In Memory of
Walter R. Martin
September 10, 1928 - June 26, 1989
A Personal Message from Darlene Martin
On the morning of June 26, 1989, Dr. Walter R. Martin -- founder and president of the Christian Research Institute -- died peacefully at his home in San Juan Capistrano, California.
A memorial service was held for Dr. Martin at Capistrano Valley Church on Thursday evening, June 29. The service featured tributary comments from family, friends, and CRI personnel. It was a service that honored Walter, yet also brought great glory to his beloved Savior.
A highlight of the service was when Darlene Martin, Walter's wife, shared her thoughts with the congregation. Her comforting words are recorded below.
On behalf of my family and myself, I want to thank you all so much for being here at the home going celebration of Walter Martin. I awakened early Monday morning to find he was not in bed. I went to the next room to see if all was okay, and found Walt on his knees there. My first thoughts were, "Can you say 'Amen' now and come back to bed?" But after gently touching him on his shoulder and calling his name, I realized he was no longer here, but in the presence of the Lord.
Walt was often up in the middle of the night. And I was many times awakened to the sounds of his praying quietly or reading the scriptures in the next room, or jotting down notes for a sermon or a new book he would like to write. His love of the Lord was everything to him. It was his life. There were no gray areas when it came to the truths of the gospel, a stance which cost him much by earthly standards. But he did not live by earthly standards. His role model was Jesus Christ, and his constant desire was to be more like Him and to do his Father's will.
God put him where He wanted him to be, and took him home in His time. Walt had been in the battle for almost 40 years. He had fought the good fight. He had run the course. And now is laid up for him the crown of glory.
We shall all miss him greatly. But his rest is well earned. He is praising the Lord now in His presence, and I am sure the Lord has taken him by the hand and said, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
We who are left will continue to struggle, to win the fight, to run the course. God has set before us to endure until He comes again, or calls us home. We must continue to build on the foundation Walt has laid, never wavering from the truth of the gospel, and never compromising for the sake of popularity or position.
Walt was constantly aware and grateful for what the Lord had done for him and the avenues of service the Lord had made available to him. My prayer is that we would all be inspired by this man's life and ministry, to earnestly contend for the faith as he had so vigorously done all the years the Lord had given to him.
God's richest blessings on each of you! May He give us strength to fight the good fight. And -- as Walt had said so often -- "I've got good news for you. I've read the end of the book, and we win."
Thank you again for all your love and prayers that have made it physically possible for me to endure. Thanks also to the many people who have prepared food and sent cards and flowers. I deeply appreciate it all.
Remembering a Soldier of the Cross
Excerpts from Dr. Walter Martin's Memorial Service
Dr. Martin's memorial service opened with the following words from the Reverend John Ankerberg.
Tonight is going to be a time where we can cry and we can laugh, because that's the way Walter Martin would want it to be. And I think we're going to do a little bit of each.
You're going to meet the family. You're going to hear from some of his closest board-member friends, as well as other friends that are here. We're so glad that you came.
I'm going to ask that we stand to our feet and begin by giving this service to the Lord. Let's pray. "Our great God, it's a privilege to think about the man that you allowed us to know as a friend and as a minister. What joy he brought into our lives. Many people are here tonight because he preached. He dared to tell the truth about Jesus Christ and as a result, people came to know Christ as personal Lord and Savior. We thank you for that. And tonight, as we celebrate his home going -- as well as console each other with the pain of his leaving us -- we ask that your Holy Spirit would deal with each one of us tenderly. We look to you for this service, our dear God. And we thank you in Jesus' name. Amen."
Monday morning, about 8:30, my precious friend Darlene called me and said, "Lowell, I guess you were the last to speak to Walter." I'd talked to him the night before. And I thought, 'what in the world could she possibly mean?' And then she said Walter's gone to be with his Lord. . . .
Walter had so much love for his fellow man that it's hard to explain. . . . I often accompanied Walter to autograph parties for some of the books he wrote. And he sometimes had cultists verbally attack him when they were in close range. And I used to stand there in amazement at his total patience. He never got the least little bit aroused, but would stand there and listen patiently. . . .
