cuba


he approach to the bay leading to Santiago de Cuba both breathtaking and strategic. The western shore meanders toward the horizon, with San Pedro de la Roca Castle, a fortress on the United Nation’s World Heritage List, standing guard from the cliffs on the east. Spanish leaders fortified the entrance to the Bay of Santiago in the late 1500s when Spain and England competed for colonial supremacy in the Caribbean. Santiago – Cuba’s first capital – served as a hub for trade, culture and transportation. Construction on the present fortress began in 1638. Its last major role in a military action came in 1898 during the SpanishAmerican War. San Juan Hill, site of the famed charge of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, is less than 10 miles inland. In the 21st century, Santiago retains its place as a strategic port city for Cuba, and with more than 500,000 residents, the city is second only to Havana in population. The Santiago area is home to Cuba’s oldest colonial era house (1516), Cuba’s first mine (1532) and Cuba’s first Catholic church, the Metropolitan Cathedral (1520s). Distinctively Caribbean, Santiago remains a center of history, culture and trade in Cuba. More than that, Santiago also serves as a religious hub for Cuba. The Basilica of El Cobre, 12 miles west of Santiago, is the center of Catholic life there and has hosted two popes. And due in part to its proximity to Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, some residents follow Santería, a dark mixture of West African religions and elements of Roman Catholicism. And amid this cultural confluence, Santiago is also home to a fast-paced spread of the Gospel. Through small house churches and larger established congregations, personal evangelism and community ministry, fervent prayer and emboldened preaching, innovative partnerships and simple determination, people are coming to Christ in a way that’s almost unmatched around the world. In Santiago are echoes of Psalm 97:1: “The LORD reigns! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coasts and islands be glad.”

El SEÑOR reina; regocíjese la tierra; alégrense las muchas islas. Salmos 97:1 Facing page: A tomb outside the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity overlooks the surrounding town of El Cobre, Cuba. Top: A Cuban flag flies atop San Pedro de la Roca Castle, at the entrance to the Bay of Santiago de Cuba. Right: The Basilica of Our Lady of Charity towers above the town of El Cobre, Cuba. SPRING/SUMMER 2014 | VISION 5


On Oct. 25, 2013, an 18 member team from the United States flew over the San Pedro de la Roca Castle en route to Santiago’s airport. The team represented seven states. Professions in the group ranged from real estate developer to plane builder, Spanish teacher to Baptist association director. There was one married couple, former missionaries to Chile. Their common connection was Dr. Bill Warren, professor of New Testament and Greek at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and pastor of Jacob’s Well Baptist Church in Pass Christian, Miss. Warren, a former missionary to Colombia, has been involved in the work in Cuba for the past 10 years. About a third of the team was current or former members of Jacob’s Well, where Warren has been pastor since the church started in 2008. Others heard of the work in Eastern Cuba through Jack Honea and his twin brother, Mack, who are lay church leaders in Mississippi and stalwarts of the Mississippi Nailbenders church building organization. The Honeas are cousins of Warren’s wife, Katie, and began going to Cuba with Warren in 2011. Rex Butler, professor of church history and patristics at NOBTS, and Jessica McMillan, a Spanish teacher and doctoral student at NOBTS, rounded out the group. Representatives from Eastern Cuba Baptist Theological Seminary met the team at the airport and transported them back to the school, which served as the group’s base of operations for the week. The vans wound through the city past earth-toned Spanish architecture, spartan military checkpoints and political billboards, crowded bus stops and lively markets, then around a sprawling monument to Spanish-American War heroes Antonio Maceo Grajales and Francisco Gómez, and finally up a narrow, twisting ascent toward the mountains. The drive to the seminary proved to be a primer in Santiago history and culture. Complex yet simple, materially poor yet rich.


“They were very eager students. Each one of them traveled a great distance and at great expense to come to the seminary.” Dr. Rex Butler 6 VISION | SPRING/SUMMER 2014

Team members were fast at work upon reaching the seminary campus, which occupies a former “finca,” or country estate, outside of Santiago. Work projects ranged from priming and painting shutters and walls, landscaping a courtyard area and tuning up air conditioning units. The team also spent time entering bibliographic information into the library’s computer system, purchased with a grant from Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, La. Butler was a visiting professor at the seminary and taught church history in the mornings to second-year students who traveled in for the week-long workshop. Warren taught hermeneutics to the same students in the afternoons. “As it turned out, I was only the second Southern Baptist seminary professor to teach at the Eastern Cuba seminary — second to Dr. Warren,” Butler said. McMillan translated both Butler’s lectures and his slide presentations. “That made the teaching go smoothly and easily,” Butler said. “They were very eager students. Each one of them traveled a great distance and at great expense to come to the seminary.” “When I found myself sitting in the seminary classroom translating in person for his classes, it was a surreal moment. I thought about all the years of preparation — language study, the late nights, the tuition struggles, the misunderstandings that come with learning a language — and I realized that it was all worth it,” McMillan said. “At that moment, Cuban leaders were learning things they had never had access to! To think that God could use me in such a neat way was and continues to be very overwhelming. I am so humbled that He would allow me to be a small part of that process.” Due to difficult travel conditions in Cuba, students – some traveling from places like Guantanamo and the central part of the island – may spend one or two days getting to the seminary for a study session. Some students serve churches so distant they have to walk or ride horseback for miles past the last bus stop just to get to those communities. While seminary is free for the students, traveling there and, for some, taking off work comes at great expense. As the week progressed, the mission team adopted the same schedule as the seminary students as they all shared an early breakfast together, a morning of work, lunch together, an

afternoon siesta, then continued work until supper. Out of that time together grew quite a bond. “Since there is no Internet, no cell phones, no televisions, or other distractions that usually fill a typical evening, students would sit in rocking chairs and just share life together,” McMillan said. “I loved that part of the day! We sang hymns and praise songs and worshiped informally together. Worship knows no boundaries.”


One new work just under way when the team arrived was an agricultural project near the seminary. Earlier in 2013, a Cuban government minister of agriculture came to Christ through the work of the Baptist church in El Cobre, a town west of the seminary. With so many people undernourished, he decided to put his position and experience to work. He identified 12 acres of land between the seminary and El Cobre and secured permission from the government to farm it. “He knew everything about agriculture in the area,” Warren said. “And he was actually willing to move his entire family there to head up the project.” The plan is for him to eventually work the farm full time and sell enough produce to provide for his family. He will offer the remainder of the harvest to the seminary and to the church, which will then distribute food to the community as needed. With most families in Cuba surviving on $30 a month or less — and with monthly rations set at about five pounds of rice, four pounds of sugar, one daily loaf of bread, one half pound of oil and five eggs — provisions from the new farm are crucial. “Every week, they are carrying stuff to the community, the church and the seminary. They say it’s really producing,” Warren said. In partnership with churches in the States, locals have been able to rent equipment, develop the site and install a well for

Facing page top: Alex Suero, pastor of the Baptist church in El Cobre, Cuba, and his wife, Mily. Facing page bottom: A 1950s classic car passes the entrance to the Eastern Cuba Baptist Theological Seminary near Santiago de Cuba. Top left: Members of the Baptist church of El Cobre celebrate 15 years of the church’s ministry in the community. Top right: Pastor Alex Suero’s Russian-made Lada sedan. Bottom: A painting at one of the house churches in El Cobre translates “The power of the Christian is in prayer.”



The mission team’s time in Cuba coincided with the 15th anniversary celebration of the Baptist church in El Cobre. The church marked the occasion with a celebration service and meal one night, a baptism service that Sunday, discipleship training sessions, and an evangelistic service. The Baptist church and its pastor, Alex Suero, are representative of the church planting movement happening right now in Cuba. “In many cases, like the one you’ll see at El Cobre, they started in a little house. Half the house is for the pastor and half is for the church,” said Eddy Gonzales, president of the seminary in Santiago and a local church pastor. As the ministry grows, Gonzales said, churches will inconspicuously add a patio, then later one wall and then another. Pretty soon, a new room is completely enclosed and ready to host more worshipers from the community. “It’s not really legal, but they tolerate us,” Gonzales said. “They don’t give us permission, but they don’t prohibit us.” In the case of El Cobre’s Baptist church, the story is even more daring. Early into Suero’s ministry there, he sought to not just add on to his existing house but to build a new meeting place. He applied for a construction permit but was denied.

