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Happy Birthday to a Godly Man and Theological Giant

Happy Birthday, Dr. Roger Nicole!!  Today he turns 95 years old.  In the mid-1990s, while I was pastor of First Baptist Sweetwater, in Longwood, FL, it was my privilege to have Roger & Annette Nicole as members of that church.  I remember the morning they joined very vividly.  When I introduced them I stated that “it is not often that a pastor gets to pastor one of his theological heroes.”  Because that is truly what Roger Nicole was and is to this day.  Long before I ever met Roger, he had an impact on my theological understanding.  He influenced my thinking primarily in two areas through his writing in journals; my understanding of the inerrancy of scripture and clarity of the atonement of Christ.

Through the years many other pastors asked me if it were not intimidating to have a man of Roger Nicole’s stature sitting week after week in the services as I preached.  The answer was simple:  Roger never sought to intimidate in any way. In fact, he was one of the most gracious and encouraging people to sit through my sermons.  He always found a way to speak an encouraging word and even express what he had “learned” from the sermon.

One of his great gifts to me, and the staff of Sweetwater, was during the late 90s when he would meet with us every Monday afternoon for a couple of hours in a theological seminar.  Just our staff, learning from and asking questions of one of the top theological minds in Baptist life in the 20th Century.  I still listen to recordings of some of those sessions to this day.

God has blessed and strengthened the church through the life and ministry of Roger Nicole.  As I write this Roger is in serious medical condition, and probably preparing to enter the presence of his Lord very shortly.  I will grieve his passing, but will thank God for letting Roger Nicole touch my life in a very personal, as well as academic way.  He truly was a godly, gracious, theological giant.