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SBC DIGEST: Longtime NOBTS professor Holcomb dies; LifeWay releases Shirer’s study of Elijah

Dan Holcomb remembered as scholar with ‘pastor’s heart’

By Marilyn Stewart

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – Daniel H. Holcomb, beloved professor and church historian whose tenure spanned 40 years at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, died Dec. 27, 2020. He was 87.

Holcomb, whose knowledge and in-depth class material earned him the nickname “Smoke’em Holcomb,” is remembered by colleagues and students as a kind and gentle man with a pastor’s heart.

“Dan had an amazing way with words and could speak knowledgeably at length on almost any topic,” said Lloyd Harsch, associate dean of the Theological and Historical Studies Division at NOBTS “He had a deep and abiding faith in Jesus which spilled out into everything he did. He was my colleague and friend.”

At NOBTS, Holcomb held the John T. Westbrook Chair of Church History and led the Theological and Historical Studies Division for many years. His tenure was marked with sabbaticals at the University of Oxford and at Yale and Vanderbilt universities.

Prior to his NOBTS tenure, Holcomb taught at Oklahoma Baptist University from 1969-79 and served as the chair of the OBU religion department. An ordained Baptist minister, Holcomb began preaching at age 15. He earned undergraduate degrees from Mississippi College and the University of Southern Mississippi before training for ministry at NOBTS. After graduating from NOBTS, Holcomb earned a doctor of theology degree at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

David Cranford, Louisiana Baptist Convention president and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Ponchatoula, La., described Holcomb as a scholar, gentleman, “a wonderful, evangelistic preacher,” and one of his “absolute favorite” professors.

Cranford recalled one particular experience in class when Holcomb suggested that the seminary should grant degrees to students on the first day, then let those who wanted to learn to stay and take classes.

“It reminded me that I had the privilege of a seminary education to truly learn, to grow in wisdom and stature unto Jesus,” Cranford said. “What a great lesson, exactly when I needed it.”

Holcomb was regarded by students as a diligent teacher who expected much from his students.

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LifeWay’s release of new Shirer study includes online experience

By Joy Allmond

NASHVILLE (BP) – It’s common to hear Christians resolving to read their Bibles more and engage in deeper study of the Scriptures when a new year begins. And when Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer became captivated by Elijah’s narrative in 2014, she had no idea how much the church would need its message years later, at the tumultuous dawn of 2021.

On Jan. 4, LifeWay released Shirer’s latest Bible study, Elijah: Faith and Fire.

“I didn’t know it would be seven years before I’d release the study,” Shirer said. “In hindsight I can clearly see how God has providentially aligned the release of Elijah at this point in history. The church needs this encouragement now more than ever before.”

To reach as many women as possible, LifeWay Women will host the seven-session study online for anyone around the world to join beginning February 16.

“We live in a post-Christian era,” said Shirer. “To choose righteousness, hopefulness and unapologetic faith in Jesus will require a boldness and counter-cultural tenacity like never before. Elijah’s example demonstrates how to persist and prevail in difficult times like these.”

This online experience includes a copy of the Elijah Bible study book or eBook, limited-time access to watch the Elijah teaching videos, an online community, as well as exclusive bonus content from Shirer.

Making this virtual experience the first of its kind, Shirer and her ministry team at Going Beyond will interact and lead participants through the study through a dedicated Instagram account.

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