General CBF

Baptist statesman Paul Powell dies at age 83


December 29, 2016

By Carrie McGuffin

DECATUR, Ga. — Former Dean of George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, Paul Powell, died Dec. 28 in Tyler, Texas, at age 83 after complications from a stroke.


Paul Powell

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter spoke to his great influence on Baptist life, particularly Truett Theological Seminary.

“Paul Powell was a faithful pastor and energetic leader in Baptist life,” Paynter said. “He was instrumental in guiding the development of a major innovation among Baptist theological education, a seminary embedded within a major university. Paul applied his skills of church development and personal friendship to recruit students, donors and friends alike to build a network of support for Truett Seminary. In a time when fledgling institutions can be vulnerable, Paul maintained a vision for success with commitment to excellence in theological education and training for ministry.”

Paynter expressed the Fellowship’s admiration for one so devoted to Baptist life.

“The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship joins with his family, friends and congregations to thank God for this faithful leader.”

Powell received his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and a master of divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He received honorary doctorate degrees from Baylor, East Texas Baptist University, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Campbell University and Dallas Baptist University.

The Baylor Alumni Association named Powell a distinguished alumnus in 1988 and he received the association’s George W. Truett Distinguished Service Award in 2005. He received the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service to Baylor in 1999. He also was named a distinguished alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1990.

In 2001, Powell began his six-year role as the dean of Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. During his time at Truett, enrollment at the seminary grew exponentially, as well as its endowment. The seminary’s 550-seat chapel is named in his honor.

Powell was a prolific Baptist author of more than 50 books, including his latest, a memoir entitled God Works in Mischievous Ways.

Powell is survived by his wife, Cathy; son, Mike Powell; daughter, Lori Gropper Powell; and three grandchildren, Jordan, Katie and Matthew.

Learn more about Powell’s great influence on Baptist life here.  

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CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.

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