Walking with Giants

Ken (our senior pastor) takes a group of guys through a theology class about every two years. The main book he uses is a book by Charles Ryrie called "Basic Theology." At the end of the two-year cycle, Ken brings in Dr. Ryrie to answer questions about theology for the men who were a part of that study.

Last night, just prior to the Q&A session, I got the "holy cow" honor of getting to have dinner with Dr. Ryrie (Yes, the Ryrie Study Bible Ryrie) and a couple of other guys.

I hadn't ever met Dr. Ryrie before, and wasn't sure what to expect. For some reason, I expected someone who was bigger-than-life. In reality, Dr. Ryrie was gentle, unassuming, quiet, and humble.

I know several of you who read this blog come over from the Pyromaniacs blog, and am well aware that there's some bad blood between Ryrie and MacArthurites going back a couple of decades. And I hate that, because in different areas, both men have contributed a mammoth amount to evangelicalism, and I respect both men a great deal.

Dr. Ryrie was born in 1925, and if I remember right, trusted Christ when he was 7 years old. That means he has been walking with Christ for around 76 years. And he's finishing well. He just returned from a trip to Turkey and Greece where he was teaching from Paul's epistles in the cities where they were written. When I'm 83 or 84 years old, I'd be happy to travel to the bathroom without assistance - Dr. Ryrie is still serving God around the world.

There are two or three pages of notes from the time we had together last night that I'll probably use pieces of as blog prompts for the next few weeks. But here are a couple of things I thought were especially profound. Have a great day.

"There are thousands of preachers out there today [competing for jobs], but there is very little competition for those who thoroughly know the Word of God."

"If you want to be successful in ministry, at every point of your life you have to be willing to go anywhere, at any time, to do any thing. As you age, your body will limit you; your willingness never should."

"The best thing you can do for any person in any situation is to help them understand the Bible."


nick said...

i thought you didnt travel to the bathroom unassisted now...

James W said...

I met Dr. Ryrie while a student at Word of Life Bible Institute. He came to teach the book of Matthew and later end times theology. I was amazed at his humility, his clarity, and his charity. He made these things understandable to a non-seminary audience. While his followers may have made his disagreement with MacArthur personal, I don't think it was with Ryrie. I am very jealous of the time you spent with him!