There are certain characters, certain personalities whose career looms so large that it seems that they should be here always. When it comes to the Kingdom it seems as if their influence, already firmly established, should make them permanent fixtures in our lives so that they can continue to exert that influence.
No matter how well we knew them, there is some pain in our hearts when we hear that they are no longer with us.
Dr. A. Louis Patterson, Jr. passed away early last week. He was a masterful pastor, a great, great Bible teacher and a spellbinding preacher. I loved to hear him. I consider him among the pantheon of men whose preaching put them in a class all by themselves.
When I was young the church was where I learned about preaching - the craft of preaching - and I learned that by listening to men like Patterson. I was introduced to him by Dr. E.K. Bailey, the late pastor of the Concord Missionary Baptist Church. Bailey, early in the life of Concord brought some of the greatest preachers he could find to preach there and A.L. Patterson was one of them.
The thing that I loved most about Dr. Patterson was the sheer confidence he had in the Word of God.
He handled preaching as an authority backed by Authority, so that there was no guesswork as to whether or not what he was saying was true. It was unalterably true and you didn't have to take Patterson's word for it, he could show you, using scripture, the etymology of a word, the original meaning of a phrase, the grammatical construct of a sentence how and why he believed what a text said.
And then I loved the poetry of his preaching. He was a master of alliteration. He strung words together with alliteration and with a rhetoric that was so compelling that his preaching style had an other worldly attractiveness to it.
If Dr. A.L. Patterson's name sounds familiar, it's because I eulogized his son on this blog about three years ago. That post is, I believe, the most popular post I've written to date. "ALP3" as he referred to himself and as friends and church members spoke of him, drew my admiration and friendship because he didn't try and trade on his father's name, nor did he confuse himself with his father. He was just 'Pat' to most of us.
A.L. Patterson, Jr. is reunited with his boy. The father and the son are together again, at last. I'm certain it is a joyful, joy-filled reunion. God, being the 'center and the circumference' of their eternal existence, they can now enrich one another's lives throughout eternity!