by Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga., (TMNews)–Truett-McConnell College welcomes a former Southern Baptist seminary president and an aerospace engineer to its faculty ranks.
Dr. Phil Roberts presided over the Southern Baptist Convention’s Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., from 2001 to 2012.
Dr. Mael Disseau, who holds two doctoral degrees, previously was an adjunct professor at The College at Southwestern, which is a baccalaureate-level entity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Both will teach in the college’s new Master of Arts in Theology program beginning this fall, while Disseau will also teach in the B.A. program.
“We could not be more elated with the addition of these two colleagues to our faculty,” said Dr. Brad Reynolds, TM’s vice president for academic services. “These men not only bring with them a vast knowledge base combined with international experience in education, they are committed churchmen whose lives of service to God will enhance their impact upon our students both academically and spiritually.”
Roberts, who holds a PhD from the Free University in Amsterdam, served seven years at the SBC’s North American Mission Board in Alpharetta, Ga., as a director and then a vice president.
Adept in international education and evangelism, as well as apologetics, Roberts is a specialist regarding Mormonism and Islam.
“Dr. Roberts has a heart for education, missions and evangelism that knows no borders,” said Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell. “Faculty and students alike will benefit from Dr. Roberts’ commitment to and compassion for the mission and ministry of our college. We could not have asked for a better fit.”
Citing TM’s slogan — “From the very first verse to the very last tribe” — Roberts told TMNews: “This statement speaks not only of biblical fidelity, it says the Bible should be grasped and lived not just intellectually, but has application to the whole of a Christian’s life.”
“I would not be happy at any other institution if it did not have this kind of vision for the world,” he said. “If missions-focused academics are not committed to the application of the Great Commission, then such would be superfluous — a waste of both energies and resources.”
“I have often said that training in biblical ministries is the highest form of Great Commission work because it teaches others to observe all things Christ has commanded us to do, and that includes a mandate for students to become Great Commission teachers and doers, themselves,” Roberts said. “I love the fact that Truett-McConnell is so committed, and I will give my full energy and best support to these ends.”
Disseau joins TM’s faculty with two earned doctorates: a PhD in systematic theology, with a minor in Baptist and Free Church Studies, and another in aerospace engineering.
Fluent in five languages, Disseau, brings additional Anabaptist expertise to TM’s faculty, as his doctoral thesis regards the Anabaptist view of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
In addition to his stint at The College at Southwestern, Disseau also taught engineering at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas; theology at École Supérieure Baptiste de Théologie pour l’Afrique Occidentale in Lomé, Togo; and engineering and mathematics at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N. Car.
“Dr. Disseau epitomizes what we envision for our students,” Reynolds said. “He holds degrees that reflect a commitment and understanding regarding the things of God, and also the intellect of man.”
“This combination reflects our interdisciplinary studies as well as our Great Commission minor,” Reynolds added. “While we are training our liberal arts students for the business world, as well as the medical and public education fields, among others, we also are equipping them with a Christian worldview through our required Great Commission minor. This means our graduates can take the saving message of Christ into their chosen career fields and into the public marketplace. Dr. Disseau is a living, breathing example of our efforts at Truett-McConnell, practically, academically and spiritually.”
Reflecting on this unique combination, Disseau told TMNews: “In today’s Christianity, we too often create a dichotomy between clergy and laity. This is not a distinction introduced in the New Testament, but a distinction we have inherited through the Reformation and from the Roman Catholic Church.”
“Unfortunately, with that distinction and the use of terms like the ‘minister of . . .’ comes the false message that only some are called to be full time ministers and that some spiritual gifts are more important than others,” Disseau said. “The reality, which the Anabaptists understood very well, is that all believers are called to be full time ministers, who follow Christ not just as Savior, but as Lord.”
Disseau said he believes his “years as an engineer hopefully will help students understand that followers of Christ do not have to check their brains at the door. God’s creation, even though marred by sin, represents our Creator in so many ways, and understanding it helps us understand Him better.”
“It is my hope to one day see future Pilgram Marpecks (an engineer, and an Anabaptist pastor/theologian) graduate from Truett-McConnell, and go to the world’s mission field as engineers with a missional mindset to make disciples of all nations,” Disseau said.
Noting the origins of his spiritual sojourn, Disseau said: “It was through the ministry of a Georgia Baptist church that I came to the knowledge of Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 23.”
“I am therefore honored that in this next season of my life, God is allowing me to give back to the Georgia Baptist Convention,” he said. “My wife and I are looking forward to pouring our lives into Truett-McConnell students and the people of Cleveland. We pray that God will allow us to continue to make and equip disciples here, and throughout the world, until He returns.”
For more info regarding Truett-McConnell’s Master of Arts in Theology degree program, click HERE.
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