“It’s not really legal, but they tolerate us. They don’t give us permission, but they don’t prohibit us.” Eddy Gonzales “He came home. Early one morning, the Lord woke him up and said, ‘I’ve given you the authority to build that church,’” said Martha Bowman, a team member who translated for Suero. In bold obedience, Suero got to work that day preparing the site for the new sanctuary. Soon after, a group from Canada came, heard his story, and decided to partner with the project. Suero was in the first class Warren taught in Cuba, with a long-term partnership already developing between the two, so Warren also began supporting the project with mission teams and supplies. Suero said, leading up to Pope Benedict XVI’s 2012 visit to El Cobre, the church really ramped up construction on the new facility. With the pope coming to town, he knew the authorities would be less likely to take notice. “They just built and built and built, and in nine months they built that,” Bowman said. “It’s strong enough, that it can have three floors added onto it.” Suero said that, not long after the pope’s visit, government officials confronted him about the building. “‘What’s this? Who gave you permission to do this?’ And he said, ‘God, the King of Glory, gave me permission to do this,’” Bowman said, translating for Suero. Word had gotten out to the El Cobre community that government officials were coming to seize the new building. Dozens of people — both believers and unbelievers touched by the ministry of the church — blocked the way to the sanctuary. “He said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to kill all of us.’ They turned around and left and haven’t been back,” Bowman said. A major ministry focus for the church is to send missionaries into the remote communities farther up the mountains that surround El Cobre. Though the people of El Cobre have so little, they’re giving sacrificially to support that work. “Even though they’re mostly poor people, they’ve donated clothes and other supplies to support the missionaries who go up to the mountain communities,” Bowman said. It costs about $20 per month to provide for a missionary family there. As of October 2013, the church in El Cobre had received enough commitments to provide for five families, with an additional six in need of support. Matthew Gullion, director of missions for the Northeastern Indiana Baptist Association, formed a connection with Suero and was so inspired by the ministry of El Cobre that he’s leading a group of Indiana and Illinois Baptists to the area in October 2014. “I have never seen such openness to the gospel,” Gullion said after seeing a mountain mission site. “I shared my testimony, then asked if they would like to know that love of Jesus Christ. With tears running down their faces, they said yes they would. We kind

of expect some walls to be put up, but they, with no hesitation, want to know more about this man called Jesus Christ. It’s amazing.”


Another place of ministry for the group was the neighborhood surrounding Tenth Baptist Church, a congregation set in an especially depressed part of Santiago. The church’s pastor secured permission to purchase the house adjoining where the congregation meets. Up until recently, it was almost unheard of for churches to purchase property in Cuba. Team members, including David Malley and Burl Nelson of Jacob’s Well and Jerry Huthoefer of Colorado, removed — by hand — the existing chain wall between the two structures, poured a new cement footing, and began laying blocks for the new wall. Eventually, the church plans to add additional floors onto the existing buildings. Other members of the group went through the neighborhood around Tenth Baptist Church — locally called “The Hole” — to share the gospel and invite people to the church. They would visit house churches connected to Tenth Baptist Church where believers and outsiders had gathered and share the gospel. Martin Shields of Campbellsville, Ky., connected to the trip through the Honeas, went visiting through the neighborhood and preached later that night. “The house was packed and, through the interpretation, many came forward to accept Jesus. It was one of those Holy Spirit moments when you realize only God can do the things that were done and you were just a willing vessel which he used,” Shields said. “All I can say is ‘Praise God for His faithfulness’ and ‘To Him be the glory.’ I do often think about the 20 souls that He saved that day.” Tenth Baptist Church was just one of several central Santiago churches where group members ministered that week.


“All I can say is ‘Praise God for His faithfulness’ and ‘To Him be the glory.’ I do often think about the 20 souls that He saved that day.” Martin Shields


Throughout the course of the team’s week in Santiago, they saw some 130 Cubans come to first time faith in Christ through the ministry of the churches there. In the time since, work continues to modernize the seminary, extend ministry into the mountains surrounding El Cobre and reach the urban neighborhoods of Santiago. Gullion is readying to lead a group this fall, and Warren is making a return trip in May and then again in October. Churches in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas continue to support the ministry in Santiago by partnering with Warren. And New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, as part of its commitment to reach unengaged peoples in Cuba, is promoting theological education through both the Santiago seminary and the Western Cuba seminary in Havana. To learn more about how to partner with Eastern Cuba Baptists as they reach their neighbors for Christ, contact Warren at To learn more about the work in Western Cuba, contact Drs. Ed and Kathy Steele, both NOBTS professors, at esteele@ and New Orleans Seminary offers several Spanish-language extension sites around the Southeast where Spanish speakers can train for ministry in their heart language. For more details, call NOBTS at 1.800.662.8701 and ask for information about extension centers. If you are a Spanish speaker and would like to read this story in your heart language, go to for the versión española.

Facing page top: Northeast Indiana Baptist Association Director of Missions Matthew Guillon baptizes a new believer at the Baptist church in El Cobre, Cuba. Facing page bottom: Three ladies gather in the sanctuary of El Cobre’s Baptist church ahead of the church’s 15th anniversary celebration. Top: David Malley, a member of Jacob’s Well Baptist Church in Pass Christian, Miss., removes part of a wall at Tenth Baptist Church in Santiago de Cuba. Bottom: Steps lead up to the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity in El Cobre, the center of Catholic life in Cuba.



NOBTS launches Caskey Center, offers free study to La. small church pastors, bi-vocational ministers


ew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary finalized a new partnership with an anonymous donor to provide free theological education for small church and bivocational pastors and staff members of Louisiana Southern Baptist churches. With an initial gift of $1.5 million from the donor, the seminary has established the Caskey Center for Church Excellence to facilitate the scholarship process. The NOBTS Board of Trustees approved the center’s creation on April 16, during their spring meeting. “We are grateful for the vision God has given this donor,” said NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. “We are a seminary in a city and state in which the overwhelming majority of churches are small churches. We want all Louisiana churches to have access to trained leadership and for all of those God calls to have an opportunity to get quality theological education. Launching the Caskey Center is a huge step in that direction.”

We are grateful for the vision God has given this donor. We are a seminary in a city and state in which the overwhelming majority of churches are small churches. We want all Louisiana churches to have access to trained leadership and for all of those God calls to have an opportunity to get quality theological education. NOBTS PRESIDENT CHUCK KELLEY “This is a game changer,” Kelley continued. “This is the most comprehensive scholarship program ever offered by NOBTS, and it is available to those serving the largest number of our Louisiana churches.” The initial gift will provide up to $6,000 per year for up to 100 Louisiana students – the equivalent of a full scholarship for these students. Recipients can apply the scholarship to certificate, associate, undergraduate or master’s degree study at NOBTS and study in any of the seminary’s delivery systems including the main campus, Louisiana extension centers, workshops, conference-based courses or online programs. This new scholarship will almost double the amount of student scholarship dollars available from NOBTS each year. To qualify for the program, students must be serving as a paid or bi-vocational pastor or staff member in a small church with an average worship attendance of less than 250 people. Bi-vocational is defined as paid employment from a church and from a secular or parachurch employer. Particular preference is given to those serving as lead or senior pastor – full-time or bi-vocational.

This scholarship program targets the vast majority of Louisiana Baptist churches. Current research indicates that 92 percent of Louisiana SBC churches have an average attendance of less than 250. Seventy percent of LBC churches have 100 or less in attendance. The Caskey Center will focus on sharpening student skills in biblical exposition and personal evangelism. An evangelism practicum will be included each semester a student is in the program. Students entering the program during the first year will receive a Logos Bible Software package (Silver) and Logos software training to help promote faithful biblical exposition. In addition to the small church staff requirement, recipients will be required to affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The Danvers Statement is available on the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood website (www. NOBTS expects to name a director of the Caskey Center in the near future. Until that time, inquiries about applying for the scholarship can be made to the NOBTS Office of Financial Aid.  Persons interested in making a similar program available to small church and bi-vocational pastors in other states may contact Randy Driggers in the NOBTS Office of Institutional Advancement by phone at (504) 282-4455, ext. 8002, or by email at



More than donors, you are partners in ministry BY RANDY DRIGGERS


was struggling with what to write for this short Vision article. So I stopped to pray and in just a short time I knew what I wanted to write about: Partnership. Sometimes when we receive your generous contributions toward the Providence Fund or other areas of need like scholarship funds, endowed gifts, building projects, and many others, we (I) tend to label you a ‘donor’ because you shared your resources with NOBTS. However, I have been challenged over the past several months to retool my philanthropic vocabulary. The first is my use of the word ‘partners’ instead of ‘donors.’ When you give a gift to NOBTS, you are more than just a donor. You are a partner with us in training tomorrow’s leaders. What a great feeling it is to know that you are in partnership with us in providing a seminary education to thousands of students. Whether they study on the main campus here in New Orleans, at one of our extension centers, or online, you are indeed a partner with NOBTS. I sometimes get notes from some of our sweet partners saying, “I wish I could give more but I am just not able.” I write a note of encouragement and understanding and remind them of what Luke 21:14 says regarding the giving of the poor widow. These small gifts come from their love of NOBTS and the desire to support our mission of training church and ministry leaders. They are our partners. Others, who have been blessed with wealth, also partner with NOBTS in many ways and in many ministry areas. The needs we have are many, but I truly believe that God has covered every need. We need to keep our focus on Christ and pray for our ministry partners as they pray for us. We must also reach out to our current supporters, and meet other generous believers to join with us in preparing ministry leaders. You may have other Christian friends who want to do something big for the kingdom. Tell them the story of NOBTS. We would love to talk with them. I cannot thank you enough for your support. Gifts to the Providence Fund benefits every student by helping keep tuition as low as possible. If you have not become a regular giver to the Providence Fund, let me encourage you to prayerfully consider doing so. For our alumni who currently are not supporting NOBTS, would you prayerfully consider giving a portion back to NOBTS? Many of us were blessed by the generosity of others during our time in Seminary. We have a Donate Now button at for your convenience. If I can ever be of assistance in answering any questions about partnering with NOBTS, please email me at rdriggers@ or call 1-800-662-8701, ext. 8002. I am always happy to talk. 

