Sojourn took unlikely turns for Criswell prof

DALLAS?The first person to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with Alan Streett was a psychology professor at the University of Baltimore, where Streett earned his bachelor of arts degree in 1969.It was the last class of Streett’s first semester, and the professor had announced that he was leaving for another job and had taught the class all he could about abnormal psychology.“He said that he wanted to tell us about the most important thing he knew. He shared the gospel,” Streett said. “It was an awkward moment, but my heart was cut to the quick.”That was the beginning of Streett’s spiritual sojourn, and what ultimately brought him to Criswell College, where he was hired by Paige Patterson in 1983 to become the school’s professor of evangelism.The Road to JesusAfter hearing the gospel, Streett began attending evening classes at the Baltimore School of the Bible. “I knew intuitively that the Bible was God’s Word, and I wanted to know what it said. I took classes on Romans, John, apologetics and prophecy,” he said.“I spoke with the dean of students at Baltimore School of the Bible, who was a former Methodist minister, about my spiritual journey. He suggested I apply to his alma mater, Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. , for a master of divinity degree.“I told the dean that I would likely not be accepted into a graduate program; but he replied, ‘The Methodist Church needs pastors so badly that they will accept anyone.’ I applied and was accepted,” Streett said.Streett thought seminary life would be “like a monastery, with monks in long robes, heads bowed in prayer, and Gregorian chants playing in the background. I was hoping to find strong Christians who could influence me,” he said. “Instead, I discovered that I was the more conservative person on campus, which was disconcerting.”Although he was a seminary student, Streett was not yet a born-again Christian. But while attending Wesley Seminary, “I came under the conviction of sin and cried out for Christ to save me,” he recalled. “It was the beginning of my third year. I came to the end of myself and I was radically converted.”“Through personal Bible study, I later became convinced that I needed to submit to believer’s baptism,” Streett added.The Road to DallasThe road to Dallas had numerous ministry points along the way. After graduating from Wesley Seminary, Streett served as executive director of a local Youth for Christ chapter. He and Lynn, his wife, founded Streett Meetings Inc., a faith-based ministry which enabled Streett to conduct evangelistic crusades, organize a community Bible class, host a radio program, and write several books on evangelistic and apologetical subjects.He was also the associate director of the Baltimore Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, an evangelistic outreach to business and political leaders.Streett was instrumental in bringing a Billy Graham crusade to Baltimore, and he served on two local committees in that effort.After earning his doctor of philosophy from the California Graduate School of Theology in 1982, it was Streett’s dissertation that caught Patterson’s attention.The dissertation was published in 1984 under the title “The Effective Invitation,” and has become a standard textbook in Bible colleges and seminaries.“I chose the invitation as my dissertation topic because I had been reading books on Reformed theology that spoke against the invitation,” Streett told the TEXAN. “I began to doubt its validity. And as a full-time evangelist I needed to settle this issue. So I went into my research with no preconceived ideas and a willingness to simply write on my findings. I concluded that the invitation is biblically, theologically, and psychologically sound. Effective invitations address the mind, the will and the heart; or the rationale, volition and emotions.”Patterson was one of many who completed a questionnaire as research for Streett’s dissertation, and that’s how the two met.“Dr. Patterson invited me to speak in chapel, and during lunch he offered me the professor of evangelism position?one he held at that time,” Streett said. “I saw this as an open door. I knew very little about the college, except that it was at the forefront of the inerrancy struggle within the SBC.”Streett remains a favorite professor among the student body, having previously twice won “Professor of the Year” accolades upon their votes. “I was delighted with the honor. But win or lose, I have always sought to be the best classroom teacher possible. I love teaching and interacting with students. Criswell College is an exciting place. We believe we’re on a divine mission,” he said.In 2007, Streett also was awarded an endowed chair and appointed to be the W.A. Criswell Professor of Expository Preaching.“I was highly honored by this,” he said. “When I accepted the title, I was determined to train our stu

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