Tribute to a hero…Howard Hendricks

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urlOnce 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!

8 thoughts on “Tribute to a hero…Howard Hendricks

    Ted Randall said:
    March 1, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I was eating dinner at The Cove one evening, the dining room was packed. One empty seat in the whole place, right next to me. One of the back doors of the dining room opens and in walks an old man with a gangsta style hat. He stops, takes his hat off, scans the room and makes his way over to the empty chair. “Mind if I have a seat?” “Please do” I said. “You just getting here?” I asked. “Yeah, my ride was a little late.” “Are you by yourself?” I asked. “Yes, yes I am.” For the next hour we made small talk, we talked about family, life, and football. I found out he was from Dallas and he loved the Cowboys. I told him I was a life long Redskins fan and received his forgiveness for that. He had introduced himself to me as “Howard”. After our hour together I told him I enjoyed our conversation and hoped to see him later during the weekend. He struck me as a simple, kind, and genuine man.

    A little while later when we gathered for our first lecture of the weekend our speaker was introduced and up walks the old guy with whom I had just eaten dinner. So THAT was Howard Hendricks! It wasn’t until later when I recounted our time together that I realized that there was so much opportunity during our conversation when he could have told me who he really was, how academic he really was, how he was the founder and president of Dallas Theological Seminary, how he was good friends with Tom Landry and how he was Chaplain to the Cowboy team he loved, and so much more. He chose instead to ask questions about me. He walked the walk. A life well lived!

      davidhhorner responded:
      March 1, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Exactly why I loved that guy! Thanks Ted! That encounter says more than I possibly could have expressed about the Prof!

    Eric said:
    February 25, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Well said, David. We have been remembering him here at Wheaton. One of our finest grads. A life well lived!

      davidhhorner responded:
      February 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

      He’s the first guy I ever heard refer to Wheaties College! Obviously, the college of champions! Great to hear from you, Eric!! Miss you guys!

    Larry Thompson said:
    February 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I share your love for Dr. Hendricks. In 1973, I went to college student conference in Dallas. He spoke and I was changed by his words. I still remember his challenge and specific phrases of his talk. This was a man who was excited about Jesus Christ, living for Christ and reaching others. I praise God for his impact.

      davidhhorner responded:
      February 25, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      I think everyone who ever heard him has a few favorite quotes that come to mind whenever his name comes up! Thanks Larry!

    Donald Cashwell, Sr. said:
    February 25, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I too brother David was impacted by this awesome man of God. And I would agree, what a hero of the faith. Now he is receivinghis reward. But what a loss to the world. Blessings,
    Don Cashwell, Creedmoor Road Baptist.

      davidhhorner responded:
      February 25, 2013 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Don! He will be missed!

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