Dr. William D. Shiell

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. Bill Shiell

Dr. Bill 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

Lindner CenterSince 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.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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3 Responses to Dr. William D. Shiell

  1. Dr. Mariottini,

    I learned a lot more about my beloved Alma Mater from your post. Thank you for taking the time to share it on your blog. I can’t wait to get the book I won. Always loved your classes and especially your commitment to promoting, encouraging and mentoring women called to Ordained ministry and the pulpit.

    We need more faithful brothers in the Lord like you to come alongside of us, but even more primarily to stand up for us and very vocally defend our call. I say more faithful brothers like you because of your strong grasp of the contextual meaning of the Scriptures and those typical verses that get pulled out of context readily. Plus you are such a distinguished scholar I know that you are not going to shy away from debate and don’t mind nor are you afraid go up against scholars and scholar wannabes when they are trying to intimidate us women away from a legitimate Calling from the Lord because you are oozing with the power of the Holy Spirit!!! Praise the Lord!!! People such as Mark Driscoll, John Eldridge and John Piper.

    Those men will have to give an accounting of the women who were called to ordained ministry that they blocked by battering them with “Salad bar theology,”out of context Scriptures and deceptive, defective teaching. Add to that, countless women who were physically/mentally/emotionally battered, bruised for life because of their teachings and books. My heart aches for these bruised reeds that the Lord created and loves. I helped personally and professionally who had been a member of my second church. For 20 years her husband subjected her to horrific deviant sexual abuse and also molested female children in the family.

    Thank the Lord that she only bore sons and I believe this was God’s doing. Aftet the physical damage of her reproductive anatomy internally and externally, it was truly a miracle she could even have children. He was one of those pillar of the church and community guys.
    This woman who was so sweet had never been with any other man in addition to being taught that it was her duty to submit to any and everything her husband wanted. She was so naive in the ways of a biblical marriage, she actually believed that the kind of sexual torture she endured was what “normal” marital sex looked like (I’m not joking). She and her family moved to the next town over long before I arrived, so she was a member of an ABC church there.

    But she was still close with a few of the ladies at my church and they brought her to me for help when he was having an affair with a woman who was still attending and had her own ministry. She was one of those needy, histrionic, and domineering people who left after I confronted her. She wanted the pastor’s job that I got because she was neither trained or qualified to hold (internet ordination), so the disrespect and jealous behavior toward me was there from Day 1 after I arrived. I finally had had enough and after that carefrontation from me she thankfully left.

    So these dear friends brought her to me for counsel. She really did need a lady pastor and counselor as all the male clergy and counselor knew how to counsel a woman in such a hellhole of abuse her marriage was. I was able to show her from the materials I had on hand about the profile of a sexual predator and pedophile and in the DSM IV that there was nothing “normal” about her marriage behind closed doors. I educated her in the proper context those Scriptures which she had endured needlessly for 2 decades because of faulty and distorted teaching. She had been so afraid to go to anyone in town of stature because he had convinced her that “nobody would believe you.” That has so much power to disempower and demoralize someone who was a hostage long term. And to think of divorce was unthinkable for her.

    I counselled and loved her to where she found the courage to press charges and seek a divorce. What impacted her more than anything was regularly reminding that her 3 boys ages 15 on down to 4 or 5 were being groomed to be the next generation of sexual abusers and wife batterers. She was able to locate a support group and counseling for women abused in the manner she had been.

    She gradually was able to find some sense of self esteem and learn that she had value and worth as a person in the eyes of the God she had clinged to literally for her life for those two decades that began on her wedding night. God also eventually brought a wonderful and sensitive devout Christian man into her life with 5 children who had been abused by his wife but eventually found his freedom too. They came to me for some premarital counseling and in due season were married with the blessing of their children. I had gotten to know her new husband and was confident that he would love his new wife as Christ loved the church and care for her tenderly. It was rewarding in the sense that God had long before equipped me to come alongside such women and I was obedient to his charge to me to nurture healing and set her on the path to recovery.

    Well, before I write a book here I will say have a great rest of Sunday and give my greetings and love to your lovely wife Donna. I did want you to hear how through the teaching of some dedicated educators of whom you are in that number impacted and prepared me to fight for the life of a precious, wounded Child of God. The greatest joy is serving the Lord when you’ve got the power of the Holy Spirit that gives one the courage to stand up against the dark principalities and powers of the air that seek to destroy everything God stands for. Praise the Lord again and again!!!!!!

    Carlene Appel


    • Carlene,

      Thank you for your very inspiring words. I believe that God calls both men and women to serve him without limitations. There are some people who want to deprive women from serving as pastors, but as you mention in your comment, women can minister effectively to people in need.

      I generally do not allow long comments to be posted, but I allowed your comment to be posted in its entirety because it has a very strong and positive message to those who read it. Although some of the information may reveal personal aspects about the life of a Christian sister, your comment does not reveal her identity, thus, I have allowed it to be published.

      Thank you for your faithful ministry and for the blessing you have been to so many people.

      Claude Mariottini


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