Four professors join Southern Seminary and Boyce College faculty at key positions

Communications Staff — June 3, 2019

Four new professors are joining the faculty of Southern Seminary and Boyce College for the fall semester, announced president R. Albert Mohler Jr. last week. Read about each of them below.

Matt Boswell

Matt Boswell, a widely respected hymn writer and leading figure in church music, is joining the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Boswell, who is currently the founding pastor of the Trails Church in Prosper, Texas, will be assistant professor of church music and worship.

Boswell has released multiple albums and has authored or co-authored widely acclaimed songs including “Christ the Sure and Steady Anchor” and “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery.” Boswell is well-regarded not only for his hymnwriting, but also his training of worship leaders for church ministry. He is the founder of Doxology and Theology, a ministry focused on equipping and encouraging worship leaders in the practice of gospel-centered worship. As a leading figure in the development of theologically rich modern hymns and worship pastors to lead the church in singing them, Boswell is a perfect fit for a school like Southern Seminary, according to Mohler.

“Matt Boswell is one of the most thoughtful, biblical, and faithful leaders of Christian worship, and one of the most important figures in modern Christian hymnwriting,” Mohler said. “The renaissance of great hymns in this generation is one of the most important signs of hope. I eagerly look forward to Matt Boswell providing leadership and inspiration for our students as we move into an exciting new era in providing stellar, inspiring, and faithful worship leaders and church musicians in the coming generation. We are proud of Matt Boswell as one of our own, and we are confident that his teaching and exemplary leadership will make a decisive difference in years to come.”

Boswell earned his master of arts in church ministry from Southern Seminary in 2013 and will complete his doctorate of philosophy in Christian worship and biblical spirituality at Southern this year. His dissertation is on Charles Spurgeon’s pastoral theology of singing. Before founding the Trails Church in 2018, Boswell was a worship pastor at Providence Church in Frisco, Texas (2011-2018), and Fellowship of the Parks in Keller, Texas (2002-2011). Boswell will continue to serve as pastor of the Trails Church while teaching at Southern.

I am deeply grateful to serve as an assistant professor at Southern Seminary,” Boswell said. “This institution has profoundly influenced my life and ministry, making it an incredible honor to share the wealth of wisdom I’ve received here with the next generation of church leaders.

“Southern stands out for its relentless commitment to the truth, the local church, the world, and the glory of God. While the seminary’s history is rich, I believe the future holds an even greater reward for the work Southern students and faculty will accomplish.”

Boswell’s extensive academic and practical experience in church music make him well qualified to guide Southern Seminary students into the next generation of worship ministry, said Matthew J. Hall, provost of Southern Seminary. Boswell’s appointment extends the strong tradition of hymnwriting and Christian worship at Southern Seminary, according to Hall, and gives aspiring worship leaders and church musicians another reason to train for ministry at the school.

“Matt Boswell is already widely known as one of the foremost Christian songwriters in our time, penning some of the most beloved and theologically rich modern hymns of the day. Those who know him also know him to be a faithful pastor, a careful theologian, and a devoted husband and father. I am delighted that he is joining the Southern Seminary faculty, where he will shape a generation of pastors and ministers with a fully orbed biblical vision of worship and music.

“Southern Seminary has been at the center of the resurgence of biblical hymnody and worship in the past two decades. Matt’s appointment to the faculty strengthens that commitment and vision. For students who want to rightly understand the inseparability of doxology and theology, there is no better place, nor a better time, to be than at Southern Seminary.”

Boswell is married to Jamie, and they have four children: Caden, Avery, Addison, and Cannon.

Andrew Walker

Baptist scholar and ethicist Andrew Walker is joining the faculty of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Walker, who will remain director of research and senior fellow in Christian ethics with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, will be assistant professor of Christian ethics and apologetics at Southern Seminary.

Walker is a leading thinker in Christian ethics and public theology. In his role with the ERLC, Walker researches and writes about the intersection of Christian ethics, public theology, and the church’s social witness. The New York Times called him one of the most “undaunted” defenders of a biblical view of marriage, and he is the co-author of the 2015 book Marriage Is: How Marriage Transforms Society and Cultivates Human Flourishing. His writing has been featured in publications like National Review, First Things, and Public Discourse. Along with Russell Moore, he is co-editor of the nine-volume Gospel for Life series, published by B&H. His recent book, God and the Transgender Debate: What Does the Bible Actually Say about Gender Identity? won The Gospel Coalition’s Public Theology award in 2017.

“Andrew Walker is one of the most outstanding young scholars in his generation,” said Mohler. “I’ve known him for many years, and every year has brought only more confidence in him. God has gifted him with a keen analytical mind, and he is a passionate defender of biblical truth, the Christian worldview, and the sanctity of human life. On issues related to marriage, sexuality, and the dignity of life, Andrew Walker is stellar, and I am especially glad that he will be joining the faculty of Southern Seminary at this time.

