The Biola University community is grieving the passing of Robert L. Saucy, a respected theologian and author who impacted thousands of students during a 54-year teaching career at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology. The beloved 84-year-old distinguished professor of systematic theology died on March 12 as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident. Below is a tribute to our beloved brother in Christ, Dr. Robert Saucy:
“Bob Saucy was a deeply loved colleague and mentor, who was a gentle, humble and brilliant theologian, and was also our dear friend. I remember when I initially interviewed for a faculty position years ago, Bob was, at that time, recognized as a distinguished theologian, and I was a young rookie. During the interview, he wanted to ask a few more questions of me on a particular point, and he said, ‘I'd like to pursue this further; I want to learn something!’ I was stunned that such a distinguished professor actually thought he could learn something from me! I will always remember his gentle spirit, incredibly sharp mind, and humble desire to let others have the credit.”
-Scott Rae, Professor and Dean of Faculty
“The passing of a giant. I cannot think of any other way to describe the impact Bob Saucy has had on countless students, including myself …
Bob Saucy, you changed my ministerial trajectory—and the quality of my life as a pastor—forever. Thank you!
Enjoy the presence of Jesus, Bob. We'll be there with you before too long; a plurality of seminary professors delighting in the presence of our Lord. See you then, brother.”
- Joe Hellerman, Professor
“Bob Saucy was a great teacher, colleague, and friend. He greatly influenced my own theology and path in life. Having studied under him at Talbot, I have known him for many years. He was a tremendous man of God and truly a ‘Distinguished Professor.’ He will be sorely missed at Talbot by students, alumni, staff, and faculty.
Shalom to you, Bob. And thank you for all you have meant to me and so many others over the years.”
- Tom Finley, Professor
“When I got here, Bob already had a nationally recognized reputation for being a godly man and a good, faithful theologian. And he remained that way until his departure. He is a main reason that Biola has stayed biblically and theologically solid all these years. And those of us left behind have a duty to further his legacy. I don't know how he did it, but he didn't look a day older when he departed than he did the day I came here 25 years ago! He will be missed.”
- JP Moreland, Distinguished Professor
“… What a gentleman and a scholar—one of the most tender-hearted and humble persons, yet with a powerful mind who contributed much to pastors and believers everywhere …
His loss is a type of irreplaceable one—both in terms of scholarship and, more importantly, friendship—as Bob made time in little ways for even relatively newer colleagues like me in ways that were often unknown and understated.
He was a good man. That is a vast understatement, and yet one of the strongest statements about a life that one could make. I will miss him, and look forward to our ultimate reunion.”
-Freddy Cardoza, Associate Professor
[Updated with additonal tributes on March 16, 2015]
"Proverbs 3:32 tells us that the upright are 'in the Lord's confidence.' And whenever I talked with Bob, I knew I was having a conversation with a wise man whom the Lord had taken into His confidence. I will miss Bob and his kindness; I will miss his understanding and his vast knowledge of the ways of the Lord. Bob was such a generous soul."
-Betsy Barber, Associate Professor
"Bob Saucy was the heart and soul of Talbot for 54 years. In my opinion, no one person has had more influence on what we are at Talbot than Bob. And no one has had more direct influence on Talbot's/Biola's theological integrity and growth in theological clarity than Bob ...
There have been dark times, and very bright times at Talbot, but from my perspective, it is Bob Saucy, standing firm in his unwavering commitment to Scripture and to His Lord Jesus Christ, who has been a towering symbol of strength, integrity, kindness, and so much more to all of us as we have journeyed the difficult and the good times. We owe a huge debt to this humble, faithful, man of God, Bob Saucy."
-Michael Wilkins, Distinguished Professor
"I remember seeking Bob Saucy's advice while I was a pastor in the late 1970s. My church was making a switch from Deacons and Trustees to a governance model that had Elders and Deacons. As my church wrestled with this decision, Bob helped me think through some difficult decisions. Just eight years later, I found myself teaching at Talbot, and it was quite an honor to be on the same faculty as Dr. Bob. At Talbot he graciously welcomed me and provided encouragement, particularly for my writing. My heart and prayers are with his family. "
-Gary McIntosh, Professor
"When I came to teach at Talbot 20 years ago, I decided to audit a course on pneumatology that Bob Saucy was teaching. This was to fill some gaps on the education I received in my masters training at another school. I thoroughly enjoyed the class, and was struck by Bob's ability to use questions to get his students to think issues through. To me, Bob will always be remembered as the great questioner, one seeking to learn, to understand, to discern, and to help his students do the same. When you couple that with his grace and humility, and his love for God, you have a powerful model for Christian scholarship. I hope to live up to his example."
-Kevin Lawson, Professor
"Bob Saucy was one of the wisest, kindest, and widely respected professors that I shall ever know. His sharp, inquisitive mind was always one step ahead of his students (& his fellow professors!), asking probing questions in his one-of-a-kind catechetical teaching style, guiding his students and friends to think clearly and biblically at all times. Yet Bob was a gracious, humble, and compassionate man who genuinely cared about others. He will be deeply missed, and our prayers go out for his wonderful family."
-John Hutchison, Professor
"... [In] 1986 when I joined the faculty at Talbot, [I sat] next to Dr. Saucy early in that first academic year; he leaned over and asked me a question about the workings of the local church. It was evident he really wanted my opinion, which amazed me. How could a man of his stature gain any enlightenment from a guy in his late 30's with limited experience? ...
That first encounter on faculty was the beginning of a delightful season of fellowship and service alongside this wonderful man. Some of the most precious memories I will carry involve the weekly faculty prayer meeting we both attended. Every week I heard this man's heart spill out to the Lord in gratitude, confession and petition.
What a gift to the church and the world! What a lasting example of a mature man of faith, whose life fully demonstrated the fruit of the Spirit. I will sorely miss him, and look forward to being with him again in the presence of our beautiful Savior."
-Mick Boersma, Professor