A Word of Tribute to Dr. Morton Smith On His 80th Birthday
I join the many who are thanking God and congratulating you on eightieth birthday. Our Lord has been most gracious to you and to His Church in sparing you these many years.
Your service as Professor of Theology in two seminaries, as Stated Clerk and Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, and as faithful pastor of Christs flock is much appreciated and of great benefit to our Church. The salutary effects of your ministry are seen now in many people and places, but the full effects will be known by us and by you only with the perspective of the coming kingdom.
I thank you for your teaching me as a seminary student over thirty years ago. You grounded me in a system of doctrine that has been the foundation of my ministry since I was ordained in 1972. I have told several seminary presidents, as well as others, that, while other professors have their distinctive gifts and contributions, the remarkable thing about your teaching is that you have been able to get across to students a theology they understood, believed, and used in ministry. I am never embarrassed to say, Morton Smith gave me my theology, and it is that theology that has guided me and that I have preached and taught in every place that I have served as a minister of the Gospel.
I am appreciative, as well, that you have modeled before many of us and encouraged us to have the courage of conviction. You have stood for what you believe in all the seasons of your life and without fear or favor in the life of the Church. All this you have done as a godly man and a Christian gentleman.
I pray that the Lord will be pleased to grant you many more years of happy and useful service. You will, I am without doubt, fight the good fight, finish your course, keep the faith, and attain the crown of life. When your service is complete, you, full of years, will rest in the presence of the Savior you have trusted, loved, and served, as you await the yet more glorious day when you shall rise to honor and enter the unmixed joy of your Lord.
Yours with much appreciation, respect, and affection,
William H. Smith
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