Roy Fish's life defined evangelism
It may be that we just lost the most effective advocate for personal evangelism in the last 100 years. More than simply an advocate, Dr. Roy Fish was a faithful practitioner.
Earlier this week, Roy Fish, distinguished professor emeritus of evangelism at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, died. He served the seminary almost 50 years and occupied the L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism.
His influence in the area of evangelism is immeasurable. I am speechless in my attempts to describe this man’s impact on the generations he served. He personally led thousands to Christ and probably motivated more students to be a faithful witness than anyone in Baptist life.
I am personally indebted to Dr. Fish for his personal investment in my life. Over a lunch table in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1974, he asked if I would be willing to be his grader my final year in seminary. Who could turn down an opportunity to work closely with, and be mentored by, Roy Fish?
That year I saw up close a man who was consistent as a witness for Christ. He gave meaning to "passionate" evangelism. He was unquestionably real in his desire to see people come to Christ. He lived the Gospel.
He asked me to help him develop a strategy for taking the gospel to every home in the neighborhoods surrounding the seminary. He also asked me to coordinate a strategy for students to use their Spring break to evangelize "pioneer" areas of the United States. That ministry is now called "Revive This Nation," and sends hundreds of student preachers across the country to preach in local churches every year.
Dr. Fish was appropriately honored in 2005, when Southwestern's division of evangelism and missions in the School of Theology was reorganized as the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions.
He and his wife, Jean, were great friends to my wife and me. We will miss him. We know that countless men and women will spend eternity with Jesus because of this godly man. May God raise up more like Roy Fish in every generation!
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