Gary E. Blackwell



I was born on December 5, 1949, in Carbondale, Illinois, but my father who was from Mississippi got tired of the cold and snowy winters, so we moved to New Orleans when I was three years old. When I was five, we moved to Denham Springs, Louisiana when my father became the accountant for my uncle’s Ford dealership. We lived there until the end of my junior year in high school when we moved back to Carbondale, Illinois when my father accepted a job as a staff accountant for Southern Illinois University. After graduating from high school, I entered Southern Illinois University because it was less expensive than returning to Louisiana to attend LSU. While a student at SIU, I met Linda Larner, who became my wife four years later. We have four children and fourteen grandchildren.

I made my profession of faith in Jesus as my Lord and Savior several weeks after I started the first grade. At age ten, I became convinced that God was calling me to commit my life to full-time Christian service, a commitment that has governed my decisions ever since. Everyone assumed that meant I was called to be a pastor, but while leading the music for a BSU student-led revival my freshman year in college the Lord made it clear that I should be a church musician. In 1970 at the beginning of my junior year of college, I assumed my first church staff position as a Minister of Music and Youth. Since then, I have served churches in every church staff position except minister of senior adults and minister to children.

The Bible is the word of God and has been given to us that we may know Him and enable us to develop a relationship with Him that transforms us into the image of our Creator. My relationship with Christ and the worldview of the Bible has had the most influence on my approach to teaching and my relationship with students. My undergraduate major was music and the approach that characterizes musical training has greatly influenced my teaching philosophy and approach. Basically, music students, like other artists, are required to demonstrate proficiency with their chosen instrument rather than explain how to sing or play that instrument. Therefore, I am more concerned with how well a student demonstrates his or her knowledge of the assigned material by doing as opposed to explaining. This approach is what James is saying when he tells us to be doers and not just hearers of the word.

BA, Music, Southern Illinois University, 1971
MA, Music Theory and Composition, Southern Illinois University, 1978
MDiv, Biblical Languages,
NOBTS, 1995
MA, Theology, NOBTS, 2000
PhD, Theology, NOBTS, 2015

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