A-Award: Chris Bounds ’88 – Asbury University
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A-Award: Chris Bounds ’88

Equipping the Next Generation

June 2, 2023

For 2023 A-Award winner Rev. Dr. Chris Bounds ’88, his Asbury journey started with a church mentor who recommended the “college” to him.

“Her name was Alice,” he said. “She discipled me and recognized my call to ministry. After having conversations with her at our church in Arkansas, I decided that coming to Asbury was my only choice.”

During his time at Asbury, Bounds received mentorship from Dr. David Rightmire (retired professor of Bible and theology) and Dr. Paul Vincent (retired professor of English).

“Both of them helped me to understand our Wesleyan distinctive on holiness,” he said. “Dr. Rightmire took me under his wing and encouraged me in my Christian faith. The Asbury presidents at that time, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw and Dr. John Oswalt, also impacted my life.”

After studying Bible and Greek at Asbury College, Bounds received his M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary, his M.Phil. in systematic theology from Drew University, and his Ph.D. in systematic and Wesleyan theology from Drew University.

“Asbury grounded and rooted my faith in Christ,” he said. “I had my own experience of holiness of heart and life there, which prepared me for ordination into The Arkansas Conference of The United Methodist Church.”

After serving eight years as an associate and senior pastor in Arkansas, Chris accepted a teaching position at Indiana Wesleyan University in 2002. In 2016, he returned to Asbury University and served as professor of theology for four years before returning to Indiana Wesleyan University, where he currently serves as professor and dean of the School of Theology & Ministry.

“What I enjoy most about my job is helping to equip the next generation of pastors, missionaries, and leaders in the body of Christ through teaching theology and grounding students in the Christian faith,” he said.

With numerous articles, chapters, and books published, Bounds’ new book (coauthored with Dr. Matt Ayars ’06 and Dr. Caleb Friedeman ’11) will be published by InterVarsity Press Academic this October. Learn more about his research: https://www.indwes.edu/academics/faculty/chris-bounds.

“‘Holiness: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Theology’ represents the culmination of my research, writing, and thinking of Christian sanctification,” he said. “Matt wrote the Old Testament part; Caleb wrote the New Testament part; and I wrote the historical and systematic part of the book.”

In addition to teaching and writing, Bounds has served as an iterant preacher for the Francis Asbury Society’s camp meetings. He also has shared at past Reunions and at Asbury University’s first Set Apart retreat in Panama City Beach, Fla.

Asbury University President Dr. Kevin Brown expresses his gratitude to Chris: “The ripple effect of Chris’ tenacious hold on the tenants of our Wesleyan tradition, his gifted leadership, his godly wisdom, and his expert guidance will be felt for generations to come.”

Bounds presently serves on the Board of Trustees of One Mission Society (OMS) and The Francis Asbury Society. Previously, he served on the Board of Directors for Good News: A Forum for Scriptural Christianity in The United Methodist Church and the Manchester Wesley Research Centre.

When asked about what he has learned in his journey so far, Bounds shared these words: “What has been a driving theme in my understanding of the Gospel is complete resignation to God. The only mark of success in the kingdom of God is obedience to Him. The Lord gives and takes away. The promise He gives us is that He will not leave nor forsake us. The only mark of success in following Jesus is His faithfulness of carrying us through life.”

Since 1946, the Asbury University Alumni Association has given Asbury’s highest alumni honor, the A-Award, to outstanding, loyal alumni who exemplify academic excellence and spiritual vitality. Each recipient has achieved distinction in their field of calling and has served for the benefit of others and for the glory of our Heavenly Father.