This happened in Long Beach once. Walter put his arm around this Mormon who was furious at what he'd been saying. He put his arm around him and said, "Brother, let's talk about what the Scriptures say." And after a little while, the man quieted down and fifteen minutes later dear precious Walter said, "Sir, would you like to pray and accept Christ?" The man said "yes," as quick as that. And in front of 100 people there in the middle of a bookstore -- Walter didn't care where it was -- he prayed, and the man accepted Jesus as his Lord. I saw that happen so many times, I can't even begin to enumerate it. Walter truly lived what he preached.
Let everyone here tonight understand that what we have here tonight is a military ceremony. And Walter, we're here tonight to offer you our twenty-one gun salute. For truly, you've been a great warrior for the faith. And I'd like to reminisce for a little bit, Walt, and talk about things that happened long ago when we first met back in the fall of 1944 when we were cast together at the Stony Brook School in New York.
You came from a Roman Catholic school; I came from a Christian Science background. And neither one of us knew what it meant to be a Christian. We were a couple of young boys cast together. What we didn't reckon with was that we were to be put under the teaching of Dr. Frank Gaebelein, the headmaster of the school, a giant of a man.
Well, Walt, it didn't take too long under Dr. Gaebelein's teaching before the Holy Spirit zapped both of us. Within a week of one another, we both came to commit our lives to Jesus Christ. . . .
I also remember how we talked into the night about our different religious backgrounds. You talked about Roman Catholic beliefs, and I told you a little about Christian Science. I didn't buy any of it, but I told you what they believed. You were very much interested in the beliefs of Christian Science at that time, and I believe you began your research right there, by taking these questions to Dr. Gaebelein. I think those early discussions that we had got you interested in the cults, and you went on from there to write your first book, The Christian Science Myth. And from there, you've taken the attack right to Satan's stronghold. And we all here tonight, Walt, want to thank you. We praise God for your ministry.
Walter, my personal tribute to you tonight is best expressed by what the Psalmist had to say about that man of God, that tree that could not be moved. The Psalmist said, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." (Psalm 1)
Walter Martin was special: his gift of recall, his dedication to the cause of Christ, and his love for the people engulfed in the cults and occult. All this was evident during the twenty-five years I have had the privilege to serve behind the scenes on the CRI Board of Directors.
What a joy it has been to see the growth of CRI from the early days in Oakland, New Jersey, to seeing Walter's dream of the new International Headquarters building come to fruition this past year. Most thrilling are the thousands of people now living for Christ as a result of Walter's honest and bold defense of scriptural truths.
The CRI staff is committed to continue the fervor and the excitement that Walter had. Walter's vision for the ministry was clear. He believed the most loving thing he could do for people was to defend the faith, conveying the truth from God's Word whether they liked it or not. His open arms and his teddy bear loving hugs will always be remembered.
Even though Walter was constantly attacked by Satan in many areas of his life, Christ protected him and gave him victory. And that victory sign is now portrayed by two tree trunks in a V-shape reaching up to heaven right beside his grave site.
Yes, Walter Martin will always have a place in our hearts and minds. He remains very special as we continue to serve the Lord, seeking to accomplish His will like Walter endeavored to do through the years.
His challenge tonight to us -- to each one of us -- would be that we would continue to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.
CRI Board of Directors
I count it a privilege to have known Walter for 39 years. As a matter of fact, just three of our directors -- Stan Tonnesen, Bill Seaver, and myself -- have spent a cummulative total of 104 years with Walter. We knew his heart and the direction he wanted this ministry to go. We are grateful for Walter's choice of Hank Hanegraaff to lead the ministry through the decade of the 1990's and beyond.
Walter and I have been at numerous CRI board meetings together and we've shared heartaches, we've shared victories, we've shared joy, we've shared sorrow. And we had a closeness that I'll never forget.
The most important thing in my life right now is to be a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ and carry on Walter's work. Thank you all for coming.
CRI Board of Directors
Good evening everyone. For those of you who don't know me, I'm the eldest son, Bryan. On behalf of my family, I want to thank each and every one of you for coming tonight. I know that my dad's life and ministry touched many of you. He was given a commission by God to go and preach the gospel and often said his role was to give every man an answer, a reason for the hope that lies within us with reverence and humility (1 Peter 3:15).
We viewed our dad as a spiritual warrior who was sent by God to fulfill the calling of the scripture. Dad loved all of us very much, and each of the members of my family felt that love. But he also had a love and a burden for those who needed to know Christ as their Lord and Savior. His life was dedicated to this task. Each of us here will remember dad and the example he set for us.
