Dr. Eitel was brought to an awareness of his need for salvation in an unusual way. While working in a gas station at age 16, he was held up at gun point by two men that argued with each other about whether or not to kill him. The argument commenced while the one that wanted to kill him made him kneel facing a wall with a .45 caliber pistol cocked and ready to shoot at his head. They locked him into the store room instead. Two weeks later he came to Christ, knowing then that indeed he was in need of salvation.

Since then, he has been convicted and moved to live a life of sharing the Gospel with a waiting world. He and his wife, Glenda, lived and worked as career missionaries in Cameroon, West Africa before joining the faculty of The Criswell College in 1985, his journey later took him on to join the faculty of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1992, and since 2005 he has served as the Dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He has earned a Bachelor of Arts (Religion and Philosophy) from Dallas Baptist University; the Master of Arts (Church History) from Baylor University; Doctor of Missiology (Contextualization) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; and a Doctor of Theology (Historical Missiology) from The University of South Africa. His areas of keenest, and most current research interest, orb abound the current explosion of Christians in the non-Western world. The discipline of World Christian Studies is devoted to analyzing these amazing happenings, which in their current form seem to be directly related to the final pushes of the cycles of Awakenings in the West during the 20th century. His focal interest regards seeking to know how a Baptist sense of identity subsists and continues in Africa, Latin America, and Asia and in defining what ways that identity looks similar and dissimilar to the historic developments of Baptist theological distinctiveness.