Thirty years of service earn former ACU professor national award

Posted June 06, 2008

Everett FergusonAfter more than three decades in the service of the North American Patristics Society, Dr. Everett Ferguson, professor emeritus of church history at Abilene Christian University, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given by the society.

The North American Patristics Society (NAPS), an organization dedicated to the study of the history and theology of early Christianity, recently presented Ferguson with the award at its annual conference in Chicago, where Ferguson also made two presentations, one on "Roman Episcopal Authority at Home and Abroad" and the other on "Images for the Church in Early Christian Literature."

"Dr. Everett Ferguson has been one of the most widely-respected scholars of early Christianity for many years," said Dr. Douglas Foster, associate dean of the Graduate School of Theology. "His service to and reputation within the larger scholarly world is unsurpassed. Yet his commitment to students and deep Christian faith go beyond scholarly acclaim. His teaching at ACU created in hundreds, even thousands, of students a vision of the church that spans the centuries and demonstrates God's work through fallible people in all kinds of human cultures."

Ferguson served as president of NAPS from 1990-92, bringing considerable additions to the field of patristics. Additionally, Ferguson edited nine volumes from 1981-92 of an independent journal called "The Second Century: A Journal of Early Christian Studies," which became the foundation of another publication by the same name produced by NAPS beginning in 1993. He co-edited this new "Journal of Early Christian Studies."

"I can think of few people who have exhibited greater scholarship over a longer period of time with such a consistency of excellence than Everett Ferguson in his extraordinarily productive life," said Dr. Jack Reese, dean of the College of Biblical Studies and Graduate School of Theology. "His contributions to the study of Christian history are enormous. His dedication to the mission of ACU is exemplary. I am proud to know him and to be so greatly influenced by his life and work."

Ferguson received his bachelor's and master's degrees in Bible from ACU, and his doctorate in history and philosophy of religion from Harvard University. He joined the ACU faculty in 1962 and was honored as "Teacher of the Year" in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts in 1984.

In addition to being a member of NAPS, he is a member of the American Society of Church History, Society of Biblical Literature and the Ecclesiastical History Society of Great Britain.