I know many of you are here tonight as a direct result of his ministry; from helping you in how to witness to the cults, to how to defend the gospel, to maybe even coming to know Christ through his ministry. That was dad's greatest joy, to know that there would be souls saved and be in heaven as a result of his sharing the gospel.
He would often tell us stories of people who would come up to him at meetings or in his Bible class and share something with him about his tapes and books, and how his teaching had a tremendous impact on their lives. He was so excited about sharing these stories with us. What I remember most was how he told me that all the praise and glory would go to Jesus. He did not want to take the credit. It is the Holy Spirit who brings people into salvation, and he always emphasized this to me.
I want to personally thank all of you for your prayers and support, for all of our family. We all deeply appreciate it. Please continue to uplift in prayer the family and CRI and the continuing work that needs to be done. Dad fought the good fight, and we know he is at peace where he longed to be. As Paul, "I long to be with Christ which is far better." All of us will miss him and all the love and encouragement he brought to us. But I know dad would want all of us to press on for the cause of the gospel.
Danny Martin, Dr. Martin's youngest son, read the
following poem at the memorial service.
It is entitled, "Safely Home."
I am home in heaven, dear ones.
All so happy and all so bright.
There's perfect joy and beauty
in this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief are over,
every restless tossing past.
I am now at peace forever,
safely home in heaven at last.
Did you wonder, I so calmly
trod the valley of the shade?
Oh but Jesus' love illumined
every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
on the way so hard to tread.
And with Jesus' arm to lean on,
could I have one doubt or dread?
Then you must not grieve so early,
for I love you dearly still.
Try to look beyond earth's shadows.
Pray to trust our Father's will.
There is work still waiting for you,
so you must not idle stand.
Do your work while life remaineth.
You shall rest in Jesus' hand.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you home.
Oh the rapture of the meeting.
Oh the joy to see you come.
A Brief Chronology of Walter R. Martin's Ministry
September 10, 1928
Walter R. Martin was born in Brooklyn, New York.
Was already speaking about (and self-publishing some small pamphlets on) the cults as a freshman at Shelton College.
Was ordained as a Baptist minister.
Obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Shelton College in New York.
Published Jehovah of the Watchtower, a concise analysis of the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Taught at Shelton College in New York.
Public Relations and Alumni Director at Stony Brook School.
Founded the Division of Cult Apologetics at the Zondervan Publishing House.
Published The Christian Science Myth.
Published The Rise of the Cults, a summary guide to the major cults.
Obtained a Master's degree from New York University and Biblical Seminary.
Dr. Martin and Donald Grey Barnhouse engaged in a formal conference with several major representatives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventism. The purpose of the meeting was to gather doctrinal information on this controversial group.
Questions on Doctrine was published by the Adventist denomination largely in response to questions raised by Dr. Martin.
Walter Martin and Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote a number of important articles on Seventh-day Adventism for Eternity magazine.
Part of the Pastor's Conference Team of World Vision Inc. Traveled some 25,000 miles and spoke to over 5,000 Christians about the problem of non-Christian cults on the mission field. Tour stops included Formosa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Burma, India, and Ghana.
1960 (October 1)
Founded Christian Research Institute. Served as its President for almost thirty years.
Published The Truth about Seventh-day Adventism.
Taught at King's College in New York.
Returned to Europe to lecture on the cults, and interviewed missionaries whose work ranged from Scandinavia through Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, and France.
The Religious Research Digest was published by the Christian Research Institute. This quarterly publication featured such writers as Wilbur M. Smith and Donald Grey Barnhouse.
Published Essential Christianity, a handbook of basic Christian doctrines.
Published The Maze of Mormonism, a concise guide to the confusing maze of Mormon doctrine and practice.
First began appearing on the "Long John Nebel Show." Appeared over 80 times on this popular NBC radio broadcast.
Recipient of the "Professor of the Year" Award from King's College.
Published the classic The Kingdom of the Cults. This book was selected by both Christianity Today and Eternity magazines as "one of the best" of the year in 1965. It has since been revised and expanded. The July 1985 edition of Newsweek magazine listed the book as "one of the 10 best selling spiritual books in America." Approximately 500,000 copies have been published to date.
Radio ministry expanded with the addition of "The Bible Answer Man" program, a live telephone talk show in which Walter Martin answered questions about the Bible and related subjects. The program was recognized by the National Religious Broadcasters as "one of the most controversially stimulating programs in Christian radio!"
