Being away, I nearly missed this here (merci monsieur principal).
Last night my wife and I had the immense privilege of having dinner with Geoff Thomas and his Iola. Geoff has been praised on this blog before, and more than once. He is truly one of the giants of the last hundred years. Outside of this blog and Banner of Truth circles, you may not hear his name very often but as far as I am concerned he represents everything I would want our ministerial graduates at WTS to be.
* He has faithfully pastored a modest church for nearly 46 years.
* He has placed the preaching of the gospel absolutely central in his ministry.
* he has a passionate desire to see people come to Christ.
* He has a passionate desire to see people grow in their knowledge and love of the Lord.
* He has demonstrated that a small local church can have a worldwide impact. There are many people all over the world -- some known and many unknown -- who have been blessed by his teaching, inspired to go in to the ministry, or simply led to love the gospel more through his consistent preaching of God's grace. Derek Thomas and Mark Johnston both acknowledge huge debts to him. While at college, I was helped in my faith by Ian and Christine Hodgins who both sat under his ministry in Wales as students. Many of us who never attended his church are yet his debtors under God.
In addition, Geoff is an hilarious raconteur (I spent much of the dinner last night bursting with laughter), takes himself with a pinch of salt, doesn't `do' jeans, has no earrings or other body piercings, and generally doesn't wear black, has no swagger, couldn't care less about being cool or trendy, and only tells jokes in the pulpit that actually have a serious point rather than those designed to tell the congregation that `Hey, I'm a funny guy who wants to be your friend so please like me.' In some quarters, that might lead some to wonder if he is really a minister. Believe me, he is more real than many. He also writes great emails. My favourite, which I included in the paperwork for his DD, went something like this: `Dear Carl, Just read your piece on Packer and Lloyd Jones. What a disaster! You are a complete idiot. Oh, and sorry to have missed you in Wales last week. Best wishes, Geoff'
When the Westminster Faculty and Board realised he was such an astute man, the DD was in the bag, so to speak.
This afternoon I will have the immense honour of `hooding' Geoff at the DD ceremony. Like Wayne and Garth confronted with Alice Cooper, I can only say `We are not worthy! We are not worthy!'
Geoff will be preaching at the commencement service this afternoon and then again this Sunday at Franklin Square OPC in New York, for Bill Shishko -- another real minister of the unsung hero variety. I hope to post a link to Geoff's commencement address early next week.
Meanwhile, as commencement is today, Geoff would no doubt agree that `school's out for the summer'. (Thanks to Gabe Fluhrer for that line).