English named Department of Religion chair

BUIES CREEK, North Carolina – Adam English is the new Department of Religion chair in Campbell University’s College of Arts & Sciences, Dean Michael Wells announced Monday.

English, highly regarded by students and his colleagues and the 2013 recipient of the Dean’s Excellence in Research award, has co-authored several books and scholarly articles, most notably in 2012 when his book, “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus” received international attention and labeled him one of the world’s leading authorities on the history of Saint Nicholas. He also serves as advisor for the University’s Ethics Bowl team and the Honors and Study Abroad programs. He also chairs the Faculty Development and Research Committee.

“It’s been 17 years since a new chair was appointed to the Department of Religion. That alone should tell you that our department enjoys tremendous stability,” English said in congratulating his colleague Glenn Jonas, his predecessor who was named associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences earlier this semester.

A native of Texas, English received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hardin-Simmons University, where he double-majored in English and theology. He earned his Master of Arts degree in theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and his PhD in theology from Baylor University.

English said Monday the first item on his agenda as chair is hiring a tenure-track professor of New Testament. He anticipates an “avalanche of resumes” for the position.

“Campbell has found what other institutions can only wish for: the trifecta of dedicated professors, servant-leader administrators, and top-notch students,” he said. “What we have at Campbell University is unique and brimming with potential.”

Another focus will be getting the word out to students about choosing religion as a minor or as part of their double major. With changes to the General College Curriculum, he said, it’s become easier to add religion to a degree plan.

English and Alicia Myers, assistant professor of New Testament for the Divinity School, recently announced they will be jointly editing a new academic series, “Perspectives in Baptist Identities,” through Mercer University Press. He is also working with Cascade Books to publish a follow-up to his popular book, “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus.” The new book will deal with Christmas traditions, legends and lore, the New Testament witness to the birth of Jesus Christ and the theology of the season, English said. “There’s something in it for everyone.”

Outside of his work at Campbell, English is a member, and deacon at Memorial Baptist Church in Buies Creek and has served several churches as interim pastor, most recently Rowan Baptist Church in Clinton, where he currently serves.

“Staying connected to real-life ministry and church work is essential to my task and calling as a theologian,” he said. “For me, theology is not just a subject of study, it’s a way of life.”

His wife, Charissa, volunteers weekly at Harnett Central Middle School and devotes much of her time to co-leading the Memorial Baptist Church youth group. The couple have a daughter, Cassidy, an eighth-grader who plays soccer and the drums and is an aspiring artist. English is an assistant coach on her Lillington rec soccer team.

Favorite Bible verse

Acts 17:28 — In him we live and move and have our being.
“The verse speaks to the beauty and harmony and balance we find in relationship with God through Christ. Paul speaks these words in Acts, but you should know that he is actually quoting a Greek philosopher poet named Posidonius. Paul has found a stunning insight about God in a non-Christian, Greek poet. This indicates to me that, as learners, we can engage and find truths in all kinds of places. Nothing is off-limits to learning. All truth is God’s truth, wherever it may be found.”