Dear Friends of Bethlehem College and Seminary,
This has been a challenging week for our school as we announced the resignation of our second president, Dr. Joe Rigney, and my appointment as interim president. I want to share with the school’s wider network of friends, alumni, and supporters some of the remarks that I made to our faculty, staff, and students about this leadership transition.
First, I am grateful to God for my longtime friend and colleague, Joe Rigney. He has served our school well for sixteen years as a faculty member and two years as president. I appreciate Joe’s clarity of mind, his stability of soul, his readiness to act, and his consistent call for us to seek the Lord in prayer and “mind the returns,” expressing gratitude when he answers our requests. Joe will be missed, and we pray that the Lord would bless him and direct his steps.
Second, it is appropriate to feel emotions such as sadness, anxiety, and confusion at the news that a beloved president, professor, and friend is leaving our school. Such feelings flow from genuine Christian love and affection. To cite one of Joe’s and my favorite authors, C. S. Lewis, “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken…. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” As the Psalms teach us, God’s people throughout the ages have expressed their questions, vexations, and pains to the Lord, whom the apostle calls “the God of all comfort” and “the God of hope.”
Further, while I did not expect or seek out the role of interim president, I am truly humbled by the Trustees’ invitation to take on this new assignment, and I commit with God’s help to serve this school that I love. I came to Bethlehem as a seminary student eighteen years ago, and I have been pleased to serve for many years as a professor and academic dean. I am eager for this institution to carry out its mission, under the authority of God’s inerrant word, to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ as we teach and equip a remarkable group of students.
I have been deeply encouraged by the various notes and calls I received this week from alumni, contributors, and friends at various churches and institutions, who expressed their appreciation and support for Bethlehem College and Seminary and committed to pray for me in my new role and for our faculty and our students. Please continue to support and pray for our school in the coming days as we seek to finish the semester well and prepare for upcoming events like Preview Day and Commencement.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be glad all our days….
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! (Psalm 90:14, 17)
Clinging to our Sovereign and Good God,
Brian J. Tabb, Ph.D.
Interim President and Professor of Biblical Studies