Took over the Bible Class of Donald Grey Barnhouse, held every Monday evening in New York City.
Debated Dr. Hugh J. Schonfield, controversial author of The Passover Plot.
Founding board member at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Walter Martin moved from New Jersey to California where he eventually set up CRI's International Headquarters.
Began teaching "Cults and the Occult" at Melodyland School of Theology. His class at Melodyland evolved into a regular Sunday school class in Southern California.
Published Screwtape Writes Again, a book on some effective strategies demons use with Christians.
Began broadcasting "The Bible Answer Man" in Southern California.
Obtained a Ph.D. degree from California Western University.
Led a tour to the Holy Land.
Interviewed on national television (NBC) following the Jonestown tragedy.
Founded FORWARD magazine. This magazine evolved to the present CHRISTIAN RESEARCH JOURNAL.
Defended the orthodox Christian position on "The Phil Donahue Show" against two witches.
Published The New Cults, a book which examines and evaluates the newer cults infiltrating society.
Became the Director of the MA program at Simon Greenleaf School of Law.
An Honor Citation was given to CRI by the National Religious Broadcasters for "The Bible Answer Man" program.
An Award of Excellence was presented to CRI for "The Bible Answer Man" by RIM (Religion In Media).
Traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, and delivered lectures to African clergymen on the dangers of cultic and occultic movements threatening Africa.
Published Walter Martin's Cults Reference Bible.
Returned to Africa to speak at the National Christian Council of Kenya, a gathering of several hundred leading pastors and educators in Nairobi.
Spoke in Brazil, the spiritist capital of the world, and established a CRI office there.
Visited and spoke on the cults in Australia and New Zealand.
Visited and spoke on the cults in Canada.
CRI opened an office in Canada.
1987 (October 30)
Discussed Satanism on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson.
Secret Power, written by D. L. Moody and first published in 1881, was edited by Walter Martin and republished. Dr. Martin wanted to republish the book because it showed that Moody subscribed to the Charismatic emphasis on the need for the power of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts.
CRI moved into its new International Headquarters building in Irvine, California.
Published his last book, The New Age Cult, which examines and evaluates some of the major tenets of the New Age movement.
1989 (June 17)
Delivered his last seminar at Arrowhead Springs Christian Conference Center for a small Pastor's Conference where Dr. Martin preached on holiness.
1989 (June 24)
Debate with Bishop Spong on "The John Ankerberg Show," the weekend prior to his death.
1989 (June 26)
Walter R. Martin died peacefully at his home in San Juan Capistrano, California. He was 60 years old.
Personal Tributes of Christian Leaders
Walter Martin's insightful mind, his forceful logic, and his dedication to orthodox Christianity were seldom, if ever, equaled in the field of contemporary cults. . . . Inspired by his example, we renew our dedication to carry on the mission God so uniquely equipped him to do. . . . I trust that God will richly bless and effectively use the excellent CRI staff to carry forward this ministry for Christ in the memory of their mentor.
Dr. Norman Geisler
I've known Walter Martin for probably twenty-five years or so, and had a deep appreciation for his tremendous grasp of the Word of God and the contribution he's made to the whole evangelical community. Dr. Martin is going to be greatly missed by friends and those who just knew him by reputation. Heaven, of course, is much richer because Walter is there now. But all of us who are left behind are going to miss him greatly. We mourn his passing, but rejoice that he is now in the presence of the Lord whom he served and loved so very, very much.
President Emeritus of World Vision
Walter Martin awakened the sleeping giant of the church to the deadly dangers of deceptive doctrines. He understood the cultic mentality, highlighted reason for the cults' magnetic appeals, and challenged the church to consider neglected doctrine. As a result of his motivating ministry, the evangelical church is immeasurably more alert, discerning, and courageous than it otherwise would have been.
Professor of Theology and Apologetics
Dr. Walter Martin was a man of surpassing love for Christ, His Word, and His people. He ever manifested unswerving fidelity to the essentials of the Christian faith. He showed a unique courage and ability in witnessing to that faith, not only on "The Bible Answer Man" program, but in the printed page and in personal presentations all around the world.
