Marshall, Molly T. - Ph.D.

President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation

Phone: (913) 667-5721

Blog: Trinitarian Soundings

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Dr. Molly T. Marshall
President and Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation

President Molly T. Marshall’s great passion in life is preparing women and men for ministry excellence.  “I love to witness what transpires in the lives of students as they engage the great intellectual heritage of the church.  I love even more when they discover their depth of giftedness and begin to sow seeds of hope in the congregations and other ministry settings where they practice their craft.”

“I believe in what we do at Central as we prepare leaders for seeking God, shaping Church, and serving humanity and all creation.” During her tenure as president, Central has moved the campus to a new location, opened multiple extension sites, constructed a partnership with Myanmar Institute of Theology, developed a Korean Studies program, launched a Women’s Leadership Initiative, created Buttry Center for Peace and Nonviolence, and found new ways to focus the seminary’s mission in congregational health, global Christianity, and creative leadership.

For over thirty-five years Molly T. Marshall has been in theological education, her life’s work. She served as Visiting Professor of Theology, Spiritual Formation, and Worship for two years and was elected as the Professor of Theology and Spiritual Formation with tenure at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in 1997. Beginning in 2004 she served as Central’s Acting Academic Dean until her election as President. Previously, Dr. Marshall was Associate Professor of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.  Her experience in ministry is varied. She has served as youth minister, campus minister, and pastor in churches across Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, and Kentucky.

A graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, she received her M.Div. and Ph.D. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Further graduate work has been completed at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, Israel; Cambridge University, Cambridge, England; and Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, where she was a Visiting Scholar (1990-91), and resident scholar at the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research (2000). In 2012-2013 she was a Christian Leadership Initiative Fellow, sponsored by American Jewish Committee and Shalom Hartman Institute, Jerusalem, Israel. Her writings include three monographs, No Salvation Outside the Church?, What it Means to Be Human, and Joining the Dance: a Theology of the Spirit, as well as numerous chapters in books, dictionary and journal articles, and Bible study curricula.  She has also published ten volumes of Trinitarian Soundings, a collection of reflections on the lectionary.  Currently she is writing a commentary on Thessalonians for the BELIEF series.

Dr. Marshall is a life-long Baptist, albeit an “ecumaniac” as her students call her for her appreciation of the larger Body of Christ.  She is a member of Prairie Baptist Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, which is affiliated with American Baptist Churches.  She deeply appreciates Benedictine spirituality and is grateful for that formative influence in her life. She is an avid tennis fan, a collector and reader of books, and enjoys English choral music. Molly has also been known to cook world-class chili for friends and family and other brave souls. Her “Make Your Bed in Sheol” chili will revise your eschatology.   She shares her home with Ellyw, a theologically attentive Welsh Terrier.

Dr. Marshall has presented papers before the Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, as well as other academic settings. In addition to a regular preaching schedule, she is a nationally recognized lecturer at colleges, universities, and other seminaries. She has served as president of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion and as editor of the NABPR Dissertation Series, and has been on the Editorial Board of the American Baptist Quarterly. She has also lectured internationally, offering the Belote Lectures at Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary, Nordenhaug Lectures at International Baptist Theological Seminary in Prague, Czech Republic; the Randall Preaching Lectures in Toronto, Ontario; Baptist World Alliance in Durban, S. A.; and Ecumenical Lectures at Myanmar Institute of Theology.  She is also active in interfaith work in Kansas City and beyond.

Over the past decade, Dr. Marshall has been recognized for her service with the following awards: Whitsitt Baptist Courage Award; The Betty Galloway Advocacy for Women in Ministry Award; Howard Moody Award, Coalition for Baptist Principles; Luther Wesley Smith Education Award; Frankie Huff Granger, Distinguished Mentor Award, Baptist Women in Ministry; and, Luke Mowbray Award for Ecumenical and Interfaith Leadership, American Baptist Churches, USA.

I view my vocation as an “equipper of ministers,” a midwife of grace who helps deliver what I discern is struggling to be born in the lives of students. Theological education is a process of discovering and refining calling and gifts—learning where one’s “great gladness meets the world’s deep need,” in the words of Frederick Buechner.

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