North Greenville University president Gene C. Fant Jr. announced Feb. 12 that Nathan A. Finn will become the university’s chief academic officer on June 1, 2018, with the title of provost and dean of the university faculty. Finn currently serves as dean of the School of Theology and Missions and professor of theological studies, Union University, Jackson, Tenn.
Randall J. Pannell, NGU’s current vice president for academic affairs, will be returning to a faculty role as professor of Christian ministries and special assistant to the provost.
“Dr. Pannell’s service to North Greenville University as a senior administrator has been exemplary. His passion for our Christ-first mission has been self-evident in each of the roles he’s held,” says President Fant. “I am personally grateful for his assistance in welcoming me as the university’s president this past year. We are glad he will continue contributing to the classroom at NGU as a professor.”
Pannell looks forward to continuing his service to the university.
“It has been my joy and great privilege to serve NGU as the vice president of academics, as well as stint as the interim president. I am filled with great anticipation as to the direction and growth of the university in the days ahead, first with the arrival of Dr. Fant as president and now with the opportunity to have Dr. Nathan Finn become our new provost and dean of the faculty,” said Pannell. “I look forward to continuing to serve this great Christ-centered institution as I am able to complete my Christian vocation by migrating into the NGU faculty and lend assistance to NGU’s reaffirmation of regional accreditation over the next two years.”
Before joining NGU, Finn served at Union University since 2015. Prior to that time, he taught church history on the faculty of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for eight years. He has published numerous books and scholarly essays on topics such as Baptist history, theology, and spirituality. Recent books include The Baptist Story: From English Sect to Global Movement (B&H Academic, 2015) and History: A Student’s Guide (Crossway, 2016). An ordained minister, Finn preaches and teaches regularly in local churches and has served in pastoral or other staff roles in several Southern Baptist congregations in Georgia and North Carolina.
Finn serves as a research fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberty of the Southern Baptist Convention, is a fellow for the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS), and is a fellow for the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). He also serves on the editorial board of the sixteen-volume series The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller (Walter de Gruyter), and is a member of the continuation committee of the International Conference on Baptist Studies. He has been extensively published and cited for his expertise on topics related to Baptist history and theology.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and Christianity from Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, GA, master’s degree in divinity and his doctorate in theological studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), Wake Forest, NC.
Finn says that he could hardly be more excited to be joining the North Greenville University family.
“I love NGU’s longstanding commitment to Christ-centered education, and I resonate with the way a heart for evangelism and missions permeates the whole campus. I’ve also long appreciated President Fant’s vision for convictionally Baptist higher education,” said Finn. “I look forward to working closely with the president, the faculty, and the staff to foster a culture of intellectual discipleship that equips every NGU student to advance the gospel and promote human flourishing in every discipline and profession.”
NGU is a special place for Finn. It was on the campus in 1997 during a Centrifuge camp that he committed his life to Jesus Christ.
“The Holy Spirit used the preaching of the camp pastor that week to cut me to the quick and convince me that my only hope for salvation was to cast myself upon the mercies of Christ,” he said. “This campus will always be holy ground for me.”
In his recommendation to university trustees, Fant notes, “Dr. Finn is one of the brightest stars in Baptist and evangelical scholarship. His reputation as a professor and mentor is significant, and his leadership experiences will be able to help North Greenville to advance in our future initiatives. He has a heart for the Gospel, a mind for action, and marvelous senses of humor and humility. We look forward to Leah and their children joining our community and investing their time and talents alongside our dedicated colleagues.”
President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary Danny Akin says Finn is one of the most gifted, evangelical scholars he knows.
“His gifts are many and his ability to connect with students is contagious. He is a five-star addition to the wonderful staff and faculty of NGU,” said Akin.
NGU vice president for campus ministries Steve Crouse says Finn is an outstanding scholar who has taught pastors and missionaries that are serving around the world, including many in the Carolinas.
“He has a pastor’s heart, strong administrative skills, and a scholar’s precision and excellence,” said Crouse. “His background in spiritual formation and discipleship will be a great asset for the university and especially for our campus ministries team.”
Finn is married to Leah and is the father of four children.
LaVerne Howell is director of communications at North Greenville University.