About the Cooley Center

The purpose of the Cooley Center is to explore the historical foundations of the Christian faith. This is accomplished by several means.

Cooley Collection

First, through the Center’s collection, there are numerous volumes and periodicals on anthropology, early Church history and archaeology in the Middle East during biblical times that are available to those interested in conducting research in these areas.

Lectures Series

Second, the Center’s annual lecture series brings scholars of note to Charlotte to address topics in Old Testament, New Testament and the Patristics, with the intent of correlating textual and archaeological evidence in all three of these areas.

News and Research

Third, the director, curator and fellow of the Center are involved in publication projects, the promotion of research and efforts to make scholarship accessible to a larger audience.


Finally, to make research “come alive,” the Center is involved in sponsoring trips to the lands of the Bible.

Cooley Center Staff and Scholars








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Director of the Cooley Center, Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity, and Green Scholar

Dr. Donald Fairbairn (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) specializes in the development of Christian doctrine on the Trinity and Christ during the first six Christian centuries. He is particularly concerned with recognizing the Church’s consensus about Christian orthodoxy, in opposition to contemporary views that exaggerate the diversity within the early Church and thus undermine the very notion that there was such a thing as “orthodoxy.”

He has lived and ministered in the Republic of Georgia and in Ukraine, and he has also taught in Russia, Belarus, Greece, Belgium, Hungary, England, and Canada. He and his wife Jennifer have two children, Trey (born in 2001) and Ella (born in 2003).

Publications by Dr. Fairbairn:








Dean of the Charlotte Campus and Green Scholar

Dr. Timothy Laniak (Th.D., Harvard University) is Dean of the Charlotte Campus, Professor of Old Testament, and Director of the BibleJourney Biblical Literacy Program. He has served as a missionary in 15 countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and has worked cross-culturally at institutions in Boston. Dr. Laniak is Director of Shepherd Leader Ministries (www.shepherdleader.com), a ministry focused on equipping leaders to think biblically about their roles.

Publications by Dr. Laniak








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Curator of the Robert C. Cooley Collection and Green Scholar

Dr. Catherine McDowell (Ph.D., Harvard University) comes to Gordon-Conwell from Wheaton College in Illinois, where she also taught Old Testament. Her teaching experience includes former positions at Gordon-Conwell and Harvard. As a graduate teaching fellow at Harvard, she taught classical Hebrew, Ancient Near Eastern history and archaeology.

Dr. McDowell has also been active in church ministry, teaching adult education courses in Old Testament and Bible study methodology for Park Street Church in Boston and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in North Carolina.

She has also worked for Vision New England, both as a conference speaker and as a consultant for leadership training curriculum development. For a number of years, she worked in the field at archaeological digs in Israel. Her writings include articles in such well-known publications as the Basics of Biblical Hebrew textbook, the NIV Archaeological Study Bible and the Bulletin of the American School of Oriental Research.

Dr. McDowell has earned a number of honors and awards for her work, including the Faculty Development Grant from Wheaton College, an award for excellence in the teaching of undergraduates at Harvard College, and a $36,000 grant from the Pew Charitable Trust for her Ph.D. studies.

As the curator for the Cooley Center, Dr. McDowell works closely with the Cooley Fellow and the Gordon-Conwell librarian to oversee a balanced and robust growth of the collection’s books, journals, media and artifacts.

Publications by Dr. McDowell






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Associate Professor of New Testament and Green Scholar

Dr. Rollin G. Grams, Associate Professor of New Testament (Ph.D., Duke University), serves with United World Mission in international theological education and has taught in Singapore, Kenya, Ethiopia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Russia, Austria and England. Dr. Grams has served as the assistant editor for Transformation, an academic journal on holistic mission published in the UK, and as the program director for the M.A. in Biblical Studies at the Evangelical Theological Seminary, Osijek, Croatia. He has been a doctoral supervisor with the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and the International Baptist Theological Seminary. He also lectures with TCMI (Austria) and Stellenbosch Theological Institute (South Africa).

Publications by Dr. Grams







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Cooley Center Representative, Manager of Biblical Scholarship and Integrated Training at the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship

Dr. Roy E. Ciampa (Ph.D., University of Aberdeen) is the Manager of Biblical Scholarship and Integrated Training at the Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship at American Bible Society, where he is responsible for the development and application of biblical scholarship for the promotion of Bible engagement, including providing professional development to translation leaders. He was on the full-time faculty of  Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary for thirteen years, filling such roles as Professor of New Testament, Director of the Th.M. programs in biblical studies, and chair of the Division of Biblical Studies. He continues to teach as an adjunct faculty member at Gordon-Conwell (and co-mentor of the Doctor of Ministry track in Bible Translation).

