Faith In Focus

A Legacy Foundation

By Dr. Troy W. Temple, September 24, 2020

Foundations! One of the most critical contributors to the continued growth and flourishing of any organization is its foundation. Once a foundation has been laid, it’s often hard, if not impossible, to see it ever again … unless it fails and needs repaired or replaced. The John W. Rawlings School of Divinity sits on a foundation of giants for the Kingdom of God! These leaders carried the original vision of our founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell, with great passion and faithfulness. Our foundation has remained strong, as it has been built on the immovable truths of God’s Word and sighted on God’s mission. Those who have served faithfully for nearly 50 years in our history have both guarded and built on the foundation that was laid so many years ago. We are more than grateful to them; we are called to be like them for now and for the future.

Dr. Ed Hindson takes advantage of the warm weather and teaches class on the lawn in August 1975.

This past December, we celebrated one of those giants of the faith as he passed the mantle of leadership to the next dean. Dr. Ed Hindson retired as Dean of the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity on Dec. 1. He served the mission of Liberty University and the School of Divinity for nearly four decades in various roles. He has been, and will continue to be, a foundation guardian and builder. In more recent years, 2013-2019, he led the merger of the School of Religion and the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, the move to the Freedom Tower, the acquisition of the Keesee Fund Scholarship, and accreditation of several graduate programs in the School of Divinity by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). These achievements were the fruits of leading well, hiring well, and never wavering from the core doctrinal beliefs that have shaped this university.

Dr. Hindson first began teaching at Liberty in 1974. In the summer of 1975, he taught the first one-week intensive course at Liberty, Introduction to Pastoral Counseling. In 1985, he videotaped Liberty’s first distance learning course: Old Testament Survey. And over the years, he has taught over 100,000 students, residentially and online, and was named Teacher of the Year many times. It’s rare that you get the privilege to not only teach children of your former students but also the grandchildren of your former students. This legacy of faithfulness has been a deep and rich blessing to Liberty University and the School of Divinity for almost 50 years.

Hindson addresses the crowd at the grand opening ceremony of Freedom Tower, home to the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, on Feb. 5, 2018.

Dr. Hindson will remain on the faculty as Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Religion. He will continue to teach each semester, and he has not slowed down in producing scholarly, published works. Dr. Hindson has written 40 books and edited five major study Bibles, including the bestselling King James Study Bible (Thomas Nelson) and the Gold Medallion award-winning Knowing Jesus Bible (Zondervan). He also serves as the speaker on The King is Coming telecast.

Please join me and the entire School of Divinity family in expressing our thanks to Dr. Hindson for his faithful service to Liberty University and the School
of Divinity.

Love, Learn, Live, Lead

A new decade stares us in the face, and we are ready to take up the mantle that has been passed. What does the future hold for our school? We have been diligently seeking the Lord and asking Him to paint the picture of a preferred future for the School of Divinity that will invite churches to identify and send students to train here. We will train leaders for the church who look like the description that we see in Ezra 7:9b-10. As the prophet Ezra made his way to Jerusalem, we read these words,

Dr. Troy Temple, interim dean of the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, teaches CHMN 489-001, a capstone course in church ministry, inside Freedom Tower.

… for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

It has become clearer to us that our students have been called to full-time vocational ministry at a time in history that is more challenging than ever. The questions being raised by this current generation are presenting opportunities for ministry leaders to dig deeply into the truth of God’s Word to resound the answers that are never-failing. We are begging God to have His good hand on our students and shape them to be people who love Him and His Word unashamedly. We challenge them to dive into biblical truth and learn how to apply it to the most difficult questions of our day, and we hold them close as they live out the truths that they have soaked in. We send them across town and to the ends of the earth to lead God’s people.

When these are the students that we send out from the School of Divinity, then we can impact the Kingdom of Christ like we’ve never seen. They will build on the strong foundation that has been laid and further the mission of the Gospel like true Champions for Christ.

For the Next Decade and Beyond

The School of Divinity will seize the next decade to champion the call to full-time vocational ministry and come alongside the local church in its quest to fulfill the Great Commission. We will seek out strategic partnerships with local churches and Christian organizations that will mentor our students and provide experiential learning opportunities. We will dream of innovative approaches to our curriculum that will equip our students with the knowledge and competencies needed to lead the church through the middle of the 21st century and beyond. We will be the ministry training school of the church and its global mission.

Training leaders for the church is our purpose. Over the next five years, we will work to connect with pastors and their churches personally in Virginia and surrounding states as well as those around the country who have determined to leave a heritage of thoroughly equipped ministry leaders. We want to gather an army of church leaders who can speak into our curriculum and partner with us to produce the most well-trained ministry leaders anywhere. Let’s call out to God to do what we have seen Him do before and trust Him to do it. God, show us great and mighty things that we have never seen!

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