Seminary News

Seminary Emeritus Professor Remembered

Dr. Paul A. Beals, former professor at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary and founder of a continuing education program for missionaries through the seminary, died on May 29, 2012, at age 88.

From 1964 to 1997, Dr. Beals served as professor of missiology and intercultural studies at GRTS.

“What I treasured most about Dr. Beals was his very tender heart,” said Dr. Mike Whittmer, a former student of Dr. Beals and now a professor at GRTS and author. “He couldn’t speak about the people he served in Africa without tears, and though it wasn’t in his syllabus, he taught me that nothing is more important than the final destiny of lost people.”

Dr. Beals was a Wheaton College graduate and held two master’s degrees in theology from Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, Vivian, served as missionaries in the Central Africa Republic with Baptist Mid-Missions from 1952-1964 before coming to GRTS. The seminary's Southeast Asia Extension Program grew out of his passion to provide missionaries with continuing education.

After his retirement in 1997, Dr. Beals was named Professor Emeritus at GRTS and Missionary Emeritus with Baptist Mid-Missions. He served as president of the Evangelical Missiological Society and authored “A People for His Name: A Church-Based Missions Strategy.”

Through his career he ministered in several countries, including Australia, England, Ghana, Guyana, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Papau New Guinea and the Philippines.

The newest building addition at GRTS was named in his honor for his many years of service to the seminary.

Dr. Beals is survived by his wife and three children, 12 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

A service of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ for Dr. Beals was held on June 1 at Northland Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The family requests those planning an expression of sympathy to consider the Paul A. Beals Scholarship Fund at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, 1001 E. Beltline Ave., or the Northland Baptist Church Missions Fund.