“The great challenge in coming years is to prepare a generation of young Christians for the challenges they will face in the future. We are looking at a culture that is increasingly hostile to life, truth, beauty, goodness, and liberty. At the foundation of this crisis stands an assault upon the dignity and the sanctity of human life. Andrew Walker brings a comprehensive theological and biblical vision and an energetic commitment to apologetics to this task. I am thankful for this important addition to the Southern Seminary teaching faculty.”

In a statement about his hiring, Walker highlighted Southern Seminary’s long tradition of theological faithfulness and winsome cultural engagement. The opportunity to teach at the Southern Baptist Convention’s flagship seminary was an “honor and opportunity,” he said.

“To be a professor at Southern Seminary is to step in to a living legacy,” Walker said. “Since its beginnings, Southern Seminary has been a bellwether for evangelical trends in America; and under Dr. Mohler’s leadership, which returned Southern to the founders’ vision, it has stood for tradition, excellence, and theological conviction. Since first setting foot on the campus of Southern in 2008 as a Master of Divinity student, I knew this place was special. It has formed me, and I hope to carry forward its vision. It is of the highest honor to join the faculty of one of America’s most storied and premier theological institutions. As a Christian ethicist, I am excited to help future pastors, church leaders, and scholars understand the moral witness of the gospel and how to connect ethics to the mission of the church. I am grateful to the seminary’s leadership for this honor and opportunity.”

Walker is a three-time graduate from Southern Seminary, having earned his master of divinity, master of theology, and doctor of philosophy degrees in Christian ethics from the school. He also has a bachelor of arts degree in religious studies from Southwest Baptist University, from which he graduated summa cum laude in 2008. His dissertation was about religious liberty in evangelical social ethics and was supervised by Moore during the latter’s tenure at Southern Seminary. His rich academic background includes numerous fields of research, including sexual ethics, human dignity, gender, anthropology, and natural law. Walker’s deep Christian conviction will serve him well as a trainer of the next generation of Christian ethicists and apologists, said Matthew J. Hall, provost of Southern Seminary.

“The Christian landscape is starved for consistent biblical ethics and faithful Christian ethicists. At the crossroads between biblical orthodoxy and biblical orthopraxis lies the crucial discipline of Christian ethics. That’s why I am so delighted that Dr. Andrew Walker is joining this faculty. One of the brightest young minds in evangelical theology, Dr. Walker has quickly distinguished himself as a clear and consistent voice for biblical truth on some of the most significant issues of our time. He is a careful thinker, a prolific author, a skilled teacher, and a committed churchman.”

In addition to his academic responsibilities, Walker is an active member of his local church: Redemption City Church in Franklin, Tennessee. He teaches a weekly Sunday School class to fourth and fifth graders, leads a small group, and teaches a men’s theology group.

Hershael W. York, dean of the historic School of Theology at Southern Seminary, said Walker will provoke both “courage and compassion” among his students at Southern.

“I could not be more excited about Andrew Walker joining this faculty,” York said. “His incisive analysis of contemporary culture and his perceptive application of divine truth guides Christians in a consistent and comprehensive biblical worldview and provokes a courage and a compassion desperately needed in ministers and churches today. He is a potent and passionate addition to the renowned evangelical powerhouse faculty Southern Seminary students know and enjoy.”

Walker has three daughters with his wife, Christian: Caroline, Catherine, and Charlotte.

Keith McKinley

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has hired J. Keith McKinley, a seasoned missionary and veteran of the International Mission Board to its faculty. McKinley has been involved with missions with the IMB for more than 20 years, and he joins the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry as Associate Professor of Christian Missions. McKinley comes from a rich family heritage of missions. His father, Jim McKinley, was an IMB missionary in Bangladesh for 34 years.

“I am really pleased that we were able to announce the appointment of Keith McKinley to our faculty. Keith is a veteran missionary and a scholarly missiologist,” Mohler said. “His decades of service on the mission field will be invaluable as he teaches a new generation of students and both prepares and inspires them for courageous Great Commission service around the world. This continues Southern Seminary’s long tradition and historic role in the worldwide missionary effort. Keith McKinley comes from a famous family of missionaries in Southern Baptist life. He is truly a son of the mission field. I had the honor of knowing his father, the late Jim McKinley, who was one of the iconic missionaries among Southern Baptists in the 20th century. I am very excited that Keith McKinley will be in the classroom, and he comes directly from his many years of distinguished service on the mission field. This is a great day for Southern Seminary, Southern Baptists, and the cause of missions in the next generation.”

McKinley is returning to the city of Louisville, where he earned a bachelor of health science at the University of Louisville in 1993, followed by a master of divinity (1999) and a doctor of philosophy (2015) from Southern Seminary.

“My wife, Gail, and I are excited to be part of the Southern community,” McKinley said. “Southern has always held a special place in our hearts. My father was a Southern graduate and our good friends, Dr. John Polhill, Dr. Phillip Landgrave, and Dr. Bryant Hicks, all taught here for many years. Joining Southern feels like coming home to us. Our desire is to kindle and nurture an abiding passion for missions among all members of the Southern Seminary community and beyond.”

