The Lasting Legacy of Howard Hendricks
Our beloved Dr. Howard G. “Prof” Hendricks went to be with the Lord early on February 20. Prof directly or indirectly touched millions of lives in the evangelical community and beyond. For more than sixty years he served on the faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary, where he taught more than thirteen thousand students. He also ministered in person in more than eighty countries. Through speaking engagements, radio, tapes, films, the numerous books he authored and coauthored, countless journal and popular-market articles, his service on numerous boards, and his work as a chaplain to the Dallas Cowboys (1976–1984), his reach was and is worldwide. His legacy, in partnership with Jeanne, his wife of more than sixty-six years, includes four children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
“He never desired prominence, and he detested administrative detail. He just loved people, especially his students. The flower has faded, but the power of the Word lives on.”
In speaking about the difference between celebrity and legacy five years ago, Prof told The Dallas Connection, “I do not think that celebrity is in any way Christian. Celebrity is something that is attached to you by people. A legacy is something that God produces in your life. He uses you, but you’re not the center of the activity. When you are talking about a person who leaves a legacy, no one can ever question the impact of it. He or she may not know the true impact. But God does. And it remains permanently.”
Prof spent his life, which included more than 1,400 speaking engagements outside of his thousands of hours in the classroom, leaving a God-produced legacy of discipleship. Ten years ago he told The Dallas Morning News, “You’re looking at a completely fulfilled human being. If I died today having produced some of the people God has given me the privilege of shaping, it will have been worth showing up on the planet.”
In the words of Prof’s wife, Jeanne, “He was born into a fractured family in Philadelphia, and as a young boy, he floundered. Then a small, nondescript neighborhood church reached out to a little boy shooting marbles on his front sidewalk. He found an anchor for his soul, and leadership skills soon blossomed. He organized a jazz band, playing drums. He quickly rose to prominence in the national youth group, Christian Endeavor. At Wheaton College he was senior class president, and then he intersected the ministry of Lewis Sperry Chafer at Dallas Seminary.
“Never before had he truly been confronted with the enormity of God’s grace. The impact propelled him into a passion for exploring what the Bible really says about marriage, home, and ministry. Coming from tough German roots, he worked tirelessly and with an eye to perfection in everything…. His overwhelming desire was to be a conduit to convey to as many as possible the power of God’s Word,” Jeanne commented.
“It is my prayer,” she continued, “that you might catch the baton from him and run the race until our Lord returns. May you find deep peace and renewed inspiration as we share together, not HGH, but the thrill of what God can do with an ordinary little boy.”
For more on the life, ministry, and sayings of Dr. Hendricks, visit the DTS tribute page: