The Day I Met W. A. Criswell


  When I was starting out in pastoral work, I looked up to Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, as a model.  Criswell was in a class by himself.  He’d been the leading pastor among Southern Baptists for over fifty years, and he was known for his exposition of Scripture.  He once preached a 17-year sermon series through the whole Bible. 

I met him on one occasion.  Morris Proctor and I attended the First Baptist Church in Dallas in the early 1980s.  We got there early, sat on the front row, and took it all in.  Afterward at a reception for visitors we met the inimitable Criswell. 

“Dr. Criswell,” I asked, “in all your years of ministry, have you ever gotten discouraged.” 

He leaned back and smiled and boomed: “World without end!” 

“Well, what do you do about it?” I asked. 

He said something to this effect:  “I always find that the discouragement is something that is in me.  It’s not in the circumstances; they’re under God’s control.  It’s not in the Lord; He’s never discouraged.  So it’s just an unhelpful emotion that gets inside of me; and so I just have to give myself a little tme to push it back out, and I keep on going.”

That was all he had time to say, but it was enough.

Thank you, Dr. C!