A black Baptist was named president of the non-denominational Fuller Seminary, marking the first time the school will be run by someone other than a white male and the third time a Baptist will take the helm.
David Emmanuel Goatley will come to Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., from Duke Divinity School, where he is currently Associate Dean for Academic and Professional Training, Research Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry, and Director of the Office of Black Church Studies. .
When he takes office on Jan. 3, 2023, Goatley will also become the first president to lead a major global mission agency. Prior to coming to Duke, Goatley served 20 years as CEO of Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society.
Fuller identifies as an “evangelical, multi-denominational academic institution committed to providing much-needed and formative education to diverse Christian leaders around the world. It operates two academic schools – the School of Mission and Theology and the School of Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy – offering master’s and doctoral programs to 3,000 students from 80 countries and 113 denominations.
Goatley will succeed Mark Labberton, who announced the planned transition in October 2021. He will become the 75-year-old institution’s director. sixth president. Only two others were Baptists: Edward John Carnell and David Allan Hubbard.
“David Goatley’s confluence of professional expertise in theology, psychology and missiology, together with his experience as an academic dean at a leading university, make him a remarkable partner for the Fuller Seminary at this pivotal moment in its history,” said Dan Meyer, chairman of the board of Fuller. “For 75 years, Fuller Seminary has been blessed with exceptionally caring, gracious, biblically grounded and culturally relevant presidents, and Dr. Goatley is another figure in that inspiring lineage.”
Of his new role, Goatley said: “It is a distinct honor to be part of this family and to succeed distinguished serving predecessors as sixth president. Innovation and imagination are no strangers to Fuller, and I am thrilled to follow the example of the Spirit in a new age of teaching, learning and service to the church and the world.
A native of Kentucky, Goatley earned a Bachelor of Science in Guidance and Counseling from the University of Louisville. From Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, he earned a master’s degree in theology with a focus on pastoral care and counseling and a doctorate. in theology. He is ordained at the National Baptist Convention USA and served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Campbellsville, Ky., for nine years.
A press release from the seminar said of Goatley: “His passion for justice is reflected in his activism around issues such as genocide, hunger, racism and inequality, serving in leadership roles for organizations such as as Kids Against Hunger, the Save Darfur Coalition and the NAACP. ”
Fuller Theological Seminary was founded in 1947 by radio evangelist Charles E. Fuller and Harold Ockenga, pastor of Park Street Church in Boston. Ockenga became the school’s first president. Among its early faculty members were Everett Harrison, Carl FH Henry, Harold Lindsell, and Wilbur Smith.
This intentionally non-denominational school opened its doors at a time when the word “evangelical” was emerging as opposed to the more restrictive term “fundamentalist”. Christianity today magazine, considered the flagship publication of evangelicalism, would not be founded for nine years.
George Marsden, writing in Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalismsaid the school’s founders hoped to reform the separatist, anti-intellectual stance of fundamentalism by creating a seminary that would become “a Caltech of the evangelical world”.
From the beginning, this placed Fuller at odds with the more traditional seminaries belonging to major denominations. For example, relatively few Southern Baptist congregations have hired Fuller pastors, although this has begun to change in recent years.
Fuller found himself at the center of theological debates on liberalism and conservatism, as well as biblical inerrancy, in the mid-twentieth century.
One of the seminary’s greatest claims to fame was the establishment of a World Mission School in 1965 and the hiring of esteemed missiologist Donald McGavran to be the first dean. Faculty members such as Alan Tippett, Ralph Winter, and Peter Wagner have been influential in the Protestant understanding and practice of missions and church planting.
The school’s website lists over 100 full-time “regular” faculty members, representing one of the largest seminary faculties in the nation.
Although diverse in many ways, Fuller has made clear her strong commitment to women in ministry: “Fuller welcomes women equally into all of its programs, and the seminary is committed to making its resources fully available to women as they pursue the professions and ministries in which they are engaged. the Lord called them. All who teach and study in Fuller’s programs must honor this commitment: Under no circumstances may class authority be used to challenge a student’s calling on the basis of gender.
Although he does not receive major financial support from a denomination, Fuller reports that 42% of his income comes from private donations, grants and contracts, which is triple the national average for post-secondary schools nationwide. Additionally, 53% of its revenue comes from tuition and fees, according to the Institute of Educational Sciences.
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