Dr. Eddie Wren, right, Pastor of First Baptist Church in Rayville, La., presents a check to NOBTS President Chuck Kelley during the chapel service April 10. The gift was given in memory of Dr. Rick Byargeon, former NOBTS faculty member and Louisiana pastor, who died in 2013 after a long battle with cancer. The money will be used to establish the Rick Byargeon Scholarship at NOBTS. Those who wish to contribute to this fund may call Randy Driggers at at (800) 662-8701, ext. 8002 or email him

ABOVE: Tom Maloney, left, General Manager of Chickfil-A in Metairie, La., presents a scholarship check for Nicholas Pacurari, center, to Dr. Chuck Kelley. BELOW: Maloney presents a scholarship check to Samantha Barrow along with Randy Driggers.



Upcoming Events at New Orleans Seminary



Featuring Fred Luter & Chip Henderson A Preaching Conference on Ephesians

Featuring Russell Moore & Mathew Staver

Three academic courses avaible as well as free MOOC courses.

Sponsored by the Institute for Faith and the Public Square





A Week-long School of Apologetics

OCTOBER 20, 9 A.M. - 8 P.M.

JANUARY 4-9, 2015

Featuring representatives from six missions and translations agencies.

Featuring top Christian apologists

Sponsors: Center for New Testament Textual Studies, Baptist Center for Theology & Ministry, Global Missions Center

Academic Credit is available.



SEPTEMBER 20, 7-9 P.M.



Trustees approve creation of Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center BY GARY D. MYERS


ew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary trustees approved the creation of a counseling center to serve as a resource for NOBTS students and people in the surrounding neighborhoods during a meeting last December. The counseling center will also provide NOBTS counseling students with a place to fulfill their counseling practicum hours. Trustees followed that action by officially naming the center and approving a timeline for its opening during their April meeting. The Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center bears the name of Louisiana Baptist and NOBTS supporter


The Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center will be located in the building previous occupied by the William Carey University School of Nursing.

Leeke Magee who passed away in 2013. Before his death, Magee named the seminary in his estate plan. This estate gift provided the funds needed to transform the former William Carey University nursing building on the NOBTS campus into a counseling center and office space for counseling and social work professors. The building will be fitted with counseling rooms and offices this summer, and the counseling center will open to the public August 1. “We deeply believe that Southern Baptists need to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to engage the communities around our churches,” said NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. “We have to find a way to start the conversation about Jesus with people who are not in our churches, and we think a counseling program, centered in Christ does, that. And we believe that community-based ministries, again, centered in Christ, and the church can do that.” The counseling program at NOBTS provides the educational background needed to achieve state licensure. Currently, NOBTS is the only SBC seminary offering a licensure track in counseling. And while many NOBTS counseling graduates serve as churchbased counselors, others have sought employment in non-profit organizations and private Christian counseling groups in order to reach those outside of the church. According to Ian Jones, chairman of the church and community ministries division, all students in the program are committed to biblically-based ministry and are involved in taking the gospel to hurting people. “Christ challenged believers to be salt and light in the world ‘so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven,’” Jones said, referencing Matt. 5:16. “The division of church and community ministries is committed to training students with the skill sets necessary to help churches connect with their communities through counseling and social ministries, building up the church and bringing the transforming power of the gospel into the world.” “The new Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center will be a significant part of this ministry as students are trained to provide an array of biblical, effective, and accessible counseling services to individuals, couples, and families in the greater New Orleans community,” he continued. 

Fifteen earn Leavell College degrees at La. women’s prison BY CARISSA CROWLEY


eavell College at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) celebrated the first associate degree graduation in its program at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW) January 14. Fifteen women received associate degrees in Christian ministry during the commencement service. The graduation marked a significant milestone in the program’s development. Launched on Jan. 12, 2011 as a pilot, certificate training program, the LCIW program followed in the footsteps of three other successful NOBTS prison programs. The first three programs (at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La., the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Miss., and Philips State Prison in Buford, Ga.) focused on training male inmates. The program at LCIW is the seminary’s first effort to provide training for female 14 VISION | SPRING/SUMMER 2014

inmates. Nineteen LCIW inmates graduated with ministry certificates in 2012. Now 15 inmates are one step closer to receiving a fully-accredited bachelor’s degree. The ceremony was held in LCIW’s chapel, under the watchful eye of prison guards and security cameras. Nestled deep in layers of fences topped with razor wire, the chapel stands as a symbol of hope and freedom, amid the harsh reminders of the situation these women are in. LCIW houses almost 1,100 inmates, and as the state’s only women’s facility, it is home to minimum, medium and maximum custody offenders. According to Kristi Miller, director of the LCIW program, the average NOBTS student at LCIW is a 47-year-old mother serving a life sentence. Most of the women in the program have been in prison for more than a decade. In the midst of these hard realities, though, the program is offering a new reason to hope. 


NOBTS to offer fully online M.Div., other online degrees BY GARY D. MYERS


ew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary received the approval from the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) in February, to launch five new fully-online degrees. With the addition of the new online degrees, NOBTS has a total of eight degrees available in a fully-online format. ATS, the accrediting agency for the graduate programs at NOBTS, approved the fully-online delivery of the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Education, Master of Arts (Cross-cultural Studies), Master of Arts (Apologetics), and Master of Arts in Missiology degrees. NOBTS began offering three other fully-online degrees – the Master of Arts (Biblical Studies), Master of Arts (Theology) and Master of Theological Studies – in an online format last spring. The seminary also offers a number of online certificates in specific areas of ministry. NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke said the seminary “has long been a national leader in distance education, so offering these new degrees online is continuing a pattern of innovation and excellence for which we have achieved national recognition through our Online Learning Center.” Each of the degrees will be offered both in fully-online and traditional “in-person” classroom formats. The courses in these degree programs will be available online, at extension centers and on the main campus. Lemke said the initiative is designed to provide as many options as possible for students. “The evidence shows that many students find it difficult to complete an entire degree online,” Lemke said. “The great thing that NOBTS offers the distance learning student is a cafeteria of options that students can tailor to their own needs


NOBTS students can now earn the Master of Divinity, and other degrees, fully online no matter where they live or serve.

and schedules. They can choose from taking courses in our extension centers all over the Southeast, hybrid courses that meet just a few times a semester, weeklong workshop courses, mentorships in local churches, and travel courses. “All these degrees are offered entirely online, but at NOBTS, students can choose to mix in some in-person classes to interact with faculty members and fellow students if they prefer,” Lemke said. 

Kelley hosts evening with students at Morning Call in City Park


eminary President Chuck Kelley hosted “An Evening at Morning Call” April 3. Kelley invited students to Morning Call’s City Park location for free coffee and beignets. In 2012, the legendary coffee and beignet shop opened the City Park location in one of the park’s historic buildings. The event was designed to give students the opportunity to interact with Kelley in an informal setting. It was also a great opportunity for students to get off campus and enjoy the city’s rich culture.  PHOTOS BY BOYD GUY

Dr. Chuck Kelley talks with NOBTS students at the Morning Call coffee shop at City Park April 3. Kelley hosted an informal gathering with students at the legendary cafe, offering free beignets and coffee.





An archaeology team from New Orleans Seminary, led by Dr. Dennis Cole, Dr. Dan Warner and Dr. Jim Parker, will continue to excavate and explore the massive, ancient water system in Gezer, Israel, this summer. The fourth dig season will begin May 25 and ends June 13. Follow the team’s progress at or through the NOBTS Facebook and Twitter sites.

MAIN CAMPUS GATE MOVED DUE TO ANTICIPATED WALMART TRAFFIC NOBTS will relocate the main entrance of the campus to facilitate increased traffic flow on Gentilly Boulevard after the opening of the new Walmart adjacent to NOBTS. Seminary Place, the current entrance gate, will close, and the main entrance will move to the existing gate in front of the Hardin Student Center. These changes will take place at the end of summer as students and staff anticipate Walmart’s grand opening sometime during the fall semester. NOBTS debuted a new design for the school’s website this spring. The new site is both streamlined and more interactive. Fegree details, Blackboard and Self-Serve sites, the campus directory and calendar, application and contact information, as well as a scrolling announcement banner are near the top of the home page. Below, a set of a picture buttons connect site viewers to information about extension centers, degree plans, research centers, campus life information and more. A third section provides visitor-specific links for future students, current students, and alumni and friends of the seminary. In the bottom section of the homepage, viewers find a more thorough index of links to other pages. 

NOBTS RELAUNCHES ED.D. DEGREE New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will reinstitute the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree that was discontinued in the late 1990s. In the past few years, leaders of the two Christian education doctoral programs have noticed a dramatic increase in potential students seeking Ed.D. programs. The Ed.D. degree is research-oriented and prepares graduates for teaching on the collegiate level. NOBTS will retain both the Christian education Ph.D. and the D.Ed.Min. programs. Dr. Randy Stone, chair of the Division of Christian Education at NOBTS, said the 55-hour degree will include majors in teaching, educational leadership and ministry leadership. NOBTS hopes to open the student application early in 2014 pending approval of the degree by the seminary’s accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

NOBTS receives $250,000 grant from Lilly Endowment


New Orleans Seminary has received a $250,000 grant as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. It is one of 67 theological schools across the country to receive this funding. Personal financial pressures are severely limiting the ability of seminary graduates to accept calls to Christian ministry and undermining the effectiveness of too many pastoral leaders. To help address this issue, Lilly Endowment created the Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers. The initiative’s aim is to encourage theological schools to examine and strengthen their financial and educational practices to improve the economic well-being of future pastors. All theological schools fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada 16 VISION | SPRING/SUMMER 2014

were invited to submit grant proposals. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary will use its funding to help students develop financial skills and take active steps toward reducing their debt burden while in seminary. Research and education components of the program will target students at several stages of the seminary journey, from the transition to seminary life to their post-seminary 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,” said NOBTS President Chuck Kelley. “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.” 


