Dr. Stanley Toussaint: A Humble, Spiritual Giant and Hero of the Faith
The humble, spiritual giant from Hinckley, Minnesota, who touched the lives of many, taught and preached the Scriptures, and loved well, is home—with his Lord and Savior. Dr. Stanley Toussaint, our beloved senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition who loved to teach Hebrews and Revelation is now with his Lord and Savior.
Watch the memorial service dedicated to Dr. Stanley Toussaint. The service took place on 9/9/2017 at Stonebriar Community Church. The message was given by Chuck Swindoll.
After retiring from teaching in 2012, Dr. Toussaint continued to do the work he loved. He served as an adjunct professor, teaching and mentoring his students, and staying active in his home church, Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. He seldom let anything stop him from completing what God had set before him.
In December 2016, he suffered a stroke. Struggling to speak, Dr. Toussaint still managed to encourage those who prayed and visited him. Dr. Stephen Bramer (PhD, 1997) wrote, “His eyes did all the talking I needed. His eyes just twinkled. He was always an encouragement, always gracious, always faithful.”
A Walk with God
Dr. Toussaint was born in a little Holland community in southwestern Minnesota near Willmar, in Kandiyohi County. After several moves, his father bought a hardware store in Hinckley. They stayed there, and that’s where he called home. At nine years old, he trusted Christ as Savior at a Bible camp. And by the age of twelve, Toussaint chose to commit his life to full-time ministry. In high-school, he shared the decision with his father, who wanted him to take over the business. “When I told him, I know he was disappointed, but he didn’t say one word about it,” Dr. Toussaint recalled.
When he met his wife, Maxine, Dr. Toussaint was attending Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Augsburg was a relatively evangelical school, but according to Dr. Toussaint, it didn’t teach enough Bible. “I was not getting that much Bible. Without matriculating any credits, I went to Northwestern Bible School, which was also in Minneapolis, and that’s where I met my wife. We were on a practical work assignment. I didn’t even know she was in the class, it was a large class, and that’s where I met her. One week after that I asked her for a date; it was February 13, 1948.” He married her two years later on June 30, 1950.
Having received his bachelor’s degree, Dr. Toussaint decided to attend seminary. He had heard about DTS through several Dallas men who had impacted his life. One of those men was Charles Hoffmeister (ThM, 1940), who pastored his home church and taught him the Bible. Al Martin (ThM, 1943; ThD, 1951), Stan Wick (ThM, 1940), and Paul Waite (ThM, 1946)—all pastored near his hometown. Dr. Toussaint recalled, “These men [were] great pastors; they [had] totally different personalities, but they impacted me greatly. I think the Lord used that to influence my heart to come to Dallas Seminary.”
Alongside Heroes of Faith
Dr. Toussaint first arrived at DTS in 1951, where he was taught and mentored by some of the greatest heroes of the faith. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, Jr. (ThM, 1946; ThD, 1949) served as the chairman of the New Testament department. In those days, not many folks used the word “mentor.” Dr. Johnson, however, made sure he allowed time for his students. “I spent a lot of time with [Dr. Johnson], so he had a profound impact on me, both in the classroom and in ministry. I learned to preach from him. He was a classic expository preacher. He would preach Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, and I just used him as a model.”
Then, of course, there was Dr. John F. Walvoord (ThB, 1934; ThM, 1934; ThD, 1936), the president of the seminary at that time. Dr. Toussaint described him as a master at answering questions. “He’d go over a subject and then we’d have a question and answer time. He would just [respond to] the questions precisely, right on target. He could hit the issues.”
Dr. Toussaint sat under Dr. Howard Hendricks (ThM, 1950) when he taught Bible Study Methods for the first time. “This class taught me that I could study the scriptures on my own.” Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (ThM, 1947; ThD, 1949) came on the faculty while Toussaint was a student. “He was a master at distilling huge thoughts into a few lines. He could summarize and synthesize materials beautifully and make it simple.”
Although these men left a huge impression, nothing had prepared him for Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, the founder of DTS. The first thing Dr. Toussaint remembers about him was how small and very old he was. “I felt privileged to sit under him the last year of his life. [In class] there were still sparks of genius in communicating the truth. [Dr. Chafer] was a phrasemaker. He would teach from one of the volumes of his [Systematic] Theology. You could tell he’d go down the page, his eyes would light up, and then he would teach. He would just kind of fade away, then pick up another pearl. But he had sayings like ‘God is satisfied.’ I’ll never forget that. Three times over he said, ‘God is satisfied. Men, God is satisfied. Men, God is satisfied.’ I went out of that class saying God’s satisfied, and I don’t have to satisfy Him.”
