By Robert Dilday
Bill Self, a longtime Atlanta-area pastor and prominent Baptist leader for decades, died Jan. 9 after a long struggle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He would have turned 84 on Jan. 10.
Self was pastor emeritus of Johns Creek Baptist Church in Alpharetta, Ga., where he served as senior pastor from 1991 to 2012. He had been pastor of Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta from 1964 to 1990.
Well known as a powerful preacher, Self admitted to being “an evangelist disguised as a pastor.” Prior to 1990, he held numerous leadership positions in the Southern Baptist Convention and was an early advocate for women serving as deacons and pastors. In 1990 he was active in the formation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, organized by SBC moderates who disagreed with the convention’s shift to the right.
Born in Winston-Salem, N.C., in 1932, Self was a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn Shealy Self; two sons; and two grandsons.
Funeral services will be held Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. at Johns Creek Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the William L. Self Lecture Series at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology.