Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's trustees approved a new master's degree in philosophy and reaffirmed the seminary's media policy during their Oct. 17-19 fall meeting.
Trustees elected seven faculty members and promoted three others during their sessions at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.
The new 48-hour master of arts in philosophy includes 31 hours of philosophical studies, 11 hours of theology and ministry studies and six hours of elective courses.
Regarding why a theological seminary would teach philosophy, Southwestern President Paige Patterson explained, "Everybody is a philosopher. The question is: Are you a good one or a bad one? We've already seen what bad ones can do; they're a dime a dozen.
"And so we are committed to having good philosophers and to making good thinkers and philosophers out of our people."
Patterson added that Southwestern has multiple faculty who specialize in the field and are making "monumental contributions" to discussions on such matters as the problem of evil, the existence of God and evidence for Jesus' resurrection. This program, therefore, will utilize their expertise to the benefit of students.
In response to a motion at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in St. Louis to examine the media policies of SBC entities, Patterson, speaking on behalf of the executive committee of the board of trustees, affirmed that Southwestern continues its longstanding policy of welcoming press to the general sessions of trustee meetings. He added that, when helpful, the seminary also will provide a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting.
Regarding sessions other than the general session, Patterson noted that "committee meetings often deal with personal issues, personal concerns, sensitive donor information and other issues which are neither necessary nor helpful for the general public." Patterson also said that Southwestern reserves the right to publish its own press release before other news agencies publish their own.
Trustees authorized the seminary's vice president for business administration, Kevin Ensley, to market and sell the Garrett Manor apartment complex, located south of the Southwestern campus. Much like the previous sale of the E.D. Head apartments, the sale is motivated by a desire to bring student housing closer to the main campus, which will allow the provision of greater security for students.
Elected by trustees to the faculty were:
• Michael Crisp as assistant professor of collegiate ministry in the Terry School of Church and Family Ministries.
• Timothy Deahl as dean of the Southwestern Center for Extension Education and professor of Old Testament.
• Steven James as assistant professor of systematic theology in the College at Southwestern.
• Katie McCoy as assistant professor of theology in women's studies in the College at Southwestern.
• Mark A. Taylor as professor of conducting in the School of Church Music.
• Kyle Walker as assistant professor of preaching in the School of Preaching.
• Hongyi Yang as assistant professor of theology in women's studies in the School of Theology.
Accorded faculty promotions by trustees were:
• Deron Biles, associate professor of pastoral ministries and preaching, to professor of pastoral ministries and preaching.
• Evan Lenow, assistant professor of ethics, to associate professor of ethics.
• Tony Maalouf, professor of world Christianity, to distinguished professor of world Christianity and Middle Eastern studies.
All faculty elections and promotions are effective immediately.
Alex Sibley is associate director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.