Remembering Those Who Taught Me

2015 was marked by the death of three teachers who have had significant impact on my life. First, on June 10, Dr. Louise Bentley died. Dr. Bentley taught me Arts in Western Civilization and has ever since been a model to me for what a teacher ought to be- love of the subject matter, love of students, high standards, and love of the Lord. She regularly said, “I never gave a grade in my life. Every grade in my class was earned.” My tribute to her was posted earlier.

Then on June 15th Elisabeth Elliot died. I never met her, though my wife did. Nonetheless, through her books she had a particular shaping influence on me. Her books Shadow of the Almighty and Passion and Purity were among the most significant shaping influences on my life in my college days. Discussion of her writings was central in my early discussions with the beautiful young woman who would become my wife. We continued to get every Elisabeth Elliot book we could find and to read them. Tammie (who would later become my wife) gave me Jim Elliot’s journals as a gift. Mark of a Man and Let Me Be a Woman were important books for Tammie and me.

Lastly, in December, Howard Marshall, my doctoral supervisor, passed away. I have commented on this earlier here and posted a tribute here. Howard was a wonderful example of scholarship and faith, excellence and humility, academics and church life. The number of PhD students he supervised as well as the number of books and articles he wrote are astounding.

The passing of these three key teachers of mine- two whom I knew personally and one from afar- has caused me to reflect on many things. One, I have been richly blessed to have had so many wonderful teachers (even beyond these three). What a gift. Second, reflecting on their lives and their impact causes me to reflect on my life, and how I should apply what I have appreciated in them. As they taught me, challenged me, helped me and provided an example for me, may I do similarly for those coming behind me. Let me be diligent, never satisfied with mediocrity in myself or others, humble, helpful, gracious, God-glorifying, church-rooted like them. In God’s plan truth in general and THE Truth, in particular, are handed down from one generation to the next. Third, life is shorter than we ever really think. Let me number my days that I might receive a heart of wisdom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *