By Keith Collier, SWBTS Communications
FORT WORTH, Texas – Faculty, former students, denominational leaders, and pastors from across the nation joined Sept. 14 with the family of Roy Fish to celebrate the life of the distinguished professor of evangelism emeritus at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Fish, 82, passed away peacefully the morning of Sept. 10. The memorial service was held on the seminary’s campus.
“Without hyperbole, I can truthfully say I never met a man greater than Roy Fish,” said Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church near Memphis, Tenn., in his eulogy. Gaines served as Fish’s grader for seven years while earning a master’s and doctorate from Southwestern.
“He loved all the right things in the right way. He loved Jesus first; he loved his family second; he loved his ministry after that. He loved students, he loved this school, and he loved the Southern Baptist Convention. He turned down job positions where he could make more money than he made as a seminary professor, but the wealth he turned down is not worthy to be compared to the riches he poured into students decade after decade. Nor is it comparable to millions who’ve heard the Gospel because of him training thousands of preachers. He was where he was supposed to be; he belonged at Southwestern.”
Roy Fish’s son, Steve, delivered the message. He spoke of growing up in the Fish household with a dad who was a man of prayer and a passionate evangelist. Steve recalled numerous times when his father would share the Gospel with neighbors, strangers, waitresses, and people they met on family vacations.
“This man was not sharing the Gospel because it was his job; it wasn’t his profession,” Steve Fish said of his father. “It wasn’t something he wanted to leave behind on vacation. It was his passion. It was his life. It was his very breath.”
“The legacy that Roy Fish carried did not go with him to the grave,” Steve said in reference to the Gospel. “That legacy is in this room right now. That legacy has been imparted to us, that something amazingly precious has been imparted to us through this man. No amount of money can buy the spiritual things that have been entrusted to us.
“We are not here this morning to simply honor and remember the life of a man, but we are here before the Lord to take up that legacy. We are here to respond afresh to heaven’s call.”
Roy Fish served Southwestern for nearly 50 years and once occupied the L. R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism – “The Chair of Fire.” Preaching in churches around the world, his name has become synonymous with “evangelism” throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.