R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, announced Thom Rainer as distinguished alumni of the year at the Southern Seminary alumni luncheon during the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), June 12, 2013.
Rainer, a master of divinity (M.Div.) graduate from Southern in 1985 and doctor of philosophy graduate from 1988, is president of LifeWay Christian Resources, a publishing ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. Before assuming the leadership of LifeWay, he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism at Southern Seminary.
After receiving the award, Rainer thanked seminary leadership for the award and expressed his gratitude in particular to the Mohler family for their investment in him and his family.
Rainer is the author of 22 books, including Breakout Churches, Simple Life, Simple Church, Raising Dad and The Millennials.
Closing his address at the luncheon, Mohler surveyed the happenings around Southern Seminary during the past year. He spoke also about the year of transition at the seminary. He pointed specifically to two executive leaders who each assumed the presidency of Southern Baptist entities: Jason K. Allen at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Russell D. Moore at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Mohler then introduced to the alumni Randy Stinson and Gregory A. Wills as senior vice president of academic administration and dean of the School of Theology at the seminary, respectively. He also introduced Adam W. Greenway as dean of the new Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, Matt Hall as vice president of academic services and Jarvis Williams as a new associate professor of New Testament interpretation.
Mohler, who this year celebrates his 20th year as president at Southern Seminary, expressed gratitude to the seminary community for their contribution to his time at Southern. He recounted several pledges that he made to Southern Baptists at his first convention as the president in 1993. He said that the seminary, then engrossed in controversy, is now the seminary intended at its founding in 1859.
“Twenty years later, I am able to come back to the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention and say, ‘You gave us a commission, you gave us a charge.’ I came and made several commitments to you, and by God’s grace, I’m able to say as I come back 20 years later that we’ve kept those commitments.”
Southern Seminary will hold an event in honor of Mohler's tenure during Heritage Week in October.