Eleven years ago, reclining on a French provincial sofa, I heard two men on television talking about the unique research of a Southern Baptist pastor in Jerusalem. Dr. Roy Blizzard and Dr. Brad Young were the two men, and the pastor about whom they spoke was Dr. Robert Lindsey. As I listened to them, a longing arose within to meet this man. Two years later I found him preaching the Kingdom of Heaven in a tent in Jerusalem, but the opportunity to study under him became a reality only in 1988. At that time, Dr. Lindsey was living in retirement in Moore, Oklahoma, and I had returned to Tulsa, Oklahoma from Israel.
For the next three years, I frequented the Lindsey home in Moore. What I discovered in that modest abode, always accompanied by his kind wife, Margaret, was a great man.
Dr. Lindsey taught me that there are two types of difficult words of Jesus: those that are difficult to understand and those that are difficult to obey. He pursued both vigorously.
As a scholar, he was a man of vision who possessed a fiercely independent mind laced with creative genius. Driven by his conviction that our perception of Jesus and understanding of his message rest upon the synoptic Gospels, Lindsey dedicated himself to studying the Greek texts. Doggedly tracking the evidence wherever it led, he broke with prevailing scholarly assumptions, and ultimately made the most important contribution of this century to synoptic scholarship.
As a pastor, dedicated husband and loving father to both his own children and orphans, Dr. Lindsey put into practice the difficult teachings of Jesus. He was a defender of the downtrodden, a man of high integrity and most unassuming. He loved God and people. His daring attempt to rescue an Arab orphan whom he and Margaret had raised was but one expression of this love. Lindsey embodied Yehudah ben Tema’s famous challenge: “Be as strong as a leopard, swift as an eagle, quick as a gazelle, and mighty as a lion to do the will of your father who is in heaven.”
Dr. Lindsey was not one whose lifetime accomplishments were buried with him. Indeed they have laid him to rest in a serene place, yet he persists as a most dynamic influence in the lives of those who knew him. This is certainly true for me. I would not be in Jerusalem today were it not for a man, a great, great man, named Robert Lisle Lindsey.
Following the death of Robert L. Lindsey on May 31, 1995, Jerusalem Perspective magazine published a memorial issue (October-December 1995, No. 49). Included in that issue were eight tributes to Lindsey written by his colleagues and students, including that of Joseph Frankovic above.
“How to Know Jesus? Follow Lindsey!” by David Flusser
“Practicing What He Preached” by Halvor Ronning
“Blessed Be the Faithful Judge!” by David Bivin
“The Jesus Who Changes People’s Lives!” by Steven Notley
“To My Teacher, Pastor and Beloved Friend” by Brad Young
“Excerpts from a Eulogy” by Ken Mullican
“Jesus at the Center” by Dwight Pryor