JAMES L. FLANAGAN
Adjunct Professor of New Testament and Greek; President Emeritus
B.S., Southern Illinois University; M.Div., Liberty Baptist Seminary; Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Although he would never want to take any credit for the institution’s success, James Flanagan served as President from 1994 to 2021 and faithfully guided Luther Rice from difficult times to its present strong and viable position.
Flanagan grew up in southern Illinois, across the river from Paducah, KY. Upon graduating from high school in Benton, IL, Flanagan enrolled in Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where he majored in mathematics. Upon earning his college education the SIU alumnus secured a job teaching in an elementary school in Tunnel Hill, IL. While Flanagan was teaching school he began to sense God calling him into some kind of ministry. The distinct sense of a divine calling led him to Liberty University, where he earned a M.Div. degree.
Flanagan started his Th.D. program in 1976, taught in some private Christian schools along the way, and served in a couple of small churches as associate pastor and minister of music. In 1982 he graduated with a Ph.D. in New Testament. He began his career at Luther Rice in the spring of 1982 as a New Testament Professor. He later was named the Vice President of Academic Affairs and by 1994, he was inaugurated as the president of Luther Rice College & Seminary. Dr. Flanagan retired as President in June 2021.
When Flanagan became the school’s president the institution was in financial difficulty and the future was uncertain at best, but God used the new president to breathe new life into the school. He said, “I got here one morning at 7 o’clock and found two of our employees praying and asking the Lord to intercede on behalf of Luther Rice. Then one Friday afternoon Ron Long came by and we both got on our faces before the Lord and prayed for God’s wisdom and intervention. We began to see God move to bring about some changes operationally and financially. God took me to school spiritually during that period of time like I have never experienced before or since. I never want to lose that sense of relying on Him.”
Jim Waddle, former chairman of the Board of Trustees of Luther Rice, stated, “Dr. James Flanagan is a man with a blend of humility and integrity, driven by a pursuit of excellence. He would certainly flesh out the words of Aristotle, who said, ‘Excellence is not an act, but a habit.’”
Evangelist Len Turner, a trustee for nearly ten years, exclaimed, “Dr. James Flanagan is a man of integrity, impeccable character, and exceptional vision.”
Flanagan summarized, “I think it is always a challenge to make sure that I am setting a good example and that we are being consistent in our daily walk with the Lord. I want us to make sure that we have a heart for God and for souls. We want our students to be committed to walking uprightly, expository preaching, and evangelism.”
Flanagan and his wife, Ruth, reside in Conyers, Georgia. He has two sons, Jared and Timothy, one grandson, Noah, and one granddaughter, Erin. At age nine, he was saved and at age twenty-five, surrendered to the ministry.