My full name is Dixie Howell Scott, II, but I go by Howell.  I have served as Senior Pastor of Ramoth Baptist Church in Stafford, VA since August 2016.  A native of Lake Placid, Florida, I graduated from The George Washington University in 1988 with a B.A. in Political Science and from the Florida State University College of Law in 1991 with a Juris Doctorate.  I was a practicing attorney for three years in Florida before answering God’s call in my life to the Gospel ministry in 1993.

My wife, Brenda, and I both attended The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and graduated with Master of Divinity degrees in December 1997.  After serving churches in Kentucky, Florida, Virginia, and New Mexico, we moved back to Virginia in August 2016 to begin our ministry at Ramoth Baptist Church in Stafford.  This July, we will celebrate 25 years of marriage. God has blessed us with three boys: Stephen, Jacob, and Andrew.

When asked how I went from the practice of law to the Gospel ministry, I usually tell folks, “I was once in law, but now I’m in grace.”  Hence the name for this blog, “From Law to Grace.”  Because of my unique background as a trained attorney and now pastor, I use my education, training, and experience to offer analysis and commentary on issues affecting the worlds of law, religion, and politics especially when those worlds intersect and sometimes collide.  I will also comment on issues affecting the Southern Baptist Convention at the national, state, and local level.

I am a life-long Southern Baptist, having grown up at First Baptist Church of Lake Placid, FL, where both my parents and grandparents were active members.  I consider myself a “cooperating Southern Baptist” and have been active at all levels of SBC life.  I served on the Committee on Committees of the SBC in 2009 and as Moderator for the Mountain Valley Baptist Association in New Mexico from 2008-2010.  I also served as a member of the Executive Board of the Baptist Convention of New Mexico.

In addition to writing my own blog, I have contributed posts for SBCVoices and for sbc tomorrow. Some of my posts have been quoted in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, ESPN Magazine, the Huffington Post, and the New York Times.   You are welcomed and encouraged to contact me with any questions or comments at howell88310@gmail.com.

16 comments for “About

  1. August 17, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    hi howell, thanks for your post re: my article on the ordination of women. I appreciate your honesty. I hope we both contributed to a continuing conversation on this issue. blessings on your ministry. new mexico is one of my favorite places on earth! susan

    • August 17, 2011 at 6:13 PM


      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. When I saw your article on ABP last week, I knew I had to write something to interact with it, particularly in light of what I had written earlier about the Flat Rock BC situation. Hopefully, we can continue to shed more light than heat on this issue, even if we may not always agree on all the particulars. We love New Mexico too. Never thought I would live out west, but God has blessed during these past four years. Thanks for the kind words. Continued blessings on you and your ministry in NYC. God bless,


  2. November 16, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Hi, Pastor Howell, this is Joe here again.

    I was wondering if you were going to write any articles (or have written any that I haven’t seen) about all of this talk about the Reformed theology going on in the SBC. The latest Christian Index (the official SBC newspaper in Georgia) mentioned that a church in Kentucky was turned down for membership in a Baptist association because (according to the report) it was “too reformed.”

    I know that this is a growing issue in the SBC, but the Index isn’t reporting on why (I think they are afraid to touch it). I’m not close enough to the SBC to know why it’s an issue in the first place. Would love your thoughts on it. If you write an article, I’d also like to repost it on Baptist Spirituality if its fit for print.

    • November 16, 2011 at 10:22 PM


      Good to hear from you. Hope you are doing well. I haven’t written any posts on the KY situation, although I have commented on it at SBC Voices a few weeks back. I have not been as active the last month in my blogging, but am slowly starting to get back into a more regular schedule. I don’t know if the KY situation is still current or not. If I write an article, I will let you know and you will be more than welcome to repost it at Baptist Spirituality. That goes for any article on my blog. Please feel free to repost any that you might think your audience would enjoy. Hope you have a good rest of your week. God bless,


  3. Lisa S.
    January 15, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    Hi Howell,

    Sorry if this is not the right place to pose a non related question. After watching Oprah’s interview of Joel and Victoria Osteen on her OWN network, I decided to google “are the Osteen’s real” and your blog came up front and center. I am not much of a fan of them and liked what you wrote and how you specifically refuted Joel’s “feel good” message on Ahab. I’m wondering what you know about the pastor of another mega church in the Houston area, Kerry Shook. He pastors Woodlands Church (formerly known as Fellowship of The Woodlands). My family will go to his church for a time and then quit going because we feel he talks predominantly surface matter; there is no deep delving into the Bible. We will then go to another large church in The Woodlands, but for some reason we always gravitate back to Kerry Shook’s church. I think it’s mainly because everyone is so friendly, the music is very uplifting and everyone is welcome, but the messages are relatively shallow like Joel’s. So, I’m wondering if the Shook’s are real. I’ve heard that Kerry went to seminary, but can find nowhere on their website where this is stated. He comes from a pastoring family, but that doesn’t mean he was formally schooled or teaches (preaches) truth. If you have any light you can shed on this, it would be greatly appreciated. We are about to move back to The Woodlands and want to make sure we choose a church home where we won’t get led astray.

