Bill Love, known to many gracEmail subscribers around the world, died peacefully in his bed on Friday, April 30, 2004, following about two weeks of hospitalization and hospice care at home. Bill was preaching minister at the Bering Drive Church of Christ in Houston, Texas from 1974-1996 where he was my family’s preacher and dear friend from 1982 onward. Bill suffered a stroke in 1998 that left him paralyzed on one side and unable to speak or to write. He also suffered for many years from congestive heart failure. Despite these infirmities, Bill set a valiant example of courage and faith, supported by his devoted and exemplary wife Deanna. Bill and Deanna have three grown children, Kim, Sherrie and Mark. A memorial service is planned for Monday at the Bering Drive Church.
Widely known and highly respected for his biblical preaching and for his 1992 book, The Core Gospel: On Restoring the Crux of the Matter (ACU Press), Bill was one of the princes of preaching in the 20th-century American church. His profound sermons regularly focused on the cross of Christ and the foundational spiritual certainties that it signifies for believers. His illustrations reflected an intimate acquaintance with the masterpieces of literature worldwide. Irenic in spirit and gentle in manner, Bill conscientiously avoided unnecessary controversy in pursuit of peace and edification. Bill’s formal training included B.A. and M.A. degrees from Abilene Christian University, a divinity degree from the University of Winnipeg, Canada and a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University. His greatest education, however, came from godly parents, a full family life, decades of spiritual ministry and daily periods of personal Bible reading and prayer.
The following excerpt from Bill’s writing provides a clear window into his soul and reflects the heart of his message and ministry: “Nothing is so liberating as the sure knowledge that we are right with God, that we are secure in his love for eternity. Our faith, like our works and our knowledge, is always imperfect. The love of God at Golgotha is strong, steady and forever sufficient. While our faith, hope and love wax and wane, the cross is eternal, solid and forever. There will never be a time when Jesus has not died for you and me. . . . How desperately we need to believe that we are truly justified in the cross of Christ! An elderly Christian woman on her deathbed was terrified and said, ‘I just don’t know, I don’t know if I’ve done enough!’ [Indeed] she had not done enough. Could she have done enough Jesus need never have come. But Jesus had done more than enough and she had already accepted his gift. Despite her fears she was justified in the blood of Christ and safe with God for eternity.”
For now we say to Bill: “Sleep safely in Jesus, dear brother. We’ll see you in the Morning.”