FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Professors fitted with black Stetson cowboy hats arrayed the stage of Truett Auditorium, Aug. 23, as Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary opened its fall semester. The headwear, which has become a tradition since the seminary’s centennial celebration in 2008, replaces the mortar board and academic tams traditionally worn with academic regalia, and President Paige Patterson presented two newly elected faculty with their Stetsons following their signature of the seminary’s book of confessional heritage, indicating their agreement to teach in accordance with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
John David Massey, associate professor of missions, and John Yeo, assistant professor of Old Testament, were both presented as new faculty and signed the book. Additionally, Executive Vice President and Provost Craig Blaising recognized faculty members who have been installed in academic chairs.
Tommy Kiker was installed into the James T. Draper Chair of Pastoral Ministry. Kiker has served as assistant professor of pastoral ministry since 2010. Prior to coming to Southwestern, he served as pastor of Center Grove Baptist Church in Ahoskie, N.C. Kiker earned his Master of Divinity and Ph.D. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
Terry Wilder was installed into the Wesley Harrison Chair of New Testament. Wilder has served as professor of New Testament since 2010. Prior to coming to Southwestern, he served on the faculty of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and as an academic acquisitions editor at B&H Publishing Group. Wilder earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, his Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Baptist University.
David Penley was installed into the Hope for the Heart Chair of Biblical Counseling. Penley has served as associate professor of counseling since 1998. Prior to coming to Southwestern, he served as executive director of Good Samaritan Ministries in Fort Worth as well as pastor of churches in New Jersey, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Penley earned his Ph.D. and M.A.C.S.S. from Southwestern Seminary and a Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Preaching from Titus 3:1-8, Patterson challenged students during his convocation address to make their salvation sure and to pursue holy lives.
“When you pass from death to life, you may not know the date, but you will know when it happens,” Patterson said.
“The Holy Spirit of God takes up residence in your heart at that moment. … And the presence of the Holy Spirit remains in your heart. There are times when you are going to sin, but you are not going to ever want to live there anymore. What’s changed is your ‘want to.’”
To watch or listen to Dr. Patterson’s sermon, go to