IAN JONES NAMED TO SBC MENTAL HEALTH ADVISORY COUNCIL SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page has named a volunteer advisory committee of local church leaders and professionals in the mental health field. Dr. Ian Jones, Professor of Psychology and Counseling and Chairman of the Church and Community Ministries Division, has been selected to serve as one of the committee members.


DR. KELLEY CREATES BLOG SITE Seminary President Chuck Kelley recently launched a website and blog to better communicate with the broader Baptist audience. Located at, the site will offer regular blog posts, Dr. Kelley’s speaking schedule and video and audio recordings of his sermons.

MUSIC DIVISION JOURNAL DEBUTS This Spring, the Division of Church Music Ministries at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary launched the Journal of Research in Worship Ministries, an online worship journal. The first issue, “The Current State of Worship Research,” can be found at

NEW ORLEANS SEMINARY LAUNCHES THREE NEW CENTERS IN ALABAMA With NOBTS launching three new extension centers in Alabama this fall, theological training close to home is becoming more of a reality for ministers in that state. In August, NOBTS will launch extension centers in Huntsville,, Rainsville, and Tuscaloosa, in an effort to make theological training more accessible in Alabama. With the new sites, plus existing centers in Birmingham, Montgomery and nearby in Pensacola, Fla., NOBTS now offers seminary courses within a 2-hour drive from any location in Alabama. Visit for a complete listing of Alabama locations and contact information.

FLORIDA EXTENSION ON THE MOVE The graduate extension center at Graceville, Fla., will open in a new location next school year – Tallahassee. The center will meet at Thomasville Road Baptist Church beginning this fall. By moving the center from the more rural Graceville location to Tallahassee, officials at NOBTS and the Florida Baptist Convention hope to provide easier access for current students and, with the much larger population of Tallahassee, reach more students in need of theological training. Visit for a complete listing of Florida locations and contact information.

Construction on the Doris Kelley Showers of Blessing Resource Center is nearing completion. The new building will house the NOBTS homeschool network when it opens in August.

TRUSTEES APPROVE DISCIPLESHIP & SPIRITUAL FORMATION CENTER The trustees approved the creation of the Center for Discipleship and Spiritual Formation to assist the work of the school’s Division of Christian Education. The center will conduct research in discipleship strategies, collaborate with pastors and Christian education practitioners and host conferences and training events. The first discipleship conference is tentatively scheduled for next fall.

TRUSTEES REMOVE ‘ON-CAMPUS’ STUDY REQUIREMENT The NOBTS Board of Trustees voted to remove the “oncampus” requirement for distance learning degrees. In February, NOBTS was granted “comprehensive distance learning” status by its accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS). Previously, all master’s students were required to earn at least 30 hours of their degree on the main campus (or 18 “on campus” hours for students at extension hubs in Marietta, Ga., and Orlando, Fla. With comprehensive distance learning status, NOBTS can offer entire master’s degrees without these “on campus” requirements. Administrators told the board that while students will no longer be required to come to campus, workshops will likely remain an attractive option for extension students seeking specialized degrees and those who enjoy interacting with on-campus faculty as part of the main campus experience. SPRING/SUMMER 2014 | VISION 17




he very thought of door-to-door evangelism stirs fear in the hearts of even the most committed believers, including those in seminary. Fear about what to say. Fear of rejection. Fear of the unknown. Add something like physical blindness to the mix and the task becomes even more daunting. That was the situation facing Andy West—blind from birth—when he enrolled in the personal evangelism practicum course required for every student at NOBTS. Along with all the common fears about door-to-door evangelism, West also had a physical limitation to consider. West, a Master of Arts in Worship Ministries student, was not excited about the class. He was trepidatious and, perhaps, a bit skeptical that this type of evangelism would be effective, particularly because door-to-door witnessing is not his preferred method of sharing. “I generally do evangelism relationally, for obvious reasons,” West said. “Walking up to somebody and just talking to them is really intimidating when you can’t see what is going on. I was extremely nervous.” West was struggling to find a group of students that he could join with, so he asked if he could join with a group of professors. For many years, Dr. Preston Nix and Dr. Blake Newsom, along with several students, have gone out in the community to share their faith on Thursday afternoons. Nix agreed to team up with West. “I realized right away that this was going to be a challenge … getting in and out of cars, the sidewalks, the streets, the holes and the elevated houses,” Nix said. But the two quickly discovered a way to navigate the broken sidewalks and stairs in the neighborhood along Paris Avenue, just a few miles from campus. “I put my hand on his shoulder and we just started walking,” West said. “I used my cane as well.” When they arrived in the neighborhood the first time, Nix and West slowly made their way from door to door. Nix alerted West as they approached cracks and holes in the sidewalks and helped him up each step. They knocked on several doors and didn’t find anyone home. After a while they were able to engage

with a man sitting on his porch. Before long, the man prayed to receive Christ. According to Nix, West was astonished. West struggled to believe that this type of evangelism had worked so quickly. In just a few short minutes, they had led a stranger to the Lord. As his confidence grew, West began sharing his faith on his own when he was out in the city with his family. Two times stand out in West’s mind. In both of these cases, someone offered to help West and his family. In turn, West was able to share the gospel. According to West, one of the funniest things that happened during the 10-week personal evangelism experience was the time he helped Nix find the way to Children’s Hospital. That day, instead of going out in the community, Nix planned to go talk with a 16-year-old boy at Children’s Hospital. He asked West to join him. Nix had printed directions, but they wound up lost. After a while West offered to help. West punched the address into his iPhone and helped Nix navigate turn-by-turn to the hospital. “We got there and sat down and talked with the guy and he gave his life to Christ,” West said.

“Walking up to someBody and just talking to them is really intimidating when you CAN’T see what iS going on. I was extremely nervous.” andy west


the challenges of Seminary West, who grew up in the small town of Pitkin, La., experienced the call to preach during his senior year at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La. A history major in college, West wanted to attend a prestigious graduate school to seek a master’s degree and doctorate so he could teach history at a college. As he prayed about the decision, West sensed God’s call to become a pastor. The call to ministry confused West, but he surrendered to God. West and his wife, Joanna, moved to NOBTS in 2013 to train for pastoral ministry. The Wests have two daughters. The evangelism practicum course is hardly the first challenge West has faced since moving to NOBTS. Seminary courses require a lot of reading and that is a difficult task for


Andy West, left, and Dr. Preston Nix illustrate how they walked through the neighborhoods during West’s evangelism practicum.

a blind student. West relies heavily on electronic books and audio books. Much of his work is accomplished using Apple products, which come with built-in accessibility features for blind users. West said his iPhone and Mac computer have been great help in his study efforts. Apple also allows users to save individual accessibility settings on a portable flash drive and use those settings on any Mac computer simply by plugging in the drive. West has also discovered a free resource called Optasia Ministry. The organization offers blind users a CD filled with blind-accessible documents including more than 20 Bible translations, commentaries (modern and classic), foreign language materials, and multiple versions of the Hebrew Old Testament text. “The challenge is that half of the publishers of Christian books don’t put their books on an e-book format of any kind,” West said. Braille books are rarely available or are too costly for a seminary student. West said that a Braille version of the Bible costs around $600 and, at close to 20-volumes, will fill up a small bookshelf. West often finds that a required textbook or supplemental resource is not available in a format he can use. When that happens, West asks classmates to meet with him to read the text aloud or for the students to make audio recordings that West can listen to on his computer.

