As Faculty Marshal of Northern Baptist Seminary and Co-Chair of the Inaugural Committee, it is my pleasure to announce that Dr. William D. Shiell has become the eleventh president of Northern Baptist Seminary. He began his work at Northern on March 1, 2016.
Before coming to Northern Seminary, Dr. Shiell was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Tallahassee, Florida. Dr. Shiell obtained his Master of Divinity degree from George W. Truett Theological Seminary and his PhD in New Testament from Baylor University. Dr. Shiell has also served as an adjunct professor at Carson-Newman College.
In order to celebrate this auspicious event in the life of Northern Seminary, which has been serving the church since 1913, I would like to invite you, if you are able to attend, to be part of The Ceremony of Inauguration which will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. The inaugural ceremony will be held at Good Shepherd Church, 1310 Shepherd Drive, Naperville, Illinois 60565.
Since most readers of my blog do not know much about Northern Baptist Seminary, the place where I have been teaching for twenty-nine years, allow me to present a short biography of our new president and some basic information about Northern Baptist Seminary.
Dr. William D. Shiell
Dr. William D. Shiell is the eleventh President of Northern Seminary. A native of Pensacola, Florida, Dr. Shiell holds degrees from Samford University (B.A.) and Baylor University (M.Div., Ph.D.). He was named Outstanding Student of the first graduating class of George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in 1997.
Dr. Shiell and his wife Kelly met while in college at Samford. They have two sons, Parker (15) and Drake (9). Prior to coming to Northern, Dr. Shiell served as a Pastor of Baptist churches in Texas (McGregor and San Angelo); Tennessee (Knoxville); and Florida (Tallahassee). As Pastor, he led these churches through successful capital campaigns, administered disaster relief during Hurricane Katrina, and started a new church for the local Latino community. His churches have adopted two at-risk public elementary schools, renovated homes among the urban poor, engaged in racial reconciliation work in violent neighborhoods, and ordained women and men to the pastorate. He has served as an instructor for Howard Payne University; adjunct professor at Carson Newman University; and is currently Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching at Northern.
As a Pastor, Dr. Shiell served in denominational leadership on boards and committees of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Baptist News Global. Dr. Shiell has published four books, primarily in New Testament. His pioneering work on the book of Acts combined the best of New Testament rhetoric with ancient Greek and Roman art. His research interests are in the areas of the oral interpretation of scripture and the interaction of audiences with the speaker. He continues to research and write in the area of Performance Criticism as a member of the Society of Biblical Literature. His forthcoming book on Acts is a volume in a sermon-based commentary series called Contextualizing the Gospel.
Widely known for his public recitations of Scripture from memory, Dr. Shiell’s love of the Bible can be seen whenever he preaches. He has even performed the Gospel of Mark in its entirety from memory.
Dr. Shiell loves Christ, his family, and the church. An avid runner, he enjoys timing his boys when they swim competitively and occasionally has time for a round of golf. Dr. Shiell came to Northern because of his deep call to address racial reconciliation, to assist women and men in their callings to serve Christ, and to help Northern train pastors and leaders to be more effective for their call.
Northern Baptist Seminary
Since 1913, Northern Seminary has trained pastors and church leaders for ministry across the world. Chartered by the Second Baptist Church of Chicago, the founders envisioned a school that would focus on the needs of the local church. Northern has prepared men and women for effective service as pastors, educators, missionaries, and evangelists within an evangelical theological context.
Northern was a pioneer seminary in its commitments to women, persons of color, and internationals. Amy Lee Stockton was Northern’s first student and graduated in Northern’s first class of 1916. Its alumni have included Warren Wiersbe, Carl Henry, Clay Evans, John Osteen, Kenneth N. Taylor, Millard J. Erickson, Torrey Johnson, and David W. Clark.
For the first few years of its history, Northern held classes in Second Baptist Church of Chicago. By 1920, Northern moved to a new campus on Washington Boulevard, on Chicago’s West Side, and was recognized by the Northern Baptist Convention (now American Baptist Churches, USA) as one of its seminaries. In its early history, Northern, like many other theological schools of the time, had both undergraduate and graduate programs for the training of Christian workers.
In the early 1960s, Northern moved to a sprawling field on Butterfield Road west of Oak Brook. In September 1963, Rev. Billy Graham addressed the dedication ceremony. In 1965, Northern separated the graduate and undergraduate programs. As a result, Judson College (now Judson University) was born on the Fox River in Elgin.
Northern’s faculty have consistently been premier scholars of the church; valuing scripture, teaching with a pastor’s heart and wisdom to combine good theology with passion and care. Northern faculty have been instrumental in the founding of Fuller Theological Seminary and Christianity Today magazine. Northern has also been a major partner of Moscow Baptist Seminary and the Missio Alliance Network.
Today our faculty have been instrumental in forming innovative degree programs. Dr. Scot McKnight and Dr. David Fitch lead the Master of Arts in New Testament and Master of Arts in Theology and Mission programs. In 2008, under the leadership of Dr. Wayne “Coach” Gordon, Northern established an extension teaching site in partnership with the Lawndale Community Church and the Christian Community Development Association.
This relationship has trained ministers across Metro Chicago in the biblical work of reconciliation across racial and economic lines and brought hope to the city. In 2012, in partnership with Lawndale, Northern established the Africa Pastoral Training program, a certificate of ministry program for pastors in Kenya. This program has now graduated over 70 pastors. This fall Northern launched its most ambitious academic program yet- an initiative called “Northern Live,” delivering seminary classes directly to churches and homes across the country via live web streaming. As a result, Northern students are now joining us around the world, learning the Bible, following Jesus, and applying the teachings directly in their churches.
Now, over one hundred years later, Northern works cross-culturally and globally in cooperation with evangelistic denominations, networks, and churches including American Baptist Churches, USA; the National Missionary Baptist Churches, Inc.; the Progressive National Baptist Convention; and Baptist General Association of Virginia. Northern’s 4,000 alumni serve Christ around the world. We could not be Northern Seminary without the faithful support of churches, denominations, partners, alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and trustees who have sustained Northern over the years.
I would love to see you at The Ceremony of Inauguration. If you are able to attend, please introduce yourself to me; I would love to meet you.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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