One of the best periods in the history of Central Baptist Theological Seminary unfolded during the first two thirds of the 1960s. With Richard V. Clearwaters as president and Warren Vanhetloo as dean, the seminary assembled a cluster of amazingly bright young professors. These included men like Ernest Pickering, Robert Delnay, and Robert Myrant. While young themselves, these professors brought impeccable academic credentials to the classroom. They also brought a heart for ministry. Both Pickering and Myrant pastored churches while they taught for Central Seminary. Delnay’s teaching reflected his experience as a missionary in Haiti. These were teachers who loved God, loved truth, and loved to serve.
They left their mark on young men who studied under their instruction. When they graduated, these students left Central Seminary prepared to serve in small churches or obscure fields. They knew that they would never become men of reputation, yet they believed that Christ was doing a work and they wanted to be part of it. They threw themselves into ministry, leading souls to Christ, organizing churches, and building up little congregations. During its heyday, fundamentalism was erected upon the labors of men such as these.
Some of those men eventually did gain recognition from their peers. Others just labored on, content to wait until they were recognized by the Lord in His own time. They never became household names even within the small orbit of fundamentalists, but they did leave a legacy of souls who were converted to Christ and growing in the faith.
We at Central Seminary still want to produce graduates like that: men who through faithful labor serve their Lord lifelong, and men who do not constantly need to be propped up with human praise to convince them to remain in ministry. Most of all we want graduates who will be faithful to the end: we want men who will fulfill their ministries by finishing well.
We need such servants because the graduates of that now-distant decade are finishing their tasks. Their ministries are largely behind them, and they are being taken one by one into the presence of their Lord. The revelation of their true significance awaits the completion of the general assembly and church of the firstborn. Yet here and there we can guess at the degree to which the Lord has used them.
One such servant of the Lord and alumnus of Central Seminary passed away just this week. In the following paragraphs he is remembered by his friend, Dr. Fred Moritz. Incidentally, Dr. Moritz is another graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary from that same decade.
In Memory of a Friend
May 4 2021
We have just received word that evangelist David Baughan (1939-2021) has passed from this life to Heaven. We mourn his passing and extend our sympathy to his wife Bettye, his daughter Traci Baughan Mayes, and his son Torrey Baughan. Although earthly relationships are temporarily broken, we know he is in the presence of his savior, our Lord Jesus Christ. We take comfort in the assurance that when our Lord Jesus returns, we will “…ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17).
David was a West Virginia native, and grew up in the historic Old Kanawha Baptist Church. He graduated from Bob Jones University during the late 1950s. He then enrolled at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minneapolis, earning the Th.B. degree in the spring of 1963. I enrolled at Central in the fall of 1963 and heard about his ministry.
I was privileged to have him preach on several occasions during my pastoral ministry. He was a gifted evangelist whose preaching was both expositional and expository. His ministry, grounded in the Word of God, was always positive and enduring in its impact on local churches where he ministered. He was a convicted Baptist, fundamentalist, and a separatist.
We also developed a friendship with the Baughan family when our daughters were young. Traci and Torrey are about the age of our girls.
When I began my teaching ministry at Maranatha Baptist University, providentially, I was assigned to be the office mate of his son-in-law, Dr. Preston Mayes. I fondly remember the positive interaction and Christian fellowship with Preston.
A friend has preceded us to Heaven. We thank God for his ministry and anticipate the day when we will see our Lord and renew our fellowship with brothers in Christ for all eternity. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom 5:1-2).
This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every one of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every opinion that it expresses.
Blest Be the Tie That Binds
John Fawcett (1740–1817)
Blest be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love;
the fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne
we pour our ardent prayers;
our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes,
our mutual burdens bear,
and often for each other flows
the sympathizing tear.
When we are called to part,
it gives us inward pain;
but we shall still be joined in heart,
and hope to meet again.
This glorious hope revives
our courage by the way;
while each in expectation lives
and waits to see the day.
From sorrow, toil, and pain,
and sin, we shall be free;
and perfect love and friendship reign
through all eternity.