Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas Appointed as Chancellor's Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology

Reformed Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Derek W.H. Thomas as Chancellor's Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology as of June 1, 2017.  A Chancellor’s Professor in the RTS system is a rank of distinction, for a regular, voting faculty member, who teaches at multiple RTS campuses, thus benefitting a greater number of students. Dr. Thomas has most recently served RTS as the Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Atlanta). Dr. Thomas has taught for RTS for over twenty years.

Derek, a native of Wales, is the Senior Minister at First Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Columbia, South Carolina. He has previously served RTS, not only in Atlanta, but also as the Chairman of the Theology Department at Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson) and the John. E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology. He was also the Minister of Teaching at First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Jackson, Mississippi for over a decade. 

Derek is a Teaching Fellow with Ligonier Ministries (Orlando, FL), and Adjunct Professor of Historical and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, MI. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of Wales, the Master of Divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary (Jackson), and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Wales (Lampeter). He was ordained in the Evangelical Church of Ireland, and served Stranmillis Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Belfast for 17 years before moving to the United States. He has published more than twenty books and contributed to many others.

Derek is a minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, pastoring its largest congregation. He speaks at conferences around the world, but his heart is for the local church, for pastoral ministry and for shaping the future pastoral ministry of the church.
He describes the calling of a seminary professor as follows. A seminary professor “should produce an infectious love for theology” in order to create “in students a love and a zeal for good, sound theology. Second, a seminary professor wants to show how “scholarship serves godliness.” “We professors need to demonstrate by our own lives how our scholarship actually makes us more godly. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the best scholarship makes me fall down and worship and sing the praises of my God.” Third, “we need to demonstrate a form of scholarship that provides certainty . . . to teach so that our students and the church can pick up their Bible and be absolutely confident that the Bible speaking is God speaking.” Fourth, “scholarship should be reverent.” “There’s profound mystery in scholarship, and you cannot cross that line. You can take students up to that line, and then there is awe. . . .” Fifth, “we are to execute a humble scholarship. We need to remember the apostle Paul’s warning and admonition that knowledge puffs up; it has that propensity to bring a sense of arrogance and pride. True knowledge is humble—it’s Jesus-like, bowing in humble acknowledgement that what we know, we only know because God has disclosed it to us.”


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