Monday, September 09, 2013

Paul R. Fink 1930–2013

Paul Fink (2/6/1930-9/7/2013) went to see our Lord this past Saturday, September 7, 2013. He was 83.

One of my first memories of Dr. Fink was a School of Religion business meeting at Liberty University. Dr. Fink was suffering from a very serious heart condition, such that he could die at any moment. The doctors couldn’t operate because of his diabetes, so they were trying to figure out a way to fix the condition. Dr. Towns asked him for an update and he said this: It’s an amazing feeling knowing that at any moment I might open my eyes and be in the arms of my Savior, Jesus Christ. They found a way to fix the problem and he taught for several more years. He retired in May.

At Columbia Bible College and Liberty University
Where he began his training and where he served the Lord for decades
Paul Fink received his B.A. from Columbia Bible College in the 1950s (now Columbia International University). He completed both his Th.M and Th.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, with an Adv. M.Ed. from the University of Southern California. He did some post-doctoral study at Purdue University.
Before getting his training as a minister of the gospel, Dr. Fink served in the United States Navy from 1948-1952. He taught for 55 years (see list below for details).

He was also the Founder and President/Instructor of Amherst County Bible Institute, Madison Heights, VA 1983-1989; 1996-2013. This ministry provided free education to mainly minorities in the Madison Heights area. Dr. Fink did this free of charge, just desperately trying to help these aspiring and active ministers to be more fully trained. One of his biggest concerns in the last few years of his life was finding someone to replace him in that ministry. The last I heard, no one was willing or able to fill his place. He was also an interim pastor of over 17 churches.

Dr. Fink threw his life into teaching, mentoring students, and his Bible Institute. But he did find some time for writing (see his list of publications below). Dr. Towns, the former Dean of the School of Religion at Liberty University, who attended Columbia Bible College with Dr. Fink in the 1950s, would travel around the world, find a Liberty University graduate, and ask them: “What was your favorite class while at Liberty?” He said that the consistent response was: “Inductive Bible Study Methods with Dr. Paul Fink.” Over and over again, that was what he heard.

Dr. Fink and I at his retirement party
I shared an office at Liberty University with Paul Fink in his last year of teaching. He moved to part-time and so he would use my office on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. My name was on the door, but I took my name out and put his name in. He would then take his name out and put my name in. This went back and forth for over a month or two, until he found a way to put them BOTH on the door. He was a very humble, prayerful man. Heaven just received a true vessel created for honor (cf. Rom 9:21). He will be missed by his wife, Mary Lou (married for 62 years), his six children, and his twenty grandchildren. Please be in prayer for them.

I rejoice that Saturday, Dr. Fink opened his eyes and finally saw his Savior, the One he truly put his hope in, the One he served for over half of a century, the One he loved above all others, the One he sought to bring glory to every day of his life.

Southern Bible Training School, Dallas, TX 1958-62
Professor of Homiletics and Pastoral Theology at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, IN 1963-79
Adjunct Faculty at BIOLA College, La Mirada, CA 1969-70
Professor of Biblical Studies and Pastoral Ministry, Liberty University 1979-2013

Contributor to the Liberty Bible Commentary: 12 Minor Prophets
Contributor to The Open Bible: wrote 35 articles.
Contributor to Wilmington’s Survey of the Old Testament: wrote over 90 articles.
Contributor to the Christian Life Bible: 2 Peter
Contributor to The Annotated Bible: Minor Prophets, Romans, Pastoral Epistles, and Petrine Epistles.
Contributor to The Teachers’ Bible


Jordan Jones said...

What a great testimony for the gospel. Thank you, Dr. Croteau, for posting this.

- Jordan Jones

Anonymous said...

A very fitting tribute for a wonderful servant of the Lord. He helped me overcome my fear of public speaking when I had him for homiletics at Grace Seminary.

Bob Chisholm

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I'm Jerry son number two and child number three. I will miss my Father but he is with our Father! He fell out of my arms Saturday and into the arms of God. He asked me that morning if he was going to heaven, I told him no, not today. As I walked him back to his chair with my mother, he said, Jehovah Jehovah My Jehovah and just like that he was with Our Father! He was on lone to us, a true gift of God.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts of Dr. Fink's life. I was one of the ACBI graduates -- my daughter and I just graduated in May in what was Dr. Fink's last graduating class. What a blessing he was to so many of his time each and every week. There were weeks when he came into class and you knew he didn't feel well, but he was there faithfully! I feel so blessed to have called him my teacher and my friend! We will miss him so much.

And thank you, Jerry, for sharing your last moments with your dad with us.

Teresa Beasley

Anonymous said...

Dr. Fink was such a blessing to me and my family. As the title of this article states, he was a Slave to the Word. He was committed to serving God through his gift of teaching. The time I spent as his student, I had learned so much about the Character of God. I am grateful to have known and learned from him. I am praying for your family. Thank you for sharing his last lesson with us.

Manee Davis

Anonymous said...

My contact with Dr. Fink was minimal. We communicated via email a few times. My dissertation on the style of James was motivated by his dissertation on the literary style of the Petrine Epistles.

Thanks for your tribute to this man of God. May God raise up someone to continue the work at the Bible institute.

Paul Felix

Kevin Wright said...

I had the great privilege and honor of having Dr. Fink for a couple of classes at Liberty University in 1980-81. He made learning fun, and treated everyone with respect. What a great legacy he has left us to follow. Thank you Lord for using him to influence so many lives along the way.