It was a great day today! I had the opportunity of being at a chapel service at my alma mater, the Criswell College in Dallas, Texas. The College has been around for over 40 years and has taught men and women who are part of ministry or who are about to be in ministry. I have had the great honor and privilege of being associated with the College since 1984, and I have been able to see how the College has grown, how it has changed, and how it continues to train young men and women for the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The professors have always been interested in the students. They have taken the time to meet with them one-on-one outside of the classroom to help advise, encourage, equip and to build-up to do the work of the ministry. I am forever indebted to my professors and forever indebted to the ministry and legacy of the College’s Founder, Dr. W.A. Criswell.
Dr. Criswell, the very last time that he made a public appearance at the College was on Founder’s Day 2001. He was wheeled into the auditorium right before the chapel service started and was sitting in his wheelchair wearing a gray pinstripe suite, a crisp white shirt and a beautiful tie. I leaned over to thank him for answering the call of God to start an institution like Criswell College. He smiled at me as he said in his booming voice, “Preach the Word! Preach the Word, preacher!”
Dr. Criswell’s words have forever been etched in my mind. That was one of the most special of days that the College had ever seen. After being introduced and receiving a standing ovation for his presence, he took a microphone and issued a blessing as such that I had never heard before. Here was a patriarch, a man of God who loved the church and served the church faithfully, blessing the Faculty, Administration and the Students of the College. I can tell you that those who were present were amazed at the sharpness of mind and word as Dr. C. (as he was affectionately called by so many) spoke those words. There are so many stories of Dr. Criswell in his final months of life. Many of how he would ask about the church, First Baptist Church of Dallas which he pastored for over 50 years. He went home to be with the Lord in January 2002. There is no doubt in my mind that when he breathed the fresh air of heaven that he heard the Father say, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”
Yes, today was a great day. It was a great day to fellowship with Students, Administration and Faculty in chapel. It was great to sit in some classes and see some of the new professors. A great day, indeed!