Oklahoma Baptist University President Dr. Heath A. Thomas was chosen by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary faculty and administration to receive the Curtis Vaughan Award for contribution to the study of Christian Scripture for the 2023-2024 academic year. He received the award on Wednesday at the Southwestern alumni and friends’ reception at the Evangelical Theological Society.
This award, named in honor of the late distinguished professor of New Testament at Southwestern Seminary, recognizes biblical scholars who have displayed excellence in research, scholarship, teaching, and service for the church in Christian Scripture.
"I am delighted and overwhelmed to receive this great honor from my alma mater,” Thomas said. “Thanks to my friend, Dr. David Dockery, the faculty, and administration at SWBTS. Dr. Vaughan was a towering figure at Southwestern seminary, and I hope my scholarship approaches, in some small way, the level of excellence for the life of the church that typified Dr. Vaughan's work."
Dr. David S. Dockery, president at Southwestern Seminary, said of Thomas, “Your work on the minor prophets exemplifies the legacy of Dr. Vaughan who exhibited in his teaching and writing an unflinching commitment to the complete truthfulness and authority of Scripture and contributed broadly to the understanding of Christian Scripture through his published biblical commentaries and work on translation committees.”
Thomas became the 16th president of OBU on Jan. 1, 2020. He joined the OBU faculty in 2015, serving as dean of the Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and the associate vice president for church relations. Thomas also served as the Floyd K. Clark Chair of Christian Leadership and as interim dean of the Divisions of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Language and Literature. Before coming to OBU, he served as director of Ph.D. studies and associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
A 1998 OBU graduate, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a religion minor. He then earned a Master of Arts in Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Old Testament from the University of Gloucestershire (UK). He also earned a certificate for leadership in higher education from Baylor University in 2016.
He is the author of numerous books, including, “The Minor Prophets: A Theological Introduction” with Craig G. Bartholomew, “Habakkuk: A Commentary” (Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary Series) and co-author of “The Gospel of Our King: Bible, Worldview, and the Mission of Every Christian.” Passionate about opening up the Scriptures for today, he preaches and teaches regularly, and he has served on staff at churches in Oklahoma, Texas, North Carolina and the United Kingdom.