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Remembering Dr. James W. Bryant (1936-2014)

Brandon Smith

June 13, 2014 – Dr. James W. Bryant, Distinguished Senior Professor of Pastoral Theology at Criswell College, went to be with the Lord on June 11, 2014. He left behind his wife, Ruby, and his two children, Kurt Bryant and Scott Bryant.

Dr. Bryant received a Bachelor of Arts (with honors) from Wheaton College, and a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In 1999, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Criswell College for his service to the school and to the Southern Baptist Convention.

From 1958 to 1990, Dr. Bryant pastored and ministered in several churches in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, and New Mexico, including serving as Dr. W. A. Criswell’s Minister of Evangelism and Church Organization at First Baptist Dallas from 1968-1973.

In 1970, Dr. Bryant helped Dr. Criswell organize and found Criswell College (then the Criswell Bible Institute), and was the school’s founding Academic Dean. After serving as Executive Vice President of Luther Rice Bible College and then Professor of Religion at University of Mobile, Dr. Bryant returned to Criswell as Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2002. In 2004, he began teaching full-time in the classroom at Criswell. He quickly became a student favorite for his keen theological insights and wealth of Baptist history knowledge. He was also a faculty and staff favorite for his pastoral heart and constant encouragement.

Dr. James T. Draper, Jr., Interim President of Criswell College and longtime friend of Dr. Bryant, reflected, “Jim Bryant was one of the first people I met when we both came to SWBTS in 1958. Our friendship developed as we shared classes and sat for long periods of time in the student lounge to discuss theology, ministry and God’s call. We have maintained a close relationship over the past 56 years. His cherished friendship, gracious spirit, keen intellect, and devotion to the Lord and to his family will be greatly missed!”

A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 16, at 2:00 p.m. at Truett Chapel of First Baptist Dallas.

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