After an extended battle with most cancers, Jack Cottrell, 84, handed from earth to heaven September 16, 2022. Dr. Cottrell was a revered professor of theology at Cincinnati Christian College for 48 years, from September 1967 to December 2015. He wrote greater than 40 in style theological books and numerous journal articles. A number of days after Dr. Cottrell’s passing, Tom Claibourne wrote the next tribute, which appeared on our web site. This model, tailored with minor edits, seems in our January/February 2023 print version.
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By Tom Claibourne
Throughout my closing time round a desk with Dr. Jack Cottrell on the Christian Restoration Affiliation board assembly in November 2021, it was evident to all current that the voice of this nice professor was weakening, at the same time as most cancers ravaged different components of his physique. I’m sure I used to be not the one one within the room that day who deeply mourned the uncomfortable actuality that quickly his essential voice can be silenced.
Since his passing, I’m positive a few of his admirers and former college students have expressed their dismay that we’ve misplaced not solely man of God, however a robust, biblical voice nonetheless so desperately wanted within the Restoration Motion and the broader church world.
As a former scholar and ministry colleague of Dr. Cottrell, I share that concern, however I’d additionally suggest a query for consideration: “Is the voice of a very nice trainer ever fully silenced?” I believe not. Class merely goes on.
CLASS WENT ON FOR JACK COTTRELL
Jack Warren Cottrell lived most of his life in school rooms. He spent 23 years as a full-time classroom scholar (it ought to have been 24—he skipped first grade) and practically 5 full many years as a revered professor of theology. In each settings, and elsewhere in life, he was a lifelong learner. And driving his want to be taught was his love for and dedication to fact.
At a presentation earlier in 2022, he defined, “My predominant motivation for what I do could be summed up thus: my LOVE FOR TRUTH. I’ve all the time had a ardour for sound doctrine. I train and write as a result of I consider in sure truths so strongly that I need to share them and persuade others to just accept them.”
Because of this, he knew what he believed and why he believed it—a trait more and more lacking in church leaders at the moment at a time when pragmatism reigns supreme. Nonetheless, whereas Dr. Cottrell pursued fact with a ardour, he was by no means afraid to rethink his personal theological positions, and he sought all the time to articulate Bible truths within the clearest attainable means.
A number of years in the past, I confirmed Dr. Cottrell a chart known as “God’s Plan: The Good Information of Salvation,” which I developed for my congregation throughout a sermon sequence on Romans. I defined that my training in his lessons was the idea for a lot of the chart’s content material. I requested him to assessment the chart and to counsel any adjustments he thought needed. He contacted me a number of days later and warranted me he thought the chart was a useful software for private evangelism and classroom educating. (That wasn’t shocking, as a lot of the materials got here from him.) Nonetheless, he did counsel I modify the wording of 1 phrase I had taken straight from his educating. He defined that continued examine had led him to consider there was a extra biblical means of expressing the purpose.
At all times a trainer; all the time a scholar. You see, class went on, even for Jack Cottrell, and so should it’s for you and me.
CLASS GOES ON FOR THOSE WHO DIDN’T KNOW HIM WELL
As folks look again on Jack Cottrell’s life, I hope they may see that he was way over only a superior professor and writer. Many weren’t conscious of Jack’s winsome spirit, pleasant smile, good singing voice, and his humorousness. Those that knew him properly appreciated his humility, generosity, and kindness.
Some will probably be stunned to be taught that Dr. Cottrell’s main space of focus in highschool was his Future Farmers of America program as he ready for a profession in agriculture. That every one modified throughout a late-night dialog at church camp with certainly one of his camp counselors, longtime Kentucky preacher Wayne B. Smith, who steered him towards ministry.
I’m positive all of us are grateful that this non-public, one-on-one “class” occurred in a quiet camp eating corridor.
Dr. Cottrell sometimes stored his workplace door open to permit college students to stroll in, sit down, and speak. Little doubt a few of these non-public periods had huge implications, as properly. Class goes on.
CLASS GOES ON FOR PREACHERS LIKE ME
Jack Cottrell was a preacher. Throughout each his school and graduate faculty years he held preaching ministries in 5 totally different states, together with serving as the primary minister for a church plant in Better Philadelphia whereas learning at Princeton Theological Seminary. He had a coronary heart for the Lord’s church and remained lively in native congregations his total life.
Throughout a one-week span in 1979, I sat in my first theology class underneath Dr. Cottrell and preached my first sermon at Bethlehem Church of Christ close to Winchester, Ohio, the place I proceed to serve. On the Sunday after Jack Cottrell’s dying, as I preached from Galatians 3—a full 43 years later—I noticed that a lot of the salvation truths I shared have been a results of my time in his lessons. His educating nonetheless influences the messages and classes of numerous preachers like me.
CLASS GOES ON FOR BIBLE STUDENTS AROUND THE WORLD
Jack Cottrell’s scholarship and educating have really formed generations of preachers, professors, missionaries, and church members, who in flip will proceed to hold his voice to future generations. As I look again on Dr. Cottrell’s lessons from a number of many years in the past, I now understand he actively practiced the two Timothy 2:2 precept of educating: “And the issues you’ve gotten heard me say within the presence of many witnesses entrust to dependable individuals who may also be certified to show others.”
His prolific writings—43 books translated into 15 languages, numerous articles, printed classes, informative social media posts, and web site teachings—will proceed to show, appropriate, and practice numerous folks in righteousness. His writings usually have been scholarly and profound, however many others have been written so the common church member might perceive and even share the fabric in a Bible faculty class or small-group setting.
In a few of his closing Fb posts, shared lower than a month earlier than his dying, he offered the biblical educating on what occurs to Christians after we die. After I discussed these posts at church one Sunday morning, a lady requested me if I might print a replica of those posts for her. Class goes on.
John Mitchell, Jack’s colleague with the Christian Restoration Affiliation, wrote to me, “If the Lord tarries, I firmly consider 100 years from now college students will probably be learning Jack Cottrell materials.”
CLASS GOES ON AS WE LIVE AND TEACH GRACE AND TRUTH
Grace and fact have been the 2 prevailing themes of Jack Cottrell’s life, as he sought to serve, honor, and proclaim Jesus Christ who was “stuffed with grace and fact” (John 1:14, 17). In lessons, articles, sermons, books, and even debates, his purpose was all the time to talk the reality in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Dr. Johnny Pressley, who taught for a few years with Dr. Cottrell at Cincinnati Christian Seminary, defined, “Those that stated he was ‘dogmatic’ missed how usually he prefaced his statements with ‘for my part.’”
Nonetheless, it was all the time clear that Dr. Cottrell’s view was developed solely after in depth examination of the phrases of Scripture. As he wrote in his 2018 e-book, God’s Phrase Is Fact,
Way back I made the choice to just accept the teachings of the Bible as absolute fact, it doesn’t matter what the topic, regardless of how a lot ache it causes me, regardless of how a lot I would really like for it to be in any other case, regardless of if I’m within the minority, and regardless of how a lot it prices me.
That dedication is what prompted Kerry Allen, president of Louisville Bible Faculty, to put in writing, “Jack Cottrell had a real burden for fact and style, which burned inside him so furiously that neither recognition, friendship, platforms, nor place would deter him from standing precisely the place he understood God had revealed in his phrase.”
Dr. Cottrell’s recognized dedication to Bible fact additionally helped him to slowly remodel the Restoration Motion’s understanding of biblical grace, after his teachings have been initially met with resistance.
Many people who studied underneath him consider his most important educating legacy was his life-changing educating on grace. I’m certainly one of numerous college students who take into account his Doctrine of Grace class to be a very powerful, impactful one I ever took. Over practically half a century, Dr. Cottrell taught that class greater than 70 instances, steering generations of scholars away from the damaging idea of salvation by works, which saturates most false religions, and for too lengthy was subtly ingrained in our personal fellowship of church buildings.
Due to Dr. Cottrell’s clear and concise educating, his college students have confidently defined God’s salvation course of to many 1000’s extra utilizing the straightforward components that sinners are saved by grace (the idea), by way of religion (the means), in baptism (the time), for good works (the outcome).
Now I ask you once more: Is the voice of a very nice trainer ever fully silenced?
CLASS GOES ON, EVEN AFTER THIS LIFE
Since none of us can put into phrases all Jack Cottrell has meant to the dominion of God, be part of me in celebrating the reality expressed by his former scholar and colleague, Harold Orndorff, simply hours after Jack’s transition: “Jack gladly obtained his justification, he labored on his sanctification, he now joins these awaiting the ultimate glorification.”
Religion has grow to be sight. Our pricey brother Jack can now recognize extra totally the “gown of righteousness” given him by Jesus the Lamb, about whom he wrote and taught so passionately. I additionally know that as his teachings proceed to tell and information us right here, his personal studying will proceed, as properly.
I believe that Jesus, the best trainer of all, welcomed our beloved trainer with a commendation—maybe one thing like a notation on the high of an examination paper—that stated, “Effectively carried out, good and devoted servant.”
Tom Claibourne studied underneath Dr. Jack Cottrell, served with him on the trustee board of the Christian Restoration Affiliation, and preaches Bible fact every week on the Bethlehem Church of Christ close to Winchester, Ohio.
(Jack Cottrell died on Friday, Sept. 16. Visitation and a Celebration of Life service for Dr. Cottrell will happen this coming Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 26 and 27, at Vibrant [Ind.] Christian Church. A whole obituary is out there right here.)