The term "Bible Chair" is an adaption of a term used in any college or university where a private endowment pays the salary for a professor. The teacher works for the school, but is paid by the endowment.
When describing a Bible Chair, the endowment pays for both the teacher and the building where the classes are offered. Then, the building is also used as a student center where the students can rest, play and study the Bible.
This Bible Chair was the brain-child of Gordon Downing, long time director of the Bible Chair at WT, and was initially financed and overseen by the San Jacinto congregation. Established in 1972, Gordon directed it for four years. Dean Morgan came and stayed until 1981. A man named Wayne Wilks followed Dean but had a very short tenure; and Jerry Klein was the director from the fall of 1982 until 1995. Wyatt Fenno, Mark Johnson, Bobby Boaldin and Frank Bellizzi followed. When the San Jacinto congregation decided that they could no longer oversee the work, the elders at Comanche Trail accepted the oversight on the condition that Jerry Klein would be the director--and he returned to work here full-time beginning in the fall of 2013 through the Spring 2017 semester. Bell Avenue church of Christ became the overseeing congregation in January of 2017. Mural Worthey took over as Director in July 2017.
We have entered into a new year, 2021. In colleges and universities, they demand that we use the designations CE (common era) and BCE (before the common era) in order that we will not offend those from other world religions. However, removing BC (before Christ) and AD (in the year of our Lord) does not eliminate any reference to Jesus Christ. The year 2021 is counted from the birth of Jesus. In my classes, I point out the meaning of this number. Our calendar is based on the life of Jesus Christ. He is at the center of all history. In a few weeks, we will begin a study of the life of Christ. All students need to know the story of Jesus’ life.
Over the past two Sundays, I have presented messages at Bell Avenue, the overseeing church for our work at the Bible Chair. We have two services on Sundays (9:30 am and 2 pm). The afternoon service is for our elderly and those with health concerns. For January and February, I will be teaching a class on “The Role and Place of the Nation of Israel.” Fundamental issues are at stake in how one considers the role of the modern State of Israel in God’s plan. Some of those issues are the importance of the church, redemption, and eschatology.
Earlier, I indicated our plans to meet and discuss the expansion of the Bible Chair and fund-raising efforts. However, due to a recent dramatic increase in COVID cases in our area, plans to meet have been put on hold until the virus is ended. Hopefully with the development of several vaccines, the pandemic will be an event associated with 2020. Churches have been affected financially and building costs have risen dramatically. We trust that in the new year conditions will improve for everyone.
I appreciate our supporting churches and individuals for your faithfulness during this year. We have been able to continue our work and plan for the future because you care about our students at Amarillo College. Our Fall virtual graduation ceremony presented diplomas and certificates to 836 students. The celebration was professionally done and broadcast on PBS.
We are posting messages on YouTube at the link below. Someone asked if I would take questions and address them on this site. My reply is yes. Send them to email@example.com and I will post the Q & A. I am happy to consider subjects of interest to you.
Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/amarillocollegebiblechair