Professor Joel Gregory of Baylor’s Truett Seminary Named to Newly Established Chair
WACO, Texas (Sept. 15, 2015) — Renowned preacher and Baylor University alumnus Joel Gregory, Ph.D., has been installed as the holder of the newly established George W. Truett Endowed Chair in Preaching and Evangelism, made possible by a gift from First Baptist Church of Dallas, at Baylor’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary.
The George W. Truett Chair in Evangelism was originally established in 1968 by FBC Dallas to support a chair in the department of religion. Earlier this year, the agreement was amended to establish the new chair, named for the renowned pastor, at Truett Seminary. Truett served for 47 years as the pastor of First Baptist of Dallas.
Gregory has preached in venues as varied as Westminster Chapel in London and the Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa. Last year, he spoke or taught 170 times in 32 churches and 20 conferences in the United States and abroad.
“I am humbled beyond any statement to be named to a chair called by the name of George W. Truett,” said Gregory, a longtime professor of preaching at Truett Seminary. “No pastor in American history had more influence as the pastor of a local Baptist church. He saved Baylor University and then enrolled as a freshman. He was on the board of Baylor for more than 40 years.
“He founded Baylor Hospital and built the strongest church in America during his pastorate. Woodrow Wilson sent him to preach to the troops in World War I,” Gregory said. “His mind was marvelous, his soul pure, his influence unequaled and his heart passionate. He was the leader of all that he touched. I could only wish that I could begin to be worthy of holding such a chair. It is an honor, an inspiration and a legacy.”
Gregory was installed in a service on Sept. 1 at Truett Seminary, at which he preached.
He preached his first sermon in June 1964 at age 16 and recalls that “the ministry was nothing more than a strong sense of call, a vocation that came with more concreteness and certainty than anything else in my youth.”
Gregory earned his B.A. summa cum laude, with a double major in Greek and religion, from Baylor as well as his Ph.D. in religion. He earned the M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1973 and taught preaching there from 1982-1985. He served for two terms — unanimously elected — of the 5,800-church Baptist General Convention of Texas, and he is founder and president of Joel Gregory Ministries, an international ministry of teaching, preaching, counseling and writing.
For many years, Gregory was the preacher on the International Baptist Hour radio program, heard on more than 500 stations. He brought the annual sermon at the 1988 Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio, “The Castle and the Wall,” widely considered a watermark message in recent Baptist history.
He is the author of five books, editor of three anthologies and the subject of a nationally performed play, “God’s Man in Texas.” He was recently recognized by Baylor and his peers for his 50th preaching anniversary. Among his pastorates have been First Baptist of Dallas and Travis Avenue Baptist Church of Fort Worth.
“Dr. Joel Gregory is a worthy holder of this chair as a gifted preacher and expositor of the inerrant Word of God,” said Kenneth Stohner, Jr., former chairman of the Fellowship of Deacons at First Baptist Church of Dallas, who assisted in establishing the new chair at Truett Seminary. “Dr. Gregory serves in a unique position to impact the next generation of preachers for the spread of the Gospel and advancement of the Kingdom.”
Truett Seminary is "profoundly grateful for the generosity of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas in establishing the George W. Truett Chair of Preaching and Evangelism,” said Todd D. Still, Ph.D., Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Dean and William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett Seminary.
“A more worthy namesake for and holder of this endowed, esteemed chair is difficult to imagine,” Still said. “Even as George W. Truett is rightly considered to be one of Baptists’ greatest pastors and statesmen, Joel C. Gregory is unequivocally one of the premier pulpiteers in and beyond Baptist life today. This chair and its holder, then, add increasing luster to Baylor’s Truett Seminary in its 25th year of existence and further strengthen the seminary in fulfilling its call to train men and women for gospel ministry in and alongside the local church."
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.
ABOUT GEORGE W. TRUETT THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, the Master of Theological Studies, or the Doctor of Ministry degrees that are centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ and consistent with historic Baptist commitments to prepare persons to carry this gospel to the churches and the world. Within the M.Div. degree program, students can choose concentrations in Biblical Studies and Theology, Christian Education, Ministry Leadership, Missions and World Christianity, Worship Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Sports Ministry, and Youth/Family/Student Ministry. Truett Seminary also offers four Dual Degree programs – an M.Div./MSW and MTS/MSW through a partnership with Baylor’s School of Social Work, an M.Div./Master of Music through a partnership with the Baylor’s School of Music, an M.Div./MBA through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business, and an M.Div./J.D. degree through a partnership with Baylor’s School of Law.