Earl D. Radmacher (November 29, 1931– December 8, 2014) – personal friend and mentor.
Earl was an internationally respected theologian.As author of and contributor to many books, perhaps he is best known as the General Editor of the “Nelson Study Bible” (a.k.a. “New King James Study Bible”), which in my opinion remains the finest study Bible available.
Earl and I were both students at Sunnyside Grade School in Portland, Oregon (Earl was 10 years ahead of me).Like myself, he had fond memories of Perky, an elderly lady who operated a store across from the playground at Sunnyside.We also both attended every meeting (over a 6-week period) held by Billy Graham in the summer of 1950 in Portland, Oregon.It was here that Earl gave his life to Christ.I committed my life into Christ’s care 10 years later.
I first heard Earl’s name in the early 1960s when one of my spiritual mentors (R. Fred Elliot, father of martyred missionary Jim Elliot) mentioned him to me in very favorable terms.It was a short time later that we met for the first time.What a privilege to be personal friends for decades.
He was President of Western Seminary (1965—90) and later Chancellor.At the time of his appointment he was the youngest seminary president in the country.Earl would lead the seminary with great skill and innovation. “Dr. R,” as he was referred to by many of his students, was fond of saying, “This life is training time for reigning time.”
Our many times together were always rich fellowship.I’ll never forget his direct statement to me, “Bob, never forget that while you can cannot change God’s character you can damage His reputation.”On another instance while discussing pastoral styles he quipped, “There is a world of difference between leading sheep and driving cattle.”
Earl never tired of quoting and expounding on his personal life verse, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
During his life of serving God, Earl traveled literally millions of miles, taught thousands of hours in churches and conferences, and influenced unknown thousands around the world for the kingdom of God.
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