UK Baptist school gets new leader

Roger Standing, a professor and administrator at Spurgeon’s College in London, has been named next principal of the historic college started by 19th century preaching legend Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

By Bob Allen

Spurgeon’s College, the largest of seven colleges affiliated with the Baptist Union of Great Britain, has chosen a new principal to succeed Nigel Wright, who is retiring next August after 13 years in the post.

roger standing jpgHe will be replaced by Roger Standing, a former pastor who has taught at the London school in the areas of mission, evangelism and pioneer ministry since 2007 and served as deputy principal since 2011.

Trained as a Methodist minister before switching to the Baptist faith in 1990, Standing previously was regional minister in the Southern Counties Baptist Association. David Coffey, former Baptist World Alliance president and chair of the college council, said Standing’s knowledge of the Baptist movement will be “immensely valuable” as the Baptist Union restructures its ministries for the 21st century.

Spurgeon's College is a Christian theological school started in 1856 by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, England’s best-known preacher for most of the second half of the 19th century. Nicknamed the “Prince of Preachers,” Spurgeon remains a strong influence to this day in the Reformed Baptist tradition, also known as the New Calvinism or Doctrines of Grace.

In addition to belonging to the Baptist union, the college is a member body of the Evangelical Alliance, which represents 2 million evangelical Christians in 79 denominations, and the Micah Network, a mission organization established in 1999 that with the World Evangelical Alliance launched the Micah Challenge, a global campaign to raise awareness of poverty and of the Millennium Development Goals, in 2005.

Wright announced his retirement in June. When he steps down he will have served the college for 21 years. It will also have been 40 years since he was ordained into Baptist ministry by George Beasley-Murray, a leading New Testament Baptist scholar who was principal of Spurgeon’s College and taught from 1973 until 1980 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.