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Lewis Brogdon fulfills dream to teach Black Church Studies and New Testament

by Louisville Seminary | Mar 04, 2011
The Rev. Dr. Lewis O. Brogdon has been appointed to serve as Director of Black Church Studies and Assistant Professor of New Testament and Black Church Studies at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

“Dr. Brogdon brings a superb constellation of gifts, experience, and leadership to the position of Director of Black Church Studies,” stated Seminary President Michael Jinkins, in announcing the appointment. “Lewis also offers a unique set of qualifications for the teaching of New Testament and Black Church Studies. Louisville Seminary is fortunate indeed to have him in this position, and I am grateful for the foresight of our faculty and Board of Trustees in placing him in this position. The Black Church Studies program is poised to become a program of enduring national significance.”

This appointment, recommended by the Seminary faculty with the support of the president and Board of Trustees, places leadership of the growing Black Church Studies program within a faculty-level administrative position. Dr. Brogdon’s new responsibilities will take effect June 1, 2011.

Since 2006, Brogdon has served as Associate Director of Recruiting and Admissions, and in 2009, he added the responsibilities of director of the newly launched Black Church Studies program. In the new position, Brogdon, a 2005 Louisville Seminary graduate, who received his Ph.D. from Regent University School of Divinity in 2010, also will teach a limited number of courses in New Testament and in Black Church Studies.

“Calling Lewis Brogdon to serve in this position is a high moment for all of us, because it fulfills a long awaited hope that we would be able to establish a Black Church Studies program on firm footing, which means having a full-time director for the program. Lewis has shown himself immanently qualified to lead our program, and I am delighted he will remain with us indefinitely,” said Seminary Dean David C. Hester.

“With imagination and drive, Lewis has already put the Black Church Studies program on the national map,” added Susan R. Garrett, Professor of New Testament. “This program is destined to be significant and formative for black as well as nonblack students at Louisville Seminary, and will serve the wider church in important ways. In New Testament studies also, Dr. Brogdon has proven himself to be a gifted scholar, teacher, preacher, and mentor. The Seminary is fortunate to have him as a faculty member,” she said.

“He is simply a multi-talented, enthusiastic, and generous presence at the Seminary, and I am delighted that he is here and willing to take on these very important responsibilities,” Hester added.

Brogdon will continue to assist the Seminary in the area of student recruitment with an on-going, limited and targeted role related primarily to students interested in Louisville Seminary who are drawn to the Black Church Studies program. His particular attention will be directed to the recruitment of racial/ethnic students and the establishment of critical relationships and networks with historically black colleges and universities and other racial/ethnic communities in the church.

“I am deeply grateful to God for this wonderful opportunity to continue directing the Black Church Studies Program at Louisville Seminary. In less than two years, our program has made significant progress. The program has a strong faculty and curriculum, a strong core of students, as well as significant connections to leaders and churches across the denominational spectrum,” said Brogdon, who is also a pastor of eighteen years.

“The appointment as both director and assistant professor, gives me an opportunity to integrate my passion for church ministry with my passion for critical theological inquiry. In particular, as a scholar of the church, I envision this program not only educating black clergy men and women for ministry but also becoming a program that publishes major studies on the Black Church,” he continued.

Brogdon said his appointment is the fulfillment of a thirteen-year dream that began in a Bible College classroom in West Virginia when the New Testament professor wrote Greek on the chalk board.

“God used that moment to show me new possibilities for ministry. At that moment God planted in me the dream of teaching New Testament.”

Brogdon’s dream was nurtured as a student at Louisville Seminary, where he studied New Testament with Professors Susan Garrett and Marty Soards, with whom he also served as a teaching assistant and wrote his thesis on interpreting Pauline slave texts.

“I left Louisville Seminary prepared to pursue graduate work in biblical interpretation, especially studying the intersection between New Testament studies and African American biblical interpretation,” Brogdon said.

Prior to enrolling in the Master of Divinity degree program at Louisville Seminary, Brogdon served as an Assistant Pastor at the Calfee Christian Church and also served on the staff at Bluefield College of Evangelism in Bluefield West Virginia. In 2003, he earned his undergraduate degree in Christian studies and sociology from Bluefield College, a small Baptist liberal arts college. As a merit scholar, he enrolled at Louisville Seminary, and quickly offered his gift for teaching by tutoring Greek students. In 2005, Brogdon’s academic accomplishments were recognized with the Metroversity Award for Adult Learners.

Following graduation from the Master of Divinity program at Louisville Seminary, Brogdon earned his doctor of philosophy in New Testament studies at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., where he says the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Estrelda Alexander, and the Divinity School faculty further prepared him to serve as a scholar of Black Religion and New Testament studies. He celebrated the completion of his dissertation, “Exclusion as Impediment to Conversion: An African American Reading of Paul’s Letter to Philemon,” with the Louisville Seminary community and graduated with his Ph.D. in May 2010.

“I want to thank my family, friends, my pastor, my bishop, the faculty of LPTS, administrators, staff, students, the Board of Trustees, and President Jinkins for faith that inspires the best in me and support that makes impossible dreams come true. I am particularly honored to join Professors Garrett and Soards as colleagues in New Testament. This appointment is a reminder of a favorite verse of mine in the New Testament- Ephesians 3:20. God is truly able to do exceeding abundantly above all I can ask or think,” Brogdon said.

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