Trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary approved a new master’s degree in apologetics, appointed faculty to academic chairs in evangelism and biblical theology and received reports of double-digit enrollment increases during their spring meeting.
Steven Smith, vice president for student services and communications, noted a 12 percent increase in enrollment for spring 2014 over spring 2013. The Fort Worth, Texas, school experienced a 19 percent enrollment increase in its School of Theology for spring 2014, which does not include online students.
Trustees approved a 45-hour master of arts in Christian apologetics as well as a 15-hour certificate in Christian apologetics. The master’s degree includes courses in philosophy, apologetics and apologetics research. The certificate is a non-degree program for pastors and lay people who want to strengthen their ability to engage the world with the gospel. Among the courses in the certificate program are Christian Faith and Science, World Religions, God and Evil, Archaeology and Ancient Israel and Ethics.
Assistant professor of evangelism Matthew Queen was elected to the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism, effective Aug. 1. The position, also known as the Chair of Fire, was established by B.H. Carroll, the seminary’s founder, and was the first ever chair of evangelism in an academic institution. The position has been held by prominent Southern Baptist evangelists, including L.R. Scarborough, Roy Fish and most recently Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson.
Patterson praised Queen and other professors for kindling a fire for evangelism on campus.
“Due to Matt Queen, this place is a different place than it was three years ago,” Patterson told trustees April 9.
Queen has served as an evangelism professor since 2010, leading faculty and student efforts to evangelize every home within a two-mile radius of the seminary in addition to training churches in community evangelism strategies.
Trustees approved the establishment of the Jesse Hendley Chair of Biblical Theology and elected Craig Blaising, executive vice president and provost, to the position. Hendley was a prominent Southern Baptist evangelist and scholar who preached crusades around the world and hosted The Radio Evangelistic Hour, Atlanta’s first Christian radio broadcast, for more than 60 years.
Blaising has served at Southwestern since 2002 and specializes in eschatology, with numerous publications in the field.
J. Craig Kubic was elected as dean of libraries, effective Aug. 1. Kubic has served as Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s director of libraries since 1988 and fills the position left vacant by C. Berry Driver, who now serves as librarian at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Kubic earned his doctor of educational ministry from Midwestern (2006), his master of divinity from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (1982) and his master of library science from Louisiana State University (1979). Since 2006, Kubic has served as a chaplain for the United States Air Force Auxiliary.
Vern Charette was elected as assistant professor of preaching in the School of Theology, effective immediately. Charette has been serving as a preaching instructor at Southwestern since 2010 and received his doctor of philosophy in preaching from Southwestern in December 2013. He earned his master of theology from Southwestern (2007) and his master of divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (2004). Since 1995, Charette has served as an itinerate evangelist at revivals, conferences, camps and other venues.
Paul Gould was elected as assistant professor of philosophy and Christian apologetics in the School of Theology, effective immediately. Gould has been serving under presidential appointment since January. He earned his doctor of philosophy in philosophy from Purdue University (2010) and his master of arts in philosophy from Talbot School of Theology (2003). Prior to joining Southwestern’s faculty, Gould served on staff with CRU (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for 16 years.
Keith Loftin was elected as assistant professor of humanities in the College at Southwestern, the seminary’s undergraduate school, effective immediately. Loftin has been serving under presidential appointment since 2012. He earned his doctor of philosophy in philosophy and theology from the University of Aberdeen (2014), his master of arts in philosophy from Louisiana State University (2009) and his master of arts in humanities from the University of Dallas (2008).
Trustees re-elected chairman Steven M. James, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Lake Charles, La., and secretary John S. Brunson, an at-large trustee from Houston. Vice chairman Miles F. (Mike) Boyd, pastor of Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., declined re-nomination, and trustees elected Bart Barber, pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmersville, Texas, as the new vice chairman.
Among other items of business:
Trustees received a concluding report on the seminary’s 2009-2013 strategic plan and approved a five-year strategic plan for 2014-2019.
Trustees approved a 2014-2015 budget of $35.1 million, which represents a 6.7 percent increase over the 2013-2014 budget and includes a 3 percent raise for all faculty and fulltime staff, effective Aug. 1.
Trustees approved and endorsed the seminary’s Board of Visitors, a voluntary group designed to support the mission and ministry of the seminary.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Keith Collier is director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas (www.swbts.edu/campusnews).)