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Pepperdine Bible Lectures celebrate ‘The Rushford Years’


Jerry Rushford gets a standing ovation at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures. (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

Blogging live from Malibu, Calif.
Jerry Rushford got a standing ovation at the 69th annual Pepperdine Bible Lectures — before he even said a word.
The audience, packed to the walls of the Firestone Fieldhouse at Pepperdine University, rose to its feet as the longtime professor of religion at Pepperdine took the stage for his final address as director of the lectures. (See our blog posts about Rushford’s 30-year legacy at the lectures and Pepperdine’s plans for the Rushford Center for Research on Churches of Christ.)
Next year, the coordinating duties for the 70th lectures fall to Mike Cope, former longtime minister for the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas.
(Next year’s topic is Revelation, by the way. Cope said he likes challenges.)
“The Wondrous Story” was the title of Rushford’s address. A longtime lover of Christian hymns, he told the story behind “I Will Sing the Wondrous Story” by Francis H. Rowley. (Fun fact: The original lyric was “Can’t you sing the wondrous story?”)
Rushford discussed the song’s meaningful lyrics — especially its final verse:
He will keep me till the river
Rolls its waters at my feet;
Then He’ll bear me safely over,
Where the loved ones I shall meet.
“All of us will end up at the river,” Rushford told the audience. But the song reminds us of God’s promise that worldly endings are just that — worldly. “The end” is not the end.
After the sermon, Pepperdine students passed out a commemorative booklet, “The Rushford Years: 1983-2012.” The booklet includes a reprint of Lynn McMillon’s 2009 Dialogue with Rushford.

Jerry Rushford and his family, onstage, join the audience at the Pepperdine lectures, raising their hands as they sing “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.” (Photo by Erik Tryggestad)

  • Feedback
    The first lecturship we missed since moving to Texas but always enjoyed all of the lecturships under Jerry Rushford;ok Jerry we want a book about your lecturship history!The thing I remember the most is the great singing,thousands of Christians,probably the nearest thing to sounding like “heaven”we will hear!and always ending with Jerry ‘s favorite “Till we meet again”!
    Frank Doc Holladay
    May, 5 2012

    Jerry is just special to Steve and I for lots of reasons. We were so sad to miss this year. My granddaughter, Brittni Ping, had the privilege of having him as a teacher in Lusanne. He left such a positive impression.
    Terry Hanger
    May, 5 2012

    I never got to attend a Pepperdine assembly. I know several who frequently attend and who know Jerry Rushford well. I know no one who doesn’t like him and his work. It would be good if he could continue his work forever. Since he can’t, we can all rejoice that he has chosen such good things to say and do for these many years.
    Ray Downen
    May, 5 2012

    Jerry was the main reason I wanted to attend this year. When Jerry was not long out of college he came to Hazel Park, MI to be our minister.
    I am so proud to know this great man of God. May he serve the Lord for another 30 years. Thank you Jerry!
    Paul Cross
    May, 5 2012

    What a great legacy! I heard one of the first lectures Jerry ever gave when he was a student at Oklahoma Christian; even then he held captive a high school audience at our Youth Forum. Blessings to you Jerry as you move on to greater things for the Lord. Ralph Burcham
    Ralph Burcham
    May, 7 2012

    Jerry Rushford has made the Pepperdine Lectureship every year fantastic. It is so spiritually uplifting. Jerry is one of the most knowledgeable and facinating people I have ever had the priviledge of listening too. His knowledge on church history, restoration movement and history of hymns is unmatched by anyone. I remember years ago he came to our congregation and spoke on the restoration movement. He made it so interesting you never wanted him to stop talking. He makes everything he talks about exciting. I think he could tell you about making steps to a dorm room at the university and some how you would be filled with excitement. Thanks Jerry for all you have done for the Lord’s kingdom and will continue to do. God Bless.
    Florence Warwar
    May, 7 2012

    If I were to build a “Mount Rushmore” at Pepperdine, I would choose the following for the four faces to adorn the monument: George Pepperdine, M. Norvel Young, Bill Banowsky, and Jerry Rushford.
    Victor Knowles
    May, 7 2012

    Bless be the Name of the LORD! At Pepperdine the Church was equipped in a joyful way. Praise God, and thanks to the coordinators for the Lectureship. My third time going to Pepperdine and I experience great fellowship and excellent lessons. I like to thanks Park Plaza Church of Christ for send us there, we was bless. I my great hope now is that I can use that excellent lesson for evangelizing the community on Tulsa, OK.
    Francisco A. Davila
    May, 7 2012

    It was great to be in the audience this final night of the Rushford years. Jerry has filled our lives with great topics, outstanding speakers, wonderful heavenly singing, and now with this final lecture a legacy on which to build. Jerry is such a caring and thought-provoking man, we are honored to call “brother”. May the Lord bless him next year in his new role and may his years of faithful dedication to God at Pepperdine be remembered and honored. Thanks Erik for being with us at these lectures. I especially enjoyed your lessons on “what’s right with the church of Christ”. We have much to be proud of around the world. Praise Him!
    Mark Young
    May, 8 2012

    Jerry has been a great innovator and story teller. We thank him for his years of service to God’s Kingdom at Pepperdine. I was blessed this year with hearing a number of challenging classes: Everett Huffard, Sara Barton, Tom Robinson, Amy B. Henegar, Jen Christy, Jeaneen Reese and Jacqui & Jimmy Hurd. I look forward to receiving my cds. We look forward to the years with Rick Gibson and Mike Cope. May God bless these servants in their new journey at Pepperdine and may new people come to faith and build their faith as we transition. Thanks CC for the wonderful coverage of Pepperdine’s Bible Lectures.
    Sheila Bost
    May, 8 2012

    I think Jerry did a great job trying to balance all parts of our movement. Anyone could go to the Pepperdine lectures and get something out of the classes or the lectures. I am thankful for the time and effort that Jerry put into this and will miss his enthusiasim next year when we attend the lectures. God bless you Jerry and thanks for coming to our small corner of the world to celebrate with us our 60th anniversery.
    Norm Russell
    May, 9 2012

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