Obituary: Samuel Shahid, Southwestern Seminary professor


Samuel Shahid, professor of missions in the Islamic Studies program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1998-2013, died March 2. He was 87 years old.

“Dr. Shahid was a founder of the Islamic Studies program at SWBTS and raised the awareness of the Southern Baptists to the need for the Gospel among Islamic people across the Middle East,” said John D. Massey, dean of the Roy J. Fish School of Evangelism and Missions. “He was a passionate Christian apologist and scholar of Islamic theology, training many students sent by Southern Baptist churches to serve in Islamic contexts around the world. He will be sorely missed.”

Born in Egypt on March 21, 1935, Shahid relocated to Beirut, Lebanon, where he met his wife, Ellen, who preceded him in death. While in Lebanon, Shahid served as the assistant pastor of Ras-Beirut Baptist Church in Beirut for 26 years before moving his family to Chicago, Illinois, for safety concerns. During his six years in Chicago, Shahid simultaneously served as a church planter and director of singles ministry at Arab Baptist Church in Chicago.

Shahid earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago in 1982. Additionally, he earned a Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts, both in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, from the American University of Beirut in 1967 and 1964, respectively.

Following his time of service in Chicago, Shahid moved to New Jersey where he translated the Old Testament into modern Arabic. During his time in New Jersey, Shahid served as an assistant professor at Monmouth College in West Long Brand, New Jersey. In 1988, when he began serving as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Seminary, Shahid founded Good News for the Crescent World, a non-profit organization based in Arlington, Texas, that reaches out to Muslims. 

In 1998, Shahid was appointed full professor of missions in the Islamic studies program at Southwestern Seminary, where he served until 2013. 

In addition to his theological academic service, Shahid was a prolific writer having authored the books What is Man?Was Jesus Really Crucified?, and The Fallen Nature of Man in Islam and Christianity, among others. Additionally, Shahid served as a member of the executive committee of the Lebanese Baptist Convention (1973-1976) and a member of the board of directors of the Beirut Baptist School (1974-1976).

Shahid is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Tifany Shahid; his daughter and son-in-law Mona Shahid-Moore and Shane Moore; and daughter May Shahid. He is also survived by his granddaughter, Martha Ellen, and two sisters, Lydia and Najla Shahid.

The family requests in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Good News for the Crescent World in Shahid’s memory.