My hero: Dr R Hollis Gause

More than 25 years ago I encountered a brilliant man who would let me "bite off more than I could chew" academically-speaking. He could give a 'fill-in-the-blank' exam that would make a "preacher cuss..." (well, that was a saying when I was growing up...LOL)...

After passing at least four of his courses (Revelation, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans and Galatians, and I can't remember the last one...but it was a book study), I knew that Dr R Hollis Gause would be a 'distant' memory for me...even though his scholarly abilities and all-around superior intelligence was incomparable. This was 1985...and I thought I knew it all....

In 1996, after ten years in the United States Air Force, I sensed the LORD leading me back to Cleveland, Tennessee where I would enter the Church of God School of Theology (which would become the Church of God Theological Seminary, and has recently renamed itself the Pentecostal Theological Seminary...) One of the first people I would see would be this "giant" of a man, Doctor Gause. His humor, his kindness, and his brilliance had, by and large, remained untainted by either time or circumstances.

Now that I was somewhat older (and wiser), I was anxious and excited to get into one of Dr Gause's classes...and drink deeply from all that he would teach me.

But the most important lessons I would learn from this precious man would be outside of the academic classroom, and more in the auditorium of life. I watched him care for his completely bedridden wife, Sister Beaulah Gause, as she withered away from the plague of Alzheimer's disease. He cared for her continually, and rarely left her side for anything more than his professional responsibilities at the Seminary. He demonstrated the absolute LOVE OF CHRIST where all of us could see it, and see what it should look like in every day life.

I'll always remember Holy Week, 1997. I was working the night shift at Bradley Memorial Hospital....I received a call that my favorite aunt had just passed on to heaven. I had just talked with her the day before on the phone. I was devastated. I called Brother Gause...and this sweet, kind man prayed for me...over the telephone, and was just the "face of Jesus" for me in this terrible shock.

Every time I have "an issue" that I need wisdom, clarity, and truth spoken into my being, I know that I can call two people. Dr R Hollis Gause is one of those two people. He is such a father to me in so many ways. My heart is always enriched every time I hear his voice, and my walk with Christ is always encouraged with his wisdom and kindness. He has been BEYOND GENEROUS to me in so many ways.....with his time, his love, his wisdom, and with himself.

He is a supreme treasure in my life. He is everything I want to be when I grow "older": A sweet, kind, loving man who is the "face of Jesus" to many who encounter him. He is my hero!

5 comments:

Michael said...

I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with him a couple of months ago. I'm a young preacher who has ministered as Evangelist and a Pastor and he sat with me for 2 hours answering questions. I can say his view point has changed much for me, I believe it is a much needed correction to all the dispensational theology that runs through Pentecostal circles today. I can honestly say that if I live to be 90 I will never forget that day. He seems like a very special and genuine man.

Brother Ken said...

I have never personally met Dr. Gause but I have read and reread his "Living in the Spirit: The Way of Salvation" numerous times. I always gain more each time I dig into this important work.

I have had the pleasure of corresponding with him via email and hope to make the trip to Cleveland, TN to finally meet him soon. Apart from all of the wonderful things I have heard about him from several friends who know him well, I am impressed by his ability to move back and forth between biblical theology and systematic theology.

In most scholars today, biblical studies and theological ones are seen as competing systems that strangely are odds with each other. Dr. Gause has an ability, rarely seen these days, to integrate the kinds of knowledge that comprise theological education into a singular conversation. Not only is he competent in both areas, his ability to relate them to each other and more importantly his ability to explain complex issues in accesible language makes him a very valuable asset to the body of Christ.

Since I am studying theology in my 40's, I hope to live as long he has lived so I can do in my 50-70's what most theologians do between 35-65. Dr. R. Hollis Gause is a model for me, in fact he his the model! Like the Patristic theologians of the early church who wedded all of their intellectual concerns to the actual needs of the church, Dr. Gause intentionally restricts his attention to addressing issues in scripture and theology that have significance for actual Christian practice. We should all learn from his example to stop studying theology in order to develop speculative systems which display our intellectual aptitude but have no bearing on spiritual things.

Ben Johns said...

I attend the same church as Dr. Gause. Knowing him outside of the seminary setting also proves him to be very kind, gentle, wise...

I love hearing him speak, and shaking his hand as we "pass the peace". I should definitely get to know him better!

Only recently did I discover him to be such a "giant"! I plan to read his writings, as soon as I can get copies.

The Lord blesses this man, and he receives it well. To Him be the glory!

Phil Hoover said...

Brother Gause went to Heaven last Sunday evening, September 6, 2015.

Brad Asbury said...

I was at Lee between '84 and '87. I sat in the front row of Dr. Gause's I & II Corinthians class in '86. All I can say is my mouth is still open!

What a knowledgeable and wise man he was!! He changed my life as well!!!