February 23rd, 2013| Topic: RaMbLeS | 6


Last week I blogged about “Shoulders!” and how we all stand on someone’s.

This week a giant with some incredibly broad shoulders went home to be with the Lord.

Dr. Howard G. Hendricks, affectionately known as “Prof” to thousands of his students and the many whose lives he influenced for Jesus Christ. There may be many professors at Dallas Theological Seminary, but there will only be one “Prof,” and he is now in a better place.

He lived to teach! Prof once declared:

You’re looking at a completely fulfilled human being. If I died today having produced some of the people God has given me the privilege of shaping, it will have been worth showing up on the planet.”

And those lives he shaped include some of Dallas Seminary’s presidents, most of its faculty, many of its staff, and innumerable pastors and Christian leaders across the globe—over ten thousand students in all, over six decades at DTS. The man was an institution!

Prof, in an interview with Wheaton magazine (1996), said:

One of the most important principles I came to realize is that teaching is not primarily communicating a subject, it’s changing individuals.”

And change individuals, he certainly did!

A tribute on DTS’s website notes:

“According to a 2003 Dallas Morning News article about him [reproduced here], the combined ministries of just eight of his former students, a veritable Who’s Who of Evangelical Christians, reach close to thirty thousand people in the pews every week. Add radio programs and books to the number, and the audience expands to millions.”

The things which you have heard from me
in the presence of many witnesses,
entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
2 Timothy 2:2

In the late 50’s, Prof founded DTS’s Christian Education department and served as its chair. In the 70’s he founded the seminary’s Center for Christian Leadership and continued to chair that department till last year, when he retired. But seminary life is not all he has seen: his many designations in a checkered career include assistant pastor, pastor, youth director, Christian education director, conference speaker, chaplain to the Dallas Cowboys, radio preacher, author, mentor, friend, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, ….

Said Pastor Tony Evans, a former student of Prof, “Only eternity will reveal all he’s done for the cause of Christ worldwide.”

Although I never had the privilege of sitting in his classes, there is no question that his life and work has influenced mine indirectly.

On the other hand, maybe it was a good thing I didn’t sit under his tutelage. One of his many witticisms (“Prof-isms”) was: “If you don’t have a wife, get one!”

(Now you know why I’m still single. I didn’t have Prof!)

Prof’s approach to Scripture, as divinely inspired writing that is intended to be applied, is a legacy evangelicalism will always cherish, and I personally, as a preacher, will always prize.

“Preaching is an open and public instruction in faith and behavior,
whose purpose is the forming of men.”
Alan of Lille (ca. 1128–1202)

Indeed! Prof once asserted that “observation plus interpretation [of Scripture] without application equals abortion.”

The ancients would have agreed.

“[Application is] the life and soul of a sermon,
whereby these sacred truths [of Scripture]
are brought home to a Man’s particular conscience and occasions,
and the affections engaged unto any truth or duty.”
John Wilkins, bishop of Chester (1651)

I am proud, as are the many impacted by Prof, to stand on his shoulders, the shoulders of a giant!


  1. Amy March 6, 2013 at 8:54 am

    “Observation plus interpretation without application equals abortion”. Now that is power packed! Thanks for including it in your remarks on Prof’s amazing life.

  2. Paul Pettit February 27, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Thanks for this tribute to Prof, Abe, he was truly a remarkable man.

  3. Eric February 24, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Many years ago I went through a set of training material called “Seven Laws of a Teacher”. It has to be among the best training material I have ever had. Many of his one-liners still serve as pure nuggets of wisdom for me.

    What a fruitful life!


    • Abe Kuruvilla February 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm


      Here are a few more “Prof-isms”:

      “It is a sin to bore people with the Word of God.”
      “If we stop learning today, we stop teaching tomorrow.”
      “A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for.”
      “You can impress people at a distance, but you can impact them only up close.”
      “Experience is not the best teacher; evaluated experience is.”
      “The measure of you as a leader is not what you do, but what others do because of what you do.”


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