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Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit their website at


2011 Student Body Officers

Student Body Elects Officers

Five undergraduate students at Free Will Baptist Bible College were elected by their peers to serve as 2011-2012 Student Body officers. Frank Thornsbury, sophomore History major from Oil Springs, Kentucky, was elected president. Vice-president is sophomore Alex Knox, a Psychology major from Ashland City, Tennessee. Taylor Ford, a freshman Nursing major also from Ashland City, will serve as secretary-treasurer. Junior Pastoral Ministry major Greg Smith from Whittemore, Michigan, was elected chaplain and will provide spiritual leadership for the student body. Another Pastoral Ministry major, freshman Richie Kyburz from DeSoto, Missouri, will serve as worship leader.


Kevin Hester to Chair Theological Studies Department

Dr. Kevin Hester has been named chair of the Department of Theological Studies at Free Will Baptist Bible College, according to Provost Greg Ketteman. A member of the college faculty since 2003, Dr. Hester served the past three years as program coordinator for Biblical Studies. He succeeds Dr. Garnett Reid who chaired the department 2008-2011. Dr. Reid will continue teaching Bible where he specializes in Old Testament studies.

“This kind of shift in duty posts occurs frequently in the academic community as personal responsibilities and professional work loads change among the faculty,” Dr. Ketteman said. “We are confident that Dr. Hester will continue the same tradition of solid biblical leadership in the department that Dr. Reid provided. The college is fortunate to have a number of outstanding professors who step up and deliver when their names are called.”

In a related adjustment within the Department of Theological Studies, the Reverend Matthew McAffee has been appointed program coordinator for Biblical Studies. McAffee returned to FWBBC in a full-time capacity last fall and has served as Bible instructor and campus pastor since August 2010. He has been on leave of absence pursuing doctoral studies in Near Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. He has served as part-time FWBBC faculty since 2003, on campus 2003-2006, and after that worked with distance-learning students.

Dr. Ketteman said, “Dr. Hester and Reverend McAffee represent the finest in scholarship and commitment to Christian ministry. Both are published journalists and creative speakers whose classes inspire and energize students. Both men expect to shoulder broader faculty duties and provide oversight for various campus activities.”

For the past three years, Dr. Hester has chaired the college’s Compliance Committee for accreditation. He is frequently published in professional journals and denominational publications. His 2010 pamphlet, Free Will Baptists and the Priesthood of Believers, was published by the Free Will Baptist Historical Commission. His first book was published by Paternoster (an English evangelical firm) in 2007, Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great: The Christological Synthesis of Gregory’s Morals on the Book of Job. The book is an adaptation of Hester’s doctoral dissertation.

A 1993 FWBBC graduate, Dr. Hester completed the M.Div degree at Covenant Theological Seminary in 1997 and his Ph.D. at Saint Louis University in 2000.

President Matt Pinson said, “We are thankful for the godly example and influence that the ministries of Dr. Hester, Dr. Reid, and Reverend McAffee continue to make on the FWBBC campus. They all three have a servant outlook toward our students and the mission of the college. They are excellent scholars, students of the Word, and men of God. As they hand off campus and faculty responsibilities, our students and denominational constituency will reap the benefits.”


Men’s Resident Director, Shifts Focus

Reverend Michael Oliver, who completed two years as men’s resident director at Free Will Baptist Bible College in May, announced plans to shift his ministry focus this summer to the college’s Institutional Advancement Office where he currently serves as administrative assistant.

“My family and I had a wonderful experience working with the young men in FWBBC’s Goen Hall,” Oliver said. “We watched with joy as dozens of teen-aged boys enrolled as freshmen and matured as serious students and Christian gentlemen. We faced a number of challenges and opportunities, and God gave us grace for it all.”

Oliver graduated with his bachelor’s degree in General Christian Ministries in May. Michael, his wife Kim, and sons Seth (12) and Jon-Albert (9) plan to relocate from Goen Hall to a new parsonage under construction at Stony Point Free Will Baptist Church in Vanleer (Tennessee) where Oliver pastors. He will commute daily to FWBBC.

David Williford, vice president for institutional advancement, said, “For the past two years, Michael has worn a lot of hats—full-time college student, pastor, resident director, administrative assistant for the Advancement Office, husband, and father. He’s a great asset to the college and a fine example as an employee.”


South Carolina Pastor Joins FWBBC Staff

Reverend Mike Edwards, pastor of Horse Branch FWB Church (Turbeville, South Carolina), will join the Free Will Baptist Bible College staff in a dual role this summer, according to David Williford, vice president for institutional advancement. Edwards has been named director of the college’s annual fund and will travel as a fundraiser and public relations representative with FWBBC’s Institutional Advancement Office. He will also serve as men’s resident director and live in Goen Hall with his wife Karen, who has been named assistant to the resident director.

