Rebekah Naylor Named First Female Distinguished Professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — Rebekah Ann Naylor, a longtime medical missionary to India, has been appointed distinguished professor of missions in the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the school’s administration announced today (Aug. 20). She is the first woman ever to hold such a position at the seminary.

“The late Robert E. Naylor, our fifth president, began the tradition of pronouncing upon new students and faculty the worthy name of ‘Southwesterner,’” SWBTS President Adam W. Greenway said. “And in my estimation there are few individuals more worthy to wear this distinctive appellation than his own daughter, Dr. Rebekah Ann Naylor.

“Through her decades of service with our International Mission Board in medical missions, she has made tremendous contributions to the advancement of God’s Kingdom. It is, therefore, more than fitting—and long past due—that Dr. Naylor receive the honor of being appointed distinguished professor of missions, the first female to have ever been so recognized by our seminary. Our students are blessed beyond measure to have the opportunity to study with her, a Southwesterner of first rank.”

Naylor joined six other administrative staff of the seminary to be appointed to the faculty.

Naylor made her profession of faith at just 5 years old, and eight years later accepted God’s call to become a medical missionary. After graduating from Baylor University with a bachelor’s in chemistry in 1964, she completed her Doctor of Medicine degree at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville in 1968. Her surgical training was completed 1973, after which she was certified by the American Board of Surgery and became a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

In 1973, Naylor was appointed to the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board). Following a 13-week orientation that prepared her for the mission field and a semester of studies at SWBTS, Naylor was deployed to Bangalore, India, as a general surgeon, evangelist and church planter.

Naylor served at Bangalore Baptist Hospital from 1974-2002, during which time the hospital experienced significant growth. While Naylor’s initial appointment was as a clinical surgeon, she eventually took on the roles of chief of medical staff, administrator, and medical superintendent. Under her supervision, the hospital expanded patient care services and doubled its capacity from 80 to 160 beds.

Naylor also supervised the construction in Bangalore of the Rebekah Ann Naylor School of Nursing in 1996. She later became the school’s professor of anatomy and physiology and saw the first class graduate in August 1999.

Besides serving as a missionary surgeon and professor, Naylor also worked as a strategy coordinator and church planter for the International Mission Board in the state of Karnataka, India, from 1999 to 2009. During this time, she worked with the medical ministry and Indian pastors to help plant 900 churches in Karnataka.

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Source: Baptist Press