Don had the heart of a lion for the truth of Christ, yet he was as gentle as a dove to poor and needy sinners.
He was a pastor of pastors, a leader among leaders, a man among men, because he loved to serve in the Gospel those who could never repay him.
He was loved by those who love Christ, and hated by those who love their works.
He was charged with antinomianism, yet he was the hardest working, faithful servant of Christ I have ever known.
Like John the Baptist, Don laid the axe to the root of those who trust their own works, as the Prodigal’s elder brother labored as a servant for a reward.
Ordinary people of no reputation loved Don. Theologians of high reputation refused to learn from him.
His large voice echoes still in my memory. It speaks of God’s sovereign grace for the salvation and comfort of sin-laden sinners, against the cries and opposition of proud-hearted, will-worshipping legalists.
I cherish his superlative writing skill, his keen observations, his organization and his ability in a single pass, to capture the greatest Gospel truths in commentary and in lyrics with poetic meter.
I remember and admire the grace given to him in his tireless love for Christ, his love for Christ's Gospel and his love for Christ's people.
He was a gift from Christ on His exalted throne to His blood-bought Church (Eph. 4:7-16).
I remember his ability to tenderly woo trembling sinners to trust Christ, and his fearless warning to all who would not trust only Christ.
Don preached as if I was always lost, warning of judgment to come; and he preached as if I was just saved, squeezing out Gospel milk for newborn babes.
Don said so many things I will remember. He said so many more things I wish I could remember.
Don was like the cherubim, who continuously look in satisfaction to the blood sprinkled on the mercyseat in the presence of God, in admiration and worship of the Lamb of God who sprinkled His blood there for helpless sinners.
Don saw Christ as God's mercyseat. He saw Christ as the propitiation to God for our sins (Rom. 3:25). He worshipped God in thankful admiration at the atonement He made for the transgressions of His elect people in the blood of His only begotten Son, when our sins were taken from us, laid on Him, and made Christ’s own (Isa. 53; 2 Cor. 5:21).
And Don was like the cherubim who guarded the way to the Tree of Life, lest any sinner attempt to approach God without the blood of God's dear Son, without a sin-atoning Mediator, without an Advocate and without an Intercessor.
Don was my teacher, my preacher and my pastor. I am honored to call him my dear friend.
Soon, we will join him in the bosom of our Savior, and there, we shall together lean upon His breast. There we will forever worship Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
Then we shall be satisfied in eternal, joyful delights, which can only be seen now through a veil, but then, with Don, we shall see Christ face to face, without sin, dressed in the beauty of Christ’s own righteousness (Isaiah 45:24-25; 54:17).
May our great God and Savior grant grace to Don’s beloved wife Shelby and the saints in the congregation where Don served for 40 years, who have been so much used by God in the ministry of the Gospel. May Christ grant all of us grace to know Christ, and be found in Him, dressed in His righteousness who reigns on heaven's throne, where Don now praises Him in unspotted, unfettered, unending praise.