Criswell College unleashed

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I’m an alumnus from the early days of Criswell College. We
met in Sunday School classrooms at First Baptist, Dallas. Most of us bought
hard-sided briefcases so we’d have something to set in our laps to provide a
smooth surface for note taking. We used First Baptist’s library and our book
store was a moderately sized walk-in closet. It was pretty basic and mighty
good. First Baptist’s pastor, for whom the school is named, envisioned a
“preacher school” and worked to make that happen. We students were
beneficiaries of the church’s generosity in so many ways. I’m grateful for that
vision and generosity.

Things change. The school now has its own place and plans
beyond what even W.A. Criswell ever expressed. First Baptist also has new
vision and new ministry directions. We alums watched anxiously as the two
nearly independent bodies negotiated a legal separation. And I believe that the
agreement reached between First Baptist and Criswell College will benefit both
ministries. I’m grateful to God for the outcome of those talks.

President Jerry Johnson is God’s man to lead the college in
this new day. His comments during our recent alumni dinner showed that he has
plans to hit the ground running. Dr. Johnson is a hard-working guy, a good
leader, a proven scholar, and an effective fund raiser. I believe he’ll
accomplish a great deal during the first quarter of 2011.

The Southern Baptist Convention needs Criswell College and
has been richly blessed by Dr. Criswell’s school over the past 40 years. In
those days, the little college functioned as a sort of West Point for the
leadership of our denomination’s reformation. In a day when so many colleges
called “Baptist” are overly concerned about the opinion of the more atheist
academy, Criswell remains focused on God’s message, as expressed in his written
Word. This is not the only school so focused but it is one of only a few
accredited schools that have not wavered in message or purpose.

I’m convinced God will bless that focus as he has up to now.
I’ve never been happier to call myself a Criswell man.

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