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Monday, October 27, 2008

A good man

A former colleague of mine, Herbert Dongell, is to be buried today. The Greenville News obituary gives some of his academic accomplishments, and lists churches that he pastored, along with other details of his life.

Herb didn't leave a large on-line footprint. He didn't have a radio or TV ministry. He never got rich. But he was a good man. I suppose that his family, who knew him best, were sometimes annoyed by habits and characteristics that the rest of us knew nothing about. Perhaps his students saw weaknesses or tendencies that I never did. I did know that there were some aspects of his job, or of being a pastor, or on a committee, that he liked, and did well at, and others that he didn't like so much. But, to me, and, I think, to most of us who saw him as a colleague and friend, or as a pastor, or teacher, he was a humble, good, godly, holy man, who happened to also be intelligent and articulate. I think of Romans 2:7, which says that some people seek a heavenly reward by "patience in well-doing" (ESV). That was Herbert Dongell. He showed us that it is possible to live a godly life.

Did he achieve an eternal reward because he was good? Of course not. The passage doesn't say that people get an eternal reward because they patiently do well. It says that they show evidence of seeking it by behaving that way. Herbert Dongell's reward is because he believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as paying for his sins. Christ paid for that reward. Herbert Dongell couldn't.

God's best to his family and friends, now and in the days to come.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

Prof. Dongell was a good man. I have vivid memories of sitting in his OT class. His drawing a map of Israel backward, behind his head while teaching. I also remember his quote in Greek class "He who endureth to the end, shall be saved".

I am sure he "fought the good fight" and is now enjoying being in the presence of his Savior.

He will be missed.

Dave Hansen
CWC class of 1991

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, Dave. I never was in his classes, of course.