Mr. Williford said, “Mike is a 1995 FWBBC graduate. In addition to being a strong supporter of the college wherever he pastored, he encouraged a number of students to attend, including his own children. He understands financial principles and is a respected community leader as a pastor and father. He brings spiritual energy and denominational insight to the table. He’s just what we need both on the road and on campus.”

Called to preach in 1987 and ordained in 1989, Reverend Edwards pastored 22 years in three states—South Carolina (Turbeville), Indiana (New Castle), and Georgia (Jesup and Norman Park). While enrolled at FWBBC, he served five years as men’s resident director. During that time, his wife Karen was employed as secretary to the dean of students. The Edwards’ three children all graduated from FWBBC—Chris (2008), Courtney (2010), Kristen (2010).

“We’re delighted that the college is bringing another experienced pastor on campus,” said Dr. Jon Forlines, vice president for student services and dean of students. “Brother Edwards will be able to mentor the young men in Goen Hall, plus he has a proven ability to function within an organizational structure.”

Reverend Edwards resigned his church May 1. He will transition from his successful ministry with the Horse Branch Free Will Baptist Church and relocate to Nashville in July.

President Matt Pinson said, “Because we’ve faced the most difficult economic climate in the college’s history, we believe it’s a key time to add new personnel in fundraising and public relations, just as we did in recruitment, to increase financial support for and raise awareness for the college. What we need now is more people who can go out among our churches, pastors, and donors and raise money, so we can deal with the harsh economic climate, do an even better job educating leaders for Free Will Baptist outreach, and restore faculty/staff salaries. That’s why bringing a respected pastor/leader like Mike Edwards on board is a step in the right direction to strengthen the college financially and reinforce the link between FWBBC and its ministry to the Free Will Baptist denomination. We welcome Mike and Karen to the college family. They served on the campus previously and continue the tradition of providing mature spiritual leadership for our students”


President Pinson Speaks at New Orleans Seminary

Dr. Matt Pinson, president of Free Will Baptist Bible College, delivered an Arminian presentation titled “Thomas Grantham’s Theology of the Atonement and Justification” during a special event sponsored by the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). He spoke to an audience of students and faculty from NOBTS and several guest Christian colleges and universities Friday afternoon, February 25 at the Nelson Price Center.

Dr. Pinson said, “What a joy it was for me to participate in this unusual event at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and present the Arminian views of an early scholar whose writings and theological works helped formulate Free Will Baptist teachings. I was delighted with the warm and courteous reception by the faculty, students, and guests. I appreciate the way NOBTS has responded to our FWBBC faculty and their theological writings.”

The program included responses to Dr. Pinson’s presentation by three scholars: Clint Bass, Church History professor at Southwest Baptist University who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Grantham; Rhyne Putnam, Theology instructor at NOBTS; James Leonard, visiting Cambridge scholar at the NOBTS Center for New Testament Textual Studies and an FWBBC graduate who is completing doctoral studies. The address and the three responses will be published in the upcoming issue of the Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry.

NOBTS Provost Dr. Steve Lemke said, “Many of our students know little about Thomas Grantham’s theology, and we wanted to highlight Grantham in the annual conference sponsored by the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry. When I thought of an expert on Thomas Grantham, I immediately thought of my friend Matt Pinson, who has made scholarly presentations and publications on Grantham. Dr. Pinson has participated in our events before, and he always brings excellent scholarship and thoughtful presentation to the discussion. This recent presentation on Grantham was just such an excellent scholarly presentation.”

Six FWBBC students and two professors (Missions Program Coordinator Ron Callaway and Campus Pastor/Biblical and Theological Studies Coordinator Matthew McAffee) traveled to New Orleans to attend the event, hear President Pinson speak, and participate in the February 25-26 Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum at NOBTS. The forum featured a debate between Bart Ehrman and Craig A. Evans on the subject, “Can We Trust the Bible on the Historical Jesus?”

Ron Callaway said, “The New Orleans conference was a great time for all of us. The FWBBC students attended theological conferences, had a guided tour of the NOBTS campus, enjoyed a pizza dinner to promote enrollment, and took in hours of presentations and debate and counter-point discussions. After Dr. Pinson’s presentation, one of the visiting professors said he would be proud to serve on a faculty where Dr. Pinson was president.”

President Pinson continues to be in demand as a conference speaker, professional educator, and theologian. During a 2009 conference engagement, he delivered an address on Free Will Baptist theology at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama.

