OBU has appointed Dr. Matthew Emerson as dean of the Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and the Floyd K. Clark Chair of Christian Leadership. Emerson has served as interim dean since January 2020 along with his duties as associate professor of religion. Emerson was appointed after a national search and full interview process. His duties as dean will begin immediately.
Emerson earned a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and both an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Emerson joined the OBU faculty in 2015. He previously taught at California Baptist University, where he served as chair of the Arts and Sciences Department in the Online and Professional Studies Division.
Emerson has authored or co-authored over 20 publications. His research interests include the Old Testament’s use in the New Testament, early Christian interpretation, and theological method. He serves as co-executive director of the Center for Baptist Renewal, co-editor of the Journal of Baptist Studies, steering committee member of the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, and senior fellow for the Center of Ancient Christian Studies. He is also a member of a number of scholarly societies, and blogs at Biblical Reasoning.
He has served in local churches, both vocationally and as a volunteer, as a guest preacher, Sunday school teacher, small group leader, and men’s ministry director. He and his wife, Alicia, are both members at Frontline Church in Shawnee. They have five daughters.
Emerson is honored for the opportunity to serve the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry faculty, staff and students as dean.
“I am excited and honored to serve Oklahoma Baptist University and Oklahoma Baptists in this capacity, and am grateful to the search committee, the provost and the president for the opportunity. I look forward to continuing to work with President Thomas, Dr. DeWoody, my faculty colleagues, and the entire OBU community in this new role, and am committed to equipping ministry leaders for kingdom impact through the biblically rooted, theologically faithful and practically relevant work of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry.”
Dr. Heath A. Thomas, OBU president, anticipates great things in the future for the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry under Emerson’s leadership. Thomas served as Hobbs College dean prior to his role as OBU president.
“It is hard for me to express how thrilled I am with the appointment of Dr. Matthew Emerson as dean of the Hobbs College at OBU. I am grateful to the committee for their hard work and the extensive process they followed to arrive at this recommendation. OBU is known for transforming students’ lives by equipping them for their future, and Hobbs College is known for its commitment equipping students with biblical, faithful and practical education to serve Christ and his church. I cannot imagine a better person to lead Hobbs College into the future. Dr. Emerson is an internationally recognized theologian, a respected academic leader and devoted churchman. His love for Christ, his family, his church and OBU is exactly what is needed for our community. This is a happy day on Bison Hill.”
Dr. Susan DeWoody, provost, is excited for Emerson’s selection to lead the College of Theology and Ministry.“Dr. Emerson has faithfully served as a faculty member in the Hobbs College for the past five years, modeling excellence in teaching, scholarship, university service and Christian commitment. He graciously stepped in as the interim dean when Dr. Thomas was promoted to president in January. After a competitive national search and diligent prayer, it became clear to the committee that Dr. Emerson was the all-around best candidate for the role. I am thrilled for the committee’s recommendation and believe that Dr. Emerson will continue to advance the Hobbs College and the transformational mission of Oklahoma Baptist University.”