August 26, 2008 / David Fitch

Prof. David Scholer Passes Into Glory

I just cannot let today pass by without acknowledging the passing of David Scholer a few days ago. Dr. David Scholer taught New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, then became Dean at Northern Baptist Seminary as well as taught New Testament. He later taught at North Park Seminary and since 1992 was at Fuller Seminary.
David had a profound impact on me. I was a questioning naive 22 year-old ministry student at Gordon Conwell when I took NT Exegesis with David. I remember being upset with some of the things he was saying about the New Testament in class. I made an appointment to see him. I walked into his office and mumbled a few things about not agreeing with him on something. He asked why? What was the question I was asking him? I said something about one of the other professors disagreed with him. He said “so?” He suggested that I needed to quit wasting his time and come back when I had thought a little more carefully about what I believed and why. He suggested I return when I could articulate some serious questions for him. I went back, read and thought. I wrote down carefully three objections to one of his lectures. I went back. He took time and care to answer, engage me and encourage me in all the questions I had. That moment challenged me.

Dave Scholer set me on a journey of learning, searching and loving the Scriptures and the work of the church. I moved on to Northern Seminary the next year and he followed shortly thereafter as Dean. He remained an advisor to me. He applauded my Masters Thesis announcing often that it was the best NT Masters thesis he had the priviledge to read. He latter wrote a recommendation letter for me to enter my PhD program at Northwestern U.

I finished seminary and moved to Miami (before I did my PhD), discouraged about ministry. 6 months later my father was killed in a car crash. There were hundreds at the funeral. When I got in the car with my family to drive my dad’s casket to the cemetary, Dave Scholer ran to the car, reached out to comfort me. I don’t know how he found out about the accident.

Last year, when I was at Fuller, I stopped by and gave him a copy of the Great Giveaway thanking him for being such a great teacher to me.

Many know how he walked through his final struggle with cancer and what an outstanding teacher he was. Many might not know what kind of person this guy was. Some might think that I had an unusual relationship with Dave Scholer. Not so. I could tell you of countless students/friends he has ministered to in ways that would blow your mind. He’d fly across the country to be with a student in despair. He’d stop his busy schedule for breakfast, lunch or a coffee. He’d open his home regulary, especially at Christmas time. He has challenged, cared for and loved so many students, spurred on so many in powerful integrity filled ministry.

Every one needs teachers and mentors who profoundly influence their lives. I lost one last year. I lose another today.

Thank-you Dave Scholer and thank-you Lord for this extraordinary life you’ve blessed us with. Blessings to Jeanette and all my prayers to her and their daughters/family during this time.

David Fitch