Prior to teaching at Gordon-Conwell, Dr. Ciampa taught in two theological schools in Portugal for over a decade and collaborated with the Bible Society of Portugal in the revision of its contemporary translation of the Bible. In addition to the published works listed below, Dr. Ciampa has published numerous academic articles and essays on biblical studies and is a member of several academic and professional societies including the Society of Biblical Literature and theStudiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.

When not working, he likes to be in the the lakes and countryside of New England or riding his motorcycle through its back roads.

Students and scholars may be interested in his viceregency.com website, especially http://www.viceregency.com/DesktopTwo.html

Publications by Dr. Ciampa:








Director of the Green Scholar's Initiative and Cooley Center Research Scholar

Dr. Jerry Pattengale (Ph.D., Miami University) is University Professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. He has spoken on many of the nation’s largest campuses, has founded and helped direct various national initiatives, and has numerous books, publications and unique life experiences. He serves as Executive Director of the Green Scholars’ Initiative, the research arm of the world’s largest private collection of biblical texts and artifacts. The Green Collection’s major museum is forthcoming near Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and its Verbum Domini and Passages exhibits have been featured in prominent locations, including the Vatican. Jerry also serves as Assistant Provost at Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU)—one the nation’s three largest Christian universities. He’s attracted $40 million in educational funding to IWU, and in 2012 received its top honor, "The World Changing Faculty Award." He has research appointments at Baylor University, The Sagamore Institute, Tyndale House–Cambridge, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and is the Director of National Conversations, the Associate Publisher, Christian Scholar’s Review, and on the national board of directors for the Religion News Service. He received the National Student Advocate Award (USC), two Professor of the Year Awards (APU), an NEH Award to Isthmia, Greece, and established the record viewership for the prominent Teaching Professor broadcasts (Madison, WI). Recent books include Biblical Evidence; Beyond Integration?; Taking Every Thought Captive; Straight Talk: Clear Answers about Today’s Christianity; Why I Teach; The Purpose-guided Student; Helping Sophomores Succeed and; Visible Solutions for Invisible Students. From 2011 to 2013 he produced four lecture (and DVD) series involving over 50 top biblical scholars, including a series with the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome), and in 2013 appeared in three History Channel segments. Jerry is one of the pioneers of Purpose-Guided Education, a humanities-based approach to student success. His Accidental Author newsprint series has run for over a decade and he contributes regularly to Books & Culture and the Washington Post. He received international recognition for co-developing the Odyssey in Egypt initiative, attached to their excavation in Egypt and schools in Western Michigan. His humorous “Buck Creek Chronicles” newsprint column is in its 12th year and is appearing in a four-book series, Buck Creek: True Stories to Tickle Your Mind.  In August, 2012, he was appointed as a general editor for the first series (of three) with Brill Publishers (Leiden). Jerry lives in Indiana with his wife, Cindy. They have four adult sons.

Ph.D., Miami Univ. (OH), Ancient History | M.A., Miami Univ. (OH), Tudor-Stuart History

M.A., Wheaton College (IL), Interpersonal Development | B.S., Indiana Wesleyan University, History, Religion








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Research Fellow for the Cooley Center

Mark B. Poe is responsible for overseeing the quarterly newsletter, the content of the Center's website, conducting research for Center projects and staff, managing the logistics for the annual Cooley Lecture series and patron's lecture event, and will be working with the Center curator and the Gordon-Conwell librarian on acquisitions for the Center. He is also the contact person for those wishing to do research using the Center’s materials and new iMac computer. Mark has earned both an MA in Biblical Studies and an MA in Christian Thought from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary–Charlotte. His primary areas of interest are historical Jesus studies and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Mark is also the lead teach assistant for BibleJourney and is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church. Mark is currently the pastor of First Wesleyan Church, Cherryville, NC. He is married to Cynthia and has two children, Andrew and Matthew.


Senior Librarian and Director of the Gordon-Conwell libraries

Joining Gordon-Conwell in 1997, Dr. Robert J. Mayer brings extensive experience in writing, publishing and research. Dr. Mayer, working with the Cooley Research Fellow and Curator, is responsible for acquiring current recent scholarly publications and resources, thus keeping the Cooley Collection up-to-date and growing.

From 1982-1997, he served as the editor of the Advent Christian Witness magazine and as the director of publications for the Advent Christian General Conference in Charlotte. He also chaired the 1992 Evangelical Press Association convention committee and is currently serving as co-chair on the local host committee for the upcoming 2013 American Theological Library Association convention in Charlotte. In addition to his writing and publishing work, Dr. Mayer has taught in a variety of academic and church settings. He is ordained by the Evangelical Church Alliance. Dr. Mayer’s scholarly interests include American church history, Advent Christian church history and theology, and 20th century American evangelicalism.