Published on April 10, 2023 by Kristen Padilla  
Josh Chatraw

Joshua Chatraw joined the Beeson Divinity School faculty as its next Billy Graham Chair of Evangelism and Cultural Engagement this past fall.

Chatraw was previously the executive director of the Center for Public Christianity in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is an award-winning author in the fields of evangelism and apologetics. Having written, co-written and edited nine books, his most recent book is Surprised by Doubt: How Disillusionment Can Invite Us Into a Deeper Faith (with Jack Carson). As the school’s Billy Graham Chair, he will teach courses in evangelism and apologetics.

“Josh Chatraw is doing the most thoughtful, creative and compelling work in evangelism and cultural engagement in the country right now,” said Douglas A. Sweeney, dean of Beeson Divinity School. “His work at the Center for Public Christianity is a wonderful example of why his brilliant writings on apologetics and culture have earned a wide readership. They simply can’t be beaten.”

Prior to serving the Center for Public Christianity, Chatraw was the founder and executive director of the Center for Apologetics and Cultural Engagement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and served as associate professor of theology and apologetics at Liberty’s School of Divinity.

Ordained in the Southern Baptist Convention, Chatraw has served as associate pastor of two Baptist churches in Georgia and Virginia, and he recently served as theologian-in-residence at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Raleigh.

“I could not be more pleased that Josh Chatraw has accepted the Billy Graham Chair of Evangelism,” said David Byers, co-chair of Beeson’s advisory board and managing principal of Capital Strategies in Birmingham, Alabama. “Dr. Graham was uniquely gifted to reach those in his era with the gospel. I’ve witnessed Josh’s unique gift of reaching people in a very different era and culture with the very same gospel. His teaching will significantly affect how we all share, preach, live and love Jesus at Beeson.”

Chatraw has guest lectured at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and has written numerous articles. He also serves as a fellow for the Center for Pastor Theologians and the Keller Center for Cultural Apologetics. In addition to Surprised by Doubt, Chatraw has published Telling a Better Story: How to Talk about God in a Skeptical Age, The Augustine Way: Retrieving a Vision for the Church’s Apologetic Witness (with Mark Allen), The History of Apologetics: A Biographical and Methodological Approach (with Alister McGrath and Benjamin Forrest), Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues (with Karen Swallow Prior), Apologetics at the Cross: An Introduction for Christian Witness (with Mark Allen), Truth in a Culture of Doubt: Engaging the Skeptical Challenges to the Bible (with Darrell Bock and Andreas Köstenberger), and Truth Matters: Confident Faith in a Confusing World (with Darrell Bock and Andreas Köstenberger). Several of these books have received recognition from the ECPA Christian Book Awards, Outreach Magazine Book Awards, The Gospel Coalition Book Awards and the Christian Retailing’s Book Awards.

"Josh Chatraw is one of the brightest young scholars in the fields of apologetics and evangelism,” said Collin Hansen, co-chair of Beeson’s advisory board and vice president for content and editor-in-chief of The Gospel Coalition, as well as executive director of The Keller Center. “I have long admired his writing and often recommended his work to professors, pastors and parents. His teaching experience for the academy as well as the church, in addition to his years of mentoring young adults, uniquely suits him for this new role. He and his family will be a great addition to Samford University as well as the broader Birmingham community."

Chatraw holds degrees from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (PhD), The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv) and Georgia Southern University (BBA). He and his wife Tracy have two children.

"It's an honor to join the world-class faculty at Beeson Divinity School,” Chatraw said. “I am both eager and grateful for this opportunity to work closely with the church's current and future leaders with the aim of bearing witness to the beauty, goodness and truth of the gospel."

In 1989, Dr. Billy Graham gave permission to Beeson Divinity School to establish a chair in his honor, recognizing his lifelong commitment to the ministry of evangelism. The Billy Graham Chair in Evangelism and Cultural Engagement was established at that time, fulfilling the wishes of the school’s benefactor, Ralph Waldo Beeson, that missions and evangelism be given a high priority in the school’s mission and curriculum. Those who have occupied the Graham Chair in the interceding years, namely Lewis Drummond and Lyle Dorsett, have faithfully equipped ministers to win lost persons to Jesus Christ and to develop dynamic churches that glorify God.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.