Monday, October 20, 2008

Mourning the Loss of a Friend

According to Dr. Michael Palmer, Dean of the Regent School of Divinity, Dr. J. Rodman Williams went home to be with the Lord this past Sat. Oct. 18, 2008. He was 90 years old.
Dr. Williams was emeritus professor of systematic theology in the School of Divinity. Rod’s dear wife Jo is reported to be doing well.

Rod’s obituary will appear in the Virginian Pilot on Tuesday and Wednesday, and will provide details about the time and location of the burial on Thursday morning, October 23. At 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evening a memorial service will be held at Kempsville Presbyterian Church. Dr. Danny Gilbert, one of Rod's first graduate assistants and protégé, will preside. Danny is also an M.Div. alumnus of the School of Divinity.
I have grown up respecting Dr. Williams for his unique blend of scholarship, churchmanship, and warm personal faith. His written works (The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today, and his 3 volume Renewal Theology) have nurtured my hopes for a "both/and" in the worlds of vibrant spirituality and rigorous scholarship. I grinned from ear to ear when he commented warmly on one of my first sermons preached as a young intern at Kempsville Presbyterian Church.
But most of all I grew because he opened up time in his schedule. Here was a man who kept an active teaching load well into advanced age, played tennis, spoke and gave papers in numerous localities. Yet, when I was looking for one to give advice and wisdom about where to study Divinity, how to navigate the pitfalls of academic study of the Bible, he was there.
His wise words and gentle encouragement were used by God to send me on a path that has borne good fruit. I am grateful to Dr. Williams for being available to me and so many others through the years, and for taking his considerable talents and using them diligently and patiently for the good of the kingdom these many years.
You will be missed.

No comments: