John McRay died recently. From 1980 to 2002 he taught in biblical studies at Wheaton College, the place I now teach and where I serve as Dean of the School of Biblical and Theology Studies. When he retired, he was awarded emeritus status.
I never met John personally, but I did know him through his books. I used his book on Paul the apostle in undergraduate courses at Houston Baptist University, until Randy Richards, Rodney Reeves and I wrote our own. It was a solid book on the apostle, but I didn’t always agree with him.
Perhaps John’s greatest accomplishment in scholarship came through his study of the New Testament through the land and material culture of Israel. He was part of the digs at Caesarea (Maritima), Herodium and Sepphoris, three premiere sites in Israel. Through his passion for the people and the land–and students–he became a beloved member of the Wheaton faculty.
If you’d like to know more about John, there is a good article about him on his Wheaton Emeritus site:
I’m grateful now to be a small part of the history of a college that has done so much to serve the church and benefit the world.
Today, I led in Graduate orientation at Wheaton College and we had students from China, Zimbabwe, England, Colombia, and all around the country. In part, the success of our program goes back to people like Dr. John McRay. Rest in peace, John.