Mohler names pastor Juan R. Sanchez as Southern Seminary Alumnus of the Year, receives resolution of appreciation from SBC Executive Committee

Communications Staff — June 18, 2018

Reid Karr announced as Missionary Alumnus of the Year

DALLAS, Texas. (SBTS) — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. presented pastor Juan R. Sanchez with the school’s 2018 Alumnus of the Year award during the seminary’s June 13 annual Alumni and Friends Luncheon. The seminary luncheon was part of the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. The president also received a “resolution of appreciation” from the SBC Executive Committee. Additionally, Mohler named a Missionary Alumnus of the Year at the event.

Sanchez named Alumnus of the Year

Juan Sanchez accepts the alumnus of the year award from R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Giving the Alumnus of the Year award to Sanchez, Mohler said: “As a pastor, as a Baptist statesman, as one who has a missionary vision, a gospel heart, and biblical clarity, Juan Sanchez is exactly what we want Southern Seminary to be about.”

Sanchez, a Master of Divinity (1999), Master of Theology (2002), and Doctor of Philosophy (2015) graduate from Southern Seminary, is senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and current president of The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Sanchez is also a council member of The Gospel Coalition, co-founder and president of Coalición por el Evangelio, and assistant professor of Christian theology at Southern Seminary.

Mohler honored by SBC Executive Committee

For the occasion of Mohler’s 25th anniversary as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Stephen Rummage, chairman of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, attended the seminary luncheon to present a “resolution of appreciation” to Mohler for his years of service to the school and the denomination.

“Dr. Mohler has been a key leader in Southern Baptist life for decades,” said Rummage, who is also senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida. “Through his media interviews and his podcast ‘The Briefing,’ he’s been the face of the convention to large numbers of people who have no direct connection to a Southern Baptist church. But they know who we are, they know what we believe, they know what we stand for because of his staunch defense and presentation of a biblically formed worldview and his faithful handling of the Word of God.”

The full text of the resolution appears below this article. Rummage, who completed his terms at the close of the annual meeting, said this act of honoring Mohler was his last action as chairman of the Executive Committee.

Missionary Alumnus of the Year: Reid Karr

Mohler presented the Southern Seminary Missionary Alumnus of the Year to Reid Karr, an International Mission Board missionary and church planter in Rome and Master of Arts graduate (2012).

“Reid cannot be here because he is where he needs to be right now, with his daughters,” Mohler said. “The last thing we want to do is for this award to become an impediment to a missional call.”

Mohler said he hopes to present the award to Reid next year in Rome. During the programmed part of the luncheon, the seminary played a video of Karr’s story.

In August of 2015, while home on furlough, Karr’s wife was killed in a traffic accident on the evening before the family of five planned to return to Rome. Kyra Lynn Karr left behind her husband and three daughters. Despite his loss, Karr returned to Rome, where he and his children continue the work the family started.

“We as a school are not worthy of such graduates,” Mohler said.

The video of their story will be made public in the coming weeks.

Mohler addressed alumni ‘from the heart’

Beginning his address to the luncheon attendees, Mohler said he decided not to give the sermon he prepared and instead to “speak to [attendees] from the heart.” Reflecting on his earliest days as president of Southern Seminary, Mohler referenced “two times of refuge” to which he and his wife, Mary Mohler, always looked forward: when members of the school’s Board of Trustees came to campus and being around alumni and supporters during the Southern Baptist Convention.

“We are here because we want to be at the Southern Baptist Convention,” he said. “We are here because we want to be among other brothers and sisters in Christ, with whom we have a shared identity, a common confession, a cooperation together. Then, we want to be with fellow friends and alumni of Southern Seminary, because as a part of that larger family of the Southern Baptist Convention, this is a very important family. This is a very old family, and it’s a very precious family.”

Mohler noted that during his tenure, Southern Baptists have contributed nearly $150 million to Southern Seminary, even churches that haven’t sent a single student for training at the institution.

