By Gary D. Myers
COLUMBUS, Ohio –New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary honored Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, retired longtime NOBTS professor Daniel Holcomb, and Claude V. King, co-author of “Experiencing God” and “The Mind of Christ,” with distinguished alumni awards during the National Alumni and Friends Luncheon June 17 in Columbus, Ohio.
Each recipient continues to make an indelible mark on the Southern Baptist Convention through teaching, writing and speaking.
Kelley praised Russell Moore’s work as president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and called on the alumni group to shower the leader with prayer.
“I want all of us who are here today to make a commitment to pray afresh for Dr. Russell Moore,” Kelley said. “I don’t know what the Supreme Court decision on marriage is going to be, but I know whatever it is, this man is going to be in the spotlight. He is also going to be helping Southern Baptists learn how to deal with whatever that decision might be. We really need to pray for him as he helps us stand for Jesus.”
Moore earned a master of divinity degree at NOBTS before earning a doctor of philosophy degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a distinguished teaching and leadership tenure at Southern Seminary before taking the helm of the ERLC in 2013. The author of numerous books, Moore has become one of the foremost advocates of orphan care and adoption in the SBC. Moore and his wife Maria have five sons.
“I am thankful to God for every minute I spent at New Orleans Seminary, learning the Bible, learning church history, learning spirituality, learning how to preach … having professors who poured into my life,” Moore said.
Moore said what he appreciated most at NOBTS was the focus on evangelism and the requirement for students to participate in door-to-door witnessing through the supervised ministry classes. He also commended the spirit in which NOBTS students engage the culture in New Orleans.
“The task of New Orleans Seminary is more important than ever. You are the seminary right down the street from Bourbon Street that was never afraid of Bourbon Street. The entire world is Bourbon Street now. We need to be the people who know how to speak to Bourbon Street and who know how to love Bourbon Street and who aren’t afraid of Bourbon Street.”
In his presentation of the distinguished alumni award to Daniel Holcomb, Kelley lauded the Christian history professor’s legendary elective course at NOBTS, Christian Devotional Classics, and extolled Holcomb’s character and scholarship.
“Dr. Holcomb is regarded so very, very highly, as one of the most respected members of the faculty that we have ever had — not only for his scholarship and his keen intellect but also for his preaching,” Kelley said. “He is truly a man of God.”
Holcomb joined the NOBTS faculty in 1979 after 10 years of teaching at Oklahoma Baptist University. He served as chairman of NOBTS’ division of theological and historical studies until his retirement in 2011. Holcomb continues to teach at NOBTS as senior professor of church history.
Holcomb earned a bachelor of divinity degree (now the master of divinity degree) from NOBTS and a master of theology degree and doctor of theology degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Olga, have two sons and five grandchildren.
During his days as a student, Holcomb said he was appreciative of the way NOBTS combined practical Christianity with strong academics and has sought for the same focus in his classroom.
“That’s the balance that I received and which over the years of my teaching I have tried to perpetuate,” Holcomb said. “A tough mind and a tender heart. A thinking mind and a serving heart. An available mind, but a mind linked without any deviation and without any apology to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Kelley commended the second recipient, Claude V. King, for co-authoring two of most influential Bible studies in SBC history — Experiencing God with Henry Blackaby and The Mind of Christ with T.W. Hunt.
“[Claude King’s] fingerprints are on so much of what has helped Southern Baptists learn about walking with God, studying His Word and becoming truly devout and spiritual people,” Kelley said. “Claude, you have touched my life. You’ve touched the lives of so many at our seminary and across the Southern Baptist Convention.”
King, discipleship and church health specialist at LifeWay Christian Resources, earned master of divinity and master of religious education degrees at NOBTS. King and his wife, Rita, have two daughters and three grandchildren.
“There’s no telling what God could do with Southern Baptists,” King said, “if we would capture that vision of equipping laypeople to be on mission of making disciples as they go about their daily lives and catch God’s vision of impacting the nations for the Kingdom.”
In a brief business session, the national alumni group elected past SBC president and New Orleans pastor Fred Luter as NOBTS national alumni treasurer. The other officers include Nathan Cothen of Beaumont, Texas, president; Sammy Morrow of Pineville, La., president-elect; and Ron Holman of Albany, Ga., secretary.