07 September 2010

Remember Your Leaders

The man who made the greatest mark on me during the period of life (college, 1997-2001) that made the greatest mark on me was Lyle Dorsett. Dr. Dorsett taught in the Christian Ed department at Wheaton for many years before going to Beeson Divinity School in 2005.

In college I took several classes with him. Stacey and I asked him to do our premarital counseling. In college we attended the Anglican church he pastored.

Dr. Dorsett is a conservative Anglican whose greatest historical hero was John Wesley. Other heroes of his were D. L. Moody, A. W. Tozer and C. S. Lewis (on each of whom he has written biographies). In some ways, then, Dr. Dorsett and I were (are) on very different pages theologically. But there are only one or two non-family members who have shaped what I perceive authentic Christianity to be, and what I would like the Lord to do with my own life, more than than Lyle Dorsett.

Six things come to mind that I learned from and saw in him that I to build into my life in the remaining years God gives me.

1. The importance of the Spirit-filled life. This is the number one thing I learned from him.

2. The deceptiveness of pride and the elusiveness of humility. In a letter to me during seminary Dr. Dorsett made this the single point of his note.

3. The value of candor. I found his frank words, face to face, both valuable and rare.

4. The healthy blend of gravity and joy. Utterly serious and cheerfully childlike. At the same time. In mature Christianity the two are not mutually exclusive but mutually reinforcing.

5. The weight of ultimate rescue. Dr. Dorsett knew what it meant to be saved.

6. The worth of all-out effort for the sake of Christ. Dr. Dorsett pastored a church full-time while teaching full-time (and since teaching at Beeson started another church). Bearing in mind #1 above, I believe he views himself as Spurgeon did when asked by David Livingstone how he accomplished the work of two men: 'You have forgotten: there are two of us.'

I don't love this guy in competition with Jesus. I love him because he helps me love Jesus more. 'So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men' (Phil 2:29).

For a glimpse into why I love and honor Dr. Dorsett, here's a brief sermon he preached at the ordination of one of his former Beeson students.

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