2009 Photo by Lambert Wolterbeek Muller, flickr

After 27 years, Dr. David G. Dunbar is handing the reins of the presidency to Dr. Frank James on July 1, 2013. Dr. James will become Biblical’s fourth president.

Dave’s relationship with Biblical dates back to the school’s beginning. Having completed two years at Faith Seminary, he transferred to Biblical the year the school opened in 1971, graduating with the first class of nine students in 1972.

After earning his PhD at Drew University, he joined the faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL in 1980. Six years later, he was invited to become president of Biblical, a school not yet accredited. In fact, the initial evaluation team from the Middle States Association advised Dave that Biblical was not prepared even to pursue accreditation. Their opinion was sobering: “It will take a miracle for Biblical to receive accreditation.”

Dave and the board of trustees accepted their assessment as a challenge from the Lord. Through hard work, determination, and consistent prayer, Biblical was accredited in March 1990!

Dave’s greatest contribution to Biblical and to the larger church has been his patient, persistent determination to help Biblical expand beyond its “Reformed fundamentalist” roots toward a generous orthodoxy. This shift has produced a community rich in diversity, on a trajectory of growth, and with a resolute focus on the missional heart of God. The percentage of female students at Biblical has more than tripled, and there has been dramatic growth among African-American, Asian, and Latino students. In addition, Biblical has added an urban location in North Philadelphia to complement the academic and residential campuses in Hatfield. (The residential campus was acquired in 1995.)

In the words of Dr. James, “Because of Dave’s leadership, Biblical is unlike any seminary I have ever known. Carolyn and I want to be a part of this.” On behalf of the board of trustees, faculty, staff, and the nearly 1,700 graduates, “Thank you, President Dunbar!”

Please leave a note for Dr. Dunbar in the comments section below.

Comments 

 
0 #20 Lee Stauff 2013-07-25 19:16
Dave, we wish you well in your future service at Biblical and wherever you go. It seems like yesterday when we received word that you were coming to Biblical. I enjoyed working with you in the same church and wish you well as you help at Living Hope. Lee Stauff
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0 #19 D. Kyle Canty 2013-07-17 14:08
Thank you Dr. Dunbar for your wisdom during a recent DMin class on the Missional Theology. Your perspective is valuable and appreciated. Please continue to write--your words are vitally important for the times we live in.
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0 #18 Larry Moyer 2013-07-09 12:59
Dr. Dave
Thanks for your “missional voice” in this community and the risks you took in guiding the school. Thanks for your thoughtful blogs also for Breakfast w/Biblical and the impact it’s had on our congregation at Rockhill.
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+1 #17 Sam Logan 2013-06-28 08:32
Dave –

On this last official workday of your tenure as President of Biblical Seminary, I wanted to communicate a couple of things publicly which I have already said to you privately.

I have often thanked the Lord for these years when I have had the privilege to work closely with you. You are a model of what a seminary president should be.

You have known how to make difficult but correct decisions and you have demonstrated how to lead a community in implementing those decisions. Your leadership in moving Biblical to become missional was nothing less than prophetic and that can be seen by the wide endorsement of missional thinking and living today.

You are a superb counselor and friend to many, including those whom you cultivate as donors to Biblical. This is a frequently under-rated aspect of leadership, even in Christian communities. But you care first for people as people - a hallmark of how Jesus Himself operated. Thus, you have followed Him into the world and have, thereby, personally demonstrated what Biblical seeks to be and to train our students to be and to do.

My one regret is that I did not have the opportunity to learn from you earlier in my life and career.

Thank you again for giving me the privilege of working alongside you at Biblical.

Now, take a deep breath and welcome to the rest of your life!


