Dr. Paul Beals
One of my seminary professors, Dr. Paul Beals, was ushered into the presence of Christ on Tuesday, May 29. (See here). I am eternally thankful for the opportunity I had to study under men like Dr. Beals, Dr. Crawford, and Dr. Hoch, all of whom are now in the presence of Christ. Dr. Beals lived out the admonition of 2 Timothy 2:1-2 to entrust the Gospel to reliable men and women who will do the same.
I have often been asked how Jamie and I made the decision to leave the corporate world and go to seminary. I can never answer that question in a tidy way. It certainly was not that I didn’t enjoy my job and the people with whom I worked. But by the time we left for Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 1990 we were confident in every regard that God was in the decision.
Professors like Dr. Paul Beals quickly removed any remaining questions we might have had about the decision. Dr. and Mrs. Beal received us into the seminary family with open arms. I did not have Dr. Beals for any classes my first semester or two in seminary, but he made sure to meet as many of us as possible. And when I visited Dr. Beals’s church, both Dr. and Mrs. Beals went out of their way to greet Jamie and me. They made us feel at home and Dr. Beals was thrilled that I was from Iowa.
I had Theology of Local Church Missions with Dr. Beals in 1991 and I looked through my class notes this morning. It is amazing to reflect on how much of my approach to missions was shaped by Dr. Beals. His goal was to equip and prepare us to be deeply missions minded whether we were called into missions or served in pastoral ministry. As I pointed out in another post, he taught us that the Bible is a missionary book from cover to cover.
What also struck me as I looked through my material from Theology of Local Missions was all the personal attention Dr. Beals gave to students. Throughout my class material I saw small notes Dr. Beals had written:
“Thanks, Chris, for a thoughtful and thoroughgoing piece of work.”
“Thanks, Chris for following instructions with understanding.”
Of course, it wasn’t all good news. One personal note on a blue book exam read,
“Review this one, Chris, it needs a lot of strengthening.”
I wonder how many notes Dr. Beals wrote to students across the decades.
Dr. Beals stayed amazingly fresh in the classroom. He encouraged us to read books that only recently been published. He interacted with a wide range of books.
Dr. Beals work ethic and understanding of missiology were tremendous. But maybe what I remember the most was his sweet, humble enthusiasm. He would come to class excited to teach us. If Mrs. Beals had typed something for us to use in class, as a matter of honor he would say, “I need to acknowledge that my wife was the one who worked hard on this handout.” Whenever he saw my wife, Jamie, Dr. Beals would go out of his way to be sweet to her and encourage her and other seminary wives.
Dr. Beals was always so proud of his family. While he never would have talked to us about his accomplishments, he enjoyed telling us about his children’s accomplishments. Years later, Tim Beals became my agent. I am nearing the completion of the third book I have written with him as my agent, yet I hardly ever talk to him without thinking about his folks.
Since seminary, I have had the opportunity to be involved in many, many missions projects. By God’s grace, Dr. Beals influenced every single one of them. My heartfelt condolences go out to Mrs. Beals and the entire family. I praise the Lord for the gift of his servent, Dr. Paul Beals.
You can read more about Dr. Beals including what he was most proud of at http://www.funeralquestions.com/obits/pederson/memorial.asp?listing_id=184530