Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School’s founding dean, Timothy George, is this year’s president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), which is made up of more than 4,000 scholars, teachers, pastors, students and others dedicated to the oral exchange and written expression of theological thought and research.
ETS will mark its 75th annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on Nov. 14-16. As president, George will give a presidential address during the meeting. This year’s theme is “Theological Anthropology.”
“There is no one more deserving of the role of ETS president than our own Dr. George,” said Douglas A. Sweeney, dean of Beeson Divinity. “He has contributed to evangelical theological reflection for almost half a century. He has also been a faithful servant of the ETS for most of those years. We could not be prouder that one of our own is playing this crucial national role.”
Prior to George, there has only been one Beeson Divinity faculty member to serve as ETS president—Paul House, professor of Old Testament, who served in 2012.
“I think of Beeson as being an ETS kind of a place,” George said. “I was very honored when they invited me to take this role, and I think it fits with who Beeson is as a theological school, committed to the gospel but also welcoming diverse Christian traditions.”
George, who now serves as the school’s distinguished professor of divinity after retiring as dean in 2019, started attending the ETS annual meetings in the early 1980s.
“When I first started going to ETS there were only a handful of Southern Baptists who were there,” he said. “But now Southern Baptists are thick on the ground. We play a much more vibrant role in the society.”
George said he feels a sense of indebtedness to past presidents and other theologians in ETS who have shaped and influenced him, including Roger Nicole, Carl F. H. Henry and Kenneth Kantzer.
His goals as president this year include fostering a spirit of evangelical unity, creating a closer connection with churches that support the academy and recruiting younger theologians as new members.
George said that 75 years is a benchmark and an occasion for gratitude.
“We can see how God has blessed this work,” he said. “My hope is that he would keep us focused, humble and committed for the next 75 years.”
George will be followed as president by Karen Jobes, professor of New Testament Greek and Greek Exegesis emerita at Wheaton College, who currently serves as the society’s program chair. She will become the first female president of ETS at the conclusion of the annual meeting.
“I’m very excited about Karen succeeding me as president,” George said. “I’m 100% supportive of her.”
As he prepares for the November annual meeting, George prays that ETS will continue to be a vessel of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I want to pass on to a new generation, younger than me, some sense of the weightiness and importance of this endeavor and to advance the gospel,” George said. “There will come a generation when we are all gone, but the gospel will still be here.”