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Chapman Chair Appointed


Moody Theological Seminary professor Dr. Deborah Gorton to serve as Gary Chapman Chair of Marriage and Family Ministry and Therapy

Moody Theological Seminary (MTS) announced today that associate professor Dr. Deborah Gorton will serve as the Gary Chapman Chair of Marriage and Family Ministry and Therapy.

In addition to her role as Moody’s voice on marriage and family through the Chapman Chair, she will continue serving as an associate professor and the program head for the MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) at MTS.

“Dr. Gorton has been a wonderful addition to our faculty over the last several years and during that time the Clinical Mental Health program has flourished under her leadership and innovation,” said Dr. John Jelinek, interim provost of Moody Bible Institute who also serves as vice president and dean of MTS. “Her personal and professional reputation is stellar. I am excited for the future of the Chapman Chair as she is a strong, articulate advocate for our biblical values on marriage and family and a gifted, inspiring communicator.”


Endowed through a gift from Dr. Gary and Karolyn Chapman, the position was created in 2012 to honor and continue Dr. Chapman’s work in the area of marriage and family. It uniquely and strategically combines Moody’s education, radio, and publishing platforms, reaching a broad audience with biblical teaching on topics of marriage and family.

"I am honored to step into the role of the Chapman Chair and carry on the legacy and impact Dr. Trent has pioneered," said Dr. Gorton. "My hope is to continue to see Moody’s counseling program and media efforts represent with excellence the ethos of Dr. Gary Chapman’s ministry and impact." She added, "As the Chapman Chair, my desire is to build and enhance church partnerships that address the growing need for counseling to support and empower healthy family dynamics and to address mental health needs from a faith-based foundation. Through our efforts, my prayer is that individuals, families, and communities are transformed and thrive to the glory of God." 

In her role as Program Head for the CMHC, Dr. Gorton will also help lead MTS’ effort to become CACREP accredited. “CACREP is a specialized accreditation that affirms the rigor and quality of our CMHC program,” Dr. Jelinek added. “This program is a significant area of growth for MTS, as we know that prospective students are looking for this accreditation because it affirms the superior training they will receive, enhances their future employment opportunities, and provides a more seamless process for counselor licensure across state jurisdictions. Ultimately, our students will have the immediate opportunity to begin serving in a variety of counseling settings, wherever the Lord calls them.”

In addition to teaching courses in counseling and marriage and family each semester at MTS, she will also guest lecture in Moody's undergraduate school, serve as a regular voice on Moody Radio and publish with Moody Publishers on related topics.

Dr. Gorton takes over for Dr. John Trent who helped craft the parameters for the Chapman Chair, the first in Moody’s history.

“Dr. Gorton has worked closely with Dr. Trent the past several years, which will help ensure that there is a smooth transition,” said Dr. Jelinek. “Dr. Trent has been an invaluable faculty member at Moody, bringing years of experience and a contagious energy and passion for the Lord. I am deeply appreciative of the contribution he has made and the ministry to our students, as well as listeners and readers.”

During his tenure, Dr. Trent lectured at MTS and MBI, and was a regular guest on Moody Radio. His book, Marriage: Its Foundation, Theology, and Mission in a Changing World, was recently released by Moody Publishers.

Dr. John Trent

“It has been my incredible honor to have been the first Gary Chapman Chair of Marriage and Family Ministry and Therapy at Moody,” said Dr. Trent who is a counselor, pastor, speaker and best-selling author. “Being able to represent Dr. Gary and Karolyn Chapman who I count as friends in a position that links radio, publishing and education has been a joy.” He added, “What makes this transition even more positive and a blessing to me is getting to hand off my duties to Dr. Gorton. She has led and built Moody’s outstanding Clinical Mental Health Counseling department and an amazing MTS Counseling Center. She is an outstanding teacher and speaker.”

Dr. Gorton will begin her tenure as Chapman Chair on July 1, 2019.

She holds a BA from Arizona State University, as well as an MA and PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary. Her professional memberships include American Psychological Association, American Counseling Association and Illinois Counseling Association.

For more information about Moody Theological Seminary where the Gary Chapman Chair of Marriage and Family Ministry and Therapy is based, please visit


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