Dr. Terry Eves, Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew at Erskine Theological Seminary, went home to the Lord on December 30, 2019. I prepared this Letter to Our Students. I publish it here as a memorial to Terry, a gentle giant and man of the Word, who taught and lived a “good confession” and testimony to the grace and truth of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. SDG. — M.A.M.
My Beloved Students in Christ,
May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
You have undoubtedly heard the news that our dear teacher, colleague, a Doctor of the Church, our Christian brother, and a loving father in the faith, Dr. Terry Eves, is, now, home with the Savior he taught so well and for so long. When I learned of my friend’s passing, I sat and prayed without words. One verse of Holy Scripture so occupied my mind that it was as if all other functions of thought were suspended. And with all other thoughts receded, one quiet voice echoed throughout my person. In that moment, I knew nothing but the witness of St. John:
“These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep” (John 11:11 KJV).
And this consoled me, instructed me, and has become my message to our humble community: Dr. Eves sleeps in Jesus. His body awaits the Resurrection, but the man, Terry Eves is more alive than he has ever been. For Christ has awakened him. The Lord Jesus awakened Terry Eves many decades ago when he was born again. He passed from death to life long before the processes of the Fall visited him. So, at his passing, dear Terry responded to the Lord’s sure summons—again. And our Dr. Eves—the person we knew, whom we loved, and from whom we were taught the Holy Scriptures—rose from the hospital bed and walked through that portal, the mysterious nexus where time and eternity touch, which once was death. Thus, the awakened man became fully alert. The transformed soul who was our professor of Christ’s Word became the transfigured spirit who is God’s prize in Christ’s worship. Thus, the Old Testament portion that Terry taught has become the New Covenant promise, to his wife and family, and, yes, to each of us:
“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints“ (Psalm 115:16 KJV).
Our Dr. Eve’s home-going was a quiet event. Many did not know of his recent surgery. He passed from us, in some sense, as he lived among us: a gentle and retiring man preferring the solitude of study, or time with a student, between classes: teaching the Gospel on a bench in the shade of a towering oak. The man was quiet so that his teaching roared without rival; reverberating God’s glory and Christ Jesus’ salvation. Several of you have told me in a way, “His teaching of the Bible remains the fuel for ministry.”
So, it is good and right that we say, “This surely must be his legacy:”
“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Corinthians 3:3 ESV).
Our seminary family—no, the entire the Church militant—feels the stinging pain of loss. Truly, I miss him as I memorialize him. I know that you feel this pain, too. Some, his family, feel that ache so much more than you and I can know. So, as Jesus wept, let us mourn: for Terry’s life, Terry’s presence, and Terry’s ministry, all vital facets of the man who touched so many so deeply. But let us, then, rise. For our gentle giant of Faith has left us with a living legacy of hope.
The Lord grant you eyes of faith to know His resurrected presence and His undying love, now, and in every season of our lives.
MICHAEL A. MILTON, PhD, MDiv, MPA
Provost, Erskine Theological Seminary
A Sermon by Dr Eves , “Heard but Not Seen,” from First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC, “The Thornwell Lectures,” 2013.
Erskine Theological Seminary
Contact Shealy@erskine.edu for further information.