After ten years of prodigious leadership, Dr. William D. Spencer will retire as editor of Christians for Biblical Equality’s academic journal, Priscilla Papers, in August, 2014. We dedicate this issue of Arise to our beloved editor, Bill Spencer, and the team that works beside him: Deb Beatty Mel, associate editor, and Aída Besançon Spencer, book review editor. CBE honored Bill’s achievements following his plenary session in Colombia entitled, “Is God More Like a Totem Pole or a Sphere?” presenting him with a hard-bound compilation of each Priscilla Papers journal he has edited over the past ten years. In presenting Dr. Spencer with this gift, I celebrated Bill’s significant editorial achievements, in the following words:
Under Bill’s leadership, Priscilla Papers was recognized with ten publishing awards in genres such as biblical exposition, critical review, and poetry. Spencer’s theological precision, his dedication to a high view of Scripture, his commitment to positive dialogue, and his passion to include global voices greatly expanded CBE’s academic voice on every continent, reaching hundreds of theological libraries around the globe. In doing so, Bill ignited passion for gender equality as a biblical ideal in countries like Kenya where students like Domnic Misolo discovered Priscilla Papers, which God used to solidify his vocational call to promote biblical equality throughout Africa.
Always looking for ways to inspire students like Misolo, Bill solicited their work, mentored their writing and research, and not only published their final drafts but also entered them as contenders for publishing awards through the Evangelical Publishing Association. Unsurprisingly, several received awards for their work in Priscilla Papers.
Poets and artists also became regular contributors to Priscilla Papers as well. Convinced that theological reflection might reach heart and head together, colorful art was added to the cover of each journal along with poetry to round out each theme. Like our students, the theological poetry published in Priscilla Papers competed for and won awards of excellence in recognition that art complements any academic endeavor.
Restless to welcome not only students, artists and poets, Bill arduously solicited (even hounded) the scholarship of Christians from varied denominations, ethnic groups, and countries—a team of writers that grew more diverse each year. From these leaders, Spencer sought solutions to some of the most pressing issues faced by the church, from the subordination in the Trinity to domestic violence and abuse. What is more, each journal had clear publishing goals: a positive and constructive tone, humility in dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation, and the development of a thoroughly biblical worldview.
Behind the scenes of each issue, Bill also created a cohesive editorial team that practiced what we preach: leadership based on giftedness and a team that gives everyone a voice. Every piece published in Priscilla Papers was vetted by team members, each team member having an opportunity to offer input for improvement. What was the result of these practices? Each issue of Priscilla Papers was of the highest caliber, as evidenced by its many publishing awards and the high praise it has received from readers.
Given the excellence of each journal, you might think editing Priscilla Papers was Dr. Spencer’s sole occupation. Not so! Dr. Spencer is also a professor of theology at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He also serves as director of the Athanasian Teaching Scholars Program, co-director of the Africanus Guild PhD Support Program, co-editor of Africanus Journal, and co-producer of the House of Prisca and Aquila Series (Wipf and Stock Publishers). In addition to writing for CBE publications, Spencer speaks widely for CBE. He is also active in leading a study group at the Evangelical Theological Society, where he frequently presents papers. A prolific writer, Bill has published thirteen books and nearly 200 articles, stories, reviews, and poems. He is founder of Pilgrim Church in Beverly, MA where he voluntarily serves as pastor of encouragement. Dr. Spencer is married to the Rev. Dr. Aída Besançon Spencer, who is also professor of the New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a member of the Priscilla Papers editorial team, leading the journal’s book reviews.
It is with great appreciation that we honor the service of Dr. William David Spencer, praising Christ for his leadership these past ten years beside the selfless and talented efforts of Dr. Aída Besançon Spencer and Deb Beatty Mel. And, it is with equal gratitude that we welcome the next editor of Priscilla Papers, Dr. Jeffrey Miller, the Vera Britton Chair of Bible and professor of Bible and ministry at Milligan College in northeast Tennessee. Like Bill, Jeff has made a significant impact advancing the mission of CBE through his writing and speaking. Jeff has led worship for CBE at an international conference and worked beside CBE’s international scholars in Bangalore, India, in 2007. Jeff is also a frequent contributor to CBE’s blog.
Please join me in praying for our editors past and present, thanking God for sending CBE such devoted and talented Christian leaders.