Baylor University’s Truett Seminary Appoints Kimlyn J. Bender, PhD, as the Foy Valentine Chair in Christian Theology and Ethics

September 12, 2023

WACO, Texas (September 13, 2023) - Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary is delighted to announce the appointment of Kimlyn J. Bender, PhD, as the Foy Valentine Chair in Christian Theology and Ethics effective immediately. In keeping with university policy and practice, the recommendation for Dr. Bender to be named Valentine Chair was made by Truett Seminary Dean, Todd D. Still, PhD, subsequent to his consultating with numerous others both within and beyond the Seminary and was affirmed by Baylor University Provost Nancy Brickhouse.

“When the inaugural holder of the Foy Valentine Chair, Roger E. Olson, PhD, retired in December 2021, the chair became vacant. Based upon his achievements, commitments, character, and reputation as a scholar and teacher and the loving esteem in which he is held by his colleagues and peers both within and beyond Truett, I am thrilled to name Dr. Kimlyn J. Bender as the holder of the Valentine Chair,” said Todd D. Still, PhD, Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran DeLancey Dean and William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures at Truett. “To hold an academic chair is a signal honor, one of which Dr. Bender is most deserving. I am grateful for his academic work and Christian witness and for the family and friends of Foy Valentine, whose generosity established and continues to sustain this chair.”

Bender holds a PhD in theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, a MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a BA from Jamestown College. As the youngest alumnus to be inducted into the University of Jamestown Academic Hall of Fame, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and the Outstanding Faculty Award for scholarship from the University of Sioux Falls and Baylor University respectively. While his primary area of research is in 19th and 20th century theology with a particular specialty in Karl Barth, Bender’s publications extend to include work in both ethics and philosophy.

As a professor of theology, Bender has worked at Truett Seminary since 2012. In his role as a faculty member at Truett, he has served in a variety of capacities across campus, including Truett Faculty Facilitator for the Ramm Graduate Scholars Program at Baylor University, Chair of Truett’s Committee on Scholarship, Research, and Lectures, and Principal Investigator for the Science for Seminaries grant awarded to Truett Seminary from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion program. Prior to his coming to Truett Seminary, Bender served as a professor at the University of Sioux Falls. 

“I am very humbled and honored to be named the Foy Valentine Professor of Christian Theology and Ethics,” said Bender. “Truett is an extraordinary place marked by a distinguished faculty and marvelous students.  I look forward to continuing to prepare the next generation of ministers for faith and for life—all for the sake of the gospel, the welfare of the church, service in the world, and the glory of God.” 

The naming of Kimlyn J. Bender as the Foy Valentine Chair in Christian Theology and Ethics at Truett Seminary has been met with glowing endorsements. The following are representative of those who have received this news.

Representative Endorsements Regarding the Appointment of Kimlyn Bender as the Foy Valentine Chair.

“This is a superb appointment. Over the last two decades, Dr. Bender has quietly emerged as one of our finest and most trustworthy theologians. His scholarship, teaching, and service of the gospel and the church are marked by the deepest seriousness, conviction, and integrity. Congratulations to him, and congratulations to Truett for making such a wise decision.” — Adam Neder, Professor of Theology and Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Belmont University

“In my view, Professor Kimlyn Bender ranks among the very best Protestant systematic theologians working in America today. His productivity in recent years has been stunning. These works are of the highest quality. I have read nearly everything Professor Bender has published in the last few years, and his work is consistently distinguished by the richness of his scholarship, the originality of his observations, and the clarity of his writing. Additionally, the range and relevance of Professor Bender’s work is remarkable. In short, Professor Bender is operating at the highest levels of his discipline and only now is entering the prime of his career. I am excited for his future contributions to the field and the church.”  – Keith L. Johnson, PhD, Professor of Theology and Chair of the Undergraduate Biblical and Theological Studies Department at Wheaton College

“The appointment of Dr. Bender to this prestigious chair is wonderful news, not only for Truett Seminary in particular, but also for the church at large. He is an internationally esteemed researcher with a stellar publication record and a hugely popular instructor with years of classroom experience. But above all, he is the kind of gracious, faithful teacher-scholar whose Christian work and witness has real impact – on students, on congregations, and on colleagues near and far. I rejoice on this happy occasion, and trust and pray that both he and the Seminary will flourish in seasons ahead.” – Paul T. Nimmo, King’s Chair of Systematic Theology, University of Aberdeen

“Kimlyn Bender’s contributions to the field of Christian theology are those of a very fine dogmatic talent coupled with impressive theological maturity and ecumenical responsibility. His scholarship consistently looks to enhance the life, preaching, and mission of the church precisely through the joyful labor of substantive theological reflection and careful doctrinal argument. Appointment to the Foy Valentine Chair of Christian Theology and Ethics aptly honors his great gifts as a theological teacher, thinker, and communicator.” – Philip G. Ziegler, Professor of Christian Dogmatics, University of Aberdeen

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary is an orthodox, evangelical, multi-denominational school in the historic Baptist tradition that equips God-called people for gospel ministry in and alongside Christ’s Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, Truett Seminary provides theological education leading to the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Arts in Contextual Witness and Innovation, Master of Arts in Theology, Ecology and Food Justice, Master of Arts in Theology and Sports Studies (online), Master of Theological Studies, Doctor of Ministry, and Ph.D. in Preaching. Truett Seminary also offers joint degrees through Baylor University school/college partnerships in social work, business, law, music, and education. In addition to the flagship Baugh-Reynolds Campus in Waco, the Seminary also has additional instructional sites in Houston and San Antonio. Visit the Truett Seminary website to learn more.