Friday, August 29, 2014

Eighty years dedicated to God

Bible guide author and Liberty professor prepares to celebrate birthday

Dr. Harold Willmington has spent half of his life at Liberty University. Turning 80 this week, Willmington has been with Liberty since the second year after its inception and his impact on the university has inspired many students over the years.

Happy birthday — Harold Willmington (left) poses with Jonathan Falwell (right) for a photo. Photo provided

Willmington is a man of many occupations, including pastor, author, teacher, dean and visiting professor, according to his biographical information.

His work as an author began many years prior to the release of his first book—before he had considered writing a book.

“I decided when I entered the ministry that I really needed to be able to think my way through the Bible,” Willmington said.

To learn more about the Word of God, he gathered 66 sheets of paper and dedicated one to each book of the Bible. On each page he wrote everything that he thought that he, as a pastor, needed to know about each specific book. After finishing the Bible, he created 12 sheets of paper dedicated to the great doctrines, according to Willmington.

“When I finished, I had 78 pages of world famous information,” Willmington said.

What became the basis for “Willmington’s Guide to the Bible” was taken from those sheets.

He has written 20 books beginning in 1974 with “The King is Coming” and continuing through this year. His most recent book is “What the Bible says About the Trinity.” The back of this book describes it as being “one in a series of ‘basic Biblical beliefs’ which have been held by both Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) from their very beginning.”

This book discusses “finger tip facts” such as angels, Satan and the Holy Spirit, according to Willmington.

In February 1972, Dr. Jerry Falwell canceled a week of classes so that students could listen to Willmington teach about the life of Christ. This was his first visit to the campus, according to Willmington.

He was offered a position at the school which he initially declined upon his belief that he was called to be a preacher. It took him between three and four months of praying to determine that this was the Lord’s calling for his life and not just an opportunity, according to Willmington.

“In June (of that year), my wife and I and Matt, my son who is now the associate pastor of ministry development and family ministries at TRBC, and our dog drove down,” Willmington said.

During his first few years at Liberty, he was able to begin the Liberty Home Bible Institute, now known as the Willmington School of the Bible. Since 1976, over 102,000 students have signed up to be a part of this institute. These students have come from all 50 states and 40 different countries over the years, according to Willmington.

Even amid all of his accomplishments, Willmington does not take credit for how far he has come. He believes that the true hero is his wife, Sue Willmington.

Sue Willmington took on the deaf ministries at TRBC in 1972 when their family arrived in Lynchburg.

“For years I was known as the husband of the deaf interpreter,” Harold Willmington said.

The Willmingtons will have been married for 51 years in the beginning of April. Together they have three grandchildren, Nathan, Carissa and Abigail, all of whom are involved with Liberty University or Liberty Christian Academy in one way or another, according to Harold Willmington.

Harold Willmington is always looking for ways to invest in the students of Liberty University. He loves interacting with students and learning more about each one as an individual.

His advice to students is that they seek the Lord by not only reading but also heeding the instructions in the Bible. In doing this, students have no reason to worry about their futures.

“We don’t know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future,” Harold Willmington said.

The impact that he has had on the Liberty community reaches not only students, but faculty as well. Eva Middleton, his administrative assistant, describes him as a humble, kind and generous man with a great sense of humor.

“It’s been my privilege to work for him, and I mean that sincerely,” Middleton said. “He walks the talk. I’ve learned so much from him.”

7 Comments

  1. I am no one other than a grandmother but once(1995)was a student at LBC. However I still love Dr. Willmington, his wife and his books; even though they don’t know me.
    I refer often to his amazing books. Every bible student should have them. I own 4 and have given another 2 copies to my children.

    Comment by Carolyne M Porter — July 16, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  2. In my earlier years, before I met Dr. Wilmington and his wife Sue, I attended Liberty thru the school of lifelong learning. I knew about him and took his bible classes thru the video tapes. A few years later, by direction of The Lord, I moved to Lynchburg, joined TRBC and began work at Lynchburg Health and Rehab as the Director of Nursing there. Quite by coincidence, Sue’s mother was my patient and I got to know “Mr. Bible” (my favorite reference for him) and Sue very closely. They are very humble, loving and genuine Christians. They inspired me more than they will ever know. He, Dr. Falwell and Sue made a huge impact on my life. I owe my salvation to them and love them with all my heart.

    Comment by Charles Hall — April 20, 2013 @ 4:40 pm

  3. Dear Dr. Wilmington, congratulations from a former student of TRBI(1974-1975)on your eightieth birthday and another year of serving our great God and Savior!

    Your life and ministry continues to be an inspiration to me and I would like to once again thank you for lifting me up into the heavenlies shortly after I received Christ as Savior and enrolled in TRBI.

    For the last nine and a half years I have served as the associate pastor of Pinecrest Baptist Church in Mcdonough, GA. Lately, I have been trying to provide a few of our men with answers to basic questions concerning the “received text” verses the “critical text” issue. While these men own King James Bibles, they are far, far, from being Ruckmanites! They are simply, and sincerely, looking for “a good read” on the subject. Something that would offer a historical and technical approach to the subject.
    I have already explained to them what the received text is and how we got it, as well as the critical text. But I think they’re looking for something that will give them both the plus and negative side of the controversy.

    If you know of such a book(s), etc., that would bring more clearity to the two opposing positions. I would love to know of it.
    Thank you for any recommendations you might make on this subject. Most Sincerely, Tom Miller.
    tbeckmill@gmail.com

    Comment by Tom Miller — April 29, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

  4. I remember you well Harold Willmington. I Loved both your parents as they were so good to me. Your Mother always had info on the latest Christian books and Christian sheet music for me. And I loved going into your families Christian Book Store in Quincy Illinois. I’ve watched you serve God from a distance, but always inspired by your faithful service to our Father and to the Kingdom. God Bless You and all your Family! Barbara Ann McKinney-Brando (daughter of Lester & Ruth McKinney)

    Comment by Barb Brando — August 26, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

  5. Since last May, when we signed up for Sky Angel wireless broadcasting, I have faithfully watched Dr. Willmington’s daily half hour teaching program “Great Truths from God’s Word” on the Liberty channel. Well, what a tremendously encouraging and faith growing time this has been for me. I have almost filled a large notebook. It is a wonderful privilege for me, and Dr. Willmington’s humor and his kind demeanor greatly enhance his teaching.

    Now we’ve learned that Sky Angel is going to close business this month. I am devastated to lose this marvelous resource. So, I will buy his books and if anyone knows if Dr. Harold’s teachings are on tape please let me know. God bless you, Dr. Harold. My husband is hooked on your program, too!
    From Western Mass.

    Comment by Lynne Marie Wallace — January 3, 2014 @ 11:38 am

  6. Attended Liberty Bible Institute graduated in 1979.

    After all these years I am now seventy years old and teach a senior men’s class at my church in Anniston AL. I use Dr. Wilmington’s material to teach along with many others.
    God Is Good, All the time.
    Jerry.

    Comment by Gerald (Jerry) Tice — February 11, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

  7. My husband graduated from liberty university in 1987 and I was wife,mother of 3 while he went to school. Now after 26 yrs I am listening to the BIBLE institute on c d.
    Thank you Dr. WILMINGTON FOR serving GOD these many years. You are an inspiration to us all.
    Laurie Quagliariello

    Comment by Laurie — June 6, 2014 @ 9:26 am

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