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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

In Memoriam: Rev. Dr. Walter E. Keller

20. February 1929 - 25. February 2011

Today you will be with Me in Paradise. So said Jesus to the rebel on the cross next to Him. So to is it for Dr. Keller.

Dr. Keller was a theology professor at Valparaiso University when I was a student there. He spent most of his ministry at the university teaching theology, especially the New Testament and Paul's Epistles. He was, quite frankly, the brightest light of my academic and theological studies at VU from 1988-1991. He had a salt and pepper beard, a deep bass voice, and a wonderful belly laugh. He was a Pauline scholar. I was so blessed and fortunate to have him for three separate classes my senior year: New Testament overview, Paul's Epistles, and Dept. of Theology Senior symposia. The symposia was wonderful because that class only had five or six students: those theology majors who were seniors. At least three of us in that class went on to the Lutheran seminary to become pastors.

I am indebted to Dr. Keller. He was a wonderful mentor who molded me into the scholar and theologian I am today. He preached the gospel with vigor and gusto. I remember a time when the Chapel of the Resurrection's audio system went out. VU's chapel can hold over 2000 people. Dr. Keller kept on preaching with his powerful voice and he could be heard throughout the entire chapel. Not only did I have Dr. Keller as a professor, but my first 8 years in the ministry was in northwest Indiana so I was blessed to be in Dr. Keller's presence as a fellow pastor.

I cannot calculate the number of men he encouraged and taught as they prepared to enter the pastoral ministry. Thousands, I would think, over the decades. He was mightily used by the Holy Spirit. He was one of the few bright, Lutheran lights at VU. May the LORD raise up a new generation. For me, I will continue to pass on to parishoners the great insights I first received from Dr. Keller.

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