Today we report that last night, 12 February 2019, Dr. Gray Allison, founder of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary stepped out of this life into his eternal reward in the presence of our Lord. The MABTS family, Southern Baptists, and the greater Evangelical Christian community have been blessed by this faithful servant of our great God. He will be missed.
As an alumnus of MABTS, I have benefited greatly from his influence–indirectly through my training at my alma mater, and directly through a couple of personal encounters with Dr. Allison.
The first was after he had preached on a Wednesday night in my hometown of Broken Arrow, OK. It was January of my Junior year in college. I was home during the J-term break from OBU (for my buddy Doug Hibbard…that is tOBU–Oklahoma Baptist University). A college friend had recommended to me that I consider MABTS for my seminary education, so when I learned that Dr. Gray was preaching at a church nearby, I went to hear him. I was greatly impressed by his love for Christ, biblically faithful focus, and evangelistic zeal. After the service, I went up to him to tell him that I’d appreciated his message and was considering MABTS after I graduated next year. Without a moment’s hesitation he looked me square in the eye and said, “Be sure you pray about this and that God is leading you here…because if He isn’t, we don’t want you to come.” Needless to say that’s not what I expected (you know, expecting the ‘sales pitch’ “Please come and join us. Can we sign you up today?”). I was impressed by his level of conviction and commitment. I am glad God did lead me to MABTS.
The other encounter is a somewhat humorous anecdote while a seminary student. Chapel was required. Also, shirt and tie was ‘required’ attire in that day. The shirt-and-tie thing was a decidedly Dr. Gray influence. Well, as was the habit of some, a few of my friends and I had slipped away to the Burger King near the campus (which was in midtown Memphis at the time). Sneaking back on campus for our next classes, we were entering a door coming in from the parking lot. At that moment, Dr. Allison walked out that very door, and without breaking stride or pause he said, “Nice ties gentlemen.” Yep, we also weren’t wearing ties in addition to having skipped chapel! He was a convictional and caring…and funny…leader. He set a great example for all of us at MABTS.
I thank God for directing my steps to Mid-America Seminary. That school, through my professors and fellows students, has shaped my life and ministry. Our Lord has used Dr. Gray in so many great ways.
Here is the statement from MABTS:
The Mid-America family mourns the loss of our founder, Dr. B. Gray Allison (1924–2019), who passed away at 9:30 p.m. yesterday, February 12. Dr. Gray, as he was lovingly called, served as Mid-America’s president from its founding in 1972 until 1997, when he became President Emeritus. As long as his health permitted, he continued to teach his foundational Personal Evangelism course and bring the inspiring The Miracle of Mid-America address each fall during Founders’ Days. For all his accomplishments, Dr. Gray often said he only wanted to be known as a Baptist preacher. Today, we thank our great God for Dr. Gray and the legacy of Bible, missions, and evangelism he leaves to all the world for Jesus’ sake.
Information about funeral arrangements and the following memorial service will be available soon at mabts.edu.