Earl D. Radmacher: Man Of Grace -- By: Stephen R. Lewis
JOTGES 26:51 (Autumn 2013) p. 5
Earl D. Radmacher: Man Of Grace
Earl Dwight Radmacher was born over eighty years ago in Portland, Oregon just a couple miles from Western Seminary, where, in the providence of God, he would later serve on the theological faculty for thirty-three years (1962-1995) and in administrative positions as Dean of the Faculty (1964-1965), President (1965-1990), and Chancellor (1990-1995). In 1995 he was designated President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology Emeritus.
His parents, who were immigrants from Romania and Austria, settled in Portland in 1913 where they brought eight children into this world, Earl being the last. The whole family was very active in local churches, so every Sunday found Earl spending all day in church—Sunday school, morning worship, potluck lunch at the church, recreation break, youth service, evening service, and after service. Even though he had heard the gospel preached Sunday after Sunday, he did not personally receive Christ as his Savior until he was fourteen years of age. He has often stated that sitting in church Sunday after Sunday doesn’t make one a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes one a car.
At that juncture in his life, Earl came in contact with another Earl—Earl Gile—a faithful Sunday school teacher who lived right across the street from the grade school he had attended, and he opened up his home as an outreach to boys from the school. Mr. Gile’s church rented the school gymnasium on Thursday nights and made it available for boys to play basketball if they came to Sunday School on Sundays. That sounded like a good deal, so he went. Shortly after that the teacher announced a forthcoming boys’ camp at Twin Rocks Beach,
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Oregon. He decided to go; and there, at fourteen years of age, he came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Although the church that Earl attended preached the gospel faithfully, they didn’t go beyond the gospel to build up believers in the faith. He has often said, “As a believer, I didn’t need a birth message, but I did need a growth message. That being absent, I tended to flounder, and my growth in Christ was stunted. Thus, the high school years were a disaster as far as the things of Christ and spiritual growth were concerned.”
As graduation time neared, he took the normal batch of tests to determine which line of work he should pursue. The tests indicated mathematics or mechanics, so he decided to go the route of mathematics and combining it with finance, by starting a career in a savings and loan institution. He started as a file clerk and worked up to an investment s...
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