Note: Warren Wilcox was a professor at Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver since Sept., 1966. He passed away Sunday morning at 4:15 a.m.

Sadness & Joy: A Tribute to Warren Wilcox

by Denny Petrillo

I’m still in a state of shock, and in disbelief that my long time friend, mentor, teacher and co-worker, Warren Wilcox, is gone.  I suspect it will take some time to move on from this, and there will always be remnants of this loss in my mind and heart.  His departure brings both sadness and joy.

I’m sad because

–you will not get to know the man.  To see his work ethic was an inspiration and an example worth emulating.  His love for the Word was something that drove him to spend countless hours and late nights studying it.  He was one of the best song-leaders I have ever seen.  He was blessed with a great voice, but also had the ability to direct congregations in singing.  He was always concerned that we would get so caught up in the music itself, the beat, the speed, that one might forget the main purpose.  Therefore he always said, before the first song, “Let’s worship together.”  He tried hard to get our minds focused on the reason we were singing.

–you will not get to sit at the foot of one of the truly great teachers of our age.  Warren wasn’t just good at teaching.  He excelled, making teaching a craft that deserves the accolades given to a master craftsman.  His skill in the classroom was a rare combination of enthusiasm for the subject, genuine interest in the student and a passion for the Word.  I’ve often said that I was able to attend Bear Valley when, like today, it had great men as teachers.  I sat at the feet of Roy Lanier, Sr., Roy Lanier, Jr., W.S. Boyette, Avon Malone, Norman Gipson, Monroe Tharp.  These men were great teachers, but to me Warren surpassed them all.

–you’ll not get to learn from one of the great minds of our age in the area of Christian Evidences.  Warren was so gifted in this subject that he could, probably literally, travel the globe full-time teaching this subject.

–because you’ll not be able to see one who loved this school like no other.  It is rare these days that one stays at a work even 10 years. Twenty years is even rarer.  But when one stays 43 years it shows a commitment, a love for a work that has few equals.  Warren served in just about every capacity available: Director (for 6 years), Academic Dean (at least 20 years), Lectureship Director (over 30 years),  editor of the school paper “Uplift” (over 30 years), Dean of Alumni Relations, and of course, full-time instructor.  We went on many trips together, representing the school.  This was what he wanted to talk about the most.  He was always thinking of ways we could do things better.  This work was truly his passion.

I’m happy because

–we can see a legacy that is worthy of emulation.  We can emulate a work ethic for the Lord’s kingdom that carried Warren past normal retirement years.  We can emulate a life that was truly spent doing the Lord’s work, serving the Lord’s church in so many different capacities.

–Warren had the foresight to record on DVD his material on Christian Evidences, Hebrews, Church Growth and Tips for Teachers.  This will enable you, and countless others, to benefit from this master teacher.  I received an email last week from a man in Florida.  He asked how to get in touch with Warren Wilcox.  I told him about Warren’s illness and that he would not be able to respond.  He told me that he didn’t know Warren personally, but had just finished listening to Warren’s material on Christian Evidences.  He was so impressed, and benefited so much, that he just wanted to say thanks to this man he had never met.  I’m happy because Warren will continue to touch many lives this way.

–we know that one can stay faithful to the truth.  Warren was so very committed to the truth that it was an obsession of his.  He frequently discussed ways that we could combat the liberal movements among us.  In his years in the Lord’s church, you could always count on Warren to be faithful to the Book.  Warren was a rock, doctrinally.  He never was blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine.  He knew the Bible too well to be swayed by these winds of change.

–we know that one can be faithful until the end.  Warren’s life is a life of victory.  It is a testimony that one can make it.  He had obstacles in his life that few know about.  But Warren moved on, keeping his focus on the main goal of eternal life.

Published in Neal Pollard’s “Daily Bread,” and used with permission.