By Grant Hawley
My dear friend and hero, Dr. Earl Radmacher, went to be with the Lord today. Like he was with so many others, he was a huge part of my life. I'm sure much more than he realized, even though I tried to let him know whenever I had the chance. As my friend Jeremy and I were sharing our grief over our loss, we both realized that there's very little that we are passionate about that he didn't have a hand in building in us. This little article is to introduce a series where some of us who are involved with Bold Grace will highlight his influence on our lives. Much of his incalculable ministry is still out there available to be soaked up, and through this series, we hope to point you all to some of those resources.
A little over a decade ago, I was in the middle of a transformation that was going to shape the rest of my life. I was becoming more and more convinced that the Bible really does keep works separate from faith in receiving the free gift of everlasting life. My church home at the time taught that we had to do works to really be a Christian, so I really didn't have any older and wiser men to talk to about what I was seeing and what I was going through. I stumbled across a form to fill out on the internet to email Dr. Radmacher, and I recognized his name from the Foreword to The Reign of the Servant Kings by Jody Dillow. So, I emailed Dr. Radmacher, introducing myself, telling him that I had seen his name in Dillow's book, and I asked question about a Bible passage that was bugging me (it was 2 Cor 5:17).
Dr. R quickly responded with an answer to my Bible question, but he also asked several questions of his own, like: "How did you come to faith in Christ?" "How did you come into contact with Dillow's excellent book?" "What are your plans for the future?" and, "Do you have a pastor who teaches Free Grace and whom you can talk to?"
I never expected that.
He took on the role of a mentor to me and later, when I and a couple of my friends were expelled from our church for believing in Free Grace, he encouraged me and helped me find a new church home. When I sat down with the pastor there, he told me with a lump in his throat, "I don't know if you know how blessed you are. Dr. Radmacher is the finest theologian, the finest exegete, and the finest man I have ever met. Learn as much as you possibly can from him."
I followed my pastor's suggestion, and in getting to know Dr. R better over the next several years, I learned the same thing about Dr. R, though he never allowed the attention to be on himself. Whenever we talked, his focus was on his Savior and on me.
If you've heard Dr. R preach the word, you know that he spoke powerfully. He was full of passion and fiercely defended God's word. But it was his gentleness when I needed correction that so often shocked me (yes, I needed correction a lot). The Lord's life, so full of grace and truth, was overflowing in him. And, while we rejoice for him that he is with his beloved Savior face to face, those of us who had the privilege of knowing him will all miss him dearly.
If Dr. Radmacher blessed you like he has us, please share it on our Facebook page, and let us know if you'd like to write an article on the theme, "What I Learned from Dr. Radmacher"