The Greatest Man I Never Knew

I met Elizabeth Bennett in 1976 at Samford University. We were married December 18 of the same year. One person was sadly missing that day. Liz’s father, Dr. Claude Bennett, died of a brain tumor in 1971. He is the man I never met who has blessed me and touches my life today.

1. He is the father of my wife, grandfather to my children (my son is named after him), and great-grandfather to Kathryn and Elizabeth. Life is in the blood and he has passed life to my clan.

2. Many tell me Liz is like her dad. He was smart. Being a pediatrician demands that. He was also a Bible teacher and Liz excels there. He no doubt planted seeds of Christianity in my wife. The churches I have pastored have known the touch of Dr. Bennett through his daughter.

3. When Guntersville, Alabama needed a church plant, he stepped out and led the way. In Clanton, Alabama he cared for children of poor black families when others would not. Liz’s dad was a courageous visionary.

4. No matter where I preach across North Alabama, people ask me if I knew Dr. Bennett. Glowing reports always follow. That is evidence of a faithful life and legacy.

A father-in-law can be a powerful force in a family. I missed some of that. However, Dr. Bennett has influenced me. I have some of his books in my library. He wrote teaching notes on prescription pads and used them as bookmarks. Verbal history helps me know he was a strong man of faith.

Hebrews 11:4 says even though he, that is able, is dead he still speaks. Dr. Bennett is in heaven, but his words and works still resonate. I look forward to meeting him face to face.


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