BALTIMORE, Md. (SWBTS) – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary honored Daniel L. Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and U.S. Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma with distinguished alumni awards during the seminary’s alumni and friends luncheon at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, June 11.

“As you know, the distinguished alumnus award … goes to someone who has distinguished himself in the service of the Lord,” said seminary president Paige Patterson.

Akin received his bachelor’s degree at Criswell College before completing his Master of Divinity in 1983 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Akin later earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.

In 2014, Akin celebrated 10 years at the helm of Southeastern Seminary. Before his time at Southeastern, Akin taught at Criswell College, Southeastern Seminary, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also served as dean of the School of Theology and senior vice president for academic administration.

A well-respected author, Akin served as editor for A Theology for the Church and as author of the New American Commentary volume on 1, 2, and 3 John and the book God on Sex.

Akin said he was honored to receive the award and thankful for President Patterson, who has been a spiritual father to him. He also said that Southeastern Seminary is thankful for a sister seminary like Southwestern and that he prays for Southwestern regularly.

“Only heaven will reveal all the good that has come through this school and what is yet to come,” Akin said.

Lankford has served in congress since 2010 and serves on the House Committees on Budget and Oversight and Government Reform, where he is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements. He was also elected chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee for the 113th Congress. In January, he announced in January that he will run for the special senate election in November 2014.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in secondary education at the University of Texas at Austin, Lankford received his Master of Divinity at Southwestern Seminary in 1994. From 1996 to 2009, Lankford served as the student ministries and evangelism specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and director of Falls Creek Youth Camp in Oklahoma.

 “The missions training that I got was some of the most intimidating training that I’ve had in my life,” Lankford said, recalling his first semester at Southwestern. However, Lankford said, faithful professors discipled him and equipped him for ministry.

As a congressman, Lankford said the Lord has given him the privilege to prayer walk through the halls of congress and to lead another congressman and a lobbyist to Christ.

“There are ministry opportunities as well as legislative opportunities here [in Washington, D.C.],” Lankford said.

“I challenge people over and over again not to be afraid to follow God where He sends them because even in Washington, D.C … I still see God sending people into the battle rather than taking them out of it.”

The seminary’s alumni association also elected Mark Stinson, pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Cambridge, Ohio, as alumni president and Mark Anderson, pastor of Lynwood Baptist Church in Cape Girardeau, Mo., as vice president.