Abilene Christian College - Prickly Pear Yearbook (Abilene, TX)

 - Class of 1982

Page 219 of 424


Abilene Christian College - Prickly Pear Yearbook (Abilene, TX) online yearbook collection, 1982 Edition, Page 219
Page 219

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atsell arrett axter "There was no other preacher among the Churches of Christ who was so widely known and so beloved," Dr. B. J. Humble, chairman of the ACU Bible department said of Dr. Batsell Barrett Baxter. "His roots were in Abilene, but his influence stretched around the world, a world that is better because of his life." Baxter, known worldwide as a minister, professor and speaker for the Herald of Truth radio and television broadcast ministry, died March 31, 1982, after a lengthy battle with abdominal cancer. "Our loss is immensef' said Joe R. Barnett, director of the Pathways Ministry in Lubbock and a fellow worker for the Herald of Truth. However, Baxter's death reinforced many people's beliefs that his life made this world better. Positive effects he had on ACU were proven when he was named an Outstand- ing Alumnus in 1961 and awarded an honorary doctorate in 1979. Again during Chapel April 1, 1982, ACU paid a memorial tribute to Baxter, who attended Abilene Christian Schools from elementary school through college, except for two years at David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tenn. Baxter was born in Cordell, Okla., Sept. 23, 1916, but spent most of his childhood in Abilene where his father, Batsell Bax- ter, served from 1924-32 as the sixth presi- dent of ACU. He earned a B.A. degree from ACU in 1937. Then in December 1938 he married Wanda Roberts in Taft, Texas. They moved to California, and Baxter com- pleted his M.A. degree in 1938 and his Ph.D. in 1944 at the University of Southern California. While at USC Baxter taught speech at Pepperdine University. After completing his doctorate he joined the faculty at David Lipscomb College as a professor of speech and Bible, eventually becoming the This page: Batsell Barrett Baxter, ad- dresses a crowd of more than 5,000 at a citywide worship service in Moody Col- iseum. The service, traditionally in late August, allowed students to become ac- quainted with Abilene area congregations. head of the speech department. In 1956 he resigned to become head of the Bible department, a position he filled until his death. Baxter served as a minister for several congregations, including 25 years with the Hillsboro Church of Christ in Nashville. In 1960 he joined the Abilene-based Herald of Truth, which was overseen by the elders of the Highland Church of Christ. He also worked on the editorial staffs of 20th Century Christian, Gospel Advocate and Upreach Magazine and wrote several books. "With a great mind and a great heart he has represented the very best among us as preacher, teacher and writer," Dr. John C. Stevens, chancellor of ACU, said during the April memorial service. Through all the years of his preaching, teaching and writing Baxter had touched many people's lives. One life in particular that Baxter touched because of their common illnesses of cancer was that of Randy Becton, founder of the Cancer Caring Ministry and program coordinator for the Herald of Truth. Becton said, "He had an uncommon sense of caring for one individual, which in my way of thinking, gave him the right to speak to the masses about Jesus Christ." "I think he had no real sense of his own greatness. He was unassuming. He's the only man I know who could chew a hot dog with you at a baseball game and be perfectly at home," said Becton. "He just loved the ordinary things. I just loved himf' The people who knew Baxter well spoke of his gentleness and kindness. "I knew Batsell first as one of my teachers at David Lipscomb College 34 years ago, and in more recent years was privileged to work with him," said Dr. Harold Hazelip, dean of the Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, Tenn., and co-worker with Baxter for the Herald of Truth. "Kindness and gentleness were qualities he never failed to radiate to others." "Even when he was physically ex- hausted, when he was overextending himself for others, he exuded a spirit of kindness. This always impresses peoplef' And Landon Saunders, creator and director of Heartbeat, a radio and personal contact outreach ministry, said, "In terms of the history of our people and their walk in the world, his walk through our lives was like the walk of a giant. And yet his walk was a walk of great gentleness." 'iWhen I've sung the hymn 'My God and I go in the fields together, we walk and talk as good friends should and do,' and wasn't quite sure of my own walk, I was always sure of Batsellf' Mrs. Buna Rickner, a retired teacher from Taylor Elementary School, was one of Baxterls classmates at ACC, a student of his father and a friend of his family. She remembered a story about Baxter's mother: "She had been married for awhile and had not been able to have children. She prayed and prayed and prayed to God for a child and told Him if He would give her a child, she would dedicate him to service for God. Batsell Baxter tried to fulfill that goal. From the time I knew him he was a dedicated Christian." Barnett summarized the feelings of love and loss for Baxter when he said, "He was a gracious man who loved God, and his fellow man, and spent his entire life seek- ing to bring them together." "The world is so much better because he was here." Batsell Barrett Baxter 215

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