February 4: Robert Dick Wilson [1856-1930]

Remembrances of Robert Dick Wilson
by David T. Myers

We have written before in these posts of Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, who was born on this day, February 4, in 1856, (see February 2014 and October 11, 2016), but there is enough in the life and ministry of this Christian scholar at both Princeton Seminary and Westminster Seminary to write many more posts on him. This author has the inestimable privilege of being the youngest son of my father, the Rev David K. Myers, who studied under Dr. Wilson at Princeton Seminary in the years of 1927 – 1929. Read carefully the following description of Dr. Wilson, taken from my father’s autobiography on page 72 – 73, entitled “Preaching on the Plains.”

“It was a feast to attend Dr. Wilson’s classes in Old Testament Introduction. He was a favorite with the students. When he would arrive at the door of the classroom, all the students would be sitting down. But often, one of the students would be on the alert as a ‘lookout’ to see when he would approach the door. He was usually just slightly late. But by this time, the students would be cheering, whistling and clapping with all their might so that his arrival would be a great to-do.

“His teaching style was unique. He would teach like an evangelist, as indeed he was when a young man in his native western Pennsylvania. His subject was ever the demonstrable historicity and truth of the Bible. He would weave back and forth, or from side to side on the platform, or walk up and down the aisle, pat students on the side of the head, speak confidentially to them. They all loved him earnestly. His purpose: to vanquish the opponents of God’s Word, and show how silly they were. For example, he might shout, ‘Driver’ (the late critic of Oxford University). ‘Who is Driver?’ Then he’d whisper in a hushed tone, confidentially, ‘Driver is dead!’

“Dr Wilson said he was unable to keep to his life program of reserving the last fifteen years simply to give his results to the world, for he said that the critics changed their positions so often, he had to keep researching the evidence to answer them!

“Our class in Advanced Hebrew met in his study. It was different! Piles of ear-marked books were on the floor. One had to wend his way carefully between piles of research. A most handy way of study, I was told. He remarked at one time his wife tidied up his study and destroyed six months of research at hand.”

Then my father, now with the Lord, summed up his paragraph by writing, “Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, scholar, linguist, and defender of the faith.” And he was all that!

Words to Live By:
In Jude 3, 4, the inspired writer commands all of God’s people to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (NASB)


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