A Loyal Southern Baptist Theologian

May 29, 2012

The following tribute to Dr. Wayne Ward was recently written by James Leo Garrett, Jr., and read at Dr. Ward’s funeral. Dr. Garrett served alongside Dr. Ward as Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1959 to 1973 and is currently Distinguished Professor of Theology, Emeritus at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. More information about Dr. Ward may be found in this Baptist Press article http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37898 and in this First Person essay by Paige Patterson http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37916. We appreciate Dr. Garrett for granting SBC Today permission to publish this moving tribute.

Wayne Ward’s life was marked by loyalty and fidelity from his childhood to his final years.  He was committed to Jesus Christ as the only Son of God, his Lord and Savior, for by grace he had been saved, and to the total revelation of the triune God–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Wayne was loyal to his nation by serving in the danger-ridden Naval Aviation in the Pacific theater during World War II.  He was loyal to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a young boy he met and heard President E. Y. Mullins and accompanied his attorney father to the campus so that the father could do legal work for the seminary and brought canned goods lovingly prepared by Baptist women for students and their families during the Great Depression.  Before entering military service, Wayne first enrolled in the seminary.  As visitor, as student, as professor, and as retiree he was for eight decades–from the Mullins era to the Mohler era–loyally bound to the institution.  His doctoral dissertation, his writings, and his field of specialization, New Testament theology, demonstrated his loyalty to the Holy Scriptures.  His care for and advising of students showed him to be a dedicated mentor.  The object at times of criticism from certain colleagues, the recipient of administrative action reckoned by some as unjust, and the decliner of invitations to serve elsewhere, Dr. Ward loyally and graciously kept himself committed to the mission of the mother seminary of Southern Baptists–the equipping of called men and women for gospel ministry.

Wayne’s pastorates, interim pastorates, Holy Land tours, and service to overseas missionaries manifested his loyalty to the preached word and to the people of God, who were eager to hear him. His exemplary devotion to and care for his dear wife Mary Ann, especially during her years of deteriorating health, marked him as the loyal, self-giving husband.

For 53 years I have been blessed by his loyal friendship.  The servant has now entered into the presence and joy of his crucified and risen Lord.  Thanks be unto God!

James Leo Garrett, Jr.

May 24, 2012