Former SBTS professor John Dever dies

Communications Staff — July 7, 2008

John Dever, former William Walker Brookes Professor of Church and Society at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, died of a heart attack July 4 at the age of 72.

Dever joined the Southern Seminary faculty in 1989 and served full-time until 2001 when he became senior professor of church and society in the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Church Growth. He retired in 2007.

Funeral services were held July 7 at St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, where Dever was a member.

“John Dever was a devoted teacher and a respected faculty colleague,” Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said. “His years at Southern Seminary were strategic, and he invested himself in the lives of so many students through Southern Seminary and the Billy Graham School.

“He devoted his life to the classroom and was especially involved with doctoral students. Those students came to appreciate John Dever’s scholarship and personal concern.
John also served well as chairman of the Faculty Committee for several years. He was greatly concerned with how churches minister to communities. He will be greatly missed by colleagues and honored by so many Southern Seminary graduates.”

A two-time graduate of Southern, Dever earned a master of divinity degree in 1962 and a doctor of philosophy in 1969. He also held a master of arts from the University of Louisville and a bachelor of science from the University of Missouri at Rolla.

Dever served as professor of religion and sociology at Averett University (formerly College) in Danville, Va., from 1969-1989.

During his decades of teaching, Dever was interim pastor at more than a dozen churches in Kentucky and Virginia and preached at several others. He contributed articles to numerous publications, including the Averett Journal, The Mercer Dictionary of the Bible and Review and Expositor.

Dever is survived by his wife of nearly 47 years, Marcia, and a daughter, Michelle.

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