    Thank You,

    • January 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM


      Thanks for the comment. I have been out of town the last few days, so sorry for the delay in responding. I don’t know much about Kerry Shook, but from the (admittedly) little of what I have seen of his preaching, he strikes me as one whose preaching contains a lot of entertainment value. I don’t know that he is non-Biblical (I believe he at one time was Southern Baptist, but I don’t know if that is still the case), but, much like the Osteens, the Shooks (both Kerry and his wife) are front and center in their megachurch. I don’t doubt that the church is very friendly and probably offers a “first-rate” worship experience. I’m just not sure how much spiritual meat there is in the worship service. Bottom line, visit a few churches and then ask the Lord to direct you to where He would have you go. He will certainly not lead you astray if you ask Him for wisdom in the process. Hope this helps. Thanks for taking the time to read and ask for my advice. God bless,


      • Lisa
        January 17, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        Thank you, Howell, for your response. No, there is not spiritual meat there and that’s what we’re looking for. Woodlands Church calls themself interdenominational. Some of the original members feel its still rooted in Southern Baptist, but I tend to disagree. I know one of the associate pastors and a worship leader “defected” from Woodlands Church several years ago and I found their church online last night. I listened to a podcast and liked what I heard; seemed very biblically based (just good old preaching with relevant story tie-ins). I will give this church a try and will definitely pray for the Lord’s guidance in finding our new church home. Again, thank you.


  4. Lisa S.
    January 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    With my above comments said, I also want to say that I don’t find what these megachurches are doing is rooted in evil. I think it’s fantastic that they have such large numbers of people attending church to hear the truth about salvation and that we have a loving God. I do think these churches have a very valid purpose and I’m glad we have the Joel Osteen’s and Kerry Shook’s in the world to reach out to those who might not be in church at all.

  5. StephanieF.
    March 19, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Hi! Interesting blog! I noticed you have links to some conservative news sites. You may like one of my favorite sites called punditandpundette.com. They have very concise quotes from conservative articles by authors like Mark Steyn and links to the works. I find it more useful than Drudge, because they don’t have all of the sensational news stories. Hope you check it out!

  6. Angel
    May 11, 2012 at 1:37 PM


    First I want to thank you for creating an open conversation about this topic. I actually attend Buckhead and serve on one of these host teams as well. Because of the location of the church we are very close to many LGBT folks. I have seen many of them pass through our doors and many leave as well.

    If you listen to the entire series I think you will draw a much different conclusion. Andy has a heart for those who are hurting and fell unloved. I think we can agree that the LGBT community could feel this way given the past actions of the church as a whole.

    The church has not LOVED the sinner and hated the sin, they have typically HATED both. Below is a letter from Buckhead written to my brother who is gay and now attends regularly. He has grown much in the three or four years he has been coming.

    Buckhead Church’s “view” on homosexuality….

    I’ll let you know off the bat, we feel that the topic of homosexuality is a tough conversation to navigate in written correspondence and we typically won’t try to do it over email. We prefer to have these conversations face-to-face, primarily, because of the fact that there is so much emotion and hurt that is infused in it. In the past, the church at large has NOT done a good job of being a careful steward with the conversation. It has left a lot of confusion, hurt, and separation from God in its wake.

    Still, it is both an important and good question that you ask (and one that many other Buckhead Church attenders have asked, be they gay or not). I’ll give you a quick answer that I consider to be too brief, but hopefully gives you a little of the heart of Buckhead regarding the matter.

    Foundationally, we believe that Christ’s invitation and grace is sufficient for everyone gay or not. I need it as much as you (if not more). Which means that anyone and everyone, regardless of any characteristic, is welcomed to our church and to our church services. We feel that stance reflects Jesus’ example to us and agrees with the Gospel message of grace. It is not my job (or the job of any other leader/attender) to look down or consider anyone less than myself. Our community is open to all who desire to attend.