“That’s the struggle,” West said. “You hate to ask people to take their time and read slower than they normally would. But they all seem to like doing it.” Two of the men who have read for West have also become some of his best friends at seminary, he said.

a willingness to Go The experience that West had in personal evangelism practicum was life-changing. Though he had many excuses not to go out, God still rewarded his willingness. And eventually, West’s hesitance and skepticism melted away, and he began to look forward to Thursday afternoons. Though no one said it, West believes the fact that he was blind yet still willing to go out and witness was as big of a testimony to the people as his words. And people responded. “For whatever reason, God used what we did and how we did it,” West said. Nix, an experienced evangelist, was amazed by the response. The first four weeks the group went out, at least one person came to Christ. “It has never happened like that before … four in a row,” Nix said. “I think God honored Andy’s obedience,” Nix added. “I think God was using [Andy’s blindness] to soften hearts to hear the gospel and soften hearts toward his Savior.”  SPRING/SUMMER 2014 | VISION 19


Rhonda Kelley co-authors communication guide for women; serves as editor for study Bible



n idea that began with a simple joke set Rhonda Harrington Kelley on a decade-long journey that culminated in a new book, “Talking is a Gift: Communication Skills for Women.” The book, co-written by Monica Rose Brennan, serves as a communication guide for women who minister to other women. It all started some 10 years ago when New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley introduced his wife at an event. During the introduction, he quipped that his wife had three spiritual gifts not listed in the Bible: sleeping, shopping and talking. The joke was well-received by the crowd, but Rhonda Kelley didn’t forget that connection of talking with spiritual gifts. Later while reading in 1 Peter 4, she came across the words “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.” She began contemplating a simple but profound truth: There is an inherent connection between verbal communication and many of the spiritual gifts. “So many of the spiritual gifts like teaching, administration, exhortation and mercy must use words to minister to others,” Kelley said. “That resonated in my heart and mind. Talking is a gift. It is a gift that God gives us to minister to others.” From her teaching experience in the women’s ministry program at NOBTS, Kelley knew that a textbook was needed for women’s public speaking courses at seminaries and Christian colleges. For years the only public speaking textbooks specifically targeting women have been from a secular perspective or have been Christian books with too narrow of a focus. Most of the “speaking” books from a Christian perspective have targeted men and focused on preaching. “One of the reasons I felt it was so important to have a public speaking book written by a woman for women is because men and women are different and we communicate differently,” Kelley said. When B&H Academic published its first academic book for women’s ministry in 2008 – “Women Leading Women” by Jaye Martin and Terri Stovall – Kelley wrote a proposal for “Talking is a Gift” and ultimately secured a publishing deal with B&H Academic. “Talking is a Gift” is the second women-focused publication by B&H Academic. As Kelley began fleshing out the details of the book, she began to think about the advantages a co-author could bring to the project. She immediately thought of Brennan, who teaches women’s ministry at Liberty University. Kelley knew that Brennan would bring a unique perspective to the project. Not only is she from a younger generation, she also teaches on the collegiate level. The book is divided in three sections: interpersonal communication, verbal communication and non-verbal communication. Two-thirds of the material focuses on verbal communication skills such as preparing, delivering and 20 VISION | SPRING/SUMMER 2014

The Study Bible for Women published by Holman


new study Bible compiled by women for women with special attention to passages of interest to women was recently published by Holman Bible Publishers. The Study Bible for Women was produced by an all-female team of scholars led by Dorothy Kelley Patterson, wife of Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson. Rhonda Harrington Kelley, wife of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley, served as managing editor. The Study Bible for Women, which features the full text of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, includes an introduction for each book explaining key themes, outlining the book and situating it in its historical context. Study notes highlight important truths and provide insights on difficult passages. At the end of each book is a devotional application for women. Woven throughout are explanations of foundational doctrines, profiles of biblical women, discussions of biblical womanhood, word studies and answers to hard questions prompted by Scripture. 

evaluating speeches, Kelley said. The authors also help provide a general foundation for communication and discuss the gender dynamics of communication. Each chapter ends with a series of questions to help readers process and implement particular communication skills. B&H Academic supplemented the printed material with online bonus material accessed through QR (quick response) codes and unique web addresses. The web-based material gives readers access to videos of Kelley and Brennan explaining key communication issues related to women. “The book has some technical information, because it is an academic textbook,” Kelley said. “But our desire is that it would also be helpful to lay leaders. Many women in the church are having opportunities to teach and speak in different ways.” NOBTS and several colleges have already implemented “Talking is Gift” in the classroom. Women’s ministry classes at The Baptist College of Florida, the University of Mobile, Ouachita Baptist University and Liberty University are all using the book this semester. NOBTS used the book during March workshops.  “Talking is a Gift” is available for purchase through LifeWay Christian Stores and Amazon in hardback and electronic form. For more information, visit or “like” the “Talking is a Gift” page on Facebook.


Faculty Promotions








DR. DAVID LEMA promoted to Associate Professor of Theology and Missions (ministry-based) DR. JEFF NAVE promoted to Professor of Psychology and Counseling DR. JIM PARKER promoted to Professor of Biblical Interpretation DR. DONNA PEAVEY promoted to Professor of Childhood Education DR. LORETTA RIVERS promoted to Professor of Social Work DR. GREG WOODWARD promoted to Associate Professor of Conducting and granted tenure


NOBTS Provost Steve Lemke, right, speaks with Bob Faw of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly during the filming of the “New Calvinism” segment that aired on PBS stations April 3. Dr. Rhyne Putman, Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture, was also interviewed by PBS for the segment on the rise of Calvinism among some Southern Baptists. Portions of the interview were set on the campuses of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The episode may be viewed online at religionandethics/

Brown to serve as church and community ministries professor


OBTS trustees elected Kevin Brown as Assistant Professor of Church and Community Ministries at NOBTS. Brown brings a wealth of experience in church-related community work in New Orleans to his new role at the seminary. Brown will occupy the newly-formed Caskey Chair of Church and Community Ministries. “The appointment of Kevin Brown is evidence of the commitment that the seminary trustees, administration, and faculty have to prepare ministers to engage actively and organically with local communities,” said Ian Jones, Chair of the Church and Community Ministries Division. “He has a heart for the gospel and a biblical commitment to bring its message to

people who are often overlooked and neglected, through churchdriven programs of ministry-based evangelism.” Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Wheaton College and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is currently studying in the Doctor of Philosophy in urban studies program at the University of New Orleans. For the past 16 years, Brown has served as the executive director of the Trinity Christian Community, a faith-based nonprofit located in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans. In addition to his work in ministry and community development, Brown taught pastoral counseling at the School of Urban Missions in New Orleans and served as a field placement supervisor for Master of Social Work students at Tulane University.  SPRING/SUMMER 2014 | VISION 21

1st Sabbatical Journey 2nd Sabbatical Journey 3rd Sabbatical Journey

Three Sabbaticial Journeys of Rex Butler BY FRANK MICHAEL MCCORMACK


ince his sabbatical leave began Aug. 1, 2013, Rex Butler — Professor of Church History and Patristics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary — has crisscrossed the globe, amassing nearly 37,000 travel miles, all with a dual purpose to his sabbatical research project. “My overall goal was to make theological education available to pastors in international settings where theological education is needed but is not readily available,” Butler said. “And my secondary goal was to find places where Christians either were currently experiencing or had experienced some form of persecution and suffering.” The first goal reflects Butler’s passion for teaching ministersin-training in a seminary setting. Butler left a previous career as a shoes salesman to earn a Ph.D. degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and pursue a calling to teach. In 2004, he began teaching online classes for NOBTS. He then joined the campus-based faculty in 2007. His second goal — offering theological education in places where Christians have experienced or currently experience persecution or suffering — connects with one his areas of expertise: persecution in the early church. “The study of Christian suffering has been one of my research interests ever since I did my dissertation on The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas,” Butler said. Butler soon settled on three countries that satisfied those two goals in various ways: an undisclosed country in East Asia, Cuba and Ukraine.

JOURNEY TO EAST ASIA Butler traveled first to East Asia, teaching in two large cities in September 2013. While there, he taught “Christian doctrines” in a workshop-style format. This was Butler’s third time to visit this country (unnamed due to security concerns). And yet unlike prior trips, he said he experienced anxiety leading up to his sabbatical visit due to the nature of his mission: teaching pastors of illegal, unregistered, underground churches. “On the day I was scheduled to leave, I really had kind of a crisis of nerves about the prospect of this journey to do something I had never done before,” he said. “But then I remembered that 20 years ago I was a shoe salesman. God has brought me from selling shoes in Lubbock, Texas, to serving on the faculty of New Orleans Baptist Seminary, so certainly he 22 VISION | SPRING/SUMMER 2014

could carry me from New Orleans to [East Asia] and make it possible for me to teach there. “That sustained me for that 30-hour itinerary from New Orleans to the place where I first taught,” he said. After Butler arrived in the city, a group of Christians picked him up from his hotel, taking care to conceal him in the back seat of the car. “I practically was smuggled in,” Butler said. “We pulled up to the door and I was told to go straight into the church and they would bring my books and my bag. They didn’t want attention called to the fact that a foreigner was visiting this church.” Butler explained that the country’s government strictly regulates religious activity of all kinds there. Registered, legal churches are regulated in number and, at times, subject matter taught. The government’s heavy regulation of registered churches has given rise to exponential growth of unregistered, illegal house churches there. However, because those house churches operate “underground” and are expanding at such a rapid rate, their pastors oftentimes have little to no formal theological training. “Because they are operating underground, they’re all bivocational pastors,” Butler said. “They cannot go to seminary, as do the pastors of the registered churches.” Butler had 28 students in the first location, which met in part of an apartment building the church leased. In the second location, nine students gathered in someone’s private apartment. He spent about two and a half days teaching in each location. “In both locations where I taught, the people loved to sing and worship, and they do so exuberantly with raised hands,” he said. “I enjoyed participating in that worship to the best of my ability.” Butler said after his classes he was able to spend some time touring another part of the country with his sister, who lives there and ministers in one of the larger registered churches. He’s seen first hand the dynamic ministry of both the large registered churches and the small underground churches. “There’s a huge need for churches, and as long as the government regulates the number of registered churches, there will be underground churches to meet Dr. Rex Butler in East Asia. the needs of the people,” he said.



Butler followed his solo trip to East Asia in September 2013 by joining a large group that traveled to Santiago, Cuba, the following month. Bill Warren, professor of New Testament and Greek at NOBTS and a former missionary to Colombia, leads trips to Santiago several times a year. Butler taught church history at the Eastern Cuba Baptist Seminary in Santiago. “There were 18 of us going to Cuba, and at that time, that was the largest group Bill had ever led to Cuba,” Butler said. One member of the group, Jessica McMillan — a Ph.D. student at NOBTS — is fluent in Spanish and translated Butler’s lectures and his presentations. “They were very eager students,” he said. “Each one of them traveled a great distance and at great expense to come to the seminary.” In addition to his class lectures, Butler spoke in several churches, including to new church members following their baptism at the Baptist church in El Cobre (west of Santiago). “I read from Romans 6:3–10, and I added three commands from the Word,” he said. “Walk in newness of life. Live in the likeness of his resurrection. Die to sin and live to God.” Butler and Warren also taught one night at an “academy” in a church in Santiago. People who feel led to take on leadership roles in the church PHOTO BY FRANK MICHAEL MCCORMACK are required to complete a Christian Butler preaches during a baptism service foundations course in El Cobre, Cuba. of study through the “academy.” In Cuba, as in the East Asian country where Butler taught, there is an explosion of new believers, with churches and leaders sprinting to keep up. “The people of Cuba are so hungry for the gospel that they’re crowding into churches that are not adequate for the numbers,” he said. “There is a spiritual awakening taking place in Cuba of historic proportions. [The East Asian country he visited] is the number one fastest region for Christian growth, and Cuba is number two.”


Butler’s third journey was to Odessa Theological Seminary in Odessa, Ukraine. Odessa is located on the Black Sea, just under 300 miles from Crimea, the Ukrainian region that voted March 16 to secede and join Russia. Butler left April 3 — just a couple weeks after Russia’s disputed takeover of Crimea — to teach spiritual formation to 10 seminary students and to speak in churches. A week before Butler was scheduled to leave for Ukraine, the U.S. State Department issued a stern warning against

Americans traveling there. Reports at the time also said Russia was amassing troops near the eastern border of Ukraine. At the same time, Butler knew that two other visiting professors had already canceled their trips to Odessa Seminary, and the academic session really did depend on Butler’s course. The night the travel warning was issued, Butler and his wife, Margie, committed the matter to prayer. “When I got up the next morning, I looked for some direction from God’s Word,” Butler said. “My scheduled daily Bible reading was from Numbers. The passage was the story of the 12 spies going into the promised land. The 10 unfaithful spies said, ‘There are giants in the land; do not go,’ but the two faithful spies said, ‘The LORD is with us; do not be afraid.’ “I applied the principle of that story to my situation and realized the Lord is with me, do not be afraid,” he said. When Butler conveyed that word to Margie, she said God too had led her to a passage, 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In Ukraine, Butler visited and spoke in churches in two consecutive weekends and taught his course in between. In the churches of Ukraine, Butler said he saw a resemblance to congregations in Cuba. “Church here reminds me of church in Cuba – not as much competition from other activities, so Christian fellowship is more valued,” he said. In his students, Butler saw similarities to his classes at NOBTS. “Their ages vary from 20s to 40s. Most of them – but not all – are married with children. Most minister in rural settings. A few have secular jobs and minister bi-vocationally. Several students commute from about two hours away – from Moldova,” Butler said. “Other than the part about Moldova, they sound a lot like students at NOBTS!” Butler said he could see the tension from the UkrainianRussian conflict on the faces of the church people and his students in and around Odessa. Ukrainian Baptists are especially concerned that, should Russia gain more control, the Russian Orthodox Church would target Protestant churches, which the it considers to be heretical sects. In the weeks since Butler’s visit, Odessa has experienced a serge in violence and urest by pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian citizens. Whatever comes to pass in Ukraine, Butler said he will follow it from a much more personal perspective. “In the coming weeks and months, the crisis here in Ukraine will seem much more personal to me, and I hope that I can make it personal to my family, friends and NOBTS community,” he said. “There are so many needs for prayer – starting with the faculty and students of Odessa Seminary, and expanding throughout the whole nation. Certainly the nation needs political peace, but even more, spiritual peace. As the Ukrainians say, ‘Слава Butler prepares to speak in богу’ (Slava Bogu), or in chapel at Odessa Seminary in English, ‘Glory to God!’”  Ukraine. SPRING/SUMMER 2014 | VISION 23



The book is available from online booksellers.


King, Bill (M.Div. ‘80, D.Min. ‘95) has two new books that were published by Oak Tara Publishers. But You Shall Receive Power is a Christian novel and Clean Up The House Boys, Mama Has Hired a Maid is Christian humor. King is director of missions in Opelika, Ala., and also has a ministry of humor/music as Bro. Billy Bob Bohannon.

Kelly, George (Dip. CT ‘59), and his wife, Betty Kelly, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on July 3, 2013. George continues to serve as a Chaplain with the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary in the Texas Wing.


Carlson, Dr. Neal (Th.M ‘60) has written a book titled The Marriage Knot: A Slip Knot or a Hard Knot. The book is available from online booksellers. Carlson is pastor of the Internet Church in the Son. For more information, visit Justice, William G. (B.Div. ‘61) has published his 39th book, titled “Life Wish Versus Death Wish.” Nutt, Kenneth (B.R.E. ‘61) just retired from Hebron Baptist Church in Summerfield, La., where he has ministered since 1955 (58 years). For 44 of those 58 years, he also served as pastor of Summerfield Baptist Church. Taylor, Cecil Ray (ThM ‘69) retired June 30 as Dean and Professor of Christian Ministries at the University of Mobile. He and his wife, Reeda, have moved to Marshall, Texas, to continue ministry closer to family.


Shaw, Dr. Mike (M.Th. ‘73, D.Min. ‘76), pastor of First Baptist Church of Pelham, Ala., will retire from the pastoral ministry as of May 31, 2014.


Forbus, Rick (MCM ‘80) is the CEO and managing partner of Trove, Inc. Rick holds a Ph.D. in Human Relations and Leadership and has an extensive coaching client portfolio. Lursen, Rev. Terry (MRE ‘84) has published his first book titled The Treasure Within the Kingdom of God. 24 VISION | SPRING/SUMMER 2014

Paul, James T. (‘88) has announced his retirement and has moved to Rome, Ga. He is available for interim, supply or bi-vocational ministry. Contact him by phone at 706.237.7777 or 706.835.5874 or by mail at 3 Habersham Ct. N.W. Rome, GA 30165.


Dolan, Lew (M.Div. ‘90) retired from the Navy Chaplain Corps after 24 years of service. Of the more than 200 Reserve Navy Chaplains, he was one of eight who mobilized and deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. He also accepted a position as Worship Pastor with First Baptist Church of Mossy Head, Fla., and is the chaplain for Regency Hospice in Fort Walton Beach and Defuniak Springs, Fla. Glasgow, Jay (M.Div. ‘96) of Charleston, S.C., is a chaplain with the Roper St. Francis Healthcare System in Charleston. Rogers, Alan (M.Div. ‘93) was recently elected as moderator for the Hamilton County Baptist Association in Chattanooga, Tenn. He currently serves as pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Soddy Daisy, Tenn. Swenson, Wendy (BA ‘99) has published five workbooks through Leader Resources that can be viewed online at


Baye, John Claiborne Jr. (D.Min. ‘05) is the Patient and Family

Outreach Coordinator for the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System’s Office of Cultural Transformation. Officially, he is the “Voice of the Veteran” for the system. Baye is also able to serve as an unofficial chaplain to patients who request it. From volunteering to being offered his current position, Baye said, “I thank God each day for this opportunity.” Dowdy, Dr. Jeff (D.Min. ‘08) is senior pastor at First Baptist Church, Swannanoa, N.C., near Asheville, N.C. He and his wife, Melody, have two children, Keaton (11) and Gentry Rose (8). Feldman, Adam L. (M.Div. ‘03), founding pastor of Metanoia Church in Ellicott City, Md., published Journaling: Catalyzing Spiritual Growth Through Reflection, a book about the spiritual discipline of journaling. The book is available in print and electronic formats from online booksellers. Learn more at Franz, Steve (B.Min. ‘08, M.Div. ‘12) is an adjunct professor at Shorter University in Rome, Ga., in the Christian Studies department. He is also the founder of Steve Franz Evangelistic Ministries, Inc., and works as an evangelist with the Georgia Baptist Convention. Sibley, Warren T. (M.Div. Leadership ‘08), and his wife, Myradel DuBard Sibley (M.Div. Missions, ‘04), recently moved to Ft. Knox, Ky., where he serves as the Chaplain for the Warrior Transition Battalion.


Davis, Michael L. (D.Ed.Min. ‘11) is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Education program at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Wilbanks, Michael (M.Div ‘11) is pastor of Thaxton Baptist Church in Thaxton, Miss.


