Longtime Southern Baptist Convention parliamentarian Barry McCarty will be moving from his position at Southwestern Seminary to become professor of Rhetoric and Communication this fall. He will also oversee and become dean of TMU’s new School of Communications. TMU/Special
“In whatever I teach, my watchword for all my students is this: ‘Literate people read widely, live observantly, and look up stuff.’”
This watchword, along with other essential philosophies of Barry McCarty, will soon be shared with Truett McConnell University (TMU) students as the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) chief parliamentarian for over 35 years takes on the new role as professor of Rhetoric and Communication this fall.
In addition, McCarty will develop and eventually oversee as dean TMU’s new School of Communications.
McCarty, who has acquired more than 600 platform hours at the SBC, began his nationally known tenure as parliamentarian in 1986 under the presidency of First Baptist Atlanta Pastor Charles Stanley. During that time, he simultaneously took on the role as president of Cincinnati Christian University, achieving regional accreditation by the Northern Central Association (NCA), and spent 22 years pastoring four congregations in Georgia, Ohio, and Texas.
The Atlanta native received his BS in Biblical Studies from Mid-Atlantic Christian University, MA in Speech Communication from Abilene Christian University, and PhD in Rhetoric and Argumentation, with a minor in philosophy, from the University of Pittsburgh.
A statement of faith
McCarty professed his faith at the young age of seven and, throughout much of his time in ministry, served the Lord in the Stone-Campbell tradition.
After many years as a Southern Baptist parliamentarian, and spending countless hours immersed in the Baptist Faith & Message (2000) – the statement of faith for the SBC – McCarty and his wife Pat joined Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany in August of 2015.
“In order for the testimony of our baptism to be absolutely clear in our hearts and in our public witness,” said McCarty, “we were both baptized again by our first SBC pastor, Michael Catt, when we were received as members of Sherwood.”
As one of the nation’s experts in parliamentarian procedures, his expertise has been invaluable in helping convention leaders navigate through some rather difficult years. To date, McCarty has served under 17 SBC presidents.
“I want the people at TMU to understand that Southern Baptists have a deep belief in Dr. Barry McCarty,” said Ronnie Floyd, current president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee. “[Southern Baptists] have watched him provide counsel and direction to the convention in some very challenging years. His professionalism and his winsome personality results in bringing great admiration from Southern Baptists.”
Teaching the next generation
In addition to his extensive pastoral and parliamentarian background, McCarty was called to teach. Throughout his 23 years as an educator, McCarty has taught in various institutions of higher education in the U.S. including: University of Pittsburgh, Mid-Atlantic University, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and for the past five years, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Rhetoric – the art of persuasive speaking and writing – has been the primary academic field for McCarty. “Even in the age of Google, Wikipedia, and smartphone spellcheck,” he said, “the mastery of rhetoric, grammar, and logic are still essential for becoming a well-educated person. Whatever else a university may do to prepare students for life and a career, it must first help them to become literate adults who can think critically and use language precisely and persuasively.”
“Dr. Barry McCarty shares with me a love language and rhetoric (in the elevated sense) that isn’t often encountered,” said Bryan Garner, author of “Garner’s Modern English Usage” and editor of “Black’s Law Dictionary.” “I applaud his efforts to initiate his students into the lifelong endeavor to say the right thing at the right time in the right way.”
“[McCarty’s] broad experience in the academic world is well known and highly respected,” said Jimmy Draper, president emeritus of LifeWay. “I see him in the setting [at TMU] because he is absolutely qualified for what he’s been asked to do. His experience, spirit, discipline, and his academic priorities will be a blessing to the university.”
The professor says his ultimate motivation for doing every job well is Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
“His composure under pressure is a fruit of the Spirit and a key characteristic of life,” said Michael Catt, senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist. “Serving at the SBC for so many years, he has kept things moving without riling up or antagonizing anyone who has disagreed.”
“[This announcement] is thrilling indeed,” said Jerry Vines, former SBC president. “Dr. McCarty was my parliamentarian in the 1989 and 1990 SBC annual meetings. He became a dear friend and more recently, my major supervisor in my PhD work. I saw up close his scholarship in rhetoric and communication. Many students will want to take advantage of his superior teaching.”
McCarty says in whatever subject he teaches, his priority will be to “help students discover what to read, teach them to think critically about the world around them, and show them how to look up stuff.”
A Southern Baptist family
Some say McCarty’s endurance comes from one of his favorite past times – cycling. Not only as a way to relieve stress but as the 67-year-old said, “a way to stay fit and healthy.”
Each year, the organizers of the Tour de France pick one stage of the tour for an amateur race, L’Etape du Tour, which covers the same route the pros will race a week later in the Tour de France.
McCarty competed in the amateur race in 2018, cycling from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornan, stage ten of the Tour de France race.
McCarty and Pat have been married for over 45 years and have three adult children and one grandson. Pat has held significant roles with Southern Baptist employers like Guidestone Financial Resources and the North American Mission Board.
“Barry and Pat are two amazing people who are highly gifted, extremely engaging, and truly love people,” said Floyd.
“When I think about him going to serve in the position that he has been given, this will be a tremendous win for TMU.”
New move, new school
Not only will the chief parliamentarian begin this fall as a professor, his work will also include preparing courses for the future School of Communications. With the new addition planned for 2021 TMU will have the ability to offer degrees based on the rhetoric and logic foundation, but with specialties like journalism, digital communications, and politics.
“He is uniquely skilled and uniquely gifted,” said Mac Brunson, senior pastor of Valleydale Church in Alabama, who studied under McCarty at Southwestern. “He has the personality and drive to make a communications school, and TMU is extremely fortunate.”
“How thrilled I am that Dr. McCarty is joining the faculty of Truett McConnell University,” said Truett McConnell President Emir Caner. “His wealth of experience will be an invaluable asset to our University. To top it off, he is a prince of preachers with an innate love for students.”
Frank Cox, current Truett McConnell trustee and senior pastor of North Metro Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, said, “Truett McConnell University continues to make great strides in being a leading Baptist university. With the addition of Dr. Barry McCarty, we will elevate the ability to attract students who will desire to come and study with a world class faculty that continues to be assembled at this distinctively Baptist university.”