L. Russ Bush III: A Biography -- By: Richard M. Daniels

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 19:3 (Summer 2002)
Article: L. Russ Bush III: A Biography
Author: Richard M. Daniels

L. Russ Bush III: A Biography

Richard M. Daniels

Ph.D. Student in Theological Studies
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Wake Forest, North Carolina 27587

Heritage and Education

It was Christmas day 1944 in Alexandria, Louisiana, when Luther Russell Bush, Jr., and his wife, Sara Frances, received their best present of the day: L(uther) Russ(ell) Bush III.1 At the time the senior Bush was serving as an army dentist at a nearby base.2 At the war’s end, the family would move to Columbia, Mississippi.3 There the third L. Russ Bush would spend his childhood and teen years.4 Bush’s father had established his life-long dental practice in Columbia. His mother, Sara (an artist and book lover), opened her own bookstore where she is still actively engaged.5 Thus, Bush was raised in what would be considered an upper middle-class environment with significant exposure to literature and the arts.

Both sides of Sara’s family, the Warnocks and the Luthers, were active leaders in Southern Baptist church and denominational affairs.6 As dedicated church members, their regular attendance brought the younger Bush under solid gospel preaching, and as he recalls, it was:

After the morning service when a life-long friend of my father stopped me on the steps outside the church and asked me if I had ever been saved; ... he had seen me under conviction in the services for several weeks, and he simply felt led to talk to me, and we went inside to a room behind the pulpit, he read Scripture and talked to me and we prayed together. I told my Dad that afternoon and we had a long talk as well, and then that night I went forward to make a public confession.... [That man] has remained a close prayer supporter all these years since. I saw him last year.. .. His health is failing, but he still remembers that day, as do I.7

His parents also regularly attended SBC conventions at both state and national levels. By taking the younger Bush along, they exposed him to the workings of the convention at an early age.8

Having developed an interest in science while in high school, Bush entered Mississippi College with the intention of earning a degree in chemistry.9 During the summer between his sophomore and junior years, he ser...

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