Board of Trustees Recommends Name Change

During its May 4-5 meeting preceding commencement exercises, the Free Will Baptist Bible College Board of Trustees voted 8-1 to recommend that the college change its name to Welch College, according to Chairman Terry Pierce. The name change proposal was presented to delegates for discussion at the 2011 national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will be voted on during the 2012 national convention in Memphis.

The recommendation came one year after the Board authorized college officials to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of such a move. This spring, FWBBC surveyed nearly 10,000 constituents about the proposed change, and results indicate that alumni, donors, and other denominational stakeholders strongly support the idea. Meanwhile, college administrators continue to speak with pastors, churches, and focus groups about issues driving the name change—recruitment, graduate access to restricted-access countries, alumni concerns, campus relocation, donor support, and more.

In related action, the Board voted to initiate discussions with prospective buyers to sell individual campus buildings that do not impact student life and studies directly. All funds from the sale(s) will go toward relocation efforts and will be applied to debt reduction on the Gallatin property purchased in 2008 where the college plans to build on a 66-acre tract in nearby Sumner County. Funds from the sale(s) will significantly lower the loan’s principal and interest payments. A portion of the savings will be board-directed toward a limited amount of capital repairs on the West End campus.

The Board also voted to honor Dr. Milton B. Fields, FWBBC’s vice president for institutional planning, who retires this summer after 17 years of leadership at the college. Dr. Fields was presented a plaque during commencement activities citing his role as an innovative and visionary educator. He filled a number of critical positions during his FWBBC career, including chairman of the Teacher Education Department (1994-1999), academic dean (1998-2006), and vice president for institutional planning (2006-2011). A retirement dinner was held in his honor May 26.

President Pinson said, “We had a great Board meeting, and I thank God for those nine good men who gave so generously of their time and insight to provide direction and oversight of Free Will Baptist Bible College.”


Excitement Sweeps Campus During Bible Conference/FORUM11

Campus-wide excitement brought a sense of urgency to Free Will Baptist Bible College March 6-9, as Bible Conference/FORUM11 speakers spotlighted “Preaching the Word, Renewing the Family” and challenged listeners to confront contemporary culture with the Gospel.

FWBBC officials said more than 500 people crowded into Memorial Auditorium for 10 plenary worship sessions in the four-day event. Twenty-three morning and afternoon workshops provided a variety of ideas and creativity for the information-hungry attendees.
“There was an unusual sense of expectancy and enthusiasm at this year’s conference, Provost Greg Ketteman said. “God graciously blessed us with His presence and met our needs through stirring music, passionate speakers, practical workshops, and Christian fellowship.”

Texas pastor and author Voddie Baucham spoke five times Monday on the culture war facing the church and family, and the necessity of intergenerational faithfulness. Educator and preaching professor Haddon Robinson called the congregation to worship three times Tuesday as he addressed dealing with doubts, putting life’s puzzle together when pieces don’t fit, and preaching that listeners can understand.

David Williford, vice president for institutional advancement, praised the speakers: “It is a masterful sermon that can both fill the heart and challenge the mind simultaneously. This year’s messages did both. Voddie Baucham and Haddon Robinson were indeed masterful. Dr. Baucham’s sermon Monday morning is one of the top five I’ve ever heard. Garnett Reid and Charles Thigpen demonstrated why they have taught homiletics at FWBBC. Their sermons were outstanding. This was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended.”

Oklahoma Youth Pastor Curt Gwartney targeted parents and long-haul youth ministry in two workshops, and then delivered two presentations Wednesday afternoon on a biblical model for mentoring. Former FWBBC president Charles Thigpen preached three stirring messages on an antidote for this evil age, maintaining a Christian home, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Garnett Reid, chair of FWBBC’s Biblical and Ministry Studies Department, spoke twice—opening Monday ‘s sessions with “God’s ’48 Chevy” and closing the conference Wednesday evening with “What’s It Worth to You?”
FWBBC faculty members delivered 13 additional workshops ranging from “Spiritual Disciplines for Women” by Librarian Carol Reid to “Biblical Church Growth Strategies That Work” by Pastoral Ministry Program Coordinator Terry Forrest to “More Than Music” by Music Department Chairman James Stevens to “Practical Preaching From the Old Testament” by Campus Pastor Matthew McAffee to “Family Financial Stewardship” by Business professor Rebecca Deel, and others.

The conference featured performances by the College Choir and small groups Rejoice and New Mercy. A special Wednesday morning Alumni Service with speakers Jacob Creech (Class of 1961), Brian Tippett (Class of 1986), and Jack Ketteman (Class of 2001) honored classes from 50, 25, and 10 years ago. The Alumni Luncheon on Tuesday filled Cumberland Cafeteria with smiling alumni who enjoyed the fellowship and a complimentary meal.