2014 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Jeanine Bozeman

M.R.E., ‘69; Ph.D., ‘84 Senior Professor of Social Work, New Orleans Seminary

Tommy Green

M.Div., ‘83; Th.D., ‘89 Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Brandon, Florida

John Killian

M.Div., ‘97; D.Min., ‘05 Pastor, Maytown Baptist Church, Maytown, Alabama

Alumni luncheon set for June 11 in Baltimore


ew Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s Alumni Relations Office will host a reunion luncheon for alumni and friends, Wednesday, June 11, at the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore. Immediately following the morning session, the luncheon will be served in the Key Ballroom 3/4/6, Level 2 at the Hilton Baltimore Hotel. In addition to connecting with friends and former classmates, NOBTS President Chuck Kelley will update attendees on the previous year’s developments and activities at the seminary. The Distinguished Alumni for 2014 will be honored and national alumni officers will be elected. The meal will include chopped


Achord, Edna J., of Baton Rouge, La., passed away Oct. 31, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband Arthur T. Achord (BDiv’57). She is survived by her daughter and other family members. Aden, Tommie L. (MRE ‘53), of Eupora, Miss., passed away Jan. 14, 2014. She was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Manerd Aden (BDiv’60). She is survived by one son, Keith Aden, and other family members.

salad, pecan crusted chicken, pot roast, roasted new potatoes with rosemary and cracked pepper, roasted seasonal vegetables, apple cranberry cobbler, and chocolate and dried fruit bread pudding. Tickets are $20 per person if purchased by May 31, $25 afterward. To purchase a ticket before the convention, send a check payable to NOBTS to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Attn: Alumni Relations, 3939 Gentilly Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70126. Tickets are also available online at All luncheon tickets may be picked up at the seminary’s booth in the Exhibit Hall during the SBC annual meeting. Tickets also may be purchased during the convention at the NOBTS exhibit. 

Alford, Brewster V. Jr. (attended ’78), of Bogalusa, La., passed away April 9, 2007.

Nov. 12, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Pamela Antill, and other family members.

Allen, Wade (BDiv ’57), of Pontotoc, Miss., passed away Sept. 13, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Betty Allen, and other family members.

Atkins, Athol J. (BDiv ’55, MRE ’56), of Midland, Texas, passed away Jan. 18, 2014. He is survived by his daughter, Christina, and other family members.

Amos, Geraldine O. (MRE ’59), of New Orleans, La., passed away March 17, 2014. She is survived by her sister and other family members. Antill, Chris S. (MCM ’94), of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., passed away

Atkinson, Donald A. (DMin ’77), of Franklin, Tenn., passed away Dec. 5, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Diann Atkinson, and other family members.


ALUMNI NEWS Augustin, Percide, of Port Charlotte, Fla., passed away Jan. 27, 2012. She is survived by her husband, Jean P. Augustin (ACS ‘99, MACE’09), and other family members.

Brown, Jack R. (BDiv’65 exchanged for MDiv 1972, DMin’81), of Northport, Ala., passed away Sept. 12, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Naomia Brown, and other family members.

Barnett, George B. (MDiv ’76), of Pass Christian, Miss., passed away Jan. 19, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Louise Cunningham Barnett, and other family members.

Brown, Kenneth L. (MDiv ’75), of Bella Vista, Ark., passed away Jan. 22, 2014. He is survived by his precious wife of 42 years, Donna June Pike Brown, and other family members.

Bell, Bruce D. (attended ’10), of Sarasota, Fla., passed away Oct. 15, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Jackie Bell, and other family members.

Bryan, Betty S. (attended ’48), of Hoover, Ala., passed away Feb. 28, 2013.

Bishop, William “Bill” F. Jr. (BDiv ’61, exchange for MDiv ‘73), of Leesville, S.C., passed away April 30, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Ann Bishop, and his son William Paul Bishop. Brady, Jason (attended ‘13), of Lake Arthur, La., passed away March 2, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Kelly Brady, and other family members. Brantley, Clovis (DPCT’40), of Decatur, Ga., passed away March 1, 1979. Broadway, Joe (BDiv ’64), of Temple, Texas, passed away April 15, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Johnnie Broadway, and other family members. Brock, Charles Chalmus (BDiv’62), of Zephyrhills, Fla., passed away Jan. 31, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Frances Brock (DPRE ’62). Broughton, Durwood L. (MDiv’77), of Gulfport, Miss., passed away Oct. 17, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Ann Broughton, and other family members. Brown, Cecil O. (B’Div’60, DMin’82), of Gadsden, Ala., passed away Dec. 11, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Ollie L. Brown. 26 VISION | SPRING/SUMMER 2014

Bryant, Willis (attended ’57), of Seminary, Miss., passed away March 29, 2006. He is survived by his wife, Victoria Bryant. Bryon, Emma G., of Pontotoc, Miss., passed away Feb. 14, 2014. She was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Edward R. Bryon Jr. (BDiv’62). She is survived by her daughters, Jennifer Bryon Owen and Amelia Bryon Damroth, and other family members. Burch, Lucius R. Jr. (MRE ’76, DMin ’78), of Eastman, Ga., passed away Dec. 12, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary Lou Holdway Burch, and other family members. Butler, Billy C. (attended ‘97), of Pensacola, Fla., passed away Oct. 26, 1998. He is survived by his wife, Anita Butler. Cabaniss, Sarah H. (MRE ’53) of Richardson, Texas, passed away Jan. 19, 2014. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Bill Cabaniss, and other family members. Carlson, Nancy, of King City, Calif., passed away Aug. 20, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Neal Carlson (BDiv ’60 exchanged for MDiv ’73), and other family members.

Clark, Ernest D. (BDiv ’53), of Daleville, Va., passed away Nov. 26, 2013. He was preceded by his faithful wife of 53 years, Mary Stroud Clark. He is survived by his children and other family members. Clawson, William M. (ThM ’51, ThD ’60), of Hattiesburg, Miss., passed away Oct. 3, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Kathryn Clawson, and other family members. Cleary, Thomas A. (BDiv ’63), of Saint Petersburg, Fla., passed away March 19, 2014. He is survived by his loving wife, Joyce Cleary, and other family members. Cliburn, Edwin L. (BDiv ’54), of Thomaston, Ga., passed away Feb. 1, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Wilson Cliburn, and other family members. Cohron, James Jr. (attended ’92), of Youngsville, N.C., passed away July 21, 2013. He is survived by his parents and other family members. Corley, Jefferson D. (ThM ’51, ThD ’54), of Arkadelphia, Ark., passed away March 1, 2014. He was preceded by his wife, Marjorie Lynell Corley. He is survived by his two daughters, Betty Colgrove and Cindy Viala, and other family members. Cosby, James Haywood (BDiv ’62), of Chattanooga, Tenn., passed away Jan. 6, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, June Mattheiss Cosby, and other family members. Crawley, Willard K. Sr. (MDiv ’80), of Horn Lake, Miss., passed away Dec. 2, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Barbara Gail Long Crawley, and other family members. Crowley, Ben (MDiv ’01), of Little Rock, Ark., passed away March 20, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Amanda Crowley, and other family members.

ALUMNI NEWS Davis, Gary G. (attended ‘95), of Brookhaven, Miss., passed away June 26, 2007. He is survived by his wife, Concepcion (Connie) Uballde Davis, and other family members. Day, Stephanie L., of Shreveport, La., passed away Dec. 4, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Matt Day (MACE ’05), and other family members. Matt is the Extension Center Director at the NOBTS North Louisiana Center. Dixon, Eloise S. (DPRE ’55), of Vaughan, Miss., passed away Aug. 16, 2013. She is survived by her daughters, Doris Dixon and Bettie Knight, and son, Ivey Dixon, and other family members. Dixon, William T. Jr. (BDiv ’55), of Vaughan, Miss., passed away Jan. 18, 2014. He is survived by his daughters, Doris Dixon and Bettie Knight, and son, Ivey Dixon, and other family members. Dowdle, Therese A., of Columbus, Miss., passed away Sept. 29, 2005. She is survived by husband, Samuel M. Dowdle (MRE’84). Duke, James W. (BDiv ’64), of Hamilton, Ala., passed away Nov. 8, 2005. He is survived by his wife, Pauline Duke.

Edens, Pauline R. (DPCT ’42), of Richmond, Va., passed away Feb. 27, 2009.

Hampton, Preston B. (BDiv ’61), of Blackshear, Ga., passed away May 24, 2002.

Falvey, Julius E. (attended ’00) of Baker, La., passed away Jan. 17, 2013. He is preceded in death by his wife, Lillian Falvey. He is survived by his five daughters and other family members.

Harris, Ronald M., of Carson City, Nev., passed away June 11, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Shirley Harris (CWA ’02, CWMA ’03), and other family members.

Ford, J. L. (BDiv ’53), of Nashville, Tenn., passed away March 11, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ford, and other family members. Fulmer, Jeffery L. (attended ’93), of Boaz, Ala., passed away Sept. 12, 2012.

Heath, Wylie L. (MDiv ’75, DMin ’77), of Dallas, Texas, passed away Sept. 29, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife, Allison, and other family members.

Gibson, James Clifford (MCM ’70), of Nashville, Tenn., passed away Nov. 9, 2013. He is survived by his lovely wife, Barbara P. Gibson, and other family members.

Hill, Lathan Jr. (MDiv ’06) of Nederland, Texas, passed away Jan. 3, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Vicky Beth Hill, and other family members.

Grice, Robert E. (ThM ’70), of Dothan, Ala., passed away Oct. 25, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Ann Grice, and other family members.

