Rod Decker (1952-2014) -- By: Kevin Mungons

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 18:2 (Fall 2014)
Article: Rod Decker (1952-2014)
Author: Kevin Mungons


Rod Decker (1952-2014)

Kevin Mungons

Editorial Manager of Integrated Marketing Communications
Moody Global Ministries
Chicago, Illinois

Rod Decker1 was strong enough to finish two books and send them to the printer last winter—strong enough to write the introductions, strong enough to sign them the way he signed the others:

Soli Deo Gloria

With a sharp mind trapped inside a body that was slowly shutting down, Rod suffered through the roughest winter of his life. Unable to return to his classes at Baptist Bible Seminary, he invested his remaining energy writing at home, confined to a chair by the fire, warmed by wood he had chopped ahead of time. He was ready for what he called the “inescapable reality” of death.

“I’ve been ‘terminal’ for over 60 years,” he said with typical humor and theological precision.

Eight years earlier he had built his house across the road from the farm where he grew up. Despite his growing reputation as a NT Greek scholar, he never strayed too far from his rural roots.

“God took a farm boy and placed him in the ministry, eventually into graduate studies, and then into the classroom to train young pastors,” Rod had said, summarizing his life as “grace from the beginning.”

Rod Decker, author, seminary professor, and an internationally known NT scholar, died on May 25, 2014. He was 61.

“He always cared about others more than himself, always deflected praise, and always gave God glory,” says Mark McGinniss, a faculty colleague who had seen the soli Deo gloria in action.

Rod grew up on a farm near Tunkhannock, PA, the son of Pastor Victor and Agnes Decker. His father, a 1952 graduate of Baptist Bible Seminary, was pastor of Osterhout Bible Church. Rod came to Christ at age five through the influence of his mother.

In 1970 he showed up on BBC’s campus wearing his blue corduroy Future Farmers of America jacket. He had planned to study forestry until a traveling missionary suggested he try Bible college for a year. Decker stayed on, took his first Greek class from Bob Williams, and discovered his natural affinity for languages. He would continue to study with Bill Arp and Ken Brown.

In 1974 he graduated from the pastoral studies program and married his wife, Linda, on June 15 (his parents’ 25th wedding anniversary). Then Decker continued in Baptist Bible Seminary’s MDiv program, graduating in 1978. There he was ment...

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