Some of Roger Nicole’s Last Written Words

Alan Johnson, my former professor and good friend, sent me an email a few weeks ago that I want to share with you. This email is related to my post of yesterday regarding the book, How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership (October, 2010).

Alan wrote to all twenty-one contributors to this book, minus one, the following note:

roger-nicole-2 An unusual thing happened yesterday. I had informed all of you about Roger Nicole's death [1915-2010] with bittersweet thoughts a few days ago. Roger died on Saturday, December 11, 2010.

Yesterday, I received in the mail a beautifully handwritten letter from Roger that was written to me on November 22 but was sent to our old address (we moved in early September) and for some reason was delayed in reaching me.  I am attaching a typed copy of his letter so that you might know how great a gift your book was to him just before the end of his mortal life. I hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to you as it was to me.

Here is Roger’s letter to Alan:

 

REFORMED THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

11/22/10

Dear Alan,

Two copies of “How I Changed My Mind…” have duly reached me, and now I have read the book from cover to cover. I had thought there would be a great deal of similarity between the 21 essays, but I was amazed–I should perhaps say, “stunned”–by the extraordinary diversity in almost every respect.

Countries of origin: USA, Canada, France, Britain, Switzerland and several missionary countries and possibly Germany (cf. Plueddemann, Wurzbacher), Scandinavia (cf. Ortberg), Netherlands (Plantinga) and Armenia (Bilezikian).

Denominations: Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Plymouth Brethren, Christian Reformed, Brethren in Christ, Willow Creek Community Church, etc.

Married men, 11, married couples, 6 (where husband and wife contributed), and married women, 4.

Professions: Pastors, Missionaries, Bishops, Writers, Publishers, Counselors, Evangelists, etc.

I can hardly imagine that a reader going through the whole book would fail to be impressed and could continue to think that 1 Cor 14:31 and 1 Tim 2: 8-16 as traditionally interpreted would continue to forbid the pulpit and the desk to all females.

I am extremely pleased with this work, very grateful for your initiative and labors to put it together and very happy to have my witness (although the second shortest of the 21 essays) to have been included.

Thank you and God bless you and the 14 women to whom you dedicated the book!

Love, Roger

 

Some years ago, when I was trying to come to grips with this issue of women and leadership, I made time to shut the door of is office in Orlando and quietly asked Roger Nicole the many questions I had about this subject. I knew I would get respectful and honest answers from a man who had studied this issue for decades. I had always wondered how a man with such a high view of Scripture, and who was also a noted Reformed writer and teacher, could hold this view. I wanted to ask my “private” questions and understand how Dr. Nicole had changed his mind. This was a big moment for me in this regard. I needed a man I regarded highly to listen and interact with my thinking. Dr. Nicole did that for me. I am honored now that one of the last things he wrote was an appreciation for something I had a small part in as his friend.

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