Monday, 4 June 2007

What is Happening to Our Seminaries and Theological Colleges? Part 1

On May 16, 2007, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, my alma mater, announced the resignation of James Emery White as President of the seminary, after less than one year in office.

Read the official announcement below:

The Board of Trustees of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary has appointed Dr. Haddon W. Robinson as Interim President, effective July 1, 2007. Dr. Robinson succeeds Dr. James Emery White, who has resigned, effective June 30, 2007, due to family considerations which resulted in his unanticipated inability to relocate as planned from North Carolina to Massachusetts. Dr. White will continue to teach as Professor of Theology and Culture at the Charlotte Campus.

Dr. Haddon W. Robinson is the Harold John Ockenga Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and is widely regarded as an expert in the area of preaching. Dr. Robinson was named among Christianity Today International’s Top 25 Most Influential Preachers from 1956 to 2006, and in an earlier Baylor University poll as one of the 12 most effective preachers in the English-speaking world. He is also Senior Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program at Gordon-Conwell.

Dr. Robinson holds a Th.M degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Prior to coming to Gordon-Conwell in 1991, Dr. Robinson was President of Denver Seminary for 12 years. He has also served as Director of the Dallas Youth for Christ, Associate Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Medford, Oregon, and an Instructor of Speech at the University of Illinois. In addition, he taught homiletics on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary for 19 years and served as General Director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society.

Commenting on the appointment, Thomas J. Colatosti, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said, “We are thrilled and grateful to God for bringing us a leader of Dr. Robinson’s distinction. He comes to us with a strong record of accomplishment as a leader in graduate theological education and national and international recognition as a scholar, teacher and preacher.”

Colatosti added, “We are grateful to Dr. White for his service as President and while we understand his family’s situation, we are deeply saddened by his resignation. Dr. White powerfully embraced, represented and communicated the trustees’ vision to more effectively equip men and women for pastoral and global ministry with a Christian worldview and to build stronger relationships with both the traditional and contemporary churches.”

In reflecting on his service as President, Dr. White commented, “It has been my privilege to work with the Gordon-Conwell trustees, faculty and staff to prepare some of the finest students in the world for ministry with a rigorous theological education. I am pleased with the progress the team has made on advancing a number of strategic initiatives to better position the seminary for the economic and pedagogical challenges facing theological education over the next decade.”

Dr. Robinson has worked extensively in radio and television broadcast media. He has served as host for the television program Film Festival, and is one of the hosts for Discover the Word, a radio program which is broadcast 600 times daily on stations around the world. He has served as an editor for the Theological Annual, as a contributing editor for Preaching, and as a fellow and senior editor for Christianity Today. He was president of the Evangelical Theological Society and has served on the executive committee for that group of evangelical scholars. He also serves on the boards of EvanTell, Marketplace Network, and the Evangelistic Association of New England.

A prolific writer, Dr. Robinson has edited the Christian Medical Society Journal, published articles in Christianity Today, Bibliotheca Sacra, Moody Monthly, the American Lutheran Magazine, and for Leadership and Decision magazines. He writes regularly for Our Daily Bread, a devotional that goes to seven million people each month. He has authored seven books: Psalm 23, Grief, Biblical Sermons, What Jesus Said about Successful Living, Decisions by the Book, It’s All in the Way You Tell It andBiblical Preaching, a text used by 120 seminaries and Bible colleges worldwide.

In accepting the appointment, Dr. Robinson said, “I am honored to be asked to serve during this transitional time. Gordon-Conwell is one of the leading evangelical seminaries in the world, with a rich history and an international reputation of rigorous academic standards in classical theological education. I look forward to carrying on in this tradition while building the necessary bridges to meet the new challenges of theological education and for preparing students for effective ministry.”

The Board of Trustees also announced that they have formed a Presidential Search Committee to seek a permanent president.

Mr. Colatosti concluded, “We are amazed at God’s grace for calling Dr. Robinson to this position. He is a person who has devoted his life to advancing Christ’s Kingdom in his preaching, writing, teaching and preparation of students for ministry. In his willingness to serve the Kingdom during a period of transition we see again his humility, his servant heart and his commitment to quality theological education.”

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