Southern Evangelical Seminary Committed to Carry on Legacy of Co-Founder Dr. Norman Geisler
SES Has a ‘Renewed Sense of Purpose to Perpetuate Dr. Geisler’s Legacy in Christiandom’ after Co-Founder’s July 1 Passing, Says Dr. Richard Land
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—As the entire Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) family reflects on the contributions of its late co-founder Dr. Norman Geisler, SES President Dr. Richard Land says the seminary is deeply committed to carrying on his legacy.
“We have been greatly encouraged by the fact that the occasion of Dr. Geisler’s homegoing to the Lord has caused a renewed sense of purpose for SES faculty and staff to perpetuate Dr. Geisler’s legacy in Christendom,” Land said.
Geisler passed away July 1 at the age of 86 after a decades-long commitment to the field of Christian apologetics. He was a prolific author, veteran professor, speaker, lecturer, traveler, philosopher, apologist, evangelist and theologian, and had been described throughout his lifetime as a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham.
“All of us in the SES family are well aware that a spiritual giant walked among us and his reassuring presence in ministry in our lives will be greatly missed,” Land said. “We do take comfort, however, in the fact that the prodigious work product he left behind will continue to inform us and to inspire us and to equip us more ably to fulfill God’s purposes in our lives and ministries. Along with legions of Christians across the globe, as his books have been translated into multiple languages, I owe an incalculable debt to Dr. Geisler for his indelible impact on my life and my ministry. His ministry to the Christian faith was invaluable, and his influence incalculable.”
Land added that the seminary’s administration and faculty are all the more committed to continuing Geisler’s work, as he was the “most important defender of the full inerrancy of Scripture in the last third of the 20th and the first third of the 21st century,” the SES president noted.
Land also shared that Geisler had communicated that he wished for one of his most famous protégées, Ravi Zacharias, to conduct his funeral service, which was held July 6. Zacharias, who had been in Asia, flew back to comply with his beloved mentor’s request.
“Ravi did a wonderful job eulogizing Dr. Geisler,” Land said. “It was interesting to me that Ravi preached from the same biblical passage on which I had been reflecting. The apostle Paul’s parting words to Timothy, his son in the faith, found in 2 Timothy Chapter 4: ‘Preach the word. Do the work of an evangelist. I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid out for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day.’ I can think of no more appropriate passage for Dr. Norman Geisler.”
Land noted that the seminary has been in continuing contact with Dr. David Geisler, who is both an SES alumnus and serves as an adjunct professor. Together with his late father, Dr. David Geisler co-founded Norm Geisler International Ministries (NGIM), which seeks to equip the body of Christ around the world in building stronger foundations to effectively share their faith and to guide others to do the same. More than a year before his death, NGIM announced it was embarking on a feature-length documentary project about Dr. Geisler’s life and his invaluable contributions to the Christian faith.
The project becomes all the more meaningful now.
Land explained that just as SES honored Dr. Geisler by renaming its graduate school to “The Dr. Norman L. Geisler Graduate School of Apologetics” and bestowed on him the title of “President Emeritus” last May, NGIM wanted to honor Dr. Geisler for “a lifetime of service to the Lord,” as well as illuminate “the issues he is most passionate about: the validity of the Christian faith and the inerrancy of the Bible.”
To date, NGIM reports that the filmmakers have interviewed many notable evangelical leaders for the documentary, including Kerby Anderson, John Ankerberg, Tony Evans, Joseph Holden, Richard Howe, Land, Josh McDowell, Raul Reis, Ron Rhodes, Hugh Ross, J. Warner Wallace, Ravi Zacharias and many more.
NGIM explained that “all of these people have been greatly influenced or mentored by Norm Geisler. Their interviews share their testimonies … and how they see Norm’s legacy carrying on through generations after him.”
The goal is to preview the film at SES’s 26th annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA), set for Oct. 11-12 at Calvary Church in Charlotte. For the 2019 event, SES is focusing on the theme of “Why Truth Still Matters” and is welcoming some of the nation’s top apologetics speakers. The conference will include a special tribute to Geisler honoring his priceless legacy. A trailer for the documentary is available here; learn more about the film project here.
One week after Geisler’s death, SES also announced the creation of the “Dr. Norman L. Geisler Memorial Fund,” which will be used for student scholarships and special projects that would have been near and dear to Dr. Geisler’s heart.