Sam Logan
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0 #16 Lowell Delp 2013-06-28 08:25
Dave, Thank you for your friendship and the times we have been able to talk about things that really matter...I have been encouraged many times by personal conversations and also through your Missional Journals. I hope you figure out a way to strap your fishing pole to the motorcycle! Blessings, Lowell
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0 #15 Pamela Smith 2013-06-27 14:16
Dave, what a joy and privilege to have served with you. I read scripture with a fresh perspective because of you. Have fun in your new role and when you need a good laugh, you know who to call.
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0 #14 R. Todd Mangum 2013-06-26 12:47
Dave:

I consider it a real honor and privilege to have served alongside you these last years and to have just gotten a front row seat for the ride over the last ten years, especially. God has clearly used you mightily, and for the benefit of us all and for the Kingdom.
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0 #13 Narriett Butler 2013-06-26 12:08
I am very grateful for your pursuit of God plan to expand the mission of the seminary to embrace the training of missional leaders for the 21 Century Church and beyond; and the opening of the City of Joy Campus. My life and ministry will never be the same because of Biblical. You are truly the Kings Servant.
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+1 #12 Franco Salvatori 2013-06-26 09:35
My respect for you was sealed from moment one; when I watched this guy everyone called Dave, clean up chairs, roll up mats, and sweep floors at this church plant meeting in a school gymnasium. I wondered if anyone else even knew he was the president of the Seminary I was attending.

What I quickly learned was that you believed in that church, in THE Church, and there was no job too lowly, nor any task too daunting that would stop you from investing in that church.

I watched you lead the seminary through significant challenges as well with the same unwavering commitment and sacrifice.

My life and ministry will never be the same because of your example to me and your investment in me. Thank you.
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0 #11 Gary Bates 2013-06-25 21:12
Dear Dr. Dunbar:

Thank you for your many years of faithful service to Biblical. I was blessed to be one of your students some years ago. I will never forget the enthusiam with which you led our class in the singing of a classic hymn before systematic theology class. Not only would we sing it, but you would explain the theology in the lyrics. Whenever I hear a old hymn I often think to myself, "I wonder if Dr. Dunbar would like this, does it speak of the cross of Christ and point to Him?
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0 #10 Mick Noel 2013-06-24 20:14
Dave-you have led the school through a herculean transition and prepared it for relevant leadership training for the challenges facing the American church. Your perseverance in the face of resistance is exemplary. Blessings on your next chapter of service. Thank you!
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0 #9 Joel Kolb 2013-06-24 06:35
I am at Biblical Seminary because of Dr. Dunbar and an evening conversation that we shared in my yard when we were neighbors. I was not considering graduate level work at the time but Dr. Dunbar saw something in me that I did not see in myself. I am grateful for his encouragement and I hope perhaps to have him as a professor yet before i graduate.
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0 #8 Sarah Sumner 2013-06-22 00:04
Dear Dr. Dunbar,
I have never met you, but I recently read your blog regarding Sovereign Grace Ministries, and I want to thank you for speaking out in such a careful way. God bless you for your moral courage.
Wishing you the best in the coming days,
Sarah Sumner author of forthcoming book, "Loving Anger: That Salts the Earth" based on my Ph.D. dissertation at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
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0 #7 Nadeem 2013-06-21 12:37
Dear President, i am very happy to know that now my Great Lord is using you, i hope you will continue your Service in Jesus name..... God bless you more and more.
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0 #6 David Lamb 2013-06-21 09:26
Shortly after I arrived 7 years ago, Dave told me about some deep challenges that Biblical faced, but Dave was confident that God was at work. I appreciated his spiritual sensitivity, and his model of vulnerability and openness. Thanks for your leadership.
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0 #5 Gerri Tress 2013-06-20 18:18
With love & a thankful heart, I pray God's blessings on you as you start this new chapter in your life. Your life has been an example of II Corinthians 5:15.
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0 #4 Michael Weiss 2013-06-20 15:07
Hi Dave: Glad our paths crossed for so many years in this life,from the early days of "Breakfast with Biblical" through the many years of working with your unique, dedicated and talented group of employees...Thanks!
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0 #3 Patrick Rita 2013-06-20 12:06
President Dunbar - Thank you for your service. The school, faculty and students have changed my life.
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0 #2 Bradley Kramer 2013-06-18 11:37
Thank you, President Dunbar, for having the courage to make the unpopular choices and turn Biblical into a one-of-a-kind seminary. Your legacy will certainly outlast your tenure as president.
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0 #1 Thom Skinner 2013-06-14 16:35
I'm grateful for the privilege of having worked with and for you, Dave. Thanks especially for your friendship. You have consistently modeled grace, even during the most challenging times.
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