Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) professor Howard Hendricks, who was considered a mentor and friend of many of today's prominent Christian leaders, died early Wednesday morning after a battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 88.
"No man has meant more to me in my adult life than Dr. Howard G. Hendricks, whom all of us know as simply, 'Prof,'" evangelical pastor Chuck Swindoll wrote in a statement published on a DTS tribute page on its website. "What a magnificent man he has been to so many of us, so much so, it was easy for us to assume he would be here forever."
Despite authoring 18 books and preaching around the world in more than 80 countries, Hendricks was perhaps best known for his influence on other Christian leaders, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) stated Wednesday. In addition to Swindoll, other leaders – such as Tony Evans, Joseph Stowell and David Jeremiah – also counted him as their mentor.
Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., tweeted Wednesday morning: "Friend and mentor to so many of us, #HowardHendricks went on to heaven last night."
Hendricks will also be remembered for his humility, BGEA stated. In a 2009 interview with Decision magazine, he said, "I'm not what everybody in the world says is great. I'm just a servant of Christ, that's all."
The staff of BGEA and the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove urges Christians everywhere to join them in praying for the Hendricks family and to follow the words of Hendricks, who said, "Once a believer really gets to see what the Lord can do through him or her, at whatever stage in life, they're going to get excited about getting out there in the battle. It's all about being a servant of Christ."
The "Prof" served on the faculty of DTS for more than 60 years, where he taught more than ten thousand students, school officials said. Through speaking engagements, radio, tapes, films, the books he authored and coauthored, countless journal and popular-market articles, his service on numerous boards, and his work as a chaplain to the Dallas Cowboys (1976–1984) – his reach was and is worldwide. His legacy, in partnership with Jeanne, his wife of more than sixty-six years, includes four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, DTS stated.
Hendricks was also a keynote speaker for the national evangelistic group Promise Keepers.
Hundreds of Christian organizations were created as a result of his ministry to his protégés, DTS stated on its tribute page. In the words of one DTS graduate, "He impacted more lives personally than anyone I've ever known."
Hendricks once said, "I think the reason God has used me is that, by His grace, the Holy Spirit has developed in me an incurable confidence in His ability to transform people."
The DTS story continued, "Prof went beyond communicating what students should do to convincing them that they could. According to a 2003 Dallas Morning News article about him, 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."
Hendricks was also known by his students at the seminary for taking the time needed to mentor them. "In the days before air-conditioning, a certain campus bench between Stearns Hall and Mosher Library was known as 'Prof's bench,'" DTS explained in its article. "He kept 'office hours' there; students could stop by. Their questions drew on Prof's wisdom. What students remember more than his answers was his availability.
"Eventually bench time gave way to early-morning discipleship time. Tuesdays and Thursdays at six a.m. brought two groups of twelve men and women each semester."
He retired from faculty responsibilities and formal classroom ministry in 2011. At the time of his retirement he was distinguished professor emeritus of Christian Education and Leadership.
DTS states, "In Prof's last chapel message, titled The Ultimate Final Exam, he drew on the text of 2 Timothy 2:15 to emphasize three passions every believer should have: The Lord well pleased, the work well done, and the Word well used."
The DTS Howard Hendricks Tribute page on the Web: http://www.dts.edu/howard-hendricks-tribute/