There are a number of people that I could express my appreciation to for the good influences they have had in my life. Of those, I have chosen four contemporary Christian men who have been deeply influential. They have one common denominator--they were my teachers at Harding University from 1956-1960.
Andy T. Ritchie was my first Bible teacher at Harding University. He had a walk with God unlike anyone I had ever met. He taught me much about God through songs and poems.
Conard Hays was always the encourager. He directed the activities of the Bible majors and urged us always to preach the Word! When I became chairman of the Bible Department in 1974, he was my constant counselor and ardent supporter.
J. D. Bales taught me a love for truth and a courage to oppose wrong in the spirit of Jesus. For years I had an office next to his, and his example of a tireless worker was the best.
Leslie Burke was my biblical language teacher. I took more undergraduate hours with him than any other teacher (26 hours). His hallmark was making the Bible come alive. His love for the Lord and His word was transferred to every student who sat in his classes.
So much could be said about these great spiritual giants, but they wouldn't want it said. The influence of these men has been transferred through me to countless young men and women. I hope that their children know of the everlasting influence that their fathers have had on me and others. I can say without reservation that the spirit of God really abides in these great servants (Romans 8:9).
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