Dr. Larry J. Waters, DTS graduate, professor of Bible Exposition, Editor-in-Chief for “Bibliotheca Sacra,” author, beloved friend, devoted husband, father of two, grandfather to five, and spiritual mentor to many passed away this morning, Tuesday, August 7, 2018, after suffering a stroke. Although we trust that his joy abounds in the presence of the Lord Jesus he loved so much, our loss is great.
Arrangements for Dr. Water’s memorial service will be forthcoming from the family.
Memories of Dr. Waters
Dr. Mark L. Bailey, current president of DTS:
Dr. Waters developed a global reputation as a scholar on the theology of suffering and the Book of Job. His academic acumen was surpassed only by a pastoral care shaped by his own suffering. He ministered to those around him, especially his students, by sharing in their trials through prayer and presence, as well as modeling a deep reliance on the all-powerful God who warrants our trust and adoration.
Bible Exposition professor, Dr. Elliott Johnson:
I met Larry and Mary in the Philippines while they were establishing a number of churches. I came to appreciate their pastoral gifts. When they returned to attend DTS we were blessed to have him share those gifts teaching with us in our task in BE. As a colleague, I appreciated his gracious spirit. As a father, it was great to share in his daughters’s spiritual ministry. As a grandfather, he loved to share about his grandchildren. As a husband, he loved Mary, and provided us all an example.
Bible Exposition professor, Dr. Ron Allen:
When I think of Larry, several words come to mind. These are a few: kind, humble, loving, compassionate. Another set of words include grit, determination, endurance, pain.
Larry loved being a prof at Dallas Seminary, but he also loved the people he and Mary ministered among for years in the Philippines. Larry was a life-long learner. He said to me just recently that he would like to audit a course with me again. Larry loved Mary and their daughters Dee and Dawn. And don’t get me going on the grandchildren.
Larry’s life has been one ridden with pain and suffering. His cluster head pain syndrome was truly wretched. More recently he has had other serious health issues that were so difficult. His own pain and suffering history became a catalyst in the development of his course on the theology of pain and suffering and to a partnership with Joni and Friends.
Associate editor, Bibliotheca Sacra, Dorian G. Coover-Cox:
In hundreds of mostly short emails written during his five years as lead editor of Bibliotheca Sacra, plus occasional meetings and conversations, Dr. Larry Waters showed himself to be the quintessential team player, always thoughtful and appreciative. Sometimes, if I asked, he would tell me the number of days in a row that he had been without an excruciating headache. If he thought he had been mistaken or impatient, an apology was quick to come. It has been a privilege to see his faithful love for his immediate and extended families here and in Asia as it has shone with countless brilliant rays.
From Matt DeMoss, production editor of Bib Sac:
Larry had a pastor’s heart, so it was a pleasure working with him these last few years. I don’t think we ever met without him asking me about my family and telling me he was praying for me. There was a fragility, a vulnerability, to Larry; he was aware of life’s pain and sorrow. And I think this equipped him to minister to hurting people. He was always looking for ways to encourage and lift others up.
Life and Ministry
Dr. Waters was involved in all areas of missionary work, including evangelism, preaching, teaching, church planting, and training church and Christian leaders. Along with his beloved wife, Mary, he faithfully served as a missionary in the Philippines for twenty-six years. Were it not for Dr. Water’s persistent and debilitating headaches, the Waters would have continued their service overseas. Instead, they returned to the US to serve in a different capacity—in the ministry of suffering to those in the DTS community.
At DTS his ministry was deeply involved in training and developing students toward a deeper knowledge of God’s Word through their seminary education. His aim as a professor, he wrote, “was to develop spiritual leaders and ministry skills among God’s people so that God’s commission (Matt 28:19–20) may be carried out.” Dr. Waters was passionately committed to teaching the Bible and practical ministry skills, influencing his students through teaching, equipping, and illustrating the relevance of the gospel. One student wrote, “No professor impacted my life like he did. He took personal interest in my well-being, not just spiritually, but emotionally as well.” Dr. Waters aspiration was to influence and mobilize others for the service of the Lord.
Teaching, Writing, and Legacy
The Five Solas of the Reformation (Chapel)
The Warfare of Suffering (Chapel)
Defining the Missio Dei (Chapel)