After nearly twelve years of knowing and working with Dr. Derek Thomas, our esteemed John Richards Chair of Professor of Practical and Systematic Theology, I have the sad task of announcing that God has led him and his wife, Rosemary, to leave Jackson for a new post. At the end of this academic year, they will be moving from Mississippi to Columbia, South Carolina for Derek to become the Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church where he will minister alongside his longtime dear friend, Sinclair Ferguson. Frankly, I have been aware for the past six or eight years that the Lord might move him one day, given the number of churches that have diligently sought him. Year by year, we talked privately as he wrestled with each request, and until recently, concluded that he was not called to move. But, now that the time has come, we are filled with gratitude for the years that we have benefitted from his faithful teaching, his heart to disciple young men for the ministry, and his love for Christ and His Church. He will be difficult to replace, but we trust that God will provide just the right man to follow him. Rosemary, his wife, has also made significant and rich contributions on campus as well- particularly with the wives of seminary students. Together, they have been a wonderful team and we will miss them. So we are experiencing both ‘tears and cheers.’ ‘Tears’ to have to let them go, but ‘cheers’ to see God open new avenues of ministry and opportunity of service through them both.
The sad news for us does have, however, an encouraging side. In spite of the move, Dr. Thomas has agreed to continue as a member of our faculty, and will be returning each January to teach at least one Systematic Theology class yearly on Christology. So, while he will not be resident in Mississippi, we are pleased to continue including him in our solid lineup of strong, biblical teachers on the Jackson campus. God has been so good to us to give us men like Derek, and we look forward to his continuing contribution to our labors to educate men and women to serve as leaders in Christ’s Kingdom. To Him be the glory!
- Guy Richardson, president, RTS Jackson