Criswell founding dean dies at 77

DALLAS—James Bryant, founding dean of Criswell College and author of “The New Guidebook for Pastors,” died June 11. A service celebrating his life was held June 16 at First Baptist Church of Dallas.

Bryant was an alumnus of Wheaton College and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he earned a master of divinity and a doctor of theology. He had also received an honorary doctorate from Criswell College in 1999.

Interspersed with his service to Criswell College, for which he served as the founding academic dean, Bryant served as pastor at churches in Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas and as associate pastor at a church in Georgia. He spent three years serving as executive vice president and then president of Luther Rice Bible College and Seminary in Atlanta, Ga. and then served as professor of religion at the University of Mobile in Alabama before returning to Texas to serve Criswell College as vice president for academic affairs for two years. His most recent role at Criswell was that of distinguished senior professor of pastoral theology.

Ten seminaries and colleges currently use Bryant’s book “The New Guidebook for Pastors” as a textbook. Bryant taught a weekly Bible class at FBC Dallas and served as a trustee on multiple denominational boards. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Ruby; two sons, Scott and Kurt; two grandchildren; and one sister. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to FBC Dallas or Criswell College.

 

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