    As for our interpretation of the Bible’s words regarding the topic, I will say that we DO feel that God has something to say about the topic of homosexuality through the Bible (as he similarly does about “heterosexual” arenas of sexuality and relationship) and that there is relevance to today. In that, there are fruitful discussions to be had on our impression of what the Bible says regarding homosexuality. Most would find our interpretation of the Bible on the issue of homosexuality to be pretty literal and conservative, but counterbalanced with a passion to extravagantly love people like Jesus did. All this is built on a foundation of feeling OK to disagree, theologically, when we do while remaining active, engaged members of the same community.

    Knowing that fact, we work hard, as a church, to be a place where this conversation can be had in a healthy way (when desired), but also work to place this conversation in the proper perspective amid some greater and more important conversations of faith. We like to think that any gay person attending Buckhead Church find that it is a place where they can easily find and continue in a relationship with Jesus Christ and others that follow Him.

    I would say that those who are gay and want a relationship with Jesus….Please come! He will meet you where you are and he will change you from the inside out if you allow him to guild your life.

    I don’t judge my gay friends neither do I condone it but I love them right where they are today, I let Jesus do his magic to work out those issues, and he will. If Andy’s mission (To lead people into a GROWING relationship with Jesus Christ) is true and I believe it is, God will change the hearts of men.

    For the first time I see gays falling in love with Jesus. The gays have a tension of their own that they wrestle with everyday, but Jesus allows them to grow in this church environment and I have seen some great people who were gay now denounce it.

    My brother is still attracted to men but he was so convicted by one of Andy’s sermons he is practicing celibacy and has for nearly two years. To me that is the power of God. I don’t think I could have done that.

    God will work but if we chase all these gays off because they fell so unwanted how will we ever bring any of them back to a relationship with HIM?


    • May 11, 2012 at 4:48 PM


      Thank you so much for reading my blog and for taking the time to share some very personal observations and comments. I truly appreciate it. As I shared with someone on one of my posts about Andy Stanley and NPCC, it is rare that dialogue on a blog changes anyone’s opinion, including mine. I came at this issue with a pro-Andy Stanley bias. Although there are some issues that I might disagree with (I’m not a big fan of multi-site churches), I have nevertheless benefitted from Andy Stanley’s books, sermons, and from when I heard him at the SBC Pastor’s Conference in 2010. I agree that the church has not always done a good job of balancing truth and grace, particularly when dealing with homosexuality. It seems that North Point is trying to balance the two in a way that actually builds bridges and allows the Holy Spirit to be the Agent of conviction in a person’s life. Too often, we want to play that role, but that is not ours to play. We are to speak the truth in love (i.e., with grace) and look for those opportunities to share the Gospel without it being forced and without us burning bridges.

      I believe this issue will get more complicated with the political/cultural climate involving same-sex marriage and the President’s recent announcement that he now favors gay marriage. I think that churches will have a tight rope to walk, but it seems, from your experience, that NPCC (and Buckhead in particular) are walking this tight rope without falling over the side of cultural accommodation which happens in many liberal churches and even in some more well known Evangelical churches. I hope that Andy Stanley and NPCC will continue to be a church which reaches out to the gay community with the love of Jesus Christ and His powerful, transforming Gospel. Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your perspective with me. God bless,


    • Lawrence
      August 4, 2016 at 9:33 PM

      That’s stupid people have to pretend to be heterosexual to go to church that’s stupid I would NEVER do that you either accept me for who I am or I willNOT go to church!

  7. June 3, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Hi, Howell

    I am a lawyer in Alabama, and I truly do not love my work. Although, it is my daily submission to Christ in this moment of time that I surrender any “right” to say what it is I ought to do instead. 🙂

    I am interested in your own transition, so I will read your blog. Also, is your family given name of Dixie Howell in honor of the long ago Alabama Crimson Tide and Washington Redskin running back (& AZ State head coach)?

    • June 3, 2013 at 7:16 PM


      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my blog and to comment. My own transition was about three years and involved my true salvation and new birth after graduating from law school — not my earlier public profession of faith at the age of ten. It was, in some ways a hard decision and, in other ways, a very easy one. Knowing that God has something else in store, but not knowing the what or the when, can be frustrating.

      As to your question about my name, you are correct that I was named after the legendary Millard “Dixie” Howell. My paternal grandfather, so the story goes, knew Dixie Howell and named my dad after him. When I came along in 1966, my parents named me Dixie Howell Scott, II. Although I did not name my oldest son Dixie, I did give him the middle name of Howell. While growing up and now today, I go by Howell because my dad went by Dixie. The only time that I went by Dixie was in college at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where my fraternity brothers, mostly from the northeast, thought my name was cool. To this day, I am still Dixie to my college and fraternity friends. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by. If I can ever be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me. God bless,


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