McKinley brings with him an expert-level understanding of strategic missiological thinking. He spent his first five years with the IMB as a church planter before transitioning to missions strategy. As of 2017, he was an innovation specialist with the IMB, a leadership role unique to Southeast Asia that allowed McKinley to advise team leaders on the field. Previously, he was a cluster strategy leader, which meant he was responsible for 15-20 missionary units. Before joining the IMB in 1998, McKinley was a pastor at First Baptist Church in Eastwood, Kentucky.

He has also contributed articles on leadership and church planting to various overseas publications. Provost Matthew J. Hall said McKinley’s life on the mission field has uniquely prepared him for his new role training the next wave of missionaries and overseas church planters.

“Southern Seminary has, since its founding, been a Great Commission seminary, committed to the task of equipping and mobilizing those God would call for global mission. Dr. Keith McKinley’s appointment to this faculty underscores the high stewardship of that calling and our ambition of leveraging all we can so that the nations would hear and be glad,” said Hall.

“Dr. McKinley has spent most of his life on the mission field and one has only to spend a short time with him to tell that he is passionate about the missiological task and its urgency. I am so pleased that he is coming home to Louisville, and to Southern Seminary, to teach and train the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and ministers for faithfulness to Christ’s charge.”

Timothy K. Beougher, the acting dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, echoed Hall’s enthusiasm for the hire.

“Keith McKinley knows missions, both in theory and practice,” Beougher said. “He has served as a missionary and team leader for others. His leadership skills are exemplary. He also knows Southern Seminary as a two-time graduate. We are thrilled to have him in the classroom training the next generation of missionaries and missions-minded pastors.”

Paul Akin, the new dean of the Billy Graham School, highlighted McKinley’s extensive experience working with Muslims as a unique feature of his teaching ministry.

“I’m so excited for Dr. McKinley to be joining the missions faculty in the Graham School. He brings more than 20 years of experience with the IMB across Southeast Asia where he worked planting churches and training leaders in predominantly Muslim contexts. The fact that he is coming directly from the mission field will be a tremendous asset in helping train the next generation of Southern Baptists missionaries.”

McKinley has been married to his wife, Gail, for nearly 30 years, and they have four children together.

Barry Gibson

Barry Gibson, a veteran teacher and two-time graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is joining the faculty of Boyce College as the Associate Professor of Teacher Education.

Gibson will support the growing teacher education program at Boyce College, which trains students for the challenges of teaching and leading a classroom from a biblical worldview. His appointment is a strategic step in extending the reach of one of the most important programs at Boyce College, said Mohler in his statement.

“The addition of Barry Gibson to the Boyce College faculty will bring a skilled classroom teacher with rare experience into the training of teachers, ready to be sent out into the classrooms and fields of service around the world,” Mohler said. “Our teacher education program is so very important and Dr. Gibson’s appointment is good news on so many fronts. Our students will love him and, through our graduates, his teaching ministry will extend into the cities and on to the nations.”

Gibson has significant academic and practical experience in the field of education, including five degrees and more than a decade of teaching. Two of those degrees (a master of arts in theological studies and a doctor of education) he earned at Southern Seminary. He also earned a master of education degree from the University of the Cumberlands and a bachelor of science and master of science from Union University.

“I consider the opportunity to teach at Boyce College a tremendous privilege,” Gibson said. “As a Southern graduate, I am well acquainted of the commitment to biblical fidelity and worldview with which both Boyce College and Southern Seminary strive to uphold and promote. Boyce College is unique in that it combines this dedication with a culture of academic excellence preparing students to serve the kingdom well, both in the local church and the public arena.  I am looking forward to being a part of equipping students to serve with distinction as educators, pointing those in their spheres of influence to the glory and goodness of Christ.”

Since 2013, Gibson has been a teacher at Lassiter Middle School, which is in the Jefferson County Public School system. He also serves as the senior pastor of Chapel Park Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. Previously, Gibson was a teacher at the Christian Academy of Louisville and Bell County High School.

Matthew J. Hall, provost of Southern Seminary and dean of Boyce College from 2016-2019, said Gibson is well-suited to extend the reach of the teacher education program at Boyce College.

“Boyce College’s teacher education program has become one of our fastest growing majors for good reason,” Hall said. “It’s difficult to imagine a vocation where one can have a more immediate impact for Christ than teaching. That’s why I am so overjoyed at Dr. Barry Gibson’s appointment to the faculty. A veteran educator and a committed Southern Baptist, Dr. Gibson brings together everything we hope to see in this program and, for that matter, in the life of the college. For students who want to learn not only how to teach, but how to do so as faithful believers in Christ, Dr. Gibson will be a valuable mentor and advisor.”

Dustin Bruce, the new dean of Boyce College, echoed Hall’s enthusiasm for Gibson’s appointment:

“Barry Gibson has first-hand experience living out his commitment to Christ in the classroom,” Bruce said. “Furthermore, he has demonstrated himself to be a skilled educator on the collegiate level. Gibson makes a great addition to Boyce College and the teacher education program, and I’m thrilled to have him on board.”

Gibson is married to Julie, and the two have four children: Isaac, James, Anna Kate, and Maggie Ellen.

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