Once in a while, a bona fide hero comes along. Dr. Howard Hendricks was that for me. When news came this week that he had passed away, memories spanning over forty years flooded my mind. From the first cassette tape I heard of him teaching back in my college days to the last time we spoke in Phoenix a couple of years ago, the “Prof” had a way of commanding my attention and nourishing my mind and heart.
As a young pastor, I went to the Moody Pastors’ Conference in Chicago with my wife Cathy. We were overwhelmed by the ‘celebrity’ nature of the line up of speakers–John MacArthur, E. V. Hill, Adrian Rogers and a host of others. But hearing Dr. Hendricks in person was guaranteed to be a highlight of the week for me. Needless to say, his practical wisdom, entertaining illustrations and biblical truth were then as always completely captivating!
In the 1980’s, conferences on biblical exposition were hosted regionally across the country. I chose Elmbrook Church in Waukesha, Wisconsin because there were three speakers–Stuart Briscoe, Kent Hughes and yes, Howard Hendricks. Much to my delight, during the short days of that conference, not only did I get to hear Dr. Hendricks speak but ended up eating two meals with him and shared an hour ride to the airport with him! I would have flown to Wisconsin just for the airport drive with him!
Years later, on a couple of occasions we hosted Dr. Hendricks for leadership and Bible conferences at Providence here in Raleigh, as well as having him speak at our weekend men’s retreat at the Cove. Never once did he disappoint and every time I was present when he taught, I felt that I had been treated to unique insights into the heart of the Lord from a great and godly man.
So yes, I actually got to spend time with this dear man, seek his counsel on occasions and learn from his example as much as his teaching. The legacy of great Christian leaders mentored and taught by Dr. Hendricks is well documented elsewhere. I for one count myself blessed for having the pleasure of getting to know him, however briefly, and consider my life richer for the privilege!
Thanks to the Lord for his influence for the kingdom of heaven and his love for Christ and His people! He was and ever shall be a hero of the faith for me!