In the early hours of Friday, August 3, 2018, Robert P. Lightner (ThM, 1959; ThD, 1964) went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He served as professor of Dallas Theological Seminary for 47 years, author, beloved friend, devoted husband, father of three, grandfather to fifteen, grandfather-in-law to seven, a great-grandfather to four, and mentor to many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
A memorial service celebrating Dr. Lightner’s life is scheduled for Saturday, August 25, 2018, at 4:00 PM at Lake Ridge Bible Church, Mesquite, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family wishes donations be made to Camino Global in honor of Dr. Lightner.
Memories of Dr. Lightner
Upon hearing of his passing, Dr. Mark L. Bailey, current president of DTS, wrote of Dr. Lightner:
Dr. Lightner was a clear thinking theologian. I knew him to be nothing less than faithful, principled, and a steady defender of biblical truth. He well deserves his eternal rewards.
Friend and fellow professor in the Theological Studies department, Dr. Scott Horrell wrote:
No one can doubt that Dr. Robert Lightner loved the word of God and the simple, sound doctrine that it sets forth. He lived for this and sought to tell the truth in plain ways that all could understand. He was an encouraging colleague, a generous friend. Ruth and I thank God for Bob, and his wife, Pearl.
The Life and Ministry of Dr. Lightner
In 1998, the Threshing Floor, the DTS student paper at the time, recounted Dr. Lightner’s journey in a profile called, “Lightner: Finishing Strong.” In it, Dr. Lightner gave an account of why he came to study at DTS. “When I went to Bible college, the dean was a graduate of [DTS], Dr. John R. Dunkin.” Dr. Dunkin (ThM, 1945; ThD, 1950) became one of the most significant influences in Dr. Lightner’s life.
Dr. Lightner later said, “I had high expectations of course, and they were all met when I came [to DTS]. [Dr. Dunkin] stressed the conservative nature of the school, the covering of all the books of the Bible and dispensational theology. I found all of that here just as he had pictured it. So I was very impressed.”
Dr. Lightner began teaching at DTS in 1959 and served as professor of theology under four presidents—Dr. Walvoord, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Swindoll, and Dr. Bailey. Dr. Lightner explains:
“When I came to teach here,” Dr. Lightner said, “there was great unity within the faculty on all the major areas of theology. Especially in Ecclesiology, Eschatology, and Dispensationalism. There was an amazing unity and core agreement. We always had differences and kidded each other about those, and there was a good deal of toleration, but on the basic foundational planks we all agreed. This impressed me greatly.” (read more)
Teaching, Writing, and Legacy
Below are some of Dr. Lightner’s works:
The Epistle of John and Jude (Review)
Stepping Stones for the Christian Journey (Excerpt)
Finishing Strong (Article)
Handbook of Evangelical Theology: A Historical, Biblical, and Contemporary Survey and Review (Book)
Sin, the Savior, and Salvation: The Theology of Everlasting Life (Book)
The God of the Bible and Other Gods: Is the Christian God Unique Among World Religions? (Book)
Portraits of Jesus in the Gospel of John (Book)
A Biblical Case for Total Inerrancy (Book)
Please use the comments section below to share your stories of Dr. Lightner.