- (Photo: The Christian Post/Katherine T. Phan)
Former president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Richard D. Land, has been appointed president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in Charlotte, N.C.
The appointment, which becomes effective July 1, 2013, was made public in a news release on Thursday. The institution's Board of Trustees noted Dr. Land's 25-year history and reputation as an influential Christian voice for cultural apologetics in America as major factors behind their decision.
Land who announced his plans to retire from the ERLC last fall, succeeds former interim SES President Robert Westra. Land is expected to expand courses and accessibility to SES programs to a more international audience. He will also be teaching regular classes starting this summer.
"My goal is to join with the SES family to produce an ever-increasing number of graduates who will be used by God to win tremendous victories for Christ and His Kingdom," said Land of his appointment in the release.
Co-founded by former evangelist Ross Rhoads and apologist Dr. Norman Geisler in 1992, the SES offers a unique program in evangelism and classic apologetics. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D. studies to its students and in 2011, announced its new Institute of Scientific Apologetics. Land's broad experience as a former vice president of academic affairs, professor, academic dean and author is noted as strong indications of his understanding of education and its importance in defending the Christian faith.
"I can think of no better place to be involved in teaching this generation and the next, than here at SES," he said of his teaching duties at the institution.
Once noted as one of the nation's 25 most influential evangelicals, Land has led the ERLC since 1988. He announced last year that it was time he does something else.
"It has been the honor, privilege, and blessing of a lifetime to serve the Lord, the wonderful people of God called Southern Baptists, and other brothers and sisters in the faith through the ERLC for virtually half of my entire ministry," Land had stated in his resignation letter. "Now, I believe that God has led me to the place where He is releasing me to other places of service in His Kingdom."
In his new role, Land follows in the footsteps of fellow apologist Dr. Norman Geisler, widely considered the godfather of classical apologetics in American Christianity. Geisler also co-founded the SES and served as president of the institution from 1999-2006.
Land is an ordained Southern Baptist minister who holds a Master in Theology and a Doctorate of Philosophy. He served five terms with the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and is listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in Religion. During his 25-year tenure at the ERLC, he focused on social, moral and ethical concerns, particularly those impacting American families and their faith.