Remembering The Reverend Dr. Andrew D. MacRae, BD, MA, PhD
Devoted to family. Passionate about evangelism and pastoral ministry. A deeply committed servant of God. These are the words that most frequently come to mind when remembering our friend and colleague, Dr. Andrew D. MacRae.
Andrew was born in Lasswade, near Edinburgh, Scotland, and with the early encouragement of his pastor, he became a street evangelist as a teenager in Edinburgh. Ordained in 1957, Dr. MacRae was called to a pastoral ministry in Scotland that focussed on urban ministry. He was appointed General Secretary and Superintendent of the Baptist Union of Scotland in 1966, providing leadership and pastoral care to pastors and churches. Dr. MacRae served extensively in Europe and the Soviet Bloc, working with the Baptist World Alliance and also preaching, teaching, and leading conferences in more than 50 countries on every continent. His leadership led to the introduction of the Evangelism and Education Division of the Baptist World Alliance. In recognition of his work, Dr. MacRae received a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, from the Campbellsville University, Kentucky.
Dr. MacRae’s road to Acadia Divinity College (ADC) began in 1978 with an unexpected phone call from the College, inviting him to an interview for a position as a member of faculty. It was almost two years before he was persuaded to move to Wolfville with his wife, Jean, and two children, Findlay and Fiona. Dr. MacRae began his service at the Acadia Divinity College by establishing the first Chair of evangelism and mission in Canada, the Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain Chair of Evangelism and Mission, and in 1983 became its first occupant. After much deliberation, he accepted the position of Principal of ADC and Dean of Theology of Acadia University in 1985 and within months the College underwent a review of its accredited status by an examining team from the Association of Theological Schools. The College received accreditation for five years, the longest term available at the time and a strong affirmation of the high academic standing of the College.
During his tenure, Dr. MacRae travelled the country, teaching and preaching in churches in every province, building relationships with Baptists across Canada. It became apparent to Dr. MacRae that God had taken him around the world for a purpose: by affiliating schools in Nigeria and Hong Kong, he led Acadia University into a new concept of an expanded international reach. Dr. MacRae introduced the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program at ADC, now one of Canada’s largest DMin programs, enrolling students internationally from many denominations. He was key in launching the Lay Pastor’s Program, a curriculum designed to meet the needs of the smaller churches, as well as the Lifestyle Training Schools to prepare ordinary Christians to share their faith. His door was always open to students, and alumni remember his passion in the classroom, sparkling wit and involvement in student life. Perhaps Dr. MacRae’s most significant contribution to the long-term future of the College was the Living Legacy fundraising campaign that strengthened the endowment for student bursaries and the College’s financial position. Every step of the way, Jean ministered by his side with kindness and gracious hospitality to ADC faculty, staff, and students.
Dr. MacRae retired in 1998 after 13 years as ADC’s longest serving Principal. His leadership was recognized by Acadia University through the bestowing of a Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa, in 2004. In retirement he served as a pastor, taught evangelism, and after a brief absence from the College, returned to direct the Doctor of Ministry program. Until March 2014, he served as Senior Consultant to the Doctor of Ministry Program, Life and Ministry Coach, and Liaison to Hong Kong Ministries. Dr. MacRae’s connection with the Acadia Divinity College continued as the Sheldon and Marjorie Fountain Professor Emeritus of Evangelism and Mission.
In honour of his valuable leadership at the Acadia Divinity College and in recognition of his global impact and lifelong commitment to evangelism and mission, The Andrew D. MacRae Centre for Christian Faith and Culture was established in 2016.
In addition to his many accomplishments, Andrew will perhaps be most remembered as a deeply caring and humble Christian man with a great sense of humour. He was a true servant of God who touched so very many lives.
I had the great privilege of learning from Dr. MacRae even prior to my time of study at Acadia from 1982 to 1985. His infectious humour, wise counsel and deep commitment to biblically centred expository preaching, evangelism/apologetics helped to shape my ministry from my first pastoral charge and into my retirement. I thank God for this humble servant who continues to inspire those who sat under his teaching.
The "man" from heaven speaking in a vision to Daniel said things so applicable to Dr. MacRae:
"You who are highly esteemed." Highly esteemed by students, faculty and the wider community perfectly describes Dr. M. So does the fact that his life and ministry continually evidenced "humbling himself before God." Finally, the "man’s’ description of Daniel as "one whose wisdom made him shine like the brightness of the heavens, and lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever," makes Dr. M. Daniel’s twin. (Daniel 10:11-12,;12:3)
Thank you, sir, for impacting so many of us.
Andrew MacRae was the first person I met at ADC, and was an inspiration to me. Truly a caring man who clearly loved God and people. He is missed.