Does God Exist? Loses
 a Great Friend

On February 16, 2004, we lost a great supporter and helper in our work. Dr. J. D. Thomas was the head of the Bible Department at Abilene Christian University from 1970 to 1979 and taught for 33 years at the university. Our ministry began in 1968; in 1971, I had my first contact with Dr. Thomas. He had written a book which pointed out the fact that the Bible could not be used to determine the age of the earth, and I had a flood of questions about the Hebrew and about my own understandings about what the Bible taught. Dr Thomas was kind, understanding, and complete in his teaching to me (a person he knew nothing about and who offered no potential financial gain to him or to his university as a student).

A few years later Dr. Thomas asked me to come and do a program for the students at Abilene Christian University. The program was optional, but we had a huge turnout and a great many questions and challenges. I was somewhat amazed that students at a Christian school would have that many concerns and want to challenge the kind of thing I was doing, but Dr. Thomas seemed to know that belief problems ran deep in the student body. At the end of the program, he spoke to me for a long time about how important he felt our work was.

Over the years, our work continued to grow and we had repeated contacts with Dr. Thomas. I will never forget getting a letter from a leading person in the Church of Christ that encouraged me to go to a Christian college and have someone in the Bible department teach me how to talk so that I would not offend members of the Church of Christ. I went to Dr. Thomas with this letter. He laughed and said "John, you will have to make a decision as to whether you want to bring Christ to the lost or to say what is politically correct in the churches. In my view, you do not have a decision to make. Speak to the lost."

That was a defining moment in our work, and it marked the start of a long and positive association with Dr. Thomas. Dr. Thomas was 93 years old when he died. He left behind an incredible legacy, and we will always be thankful for him, his support, his encouragement, his teaching, and the high standards he set for everyone he came in contact with. We mourn his passing, but are thankful for his life.

--John N. Clayton

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