Check the college’s website ( from time to time for upcoming information on next year’s conference scheduled March 4-7, 2012.


2011 FWBBC Graduates


33 Graduate in Commencement Exercises

Free Will Baptist Bible College conferred degrees on 33 students from 12 states during commencement exercises at Memorial Auditorium on Friday, May 6, according to President Matt Pinson. Students completed degrees in multiple programs ranging from two-year associate’s degrees to four-year bachelor’s degrees. Forty-two percent of the class graduated with honors.

Dr. Eddie Moody, pastor at Tippett’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in Clayton, North Carolina, challenged graduates to “Do the Hard Thing,” as he spoke from Psalm 15. “Hard things pay off,” he said. “We have a heritage and this college because somebody did the hard thing.” He urged hearers to honor those who do right, to use tact and wisdom when handling truth, to embrace loyalty in the church and home and community. Moody is a 1989 FWBBC graduate and associate professor and department chair at North Carolina Central University. Randall House recently published his book, First Aid for Emotional Hurts and a booklet series titled First Aid for Your Emotional Hurts.

Free Will Baptist Executive Secretary Keith Burden delivered an 18-minute baccalaureate message from 1 Chronicles 22, emphasizing preparation, people, and principles. He reminded graduates that God was worthy of their best, that it was time to “get up and go to work.” Burden pastored 27 years in Oklahoma and California, and served 22 years as an officer of the National Association of Free Will Baptists before being elected executive secretary in 2002. The Oklahoma native is editor-in-chief of ONE Magazine and a graduate of Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College.

Kathy Murphy, a member of the teacher education faculty, was named Academic Advisor of the Year. President Pinson presented plaques to retiring Vice President for Institutional Planning Milton Fields, citing his 17 years as an academic leader and visionary, and to Tom Sass, the college’s vice president for financial affairs, for 25 years as chief financial officer.


2011 Graduates with Majors and Honors

Associate of Science in Biology Degree
Deborah Lynn Creech
Macon, GA

Associate of Science in Business Degree
Valerie Louise Conner
Madison Heights, MI

Associate of Science in Ministry Degrees
Michael Adam Holloway
Soddy Daisy, TN

Steven Nicholas Robeson
Jerome, ID

Jena Lorraine Simpson
Joelton, TN

Jeremy Shane Suggs
Colquitt, GA

Brian Michael Vitoritt
Virginia Beach, VA

Bachelor of Science Degrees
Cason Earl Anderson ***
Nashville, TN
Youth Ministry

Rachel Dawn Bequette *
Marquand, MO
Business Administration
International Emphasis

Desirae Hope Clark
Virginia Beach, VA
Biblical and Ministry Studies

Joshua Miles Coker *
Iuka, MS

Mary Elizabeth Eller
LaVergne, TN
Child Development and Learning
Licensure K-6

Rachael Michelle Fawver *
Knoxville, TN
Early Childhood
Licensure PreK-3

Rodney Adam Garrett
Desoto, MO
Music Performance

Samantha Kaye Hajek *
St. Charles, MO
Child Development and Learning
Licensure K-6

Robert Shane Huey
Tupelo, MS
Church Music

Lauren Holt Jolly **
Glasgow, KY

Christopher Lynn Kernan
Desloge, MO
Christian Education

Michael Anthony Oliver *
Nashville, TN
General Christian Ministries

David Anthony Pool *
Aulander, NC
Licensure 7-12

Misty Rose Waldrop
Clarksville, TN
Early Childhood

Kurston Shea Ward ***
Van Buren, AR
Licensure 7-12

Robert Owen Wilkerson
Belleville, MI
General Christian Ministries

Bachelor of Arts Degrees
Miriam Hardin Bishop **
Greenville, NC

Nathan Robert Franks ***
Mount Olive, AL
Biblical and Ministry Studies

Christa Colleen Hill ***
Norton, VA

Michael Dale Isom
Keller, TX

William Thomas Holloway
Albany, GA
Biblical and Ministry Studies
Pastoral Ministry

Sara Nicole McAllister *
North Little Rock, AR

Juliana Joy Munsey **
Newport, TN
Biblical Studies
Missions and Business

Kevin Lee Murray
Gastonia, NC

Jordan Nathaniel Osborn
Cordova, TN
Biblical and Ministry Studies
Pastoral Ministry

Sara-Ann Ellen Stokes
Nashville, TN
Biblical Studies

*** Magna Cum Laude
** Summa Cum Laude
* Cum Laude




©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists