It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about seminary days. Every now and then I’ll glance up at my diploma and wonder where the time went. I came through NOBTS at a good time (1990s), as most of my professors have either retired or moved to other positions. I am deeply indebted to the theology and history department at the seminary in particular because this turned out to be my area of emphasis for Ph.D. work. I couldn’t get the same education today as I received back then.
One of the professors that I remember is Dr. Claude Howe. He served as chair of the division for decades and taught history like it was literally the back of his hand. There is no way to measure how many Southern Baptist ministers were taught church history by this giant. The one thing I remember about him was his delivery style, as he dictated to the class his notes from memory. You could buy his notes in the bookstore and then highlight them as he recited them word for word. He had a fantastic memory, even when interrupted by the occasional question from a student. He’d answer, then look upward and pick up where he left off. He wouldn’t miss a beat.
Hearing of Dr. Howe’s death reminded me of taking History of the Baptists as my last Master’s level course. He taught it at 2pm, and I have to say it would one of the more difficult classes I needed. So much was memorization: people, places, and dates. I also had a few doctoral seminars with him, and can locate those seminar papers if needed.
He and other professors like him meant so much to my spiritual and educational development. They represented the Baptist tradition in ways that are lacking today. Thank you Dr. Howe, for your devotion to the work and sweet spirit.