Midwestern Seminary hires Geoff Chang as Spurgeon Library curator
By T. Patrick Hudson
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) — Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen announced Tuesday (April 14) the hiring of Geoff Chang, who will assume the position of curator for the Spurgeon Library effective Aug. 1.
Chang, associate pastor of Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, Ore., will graduate May 1 with a Ph.D. in historical theology from Midwestern. He will oversee day-to-day operations for the library as well as major writing projects involved with the collection. He will also serve the institution as assistant professor of historical theology.
Allen said the decision to place Chang in the role became much clearer as he discerned Chang’s dedication to the local church and love for Spurgeon scholarship.
“I cannot be more thrilled to announce Dr. Geoff Chang as the new curator of the Spurgeon Library and as a valued member of our faculty,” Allen said. “As Dr. Chang was nearing the end of his Ph.D. studies at Midwestern Seminary, it became clear that he was advancing the state of Spurgeon scholarship in pioneering and valuable ways for the church. This is the exact vision we’ve had for the Spurgeon Library since its beginning.”
Allen added that the “synergy of Dr. Chang’s interest in Spurgeon scholarship, his heart for the local church, plus his overall collegial character and gifted abilities made it clear that Dr. Chang is the right person to lead the Spurgeon Library and teach at Midwestern Seminary and Spurgeon College.”
Among Chang’s responsibilities will be managing C.H. Spurgeon’s personal library collection, which consists of more than 6,000 books and artifacts. He will also devote time to major writing projects, such as future volumes of The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon, provide oversight of materials placed on Spurgeon.org and direct and mentor Spurgeon Scholars, who assist with a wide-range of Spurgeon Library initiatives.
Chang called his hiring “a tremendous privilege and stewardship,” adding: “The Spurgeon Library, being the personal library of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, is not only a historical artifact, but it is also one of the finest Puritan and theological libraries in the world. I’m grateful for the opportunity to oversee this resource for the advancement of evangelical scholarship, which I pray will benefit the church.”
Chang explained that he’s appreciated Spurgeon’s sermons and preaching for many years, but that his admiration deepened the past four years during the course of his doctoral research, as he came to learn more about Spurgeon as a local church pastor.
“This is an area of scholarship that has been largely overlooked,” he said. “Yet, in so many ways, Spurgeon provides a model of leadership and pastoral ministry that continues to be relevant to the challenges that churches face today.”
In addition to Chang’s Ph.D. studies at Midwestern, he earned an M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He has served on staff at both Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., and Houston Chinese Church in Texas.
Having served in local church pastoral ministry for the past decade, Chang said he is “not interested in scholarship that remains abstract and disconnected from the local church. In teaching church history and historical theology, I want to draw from my experience to better equip men and women to serve local churches in practical and tangible ways.
“Similarly, I want the Spurgeon Library to be a place where we continue to mine the riches of Spurgeon’s ministry, and all of church history, to better equip pastors to serve faithfully.”
Chang also brings to the position significant writing experience — regularly providing articles for HistoricalTheology.org, which he also helped found. He has been the book review editor for History and Historical Theology for Themelios and has written articles for Themelios and 9Marks.
A major project Chang has worked on over the past two years is continuing The Lost Sermons of C.H. Spurgeon series in conjunction with B&H Academic. Chang, alongside the Spurgeon Library team, edited volumes 5 and 6.
“We hope to be publishing notebooks 4-6 in the coming year, and finishing out notebooks 7-9 in the near future,” Chang said. “Alongside that, I hope to continue researching and writing on Spurgeon’s ecclesiology and approach to pastoral ministry.”
Midwestern Seminary Provost Jason Duesing echoed Allen’s sentiments about Chang and also noted his strong leadership abilities, saying, “Dr. Chang not only is an excellent writer — as evidenced by his dissertation, his work on the Lost Sermons series, and his article publications — but he also has the ability to coalesce the Spurgeon Library team and to continue the library’s ascension as a top destination for the study of all things Spurgeon.
“We’re pleased to welcome Dr. Chang, his wife Stephanie and their three children to Kansas City, and we look forward to their becoming a valuable addition to our seminary community.”
For more information about The Spurgeon Library, visit www.spurgeon.org.
Southeastern now offering modified residency option for Ph.D. in biblical studies
WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) — Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) is helping bring the academy to the local church through its modified residential Ph.D. in biblical studies.
“The SEBTS Ph.D. program is committed to engaging scholarship at a global level,” said Jake Pratt, director of the SEBTS Ph.D. program.
“Our new biblical studies modified residency program is an interdisciplinary, intensive format designed to foster cross-cultural dialogue in the disciplines of Old Testament, New Testament and biblical theology for pastor-theologians, international students and those called to the vocation of teaching and research.”
The Ph.D. in biblical studies includes concentrations in New Testament, Old Testament and biblical theology, primarily preparing students to teach in the local church or colleges and seminaries.
The modified residential format allows for current vocational pastors, missionaries and the like to continue theological education while continuing to minister in their current context. The modified residency option would not replace residential options within the biblical studies Ph.D. but would instead coexist alongside residential versions of the biblical theology, New Testament and Old Testament concentrations. Students who enroll in this program are required to attend eight on-campus seminars over a two-year period.
“We’re excited to be able to offer this top-tier Ph.D. program to students in a format that lets them stay in their ministry positions around the country and the world,” Pratt said.