Yesterday at 11am in the sanctuary at Jarvis Street Baptist Church a funeral service was held for Dr. Geoff Adams, long-time faculty member and former principal of Toronto Baptist Seminary. Dr. Adams passed away on Wednesday August 9, 2006 after a battle with cancer. He was 83.
The funeral, if one can say this about funerals, was outstanding. Although it was a time of great mourning over the loss of one so great as Dr. Adams, it was markedly a celebration of his life and of the God he served. Everything about the funeral was a celebration and was rooted deeply in the glory of Christ. Dr. Adams would not have had it any other way. I truly came away with a sense of awe for the God of Geoff Adams.
There were numerous people there to celebrate the life of Dr. Adams. It was very encouraging to see them all, considering that the funeral was on a Tuesday. People came from great lengths to pay their respects.
As well, a number were involved with the funeral itself, attesting to the great influence that Dr. Adams had on so many. Stephen Kring opened beautifully in prayer, Ed Fry read a number of passages of Scripture, Bert Oatley-Willis recalled his time spent with Dr. Adams on the HMS Indomitable during World War 11 (he was instrumental in Dr. Adams’ conversion), Dr. Haykin, at Dr. Adams’ request, spoke on the needs of TBS (it can be read here), Peter Ryttersgaard shared his experiences as a student of Dr. Adams at TBS. As well, Glendon Thompson preached a great message on resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15, and Norman Street committed Dr. Adams’ body to the ground. Although he was billed to do the benediction, a certain mistake made unfortunately left Rudy Wiebe out. I felt bad for Rudy, I know he would have loved to do that.
I intentionally left Doug Adams, Dr. Adams’ son, out of the list. He spoke first, right after Ed read from Scripture, and I must say, Doug’s words were beautiful and powerful. I sat captivated by him and had tears streaming down my eyes as I listened to what life was like having Dr. Adams for a father. Doug truly preached the Word of God as he explained to us all the devotion that his father had for Christ. It was such a hopeful and gospel oriented sermon. One that I didn’t expect to have such power and emotion. I was really taken aback by Doug and deeply impressed with the strength he had to say what he did.
Dr. Adams lived a life that was full of meaning and he has left a lasting legacy of Biblical fidelity and love for Christ. He truly was an example of godliness to us all. I marvelled to a friend after the service that I wish I had known Dr. Adams better. How wonderful would it have been to have taken Dr. Adams’ Old Testament Biblical Theology class in his prime! To hear the stories of what he was like as a teacher left me wishing I had known something of it.
May those of us involved at Toronto Baptist Seminary, by God’s grace, continue the work that Dr. Adams laboured over so many years for. May his torch be carried and may God be glorified forever. Amen.
The following is a poem by Mrs. Betty Adams, Dr. Adams’ wife:
An Answered Prayer
You prayed for me continually;
You asked the Lord to heal.
You pled that I would find relief
From agonies so real.
But eyelids closed in gentle peace,
And all at last was calm.
Your prayer had found its answer;
His pure, refreshing balm.
Was poured on one so sick and sore,
Oppressed by many an ill.
He graciously released His child
As always was His will.
So now I see that matchless face
That on the mount had shone.
No tears remain, no fear, no pain;
All trial and trouble gone —
If only you could catch a glimpse
Of glory here revealed
You would not wish me back with you,
Heaven’s glory still concealed.
Such joy, such bliss to worship here!
Such wealth of praise and love!
If only you could see me now
At home in heaven above.
That body, weak and faltering,
Exchanged for one like His,
The glorious, eternal Lamb,
I see Him as He is!
(1 John 3:2)