Southern Evangelical Seminary Names Co-Founder Dr. Norman Geisler President Emeritus
SES Will Also Rename Veritas Graduate School the Norman L. Geisler Graduate School of Apologetics After Author, Professor, Lecturer, Philosopher, Evangelist and Theologian
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—This past weekend during Commencement ceremonies, 27 students embarked on a new phase of life, and Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) made an announcement and bestowed a special honor.
SES President Dr. Richard Land has announced that SES co-founder Dr. Norman L. Geisler, who recently communicated his retirement from teaching due to health reasons, has been named President Emeritus of the 27-year-old seminary.
A prolific author, veteran professor, speaker, lecturer, traveler, philosopher, apologist, evangelist and theologian, Geisler has been described as a cross between Thomas Aquinas and Billy Graham.
“Quite simply, Dr. Geisler has been the pre-eminent Christian apologist of the past half-century,” Land said. “If they ever construct a Christian apologists’ Mount Rushmore, they would unquestionably start with Dr. Geisler’s visage. He has truly been one of God’s great gifts to His church. Southern Evangelical Seminary would not exist without Dr. Geisler’s vision and dedicated service over the past 27 years. Dr. Geisler has assured me that he wants to continue to support SES in any way he can, as his health allows.
“We will be searching for innovative ways to continue to give our students the opportunity to benefit from exposure to Dr. Geisler and his unique gifts in the years ahead.”
A certificate presented to Geisler during Commencement ceremonies Saturday read:
Dr. Norman L. Geisler has rendered dedicated, meritorious, and invaluable service to Southern Evangelical Seminary since its founding in 1992. Dr. Geisler has served Southern Evangelical Seminary with great distinction as co-founder, as inaugural Dean, as SES’s second President, and as Distinguished Senior Professor of Theology and Apologetics during these decades of faithful ministry for Christ and His Kingdom.
In recognition of this unique record of invaluable ministry, Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Board of Trustees is honored and delighted to unanimously award Dr. Norman L. Geisler the honorary title of President Emeritus.
Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Board of Trustees has also voted unanimously to rename its Veritas Graduate School “The Norman L. Geisler Graduate School of Apologetics.”
“Renaming the Veritas Graduate School as ‘The Norman L. Geisler Graduate School of Apologetics’ is, I believe, an appropriate and fitting way of honoring Dr. Geisler and his legacy in a more permanent fashion,” Land said.
Geisler, 86, co-founded SES with Dr. Ross Rhoads in 1992. Professor Geisler’s concern to defend the historic Christian faith and Pastor Rhoads’ burden for evangelism combined in the two-fold vision of the seminary to evangelize the world and to defend the historic Christian faith. Geisler was appointed the seminary’s first dean, and Rhoads, who passed away in May 2017, served as the first president.
Geisler is the author of more than 125 books and hundreds of articles. He has taught theology, philosophy and apologetics at the college or graduate level for more than a half-century and has been a regular speaker at SES’s National Conference on Christian Apologetics for many years. Geisler also served as a professor at some of the finest seminaries in the United States, including Trinity Evangelical Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, Veritas Evangelical Seminary and SES.
The renowned apologist was educated at colleges, university and graduate schools around the nation, including William Tyndale College, the University of Detroit, the University of Detroit Graduate School, Wheaton College, Wheaton Graduate School, Wayne State University Graduate School, Northwestern University and Loyola University, amassing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy and theology.
Several educational institutions were also privileged to welcome Dr. Geisler as a faculty member or administrator, including Wheaton College, Detroit Bible College, Trinity College, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Dallas Theological Seminary, the Liberty Center for Research and Scholarship, and of course, Southern Evangelical Seminary.
In 2006, Geisler founded the International Society of Christian Apologetics, and in 2007, co-founded Veritas Evangelical Seminary, where he has served in leadership since then.
Over his impressive career of service, several churches and ministries have also been honored to have Dr. Geisler either in leadership or servanthood: Northeast Suburban Youth for Christ (Detroit), Dayton Center Church (Silverwood, Michigan), River Grove Bible Church (River Grove, Illinois), Memorial Baptist Church (Warren, Michigan), Alumni of Detroit Bible College, Quest for Truth radio ministry and Southern Evangelical Church (Charlotte, North Carolina). Geisler has also served numerous interim pastorates in Michigan, Illinois and Texas, received numerous awards over his lifetime, and has been an internationally known speaker at churches, retreats, pastor’s conferences and universities, as well as on radio and television, since 1960.
Dr. Geisler has been married to his wife, Barbara Jean, for more than 60 years; they have six children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“The entire Southern Evangelical family—administration, faculty, students, alumni and members of the Board of Trustees—express our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Geisler for his invaluable ministry both to SES and to the larger realm of Christendom for the past half-century and more,” Land added. “We join together in saying, ‘Thank you, Dr. Geisler, for your tremendous, God-honoring ministry, which has so positively impacted all of us in our walk with our Savior.’”
For 27 years, SES has existed to equip students and ministry leaders to share the Gospel from an intelligent, informed and rational biblical worldview. Courses, conferences, seminars, guest speakers and more seek to accomplish this longstanding mission. Central to this purpose is the provision of a biblical basis and an academic understanding of believers’ commitment to Christ. Therefore, SES seeks to provide an educational opportunity where the Christian worldview is both a framework for thinking and a dynamic for living.