Three years ago at this time, many Christians were mourning the death of a giant of a preacher as Curtis Cates was laid to rest, awaiting his eternal reward to come at the appearing of Jesus Christ. Garland Elkins officiated the funeral, which took place three years ago today.
Today Garland himself has bid this world adieu and joined his friend Curtis in awaiting his crown.
He was a loyal husband and father, friend and mentor to countless, servant of God and evangelist for the church of Christ. He preached all over the world, memorized the Bible in multiple translations and gently debated anyone who challenged the authority of the Scripture.
He once debated a baptist preacher named Bob Ross on the subject of baptism and its authority. Elkins used one verse—Mark 16:16—and repeated its simple Truth over and over to the increased consternation of his opponent. At one point Ross shouted “will you just move to a new verse already?!” to which Elkins responded “when you’re able to answer this one, I’ll move on to the next one.”
In addition, he is perhaps most famous for his appearance on the Phil Donahue show, wherein he defended the Holy Spirit Himself related to the subject of fellowship withdrawal…
Despite the rudeness of the host and many others, Elkins never lost his composure. He never raised his voice. He never spoke out of turn. With millions watching, he demonstrated a Christ-like demeanor better than any since Paul stood before Agrippa. And not just there, but his whole life is filled with examples and accounts of meekness, kindness, generosity, zealous love of Truth and commitment to helping souls find Christ.
He spent the past quarter-century working with the Memphis School of Preaching as her Dean of Public Relations, as well as teaching a variety of courses, chief among them the Life/Gospel of Christ. His remarkable ability to memorize and recall any scripture led to some…challenging…memory work assignments for his students. But we are all the better for it. Eagle-eyed students would occasionally observe his “reading” his Bible out-loud to the class…with the book upside down! Sometimes he would quote a text (multiple verses) and then stop, mid-stream, and switch to a different translation and continue quoting, without missing a beat. There will never be another like him.
He was 90 years old and proclaimed the King till the day he died.