Bob Kessinger was known as many different things to many different people. To those who were of the "anti" following, he was a "liberal," and to those of the "liberal" following, he was an "anti." Some thought Bob to be mean-spirited or a troublemaker in the Lord's church, but I liken Bob to Elijah. 1 Kings 18:17,18 "Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him 'Is that you, O troubler of Israel?' And he answered, 'I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father's house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord ..." Bob was not a troublemaker, but a man who loved the commands of God so much that he would not allow those who sought to destroy the church of Christ with false doctrines to go unanswered. The life of Bob Kessinger stands as an example we ought to follow.
Bob was an example in the Development of young preachers. Some may not realize just how helpful Bob was to younger preachers. On many occasions Bob would call me on the phone to see how the work was going and to encourage me to stand upon the Word of Christ. He realized how working with a small congregation could be challenging and, at times, very discouraging. He was there to remind me of the good that would come as long as I remained vigilant in my work. He understood the importance of helping young men become faithful proclaimers of God's Word (2 Timothy 2:2). I will never forget the encouragement Bob gave me during a difficult time I was having with one who did not want to use the church treasury to help non-Christians. He helped me prepare my defense of the Scriptures and encouraged me to stay strong in the Lord.
Bob was an example in Devotion to Christ and His church. Bob was unquestionably faithful to the work of Christ. He was always teaching the Scriptures through the sermons he preached and the life he lived (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8). Bob never traded in Christ or His church for fame or fortune, for he served only one Master (Matthew 6:33). Such devotion is not found in many men who preach or call themselves Christians, but, indeed, Bob was wholly devoted to Christ.
Bob also served as an example in the Doctrine he preached. Bob was faithful to the Scriptures, and a "faithful minister" (Colossians 4:7). He was as Paul, innocent of the blood of all men. "For I have not shunned to declare unto you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 10:16, 17). Bob proclaimed all of God's Word and not merely the parts people wanted to hear. He preached what they NEEDED to hear. O how I wish there were more men who would do this in their pulpits every Sunday.
Finally, Bob was an example in Determination. Bob was bold in all that he did. He had a drive that enabled him to overcome very difficult situations in life. At his funeral, Bob's son Dan stated that Bob was able to stand and not back down from a challenge, because he knew he was right. Bob understood what Paul said in Romans 8:31 "... if God is for us, who can be against us?" Bob went boldly standing for the truth of God's Word, and those who opposed the truth found a warrior ready to stand and defend it at all cost (Ephesians 6:10ff). I heard some be critical of Bob for this willingness to stand so boldly, but they, too, would have been critical of the Apostle Paul who "spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists ..." (Acts 9:29). That type of bold determination causes so many Christians to become uncomfortable, and that is a shame. Bob caused a stir in the world, and, as a result, he helped many to come to Christ and His church, so we ought to follow his example.
Bob was a fine example: an example in his Development of young preachers, in his Devotion to Christ, in his sound Doctrine, in his Determination not to give an inch to the world.
Bob once told Jim Farley and me, as we were talking after a preachers' meeting, "We, three, are dinosaurs." I, at first, wondered what he meant since, at the time, I was 26 and hardly a dinosaur. He went on to explain that we were dinosaurs because we were a dying breed of preachers, bold and willing to speak out against sin. It was, perhaps, the finest compliment I have ever received.
Thank God for the life He gave to Bob Kessinger, and I am truly thankful to have been able to know him and learn from him. Rt 2 Box 207C, Red House, WV 25168.
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