By Levi Dade
Dr. Terry Carter is the Vaught Professor of Christian Ministries and Associate Dean of the Pruet School of Christian Studies. Dr. Carter began teaching at Ouachita in 1991 after serving on the mission field, and he is currently in his 31st year on faculty.
Dr. Carter received his B.A. from Howard Payne University in 1974, followed by his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written and contributed to many books, including Telling God’s Story and Preaching God’s Word, both of which are used in his classroom.
When Dr. Carter started teaching at Ouachita, the Pruet School of Christian studies was beginning to form the team that would lead the department for the coming decades.
“At the time that I came, Eubanks, Duvall, and Viser were here. It was the beginning of putting together the team that would thrive for the next 25 years.”
The formation of this team of biblical scholars brought with it an updated curriculum for Christian studies majors.
“We realized we needed to change the curriculum. Every student would have a real sense of their heritage, biblical truth, and would know how to interpret and communicate the text. We started to think ‘What is it that we want the students to be equipped with when they step into the church?’”
This new curriculum has prepared students for seminary in ways many others are not prepared. “By the time our students graduate, and they go to seminary, they are light-years ahead of students who graduated from a state school. So, we have very specific goals. What we want to see in a pastor or missionary is what we are trying to instill in our students.”
Dr. Carter has high hopes for the future of the Pruet School of Christian Studies.
“It’s not that we won’t adapt and change. Of course, things change. Students, the world, and even ministry are all changing. Despite that, we still believe we should prepare ministers to be effective in that. So, we need to pivot in the right direction, and I think our new dean, Dr. Jeremy Greer, is going to make sure we do that.”
As Carter looks back on previous years, he sees that change is nothing new to the professors of Pruet.
“You can’t even count the number of times we have had to not only change some curriculum but even a course. We don’t believe ‘It can only be this way and never change.’ Something can be adapted if it is warranted.”
In fact, there are already adjustments being made to the Christian Studies school even now. An Apologetics minor will be offered beginning this fall.
“We had a need for an Apologetics program. We moved to add it.”
The addition of the Christian foundations major will provide all students of any major an opportunity to major in Christian Studies as well.
“We are in the process of adding Christian studies as a second major for people who are in other degree programs. Somewhere along the line, they may want to do ministry as well.”