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Abraham Kuruvilla

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Abraham Kuruvilla

Abraham Kuruvilla was originally trained to be a dermatologist, not a seminary professor. He hails from India but has been in the U.S. for more than two decades. He came to this country as an international student (to obtain his Ph.D. in Immunology), and his arrival at DTS last fall as a full-time professor was the end of a winding journey.

“My brother led me to Christ when I was a teenager back in India, but for many years after that I didn’t mature much as a believer,” reflects Kuruvilla. “While I was at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, I started listening to Christian radio. The messages I heard and the local broadcasters I met sparked my interest in the scriptures, and my faith started to grow.”

To dig into the Word, he attended the erstwhile Houston Bible Institute (now College of Biblical Studies, where DTS has its Houston campus). Most of the professors there were Dallas Seminary graduates, and Abe decided that someday, God willing, he too would attend DTS.

Finally, after completing his doctorate and pediatric internship at Baylor and his dermatology residency at Boston University, Kuruvilla ended up at DTS for his Th.M. He began teaching preaching classes as an adjunct professor in Pastoral Ministries during his final semester as a student and taught for three more years before moving to Aberdeen, Scotland, to work on another Ph.D. researching the hermeneutics of preaching. Full-time now at DTS, he teaches Spiritual Life and Homiletics; he is also Coordinator for the recently approved Ph.D. program in Homiletics and Pastoral Ministries.

A winding journey indeed: medical school, internship and residency, a Th.M., a Ph.D. or two, and now a full-time seminary teaching position.

Kuruvilla explains, “The freedom that dermatology offers is unparalleled: doctors are not required to be on call, and I have yet to lose a patient to acne or athlete’s foot! Yet, dermatology is a fascinating field with a broad spectrum of challenging diseases, multifaceted treatment modalities, and great opportunities for research. The considerable flexibility of time that I have practicing part-time allows me to enjoy helping patients in my practice and to engage in significant ministry at DTS and to the body of Christ worldwide—a bivocational cure of bodies and cure of souls!”

Where did his passion for preaching come from?

“While in Houston, I was ‘serendipitously’ involved in a church plant even before I had any formal pastoral training,” he reminisces. “I preached frequently and thoroughly loved it. It was thrilling to see God working in the lives of His people, and I was humbled to see God working through me. The communication of God’s truth, I realized, was something I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life.” Kuruvilla’s lifelong ministry goals are “to explore preaching (furthering homiletics through scholarship), to explain preaching (training godly servant-leaders), and to exemplify preaching (‘pulpiteering’ at every opportunity).”

The theology of Christ-centered singleness is also something Kuruvilla is passionate about. Having decided early on to remain single for the sake of ministry, he defines his celibacy as a gift. “I call it ‘ecclesiological singleness’—by choice, for life, unto Christ, in community.” Both marriage and celibacy, he asserts, are gifts, as Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7; both are valid and valuable platforms for fruitful ministry. “But I always challenge my single students to consider carefully and prayerfully what their own gift might be. In any case, single or married, God’s blessings are assured and abundant. Psalm 84:11 declares, ‘No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.’ ”