Teaching, Parrot Jokes, and Illustrations
Dr. Toussaint earned his ThM in 1955 and ThD in 1957 and left Dallas to teach at Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he taught Greek, theology, and Bible. He also taught on a radio program called Good News Commentary, which aired five days a week on three radio stations (Iowa; Minneapolis; and Fargo, North Dakota).
In 1960, Dr. Toussaint returned to Dallas after DTS invited him to teach. “In my wildest imaginations, I never thought I’d be on the faculty at Dallas Seminary. It was a high privilege, and I was very thankful to have the honor of teaching [here].” Except for two brief absences, Dr. Toussaint taught at DTS until 2012. His legacy extends over generations. Samuel Tan (ThM, 2014) wrote, “Dr. Toussaint began a mentorship with my father, Paul, (ThM, 1966) during his time at DTS and this discipleship has carried on with the rest of my family—my mother, Helen (MABS, 2000); my sister, Christine (ThM, 2002; PhD, 2010); my brother, Stephen (ThM, 2005; DMin, 2016); my wife, Kimmy (MACE, 2014); and me. My father’s emphasis in eschatology solidified under Dr. Toussaint’s teaching and mentoring.”
Dr. Toussaint loved to see and hear from all his students whom God continues to use all over the world. “I just praise God,” he said in an interview announcing his retirement in 2012. Many of his students still remember his jokes and his methods to make learning easier. Dr. Toussaint explained, “Sometimes the classes are long—an hour and fifteen minutes. And you need to have a break, and so I’d say, ‘We need a break, let’s have a parrot joke.’ Of course, the students would always wait for that parrot joke. Sometimes I would run out of parrot jokes in one semester and just tell some other joke, but they would always enjoy the joke time.” He was right. Dr. Wayne Braudrick (MABS, 1994) wrote, “I will never forget the parrot jokes, illustrations on napkins that made theology clearer, and the years he shared the pulpit with Mark Bailey and me."
Teaching Truth, Loving Well
In addition to teaching, Dr. Toussaint expounded the Word through writing, having authored, contributed to, or edited six books. His Bibliotheca Sacra contributions published more than twenty-five scholarly articles. His greatest passion in ministry, however, has been the exposition of the Scriptures, both in the pulpit and the classroom. “The section I loved to teach most was a survey of Hebrews to Revelation. When I first took that course, I was totally intimidated by it. I was afraid of Revelation and the book of Hebrews. But both those books, especially Hebrews, became such a blessing to me and it ended up being one of my favorite books to teach.”
Many students recall that when Dr. Toussaint spoke, two emphases came through time and time again; the Word of God and the grace of God. He wanted students to come through DTS to learn God’s Word and embrace God’s grace. Dr. Toussaint once shared, “What an impact it [God’s grace] has on lives, in our relationship with God, our view of ourselves, and in our relationship with people. I hope [students] don’t miss a love for the Word of God. Not just academic, but a passion for getting into [Scripture] and understanding what it’s saying. That’s life-transforming.”
Undoubtedly God’s grace and the Scriptures were transforming in Dr. Toussaint’s life and in the lives of the students whom he taught. Samuel Tan explained it the best: “What always stood out to us all was the grace and love [Dr. Toussaint] always and consistently exhibited. His personal love and concern…seemed to be in the forefront of his mind. His renown is global, yet his genuine care was special. The joy he demonstrated, the kindness he extended to my family and me, the command of the Scripture as he taught and preached, the wisdom he poured to each of us, all this only exemplifies his love for his Lord and Savior and the intimate relationship he has with God. This is the experience I had to be in the presence of such a humble, spiritual giant as Dr. Toussaint.”
The man from Hinckley, Minnesota, where “the men are men, pansies are flowers, and the women are slightly above average” has gone to a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Indeed, God is satisfied, Dr. Toussaint; God is satisfied.
- DTS released a free course featuring Dr. Toussaint teaching through the book of Revelation.
- Dr. Toussaint wrote several articles for DTS's academic journal Bibliotheca Sacra including one entitled "No, Not Yet – The Contingency of God's Promised Kingdom" written in 2007.
- You can view the archive of Dr. Toussaint's writing and speaking at DTS here: Stanley Toussaint