November 18: Hudson T. Armerding

Saving the Best to the Last

armerdingThis writer was simply transferring his ordination from the Ascension Presbytery, having been called to a congregation within the bounds of Susquehanna Valley Presbytery in 1990.  Being examined on the basic distinctives of the Reformed Faith was expected and welcomed. What was not expected, especially in the field of theology, was being examined by Dr. Hudson T. Armerding, the former president of Wheaton College. Just a year before on November 18, 1989, he had been ordained by this Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America.  And while it is not usual for a person to be ordained one year, and then placed on the committee of examinations the following year, this was an exception because of the spiritual gifts and special ministries of this godly man already in the kingdom of God.

Since this writer’s father was graduated from Wheaton College in the mid twenties of last century, I  made a special point to have several conversations with this man of God. He told me that when he was the president of Wheaton College, there was a rule instituted by him that every new faculty member had to read the Systematic Theology of Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, a former Wheaton College president himself. This Reformed treatment of theology by this Presbyterian author was that important to the future teachers of the College in the mind of Dr. Armerding.

As a resident of the Quarryville Retirement Home, and later officer of that institution, Dr. Armerding was faithful to attend many quarterly meetings of the central Pennsylvania Presbytery, though as a retired minister, he wasn’t required to attend.  From this author’s standpoint, it was a joy to know him and talk about the work of the Lord.  He is now a member of the heavenly general assembly, having passed into glory on December 1, 2009.

Words to live by:  The heart of godly leadership was the theme of at least two of his books which Dr. Armerding wrote for the watching world. As a former Navy officer and college president, he observed the importance of that type of leadership in both the nation and the church. Wherever God has placed you, especially if you have oversight over the hearts and minds of others, study the traits of godly leadership. Those who are under such godly leadership, especially in our local churches, pray and obey  in the Lord such leadership, for one day they will have to give an account to the Lord God about your soul. They desire to do this with joy, and not with grief, for that will be unprofitable for you.

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