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Graham Cole Returns to TEDS as Dean

Trinity CommunicationsFebruary 27, 2015

GColeGraham A. Cole, a former professor of biblical and systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has been chosen as the school’s new academic dean, effective July 1.

Cole, a native of Australia, brings more than 30 years of experience in theological education, both as an administrator and as a faculty member. In addition to his duties as dean, Cole also will serve as professor of biblical and systematic theology.

“Graham Cole is a well-respected theologian, prolific author, and experienced administrator,” President David S. Dockery said. “He will bring long-standing relationships with Trinity faculty, staff, and alumni to his new leadership role at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.”

A campus committee conducted a national search for the new dean, and affirmed Cole unanimously. The Trinity board of regents approved Cole’s hiring at a meeting this week.

Members of the search committee said Cole already has many academic connections with the TEDS faculty.

“Graham Cole was well-known to the search committee,” said Research Professor of Systematic Theology Kevin Vanhoozer. “All of us on the committee quickly agreed that his wisdom and winsomeness made a winning combination.”

“Dr. Cole made invaluable contributions to TEDS as a theologian,” said Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology Peter Cha, also a search committee member. “We look forward to what lies ahead as he serves as the new dean.”

“During his time as a faculty member at TEDS, Dr. Cole was highly respected and deeply appreciated for his clear commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, his theological wisdom, and ability to interact meaningfully with very diverse groups,” said Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies Harold Netland. “His classes were very popular with students, and faculty consistently looked to him for guidance. It is a real delight to welcome him back to the TEDS community!”

“We are delighted to welcome Graham and (his wife) Jules Cole back to the TEDS community,” said Associate Professor of New Testament Dana M. Harris. “We are thankful for their willingness to serve in this capacity and are looking forward to Graham’s capable and wise leadership.”

The many collaborations with members of the TEDS faculty include The God Who Became Human: A Biblical Theology of Incarnation and God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom, two books for the InterVarsity Press series “New Studies in Biblical Theology” that is edited by TEDS Research Professor of New Testament Don A. Carson.

Cole also has contributed to important works on the importance of historical biblical and theological interpretation with Jim Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and ancient near eastern history and archaeology, and Dennis Magary, chair of the Old Testament and Semitic languages department. Cole and Vanhoozer worked together on a project on the theological interpretation of the Bible.

Cole’s writings on the Holy Spirit were included in a series from Crossway Books and edited by John S. Feinberg, TEDS professor of biblical and systematic theology.

Among Cole’s six academic degrees are a bachelor of divinity with honors from the University of London and a ThD from the Australian College of Theology.

Current TEDS Dean Tite Tiénou will retire from the position this spring. Tiénou, who has served at TEDS since 1997, will continue at Trinity through the work of the Center for Global Theology and World Christianity.

In 2011, Cole’s previous tenure at TEDS ended when he accepted a position to teach theology at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala.

“Dr. Graham Cole is a wonderful scholar and friend and has done a great job at Beeson,” said Dean Timothy George. “We send him back to Trinity with our love and best wishes for his new work there.”

In addition to TEDS and Beeson, Cole has served at Moore College in Sydney, the University of Sydney, the Australian College of Theology and the University of Melbourne, where he served for a decade as principal of Ridley College.

“An outstanding scholar and dedicated churchman, Dr. Cole’s commitment to Christ, to the people of God, and to the best of serious theological education make him an ideal person to lead the Divinity School to new and hopeful days,” Dockery said.

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