Chapman: W.A. Criswell was 'giant in the land'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, released a statement concerning the death of W. A. Criswell, the longtime pastor of First Baptist Church, Dallas.

Following, is the statement in its entirety.

"W.A. Criswell was a giant in the land, and his passing is an event of singular significance. In every way, Dr. Criswell was a one-of-a-kind man of God. He was an unexcelled preacher, an unequalled visionary, an unswerving champion of the truth, and an unfailing leader of influence.

"In many ways, we stand upon the shoulders of those who have preceded us. This has never been more true than of our indebtedness to this remarkable man. From his conversion to Christ, to his call to preach as a youth, to the very end of his public ministry, Dr. Criswell has contributed to Southern Baptists and to the Kingdom of God as a wise and compassionate pastor, fervent evangelist, scholarly preacher, practiced theologian, farsighted educator, caring mentor, and steadfast denominationalist. This man of God will be remembered, and he will be missed.

"In spite of the honors and accolades paid him over more than seven decades of ministerial service, Dr. Criswell maintained a spirit of deep humility. And in spite of the hard knocks taken in defense of the truth, he radiated the joy and gladness of the Lord in His service. He magnified Jesus Christ as the Lord of the Church in his pulpit ministry, through the writing of fifty-four books, and as the encourager of ministers across our Convention.

"On a purely personal level, in the numerous meetings I've had with Dr. Criswell over the years, I became an admirer of his wisdom and his deep, pure heart for God. I recollect with gratitude that it was Dr. Criswell who kindly nominated me as president of the SBC Pastors Conference in Dallas in 1985. I treasure the memory of his many heartening communications with me over the years. His encouragement to me was doubtless duplicated many times over to other pastors over the country.

"We express our heartfelt sympathy to Mrs. Criswell, to Ann, and to his many devoted friends upon our mutual loss, and we commend them to the grace of God."


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