The seminary will again hold its annual Alumni and Friends Luncheon during next year’s SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama.

Full text of the resolution of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee’s Resolution of Appreciation for R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Mohler with the resolution of appreciation from Executive Committee chairman Stephen Rummage

WHEREAS, R. Albert Mohler Jr. was elected as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, his alma mater, on March 26, 1993, and was inaugurated on October 14, 1993; and

WHEREAS, Upon taking office, Mohler immediately instituted the implementation of his vision to restore Southern Seminary to the seminary founders’ commitment of a confessional school based on fidelity to the Bible as God’s inerrant word and the institution’s founding confessional document, the “Abstract of Principles,” grounded in a steadfast allegiance to the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and its confession of faith, the “Baptist Faith and Message;” and

WHEREAS, Mohler courageously withstood fierce opposition and sometimes deeply personal attacks against himself and his family by those determined to see his vision for Southern Seminary unfulfilled; and

WHEREAS, Consistent with his commitment to restoring a confessional seminary based on the total truthfulness of God’s Word, Mohler has led in the development of new academic programs — including the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry and expanding Boyce Bible School into Boyce College — to equip ministers to serve more faithfully the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention; and

WHEREAS, Mohler articulated a clear theological vision for The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and all Southern Baptists in the convention sermon, “What Mean These Stones?” delivered at the 1995 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta, Georgia; and

WHEREAS, In fulfillment of its ministry assignment from the Southern Baptist Convention to “prepare God-called men and women for vocational service in Baptist churches and in other Christian ministries throughout the world through programs of spiritual development, theological studies, and practical preparation in ministry,” student enrollment has grown from 1,828 full-time equivalents and 3,110 non-duplicating headcount enrollment in 1993 to 3,903 full-time equivalents and 5,513 non-duplicating headcount enrollment in 2017; and

WHEREAS, According to a seminary spokesman, there are “more students training for the pastorate at Southern Seminary today than have been gathered at any one institution at any single time in the history of the Christian church”; and

WHEREAS, During Mohler’s 25-year tenure as president of Southern Seminary, degrees have been conferred on more than 11,000 graduates, a cadre of Southern Baptist pastors and other church staff serving throughout the United States, missionaries serving through the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, and denominational leaders at associational, state, and national levels of Southern Baptist ministry; and

WHEREAS, Concurrent with his years as president of the seminary, Mohler has played a strategic role of leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention as longtime president of the Council of Seminary Presidents (1995–2017), a collaborative organization that oversees Seminary Extension and the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, the world’s largest collection of all things Baptist; and has served on key SBC task forces and committees, including the Presidential Theological Study Committee (1994), Program and Structure Study Committee (1995), two Baptist Faith and Message study committees (1998, 2000), the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (2010), and the Calvinism Advisory Committee convened by the SBC Executive Committee (2013); and

WHEREAS, Mohler is widely admired as an innovative communicator of evangelical convictions to the broader American society through his extensive writing ministry and numerous digital and social media platforms; as a frequent commentator on theological, moral, and social issues in the nation’s most prominent newspapers, magazines, network, and cable television news programs; and in many other venues; and

WHEREAS, Mary Mohler, Mohler’s wife and ministry partner since 1983, has made an incalculable investment in Southern Seminary through her founding in 1997 of the Seminary Wives Institute, training more than 2,500 wives of students to equip women for their unique roles as ministry partners to their husbands; and

WHEREAS, Mohler continues to train generations of Southern Baptist pastors, missionaries, and church leaders; equip multitudes of Christians to think through cultural issues with a Christian worldview; and faithfully represent Southern Baptists in the public square; now, therefore, be it,

RESOLVED, That the members of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 11, 2018, and the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Dallas, Texas, June 12–13, 2018, commend R. Albert Mohler Jr. for his steadfast commitment to God’s Word, his devotion to the Great Commission, and his 25 years of visionary and effective leadership of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary on behalf of all Southern Baptists for the advancement of the kingdom of God.

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