From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George

The Passing of Thomas Oden

I write to share with you the sad news that our wonderful friend, Professor Thomas C. Oden, has left this world for a better one.  At the age of 85, he died yesterday at his home in Oklahoma City.  Tom Oden was a special friend, mentor, and colleague to many of us.  He was a founding member of the Beeson Divinity School Board of Advisors.  Over the years, he visited our school a number of times to present lectures, speak at conferences, and teach short-term courses.  The story of his remarkable life and surprising mid-life shift from liberal Protestantism to the evangelical faith is recounted in his 2014 memoir, A Change of Heart.  I have been asked to write a brief tribute about Tom Oden for Christianity Today, which will be published next week.  Please join me in remembering his family and loved ones in your prayers.

Timothy George

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Friday, December 9, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: Advent Bible in a Year Blog-Thou Shalt Loveā€¦?

By Mark Gignilliat
December 2, 2016

“Love me.” The intonation of the libretto flattens when love is demanded. How exactly is love required? Moreover, is such a command effective? The very notion of demanded love is the material of despots and totalitarian regimes where repression, not affection, is the aim. Or put it in more pedestrian terms, a spouse at the breaking point because of unrequited love tugs at something deep within us.

Think Pagliacci, you opera fans. >>>

The fact remains however; we yearn to love and be loved. Truth be told, desire, love, and affections are more at the core of our identity than our cognitive faculties. We’re lovers and we’re looking for it everywhere. From the grave Saint Augustine bellows a hearty “amen”.

In Deuteronomy 10:12-11:32 we have a fuller exposition of the command to love and obey God, a command whose source lies back in towering verses of the Shema, Deut 6:4-5. “Hear, Oh, Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you shall love…” You shall love. God is telling his people to love him. A potential awkwardness is before us. Read the rest at The Cathedral Church of the Advent.

Mark Gignilliat is Associate Professor of Divinity (Old Testament) at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.  He also serves as Canon Theologian at the Cathedral Church of the Advent.



Posted by Hunter Upton at Tuesday, December 6, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: The Southern City that Lies Forgotten

By Jason Cook
November 28, 2016

Editors’ note: Watch this brief video to see how God is restoring hope through the church and non-profit partnership in a forgotten Southern city.

What do you do in a city where hope has gone to die? Where is hope to be found once it’s moved out of your neighborhood and despair has taken residence? Ministry to the poor and marginalized is often accompanied by the visceral reality of hopelessness. Not only is there a need for the gospel of Jesus Christ to penetrate hearts, but there’s also the urgent need for economic growth. Where unemployment and crime rates far exceed the national average, and schools fall well below state and national standards, the church must rise to action. On occasion, the church has to meet basic human necessities before a spiritual remedy can be received. The church must bring a plan to care for the poor that includes both gospel witness in word through preaching and gospel fruit in deed through financial investment. 

Fairfield, Alabama, was once a predominately white city many of Birmingham’s steel workers called home. After racial integration in the 1960s and 1970s, Fairfield became home to more ethnic minorities. White flight soon followed. Not only did white citizens leave for other parts of the city, but so did businesses, jobs, and opportunity. Most alarming were the churches who closed their doors and left for different parts of the city.

In the wake of this turmoil, a city lies forgotten on the west side of Birmingham. Given high rates of crime and poverty, hopelessness renders Fairfield—for many political, business, and even religious leaders—untenable and unworthy of long-term investment. Read the rest at The Gospel Coalition.

Jason Cook is a graduate of Beeson Divinity School.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Friday, December 2, 2016
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