W. A. Criswell was born December 19, 1909 in Eldorado, Oklahoma. He received his B.A. from Baylor University, and his Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He served as pastor of First Baptist Church Chickasha, Oklahoma and First Baptist Church Muskogee, Oklahoma prior to being called as pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas in October of 1944. He served for fifty years as senior pastor of First Baptist Church, for many years the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, preaching more than five thousand sermons from its pulpit. He became the historic church’s first Pastor Emeritus in 1995.