Howard Hendricks (1924-2013)

Read obituaries.

Seriously, as a component part of the spiritual discipline of being taught to “number your days” (Psalm 90:12), read obituaries — of both the righteous and the wicked. The former will provide inspiration and illumination to guide your own life, and the latter will provide warning for the paths to avoid. Hence the words of Psalm 1, contrasting these two vastly different ends for both.

howard hendricksLast week brought an opportunity to reflect on the life and ministry of a Christian man who left behind a mountain of legacy in terms of first-hand influence he exerted on tens of thousands of people who he taught the Word of God.

Howard Hendricks taught the Bible at Dallas Theological Seminary for over 50 years. He wrote a big stack of books and was married for nearly seven decades. His love for the Bible was infectious, as evidenced by the passion for the Bible displayed in the ministries of folks he taught: David Jeremiah, Tony Evans and Chuck Swindoll — just to name a few.

One of the men he mentored, Denny Burk, is an acquaintance of mine (Scott), and a professor at my alma mater. Having been taught by Hendricks, he offered up some beautiful words of eulogy:

It’s difficult to describe the sense of loss at the news today of Howard Hendricks’ death. He leaves behind an enormous footprint—a legacy of teaching and ministry that looms large over the landscape of American evangelicalism. As one of his former students, I can attest that his legacy still looms large over my own life. If I could sum up that legacy in a phrase, it would be this: He loved the Bible, and he gave his life sowing that love into the hearts of his students. He sowed it into me.

Burk reflected on the endless stream of affection for Hendricks written online by many since his death. Then, he closes with this:

They remind me of the charisma and passion that Prof brought to the classroom. They also remind me of what God has called me to bring to my own classroom today. I pour almost all of my energy into one thing—to get my student to love their Bibles. I guess I’m still trying to imitate Prof.

I am grieved about the news of Prof’s passing. I am grieved for his family, especially his wife Jeanne. But this is one of those rare occasions that I have a smile on my face and a tear in my eye all at the same time. For I am filled with a sense of gratitude and joy for the life and ministry of this great man. We’ve lost a great treasure today, but Prof hasn’t lost anything. He has gone to his reward. (HT: Burk)

Take a minute to watch this inspiring video about Dr. Hendricks.