FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary dedicated the W.A. Criswell Lobby in its J.W. MacGorman Chapel, Dec. 1.
Jack Pogue, whose generous gift to the seminary helped fund this lobby, has worked intently to preserve the legacy of W.A. Criswell, who died in 2002. His generosity, alongside that of seven churches and dozens of other ministry partners helped fund this lobby. After Pogue met Criswell in 1970, the two men built a lifelong friendship, and Criswell’s mentorship deeply impacted Pogue’s spiritual life.
“Dr. Criswell was my pastor for 30 years,” Pogue said, “and he was the one who led me to Christ and got me involved in the work of the Lord.”
Pogue serves on the board of trustees for the Criswell College and on the board of directors for the W.A. Criswell Foundation, a non-profit charitable corporation established to provide for the long-term financial needs of the Criswell College. Through this foundation, he also created the website, www.WACriswell.com, which features audio and video sermons preached during Criswell’s 70-year ministry.
At Southwestern Seminary, Pogue established the W.A. Criswell Chair of Expository Preaching, and he named the MacGorman Chapel’s lobby in memory of his friend and pastor. According to Pogue, Criswell once said that the time would come when his name would be forgotten.
“Well, this (lobby) keeps his name in front of thousands of students and thousands of visitors,” Pogue said, “and they will start asking questions about who he was, what he did, and why he is a part of all this.”
Born in 1909 in Eldorado, Okla., Wallie Amos Criswell would be used of God to impact the Southern Baptist Convention through his leadership and his preaching. Criswell served twice as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and he served as a pastor in churches throughout Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas. In 1944, he replaced George W. Truett as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, seeing the church grow from 5,000 members to 26,000 during his ministry. While serving at FBC Dallas, he also led the church to establish the Criswell College in 1970.
Known as a “patriarch of the Conservative Resurgence,” Criswell defended the inerrancy of Scripture, and he preached throughout the United States and around the world.
According to Pogue, Criswell “loved Southwestern. He loved Paige and Dorothy Patterson. He loved a school that is training pastors and missionaries to win people to Christ.” Ultimately, the MacGorman Chapel and its W.A. Criswell Lobby will help Southwestern Seminary train ministers to do what Criswell himself strove to do—to preach the inerrant Word of God and proclaim the Gospel throughout the world.