Former Southeastern trustee, chairman dies at 80

February 18, 2011 – Robert D. Crowley, a former chairman and member of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Board of Trustees, died on February 14 after more than 44 years of faithful ministry service.

Crowley, a member of the Board of Trustees at Southeastern from 1985-1995, was an instrumental figure in the Conservative Resurgence and the re-commitment to Biblical inerrancy at the institution. As pastor of Montrose Baptist Church in Rockville, Md., Crowley was known for leading well both his church and Southeastern’s Board of Trustees as chairman from 1987 to 1990.

“He was at SEBTS during those tumultuous years when it was making the transition from a decidedly liberal institution to a conservative one that proclaimed the authority of the Bible,” Kenneth Keathley, senior vice president of Academic Administration and dean of the faculty, said. “The school went through a tumultuous time when its theological future and very existence was unsure. There were a lot of things the Board of Trustees did, sacrifices they made, that had they not done them, Southeastern would not be what it is today.”

2003 Chapel Sermon by Dr. Crowley

2003 chapel sermon

George Harvey, the director of Financial Development since 1989, said Crowley was “a tremendous leader. He chose the times he spoke very carefully. He didn’t speak just to be speaking. He spoke to get something accomplished.”

Much was accomplished during Crowley’s time on the Board of Trustees. In addition to being an instrumental part of the re-commitment to Biblical inerrancy at Southeastern, Crowley also oversaw the appointment of Southeastern’s next president – Paige Patterson.

“Dr. Paige Patterson and I have shared with each other and said on many occasions that neither one of us would have served at Southeastern were it not for Bob Crowley,” Daniel Akin, current president of Southeastern, said. “He is as responsible as any person for the miraculous theological turnaround of Southeastern Seminary.

“I am grateful to God for all he did through this wonderful pastor, husband and father,” Akin said.

At the time of his death, Crowley was 80 years old and was the pastor emeritus of Montrose Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Elizabeth “Libby” Crowley, his daughter Kathleen Coley and her husband, Ken, and his daughter Christine Elizabeth Crowley, as well as several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

“He was a man who ran the race and ran it well,” Keathley said.

“We celebrate a life well lived in service to King Jesus and for the glory of God,” Akin said. “What a difference he made!”

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