Dr. Steven Ladd Retires after Twenty-One Years of Faithful Teaching

After twenty-one years of dedicated service as Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) and The College at Southeastern, Steven Ladd is retiring from teaching and administration in July 2022.

“Steven Ladd has faithfully served The College since 2001,” remarked President Danny Akin. “He is much beloved by students and faculty alike. He has impacted hundreds of students for over two decades, teaching them to think well through the cultivation of a Christian and biblical worldview. I am so very grateful for his ministry among so many. Much fruit is the result of his investment in those who studied under his instruction.” 

Originally from Franklin, Georgia, Ladd received a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Master of Visual Arts in Photography at Georgia State University before seeking theological training at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for his Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies. Motivated to receive further theological training to serve the Church, Ladd moved to Wake Forest in 1997 to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy with a specialization in Systematic Theology at SEBTS.  

During his studies at SEBTS, Paige Patterson and L. Russ Bush mentored Ladd and encouraged his gift of teaching. “I had the great privilege of teaching one of the History of Ideas (HOI) classes while working on my dissertation,” Ladd recalled. “That led to other HOI classes, then to teaching the Logic class, then Rhetoric. Dr. Spencer sought to have me join the faculty full time to teach in the History of Ideas program at The College, and I was elected to the faculty in 2002.” 

“Ladd’s two decades of teaching at The College set a cornerstone for The College when it was new and growing,” commented Ivan Spencer, Professor of History and Philosophy at SEBTS and The College. “His stalwart pedagogy reliably set this college on a high-quality foundation. The HOI curriculum and its students greatly benefited from Ladd’s invaluable guidance and teaching. He was definitely the right kind of professor to lay the foundations of our core humanities program. He embodies the practice of ‘speaking the truth in love.’”  

Teaching at SEBTS has allowed Ladd to use his gift of teaching and champion a love for the truth. “My greatest joy in teaching humanities classes has been to encourage believers to seek truth wherever it is found and to be both credible and persuasive when engaging others about it. Of course, the hope is that many such engagements would be about the Lord, but I would add with Calvin a reminder that those who partake of ‘the liberal arts penetrate with their aid far more deeply into the secrets of the divine wisdom’ (Institutes I.5.2). God uses a well-balanced education, and it makes us winsome to others, I believe.” 

My greatest joy in teaching humanities classes has been to encourage believers to seek truth wherever it is found and to be both credible and persuasive when engaging others about it.

“Dr. Ladd is a student’s teacher,” commented Provost Keith Whitfield. “He has given his life to helping students learn how to understand and engage the world around them from a biblical and theological perspective for the purpose of faithful Christian witness. He has given himself to becoming a master at his craft. His legacy at Southeastern is reflected in the hundreds of students who have learned to assess the great thinkers in world history and who have learned to think well and express their ideas in truthful, logical, and persuasive ways. In the 10 years that I have known Dr. Ladd, I have been personally challenged by his commitment to do what God calls him to do through his ministry at The College.” 

Pursuing a change of pace but not a change of mission, Ladd is retiring after twenty-one years of service with a desire to continue equipping others to serve the Church and fulfill the Great Commission. “I will always pursue this mission, even in my retirement years,” shared Ladd.

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