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Ernest C. Reisinger

Ernest C Reisinger, builder, pastor and author, has been described as an ‘unsung hero of the twentieth-century renaissance in Reformed Theology’. Reisinger, a Reformed Baptist pastor, helped lay the foundation for what became the Founders Ministries, which was instrumental under God in returning Southern Baptists to their Reformed beginnings.

Born in 1919 at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, he became a successful businessman in his hometown. He married Mima Jane Shirley in March 1938; she was to be his wife for over sixty years. He was converted in his mid-twenties prior to serving in the US Navy during the Second World War, later making a public profession of his faith at a Salvation Army meeting. He was subsequently baptized in 1943 at a Southern Baptist Church in Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Despite his early affiliation with Presbyterianism, in the 1950s he helped establish the Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. By this time he had come to a knowledge of ‘the doctrines of grace’ through his study of Christian literature. He then felt, as John Bunyan once wrote, ‘I had grown from a babe into a man’.

As time passed, the Carlisle church decided that Reisinger should be ordained. In 1971, ‘the charge to the church’ at the ordination service was brought by the popular Dr. Cornelius Van Til of Westminster Theological Seminary. After his ordination Reisinger served as pastor to churches in Islamorada and North Pompano in Florida. These were Southern Baptist churches, and, by the 1980s he was playing a leading role in working for the recovery of the doctrines of grace in that denomination. He demonstrated that this was a recovery, not an introduction, by directing the reprinting of James Boyce’s Abstract of Theology. To the last he remained the Associate Editor of The Founders Journal: Committed to Historic Southern Baptist Principles.

In 1967, Reisinger became the first US trustee of the Banner of Truth Trust, and several key titles republished by Banner were done at his suggestion. He wrote helpfully himself, and What Should We Think of the Carnal Christian? (1978) and Whatever Happened to the Ten Commandments? (1999) were published by the Trust. Ernie Reisinger went to be with his Lord in May, 2004, as the result of a heart attack.

[See also Ernest C. Reisinger: A Biography by Geoff Thomas (Banner of Truth, 2002.)]