Hock, Lowell E. (ThM ’67), of Memphis, Tenn., passed away Feb. 19, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and other family members.

Gutierrez, Frank (MRE ’72, EdD ’79), of Bogalusa, La., passed away March 9, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Doris Crawford Gutierrez, and other family members.


Providence Fund New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary


giving changes lives

Hatchell, Mark S. (attended ’07), of Denham Springs, La., passed away Nov. 10, 2011.

Horne, Ralph L. (MDiv ’98), of Phenix City, Ala., passed away Feb. 7, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Marcy Head Horne, and other family members.

Every dollar you give to the Providence Fund is a dollar that does not have to come out of a student’s pocket. In other words, every gift, no matter how large or how small, makes a difference. We count on your partnership and your ongoing support to help keep tuition affordable for those called to pursue a theological education. For more information please contact Randy Driggers in The Office for Institutional Advancement.

Randy Driggers Vice President for Institutional Advancement Toll-free 1-800-662-8701, ext. 3252 Email: 3939 Gentilly Boulevard New Orleans, LA 70126

ALUMNI NEWS James, Felix (MACE ’91), of New Orleans, La., passed away Feb. 23, 2014. He is survived by his wife, Florence Bernard James, and other family members. Jaye, Robert M. (BDiv ’63, ThM ’69), of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., passed away Oct. 16, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife, Janet Brannon Jaye, and other family members. Knapp, Carlos E. (attended ’96), of Miami, Fla., passed away Dec. 26, 2011. Johnson, Audrey J. (MRE ’76), of Humble, Texas, passed away Jan. 23, 2014. She is survived by her husband, Felix Johnson Jr., and other family members. Joseph-Lee, Geraldine (ADPM ’84, MDiv ’89), of Lafayette, La., passed away Dec. 4, 2013. She is survived by her children, Vickie Ryan and Bridget Ryan-Lindon, and other family members. Keller, Edna A. (MRE ‘63), of Fairhope, Ala., passed away Jan. 12, 2014. She is survived by one niece, Freda K. McDonald, and one nephew, Arthur V. Keller, and special friends. Langner, E. Eugene Jr. (DMin ’83), of Phenix City, Ala., passed away Dec. 18, 2013. He is survived by his father and other family members. Lerch, Norman (BDiv ’47), of Owasso, Okla., passed away Feb. 11, 2014. He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris. Lewis, J. C. Sr. (MRE ’50), of Gallatin, Tenn., passed away March 2, 2014. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Anna Bradbury Lewis, and other family members. Long, Wayne W. (ThM ’69), of Pearl, Miss., passed away Nov. 10, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Dorothy Blakenship Long, and other family members.


NOBTS remembers Jim Gibson


ames “Jim” C. Gibson, age 69, Nashville, Tenn., died November 9, 2013, after an extended illness. He was preceeded in death by his parents and brother, Hugh Ronald Gibson. Survivors include his lovely wife, Barbara P. Gibson; daughter, Jennifer, and her husband, Judd Austin; grandchildren, Savannah Norton and Connor Norton; and son, Jonathan Earl Gibson. Gibson earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and the Master of Church Music degee from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. In 2005, Gibson received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from NOBTS. Gibson held three strategic roles over 12 years at LifeWay Christian Resources/Baptist Sunday School Board, from which he retired in 2004: Director of Music, Publishing, & Recording (2001-2004); Associate Director of Music Ministries Department (1997-2001); and Youth/Adult Music Consultant (1976-81). At LifeWay, Jim led in innovation with first-to-evangelical market downloadable music products and DVD choral accompaniment tracks. He created a song copyright publishing segment of LifeWay, including the hiring of a creative director and songwriters. After he retired from LifeWay, Gibosn served as a member of the Executive Selection Committee for The Baptist Hymnal (2008) published by LifeWay. Lyon, Johnnie D. (MRE ‘80), of Crystal Springs, Miss., passed away Jan. 9, 2013. Martin, H. Lawrence (BDiv ’53), of Winter Park, Fla., passed away Jan. 14, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Carolyn Taylor, and other family members. McCullin, Charles L. (BDiv ’49, MRE ‘67,GSRE ‘69), of Homer, La., passed away March 3, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dora Fleming McCullin, and other family members. McDaniel, Shirlen A., of Altus, Okla., passed away Nov. 16, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Dr. Roy McDaniel (MDiv ’75, DMin ’78), and other family members. McRae, Ursula W. (attended ’63) of Orlando, Fla. passed away July 20, 2003.

Miles, Andrew L. Sr. (MDiv ’56), of Lyons, Ga., passed away Dec. 4, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Goolene Kent Miles, and other family members. Moore, Rev. Shields “Corky” (BDiv ’60 exchanged for MDiv ‘84), of St. Petersburg, Fla., passed away April 21, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Susan, and other family members. Newsom, Warren (BDiv ’56), of Jonesboro, La., passed away March 1, 1968. Odom, Tommy (ThM ‘71), of Lumberton, Miss., passed away April 3, 2012. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Betty Bozeman Odom, and other family members. Parsons-Brown, Betty J., of Bolivar, Mo., passed away Dec. 8, 2012. She is survived by her husband, Autry Brown (attended ‘56 and ‘65), and other family members.

ALUMNI NEWS Porter, Perry A. (MCM ’89), of Franklinton, La., passed away Jan. 18, 2014. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Marian Sylvest Porter, and other family members. Poston, Jerry F. (BDiv ’58), of Baton Rouge, La., passed away Oct. 21, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Ella Lois Jolly Poston, and other family members. Prather, O.D. (MSM ’56), of Dubach, La., passed away Nov. 30, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Colvin Prather, and other family members. Purvis, Rev. James T. Jr. (attended ‘60), of Macon, Ga., passed away July 31, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Doris Hicks Purvis, and other family members. Redding, Norman L. (BDiv ’58), of Starke, Fla., passed away Oct. 18, 1999. He is survived by his wife, Emma Jean (attended ’57). Reid, Wiley B. (attended ’59), of Brookhaven, Miss., passed away Nov. 27, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Katie McManus Reid, and other family members. Riley, Annie, of Houma, La., passed away Feb. 16, 2008. She was preceded in death by her husband, Isaac H. Riley (attended ‘65). She is survived by her children and other family members. Riley, Isaac H. (attended ‘65), of Houma, La., passed away Nov. 2, 2000. Riley, Vera A. (attended ’56), of Blythewood, S.C., passed away Aug. 09, 2012. She is survived by her husband, Rev. Clyde L. Riley. Rinas, Ernest (MDiv ’84), of Williston, Fla., passed away Oct. 26, 2013. He is survived by his daughter and other family members. Roberts, Don (BDiv ‘63), of Rayville, La., passed away Aug. 16, 2010. He is survived by his wife, Cascille Roberts.

Rogers, Warren S. (attended ’52), of Butler, Ala., passed away March 6, 2003. His wife Janice, passed away June 10, 2005. Rouse, Douglas W. Sr. (BDiv ’63), of Hattiesburg, Miss., passed away Nov. 17, 2013. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Lorraine Jackson Rouse, and other family members. Shell, Woodrow W. (BDiv ’58), of Georgiana, Ala., passed away Nov. 11, 2007. He is survived by his wife, Emma Jean Shell, and other family members. Shive, Joyce L. (MCM ’71), of Kingwood, Texas, passed away Feb. 26, 2014. She is survived by her husband, Alan Richard Shive, and other family members. Simmons, Mary (MCM ‘86), of Meridian, Miss., passed away March 24, 2014. She is preceded by her husband, Dr. Bob Simmons. She is survived by her children, Ann Brown and Doug Simmons, and other family members. Sisk, William K. (BDiv ’57), of Sturgis, Ky., passed away Oct. 27, 1993. He is survived by his wife, Mary Louise Sisk (attended ’54). Stender, Paul G. (ThM ’67), of Searcy, Ark., passed away Oct. 16, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Clydia Stender, and other family members. Thorn, John E. Jr. (MRE ’62) of Pensacola, Fla., passed away Nov. 3, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Lexie Thorn, and other family members. Tilley, W. Clyde (attended ’57), of Maryville, Tenn., passed away April 9, 2013. His wife, Nancy Howard Tilley, passed away the following day. They are survived by son, David Tilley, and daughter, Cherilyn Kerchner, and other family members.

Wade, Edward C. (MRE ’69, EDS ’72, EdD ’72), of Lexington, S.C., passed away Nov. 04, 2013. He is preceded in death by his faithful wife of 52 years, Elaine Foster Wade. He is survived by three sons and other family members. Weaver, Billie J., of Powder Springs, Ga., passed away June 9, 2011. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Bernard Weaver (BDiv ‘60), and other family members. Weber, Donna M. (attended ’79), of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., passed away Sept. 24, 2013. She is survived by her husband, Donald R. Weber, and other family members. Wentling, Mary Ellen (attended ’55), of Baltimore, Md., passed away April 2, 2013. She was preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Charles Wentling. She is survived by her children and other family members. Wilkins, Roger W. (MDiv ’77), of Hinesville, Ga., passed away Feb. 2, 2006. He is survived by his wife, Vicki Duckworth Wilkins, and other family members. Young, JoAnn T. (attended ’57), of Sulphur, La., passed away Nov. 27, 2013. She is survived by her children and other family members.

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