Jerry Bridges (1929-2016)
I just learned that Jerry Bridges passed away last night at the age of 86. What a remarkable Christian man, author, and husband. Continue reading . . .
I just learned that Jerry Bridges passed away last night at the age of 86. What a remarkable Christian man, author, and husband.
I first met Jerry personally when I was pastoring a church in Ardmore, Oklahoma. I can’t recall the precise year, but it was sometime in the late 1980’s. He was on his way to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to visit one of his children who was attending Oklahoma State University (that was ok with me, because Jerry himself attended Oklahoma University!). He called me and asked if we could have lunch. I felt profoundly honored that he would go a bit out of his way and take the time to sit down with me. I’ll never forget the two hours we spent together at a Whataburger, talking about life and God and family.
Jerry was a prolific author. Most of you reading this will probably have read at least one of his books. He wasn’t the sort of writer who, with a single turn of phrase, could send chills down your spine, but he wrote with such clarity and a single-minded focus on Scripture that you couldn’t escape the truth in his words.
Of all that Jerry wrote, two books stand out to me above the others, both of which were published by NavPress (Jerry spent his life and ministry serving with the Navigators). I loved his book, Transforming Grace: Living Confidently in God’s Unfailing Love. What a blessing to read such a straightforward portrayal of the grace of God in progressive sanctification. I urge you to get it and dive deeply into what Jerry had to say.
But surely the one book of his that touched me the most, the one that I recommend above all others, is Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts. Jerry’s life wasn’t an easy one, as he suffered the loss of his first wife to cancer. He knew what hardship and heartache were all about. Trusting God is Jerry’s treatment of the sovereignty of God in all of life, both in good times and bad. When people ask me for a book that addresses from an entirely biblical point of view the sovereignty of God in daily life, I never hesitate: “Get Jerry Bridges’ book, Trusting God. It’s the best.”
What a remarkable and godly man he was, an example to men and women of every generation. The best I can do is to echo the sentiments of Justin Taylor, who in a tribute to Jerry at the Gospel Coalition Website, said this: “He was a humble and unassuming man—strong in spirit, if not in voice or frame. And now we can rejoice with him in his full and final healing as he beholds his beloved Savior face to face. Thank you, God, for this man who helped us see and know you more.”