FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Phoenix Seminary Begins Presidential Transition
March 13, 2023
Brian J. Arnold, president of Phoenix Seminary, announced today his transition from Phoenix Seminary into full-time pastoral ministry. The announcement was made to faculty and staff this morning, and it was previously shared with the seminary’s board of trustees a few weeks prior.
Dr. Arnold became Phoenix Seminary’s fourth president in 2019, after serving the seminary for four years, first as assistant professor of theology and then as academic dean. Under Arnold’s leadership, Phoenix has hired several world-class faculty members, expanded church partnerships throughout Arizona and the southwest, increased student enrollment, and navigated the challenges of a global pandemic.
“I wish to express my deep gratitude to Dr. Arnold for his outstanding service to the students, faculty, and staff over the past eight years,” said Ron Ogan, chair of Phoenix Seminary’s board of trustees. “Having worked shoulder to shoulder with him, I can confidently say Brian embodies the ministry philosophy of Phoenix Seminary—scholarship with a shepherd’s heart. His commitment to theological precision helped us take steps to ensure that future presidents will inherit an institution from which the gospel of Christ continues to echo forth.”
Phoenix Seminary Vice President of Academic Affairs David Hogg said, “We have had the privilege of witnessing the power of God moving through Brian and his team of faculty and staff as he led the school to a position of strength and prominence in the Southwest.”
“Under Dr. Arnold, Phoenix Seminary has gone from strength to strength,” said Peter Gurry, associate professor of New Testament and director of the Text & Canon Institute. “We have seen an increasing hunger for training that’s based squarely on the core subjects of theology. As we look for our next president, we are poised to continue providing excellent theological training in the southwest for the southwest.”
On Sunday, Arnold accepted God’s call as senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Paducah, Kentucky. “My family and I are thrilled to return to western Kentucky,” Arnold said. “I’ve always had a burden for pastoral ministry and particularly for the people of Paducah. Over the last few years, we’ve seen many men leave the pastorate, and I’ve been burdened with the need churches have for strong leaders to teach the Word, disciple the saints, and evangelize the lost.”
Professor of Old Testament and former provost J. Michael Thigpen said, “One of the most striking things about working with Dr. Arnold is his passion for the local church. He’s understood that a seminary’s paramount mission is to serve the church. I know it’s that passion that has led him back into a local church role.”
“As I step back into pastoral ministry, I believe Phoenix Seminary is poised for the future,” said Arnold. “Our faculty is second to none in evangelicalism, our new student enrollment is up 75 percent in recent years, and our donor base is supportive of the work. The next president of Phoenix Seminary will lead in a season of exciting and hopeful opportunities. The school is in an excellent position to expand its reach and influence for years to come.”
“I think Dr. Arnold’s lasting legacy will be the team he has built,” said Thigpen. “He has added depth and breadth to the faculty, recruited accomplished administrative leaders, and selected servant-minded team members for positions throughout the institution.”
Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a search process for a new seminary president. The board of trustees has already partnered in this process with Atlanta-based executive search firm CarterBaldwin. “We will miss Dr. Arnold, but we’re excited to see what the Lord has next for him and his family,” said Ogan. “We’re also excited about the bright future that lies ahead for Phoenix Seminary. We are confident that with the foundation Dr. Arnold has laid, the institution is poised for continued growth and success. We covet your prayers as the board begins the process of searching for the next president.” Dr. Arnold will complete this semester as president.