I learned today that Dr. Ron V. Mitchell has ended his battle with cancer, going home to be with his Savior. This news floods my mind and heart with fond memories of the short time that I knew Dr. Mitchell. First, some biographical information, via the Baptist Trumpet…
Dr. Ronald V. Mitchell, 62, of Conway, died May 5 after a long battle with cancer. He was saved in 1956, surrendered to
the ministry in 1966 and pastored several churches, including: Sulphur Springs at Quitman, Letona at Letona, Twentieth Street in Batesville, Oak Grove in North Little Rock, Central at Texarkana and Needs Creek at Greenbrier. He also pastored Parkwood in Pasedena, Tex.; and Cedarwood in Memphis, Tenn. where he served as a state missionary and founded the church.
At the time of his death, he was a member of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Greenbrier. He was a graduate of Central Baptist
College and received a BSE degree from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and M.Div., Th.D. in church history from Mid-America Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tenn. He retired after serving 20 years as a pastor, then spent another two
decades as professor of Theology and Church History at Central Baptist College.
Dr. Mitchell was married to the late Donna “Micki” Greenway Mitchell for 26 years until her death in 1991, and in 1994 he married Esther M. Kershner-Mitchell, who survives her husband.
I never got to know Dr. Mitchell as well as other students. He welcomed them to “hang out” and talk theology in his office, where he housed literally thousands of volumes, including the entire Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (63 volumes of sermons by Charles Spurgeon). He was an avid Calvinist, but refused to feed answers to students about that or any other issue, preferring instead to challenge them to study, think, and wrestle with the deeper questions of Scripture and the Christian life.
I took several classes under Dr. Mitchell – a class on teaching, a course on the Revelation, and a theology course. He was famous (or infamous) for requiring annotated bibliographies – a paragraph or two about what you had read from at least twenty sources on the given subject matter. I learned a great deal from all of that reading. He inspired me to love history, theology, and Jesus Christ.
One memory stands out in my mind. I was going through a very difficult time at a small church in central Arkansas and we were facing the decision to resign from that pastorate. In a moment of deep discouragement, Dr. Mitchell ran into my wife in the administration office of Central Baptist College. I wasn’t sure that Dr. Mitchell really knew me even after having me as a student, but he caught Angie and said, “Make sure you tell Brandon I’m praying for him. He’ll get through it.” That meant the world to me.
We need more Dr. Mitchell’s today – men who will unwaveringly present Christ and the Scriptures to a generation of learners and seekers. He was one of the most uncompromising men I ever knew. He believed God’s truth wholeheartedly and I’ll miss him, along with the world at large.
Herein is the victory – Dr. Mitchell isn’t gone, just gone from here. We miss him, but He’s home. He worked hard to earn a Bachelor’s degree, Master of Divinity, and a Doctorate, but now he’s been through the greatest graduation ceremony of all – he’s been promoted to His eternal place with Jesus. May we carry on the essence of his godliness!