Gregory Alan Thornbury will be installed as the sixth president of
The King’s College on August 1, 2013. Formerly a Professor of
Philosophy, Dean of the School of Theology, and Vice President for
Spiritual Life at Union University in Tennessee, Thornbury has spent his
career in higher education. A writer and speaker on philosophy,
theology, education, spirituality, and public thought, Thornbury is
poised to help The King’s College further the legacy of the great
Christian intellectual tradition that has shaped Western culture.
The son of an American Baptist pastor, Thornbury initially intended
to pursue a career in media at Messiah College in Grantham,
Pennsylvania. His interests turned toward philosophy and theological
studies during his undergraduate years. At Messiah he met his future
wife, Kimberly. They married shortly after their simultaneous
graduations from Messiah and moved to the campus of Southern Seminary in
the summer of 1993.
In addition to his classes at Southern, Thornbury split his time
serving on the staff of seminary president Albert Mohler and as a
minister at the First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Indiana. After
graduating with a Master of Divinity with biblical languages in 1996,
Thornbury continued on in Southern's Ph.D. program, where Mohler served
as his doctoral supervisor. During this time, Kimberly completed a
Master's degree at the University of Louisville and subsequently entered
the Ph.D. program at The University of Kentucky. She later transferred
to Regent University in Virginia Beach, where she finished her Ph.D.
After completing additional graduate work at Green College (now
Green-Templeton), Oxford University, Thornbury began to write his
dissertation on the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment's version of
natural theology upon four generations of Northern Baptist theologians
stationed at Brown University and Rochester Seminary, respectively.
In 1998, David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson,
Tennessee, recruited Thornbury as a philosophy professor in the
Department of Christian Studies. In 2000, he became Director of the Carl
F. H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership, after acquiring permission
for the name from the legendary evangelical theologian. In 2001,
Thornbury completed his Ph.D. and received a promotion to Assistant
Professor. At the same time, Kimberly joined Union's administrative team
as Dean of Students.
Thornbury co-authored/edited two books early in his career at Union:
Who Will Be Saved? Defending the Biblical Understanding of God,
Humanity, and Salvation with Old Testament theologian Paul R.
House, and Shaping a Christian Worldview: The Foundations of
Christian Higher Education, with Dockery.
Thornbury was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003 and was awarded
tenure in 2006. That same year, Thornbury was elected by his faculty
colleagues to become the founding Dean of the School of Theology and
Missions at Union. As Dean, he expanded the work of the school to
include new graduate programs at both the master's and professional
doctoral program levels, and grew enrollment in the School of Theology
to nearly 500 students. Thornbury was promoted in his faculty role to
full Professor of Philosophy in 2012.
In 2010, Dockery added Thornbury to the university's Senior
Leadership Team and gave him the additional responsibility of Vice
President for Spiritual Life at Union, where he has overseen the
university's chapel speaker program, along with student missions,
discipleship, and mobilization programs. Thornbury successfully oversaw
the startup of Union's first fully online Master's degree program.
Thornbury is a Senior Fellow at The Kairos Journal, an
online magazine with more than 10,000 readers in over 100 countries
geared toward helping pastors and church leaders think critically about
issues in the public square. He also serves as theological editor for
biblemesh.com, an online
curriculum platform for biblical literacy, where he has worked with
leaders such as Eric Metaxas, Tim Keller, and others.
Thornbury serves as a visiting professor teaching philosophy at
Ansgar Teologiske Høgskole in Norway and at Southern Seminary. He is a
member of the Society of Christian Philosophers and the Evangelical
In the spring of 2013, Thornbury released Recovering Classic
Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry
(Crossway). The book has received positive critical reception, and has
been featured in Christianity Today, Books and Culture, The Gospel
Coalition, and Douglas Wilson's May 2013 Book of the Month. The
book will be the subject of special focus in a forthcoming edition of
The Christian Scholar's Review.
Thornbury and his wife Kimberly celebrated their 20th anniversary
this year. In addition to her role as the Dean of Students, Kimberly
also serves as the Senior Vice President for Student Life at Union. They
have two daughters, Katherine Elizabeth and Carolyn Taylor.