Norman Geisler, 86, co-founder of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in Charlotte, died July 1 in Charlotte.
Geisler announced his retirement from his teaching duties at SES “due to health reasons” at the end of April.
SES was co-founded with Ross Rhoads in 1992; Geisler was named as the school’s first dean. Rhoads, who died in May 2017, served as SES’ first president.
“Quite simply, Dr. Geisler has been the pre-eminent Christian apologist of the past half-century,” said Richard Land, SES president in a statement released by SES in April. “If they ever construct a Christian apologists’ Mount Rushmore, they would unquestionably start with Dr. Geisler’s visage. He has truly been one of God’s great gifts to His church. Southern Evangelical Seminary would not exist without Dr. Geisler’s vision and dedicated service over the past 27 years.
“The entire Southern Evangelical family – administration, faculty, students, alumni and members of the Board of Trustees – express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Geisler for his invaluable ministry both to SES and to the larger realm of Christendom for the past half-century and more,” Land added. “We join together in saying, ‘Thank you, Dr. Geisler, for your tremendous, God-honoring ministry, which has so positively impacted all of us in our walk with our Savior.’”
Geisler, the author of more than 125 books, taught theology, philosophy and apologetics at the college or graduate level for more than a half-century. Geisler also served as a professor at Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, Veritas Evangelical Seminary and SES.
He received education at William Tyndale College, the University of Detroit, the University of Detroit Graduate School, Wheaton College, Wheaton Graduate School, Wayne State University Graduate School, Northwestern University and Loyola University.
He served on the faculty or in administration of Wheaton College, Detroit Bible College, Trinity College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dallas Theological Seminary, the Liberty Center for Research and Scholarship, and SES.
In 2006, Geisler founded the International Society of Christian Apologetics, and in 2007, co-founded Veritas Evangelical Seminary, where he served in leadership since then.
He served numerous churches over the years as well: Northeast Suburban Youth for Christ (Detroit), Dayton Center Church (Silverwood, Mich.), River Grove Bible Church (River Grove, Ill.), Memorial Baptist Church (Warren, Mich.), Alumni of Detroit Bible College, Quest for Truth radio ministry and Southern Evangelical Church (Charlotte).
Geisler was married to his wife, Barbara Jean, for more than 60 years; they have six children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
During SES’ May 4 commencement ceremonies, Geisler was named president emeritus of SES. The school’s board of trustees also voted unanimously to rename its Veritas Graduate School “The Norman L. Geisler Graduate School of Apologetics.”
Visitation will be July 5 from 6-9 p.m. at Forest Lawn East Cemetery and Heritage Funeral Home, 3700 Forest Lawn Dr., Matthews, NC 28104. The funeral service will be Sat., July 6 at 3 p.m. at Calvary Church, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Charlotte, NC 28226. Exact details should be released later today.
SES will livestream the service from its Facebook page.
Memorials to: Norm Geisler International Ministries; include note “Norm’s Legacy.” Funds will be used to finish a documentary already in progress on Geisler’s life.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Updated July 2 with funeral and memorial information.)