York installed as theology school dean during SBTS chapel
Hershael W. York, who has been Victor and Louise Lester Professor of Christian Preaching since 1997, was officially installed as dean of the School of Theology during chapel, August 30, at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. President R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced the hire in June.
“I have been looking forward to this day — for 20-plus years now, Dr. Hershael York has been such a close and dear colleague to me and to so many here at Southern Seminary," Mohler said. “To know Hershael is to know that he is, as the British say, ‘a man in full’ or a man of many parts. He is a full-blown personality, and he is a passionate follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hershael doesn’t do anything mildly. He is a man who glories in Christ and glories in the gospel.”
Mohler presented a certificate of installation to York during the ceremony, noting his “confidence in [York], our joy in this moment, and our great anticipation of years of working together.” Mohler recalled that York was the only pastor in Kentucky who called Mohler to congratulate him upon his hiring as president 30 years ago. Within a decade of that phone call, York was hired as preaching professor.
The School of Theology is the Southern Seminary’s oldest and central school, and since the establishment of the dean position in 1954, the leadership role has been “incredibly important,” Mohler said during chapel. The school houses scholars and practitioners in the Old and New Testaments, biblical, historical, and systematic theology, church history, philosophy, ethics, and preaching.
York, who is also senior pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky, said he considered it a “great honor” to be the 11th dean of the School of Theology. York follows Gregory A. Wills, who served a five-year term as dean.
“It is an unspeakable honor to be here — on any level. I would be honored to be the janitor here,” York said. “I am especially delighted to be able to teach preaching here, and now to serve as dean is a tremendous blessing. I love serving with this faculty and with Dr. Mohler, and getting to serve these students.”
York preached his installation address from 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. He argued that discipleship, the work of the minister, means a life of paradox.
“We disciple others with paradoxical promises that show our weakness and his strength,” he said, noting Pauline paradoxes like having a “treasure in jars of clay” and experiencing life through the death of Jesus.
“Discipleship is always a life of public death; discipleship is a life of pointing others to Jesus, even as they watch us die,” he explained.
During the ceremony, Mohler said Wills has served “nobly” as the dean of the School of Theology and called him an “outstanding dean, respected academic scholar and historian, and a man of great heart.” A service honoring Wills’ tenure as dean is scheduled for later in the fall.
Audio and video of York’s installation address are available at equip.sbts.edu