Candidates for new Bible professor try out

by Kristyn Proctor
Staff Writer

The first thing Ryan Lister did upon entering Professor of Christian Ministry Drew Randle’s Tuesday “Acts” class was rearrange the seating.

“I want to set a sort of conversational tone,” he explained, smiling nervously at students.

He has something to be nervous about. Lister was the first of two candidates to speak last week to a selected body of students, the 3 p.m. “Acts” and noon “Pentateuch” classes, in order for the biblical studies and academic faculty to make their final decision regarding the identity of the new Bible professor.The decision to hire a new instructor for the department was announced early this November, after professors were forced to accept heavier course loads following the departure of Dr. Doug Kennard this previous spring.

The professors of the Biblical Studies Department met in New Orleans at the Evangelical Theological Society convention that same month to interview six potential candidates. They narrowed it down to three, then two.

“They’re both fairly young and inexperienced,” Associate Professor of Bible Ken Turner said Friday. “But, they have the best fit in all the areas…we’re concerned with. And they have completely different strengths.”

The candidates, Ryan Lister and David Morgan, are both graduates of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Lister has formerly attended The Citadel, a military college in Charleston, S. C., is married and is the father of two children, Silas and Jude.

“My desire to teach at Bryan is because of the real desire of the students to know the Lord and to live it out,” Lister said in an interview on Dec. 9. “I grew up in a Christian home, but my biggest area of growth came in college. It’s where God grabbed my heart for ministry and for teaching in the college setting. I’d like to able to help these students impact the world for Christ.

Morgan also grew up in a Christian home, planning to be a lawyer before God called him into missions. He is married and spent several years teaching abroad before applying for this position.

“I heard a lot about Bryan before I came here, and I’m most impressed with the way the faculty engages with the student body and the world. I’ve been in education for a while overseas, and I’ve found that there are very few schools who can do something like this well,” he said. “I wanted to be involved in missions, and I love academics, so I’ve made a strong pursuit wherever I am to do both.”

Students in the two classes were given a chance to express their opinions to the Bible professors after attending class. In an e-mail sent Saturday, Turner expressed his thanks to those who had given comments, and noted, “As expected, students were divided,”

“We will not be able to make public the decision until both candidates have been contacted,” he said. “Please know that you were a part of the decision, be patient and don’t harass us.”

Turner said Friday that the decision would probably be announced sometime later this week.