Land Center names scholars to inaugural Fellows Program

Timothy McKeown
| Aug 30, 2022

Twenty-one Baptist and evangelical scholars and ministry leaders were named recently to the inaugural Fellows Program of the Land Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Fellows Program includes three senior fellows, who will serve indefinitely and help shape the program, and 17 other fellows, who will serve for two years. Additionally, Richard D. Land, namesake for the Land Center and president emeritus of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC), will serve as a founding fellow. He also serves as chairman of the Land Center Advisory Board. 

The Land Center exists to train the next generation of Christian leaders to engage society with Gospel truth that results in human flourishing through educational pathways, thoughtful forums, relevant content, and critical research.

Senior fellows named are David S. Dockery, distinguished professor of theology at Southwestern Seminary; Nathan A. Finn, provost and dean of the university faculty at North Greenville University; and C. Ben Mitchell, retired Graves Chair of Moral Philosophy at Union University.

The other fellows were selected in consultation with Southwestern Seminary President Adam W. Greenway and the senior fellows, said Daniel M. Darling, director of the Land Center. 

“The Land Center at Southwestern Seminary is an important institutional initiative designed to help bridge the chasm that too often exists between the church and academy, particularly when it comes to matters of constructive cultural engagement,” Greenway said. “Building upon our previous announcement regarding the Advisory Board, the Fellows Program will enhance the work and witness of the Land Center by bringing together the sharpest minds for the task of greater obedience to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.”

Darling said the Fellows Program “allows Baptist and evangelical scholars to gather to share the best scholarship and research about Christianity and culture. We are honored and delighted these brilliant and godly men and women are willing to share their work and engage in scholarship around important biblical and cultural issues facing the church. Scholars will gather periodically online throughout the year and in person at least once a year.”

The work of the Fellows Program is distinct from the Land Center Advisory Board named in April. While the 19 Advisory Board members are pastors and leaders who support the work of the Land Center, fellows are scholars in various disciplines who will contribute to the Land Center in writing, including the center’s forthcoming journal. The Land Center will also highlight the work the fellows are doing in the areas of ethics and cultural engagement. 

“When we think of cultural engagement, it’s not just politics and policy,” but also “faith and work, the arts, philosophy,” and other areas of culture, he added.

The named fellows are:

Hunter Baker, dean, College of Arts and Sciences and professor of political science, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee 

Bart Barber, pastor, First Baptist Church, Farmersville, Texas; president, Southern Baptist Convention

Jeremy Blaschke, associate professor of biology, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee

Luke Bobo, chief program officer, Arrabon, Richmond, Virginia; visiting instructor of contemporary culture, Covenant Seminary, Creve Coeur, Missouri

Christina Crenshaw, associate for cultural engagement and leadership, Hendricks Center, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas 

Dennis Greeson, dean, BibleMesh Institute, New Vernon, New Jersey

Rebekah Heinrichs, adjunct professor, Institute of World Politics, Washington, D.C. 

Casey Hough, lead pastor, Copperfield Church in Houston, Texas; assistant professor of biblical interpretation, Luther Rice College and Seminary, Lithonia, Georgia

Scott James, pediatric infectious diseases physician and researcher, Birmingham, Alabama 

Brent Leatherwood, acting president, ERLC, Nashville, Tennessee

Katie J. McCoy, director of women’s ministry, Texas Baptists, Dallas, Texas 

Jason Thacker, chair of research in technology ethics and director of the research institute, ERLC, Nashville, Tennessee

Obbie Tyler Todd, pastor, Third Baptist Church, Marion, Illinois 

Mark Tooley, president, Institute on Religion and Democracy, Washington, D.C. 

Jared C. Wellman, lead pastor, Tate Springs, Arlington, Texas 

John D. Wilsey, associate professor of church history and philosophy, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky 

George Yancey, professor, Institute for Studies of Religion and Sociology, Baylor University, Waco, Texas 

More information about the Fellows Program is available here