As he lay sick, John Donne wrote: "From the bells of the church adjoining, I am daily remembered of my burial in the funerals of others." Listening to those bells, Donne contemplated the deaths of others who, because they were baptized, were engrafted into the body of which he was a member.
I don't hear church bells from where I sit, but I get letters, faxes, e-mail messages, and press releases tolling the deaths of influential Christians: ministry leaders, teachers, pastors, writers, singers, and beloved parents and spouses.
Some of these make a mark big enough to merit an item in our news columns. In this issue, we note a university professor and three ministry founders. We give more extended comment to the passing of singer Johnny Cash, who like John Donne contemplated death. In "Johnny Cash's Song of Redemption", Ted Olsen tells how Johnny Cash witnessed his older brother's gruesome death from a table-saw accident. Jack Cash said he heard the angels singing, and Johnny responded by turning his life over to Christ.
Others who make huge contributions to the kingdom do not make a name for themselves. They rarely get noted in these pages, but their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life and on the hearts of the many they have influenced for good.
In the days before we completed this issue, CHRISTIANITY TODAY received e-mail messages from professor David Howard Jr. of Bethel Seminary about his mother's unexpected death, and from former Columbia International University president Robertson McQuilken about the end of his wife's long decline.
Since our last issue, we've mourned the death of one of our vital behind-the-scenes people here at CT: Dave Hemstreet, vice-president for financial operations, was struck down at age ...1
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