We served together, laughed together, and prayed together. I long for the day when the friendship here will be continued in our Father's house where there are many mansions. Meanwhile, though we who knew and loved him sorrow deeply, we sorrow not as those who have no hope, for Christians never say good-bye for the last time.
Dr. Desmond Ford
Good News Unlimited
Walter Martin was a strong soldier of the cross, a clear thinking defender of Christianity, and an able expositor of scripture. We shall miss his unswerving, steadfast pursuit of the truth. He was to many of us, however, more than a courageous conqueror -- he was a loyal friend "in season and out of season."
First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton
Walter Martin was an intrepid warrior for the cause of Christ. He was not afraid to take on any heretic or cultist of any sort. I think it is significant that the night before his death he was engaged in a debate for the cause of Jesus Christ....His books and tapes will for many years be a resource in battling the many cultists and heretics in the world.
Dr. D. James Kennedy
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church
Walter Martin was a friend of every true believer in Jesus Christ. He was a defender of the faith, a man of unswerving integrity, and a man who was completely loyal to the gospel of Christ. My prayer is that scores of individuals will pick up his torch and run with it.
Walter was always motivated by a deep love for people. When my son, who is thirteen years old, heard that Walter had died, he said: "You know what I remember about Walter is that he would always give me a big hug and tell me how special I was in Jesus Christ."
Walter was also a true encourager. He took me under his wings -- almost like a Timothy-Paul relationship -- and helped me in my own ministry. I cannot thank him enough for his inspiration, love, and encouragement.
How great it must be for Walter in heaven right now. He's probably in the presence, not only of Jesus Christ, but I can see him sitting around right now discussing apologetics with C.S. Lewis, Francis Shaeffer, Augustine, Luther, John Calvin, and all the other great defenders of the Christian faith. Walter Martin will certainly be remembered throughout Church history in that category of great saints who lead the fight and who stood firm in the faith.
Christian Ministries International
A true champion of the orthodox faith, Dr. Martin was thorough in battling the occult and the growing number of cults in our generation. He dealt with people of various faiths in a truthful manner, pointing out their logical and spiritual errors with a pastor's heart.
In an era of diluted faith and obscured thinking, Dr. Martin was a voice constantly calling us back to the bedrock of Christ and the holiness of the scriptures. He will be sorely missed, but we know we will see him again. May God give each of us the grace to follow in his footsteps.
Dr. James C. Dobson
Focus on the Family
Whereas most people remember Walter Martin, I suppose, as a result of his dynamic speaking and his books, I came to know him as a fellow cult watchman, and I remember him best as one who encouraged and supported his fellow cult watchers. He was always very sensitive to the needs of other ministries. And he was always ready and willing to assist the lesser-known ones.
He represented for all of us an exemplary model of scholarship, fairness, and biblically-based analysis, and it was a great privilege to have known him.
Professor of Sociology
Dr. Walter Martin served the body of Christ in a most unique and exemplary way as one of the world's foremost authorities on apologetics and cults. Though we shall miss him, his vital contribution to the Christian cause will continue to influence generations yet unborn.
Dr. Bill Bright
Campus Crusade for Christ International
Unless we accept what the Scriptures teach about the Resurrection, the entire Christian message virtually disintegrates. The whole preaching thrust of the apostolic age was based upon the fact that one quiet morning in an obscure garden man had vanquished his most feared enemy, the vaunted dark angel of death. Satan had defeated the first Adam in a garden ages before, and with his victory there commenced the reign of sin and death over mankind. But now in God's appointed time and plan Satan met the last Adam in still another garden, and death was "swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54).
Walter R. Martin
Essential Christianity, page 63
Our Lord's Resurrection is far more than just a doctrinal proposition. It is the basic pillar upon which rests the hope of all Christians. Paul wrote, "And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins" (1 Corinthians 15:17).
Walter R. Martin
Essential Christianity, page 68
The resurrection of Christ is not just an Easter-time phenomena to be celebrated in song and service, but the resurrection is literally the dawn of every new day of our lives and of our witness. Because Christ lives, the Scripture says, we will live also.
Walter R. Martin
From his tape, "The Gospel of the Resurrection"
A special note of thanks to Bob and Pat Hunter for their help in the preparation of this ASCII file for BBS circulation.
Copyright 1993 by the Christian Research Institute. ------------------------------------------------
W. M. Religious InfoNet ¤ Box 456 ¤ Forest Lake, MN 55025