One of the greatest Bible teachers of the entire church age and possibly THE greatest teacher to the body of Christ given by God went home to be with the Lord on April 21st, 2016 at the full age of ninety four years old.
He spent sixty-five years serving Jesus in the gospel ministry. Regardless of your Christian stripe or camp, it would behoove you to turn aside and consider some things said of the man from those who greatly benefited from God’s use of him. I’m going to give testimony regarding him without first reading much of what may be said of him elsewhere in response to him being recently called home to be with the Lord. Before I begin, please note that I sat under Dr. Peter S. Ruckman for about four years. This is firsthand information.
First, I want to give you a little background about myself. After receiving Christ at the young age of six, my parents did a great deal to help me get grounded and get exposed to what was available through local Baptist church ministry. By the time I was about twelve years old, I began really digging into the Bible for myself. I believed and received what I read literally and that created quite a problem. I could not reconcile many seemingly contradictory passages and became inconsolably frustrated. I did not even have assurance of salvation at this time, but was making a concentrated effort to witness to others and please the Lord as best I knew how. One night around this time while lying in bed to go to sleep, I prayed specifically that God would put me across the path of a Bible teacher that could help me understand more. I wanted a teacher. I knew I needed a teacher. I had called out to God and asked for help. Like the Ethiopian in Acts chapter eight, I said, “How can I understand ‘except some man should guide me?’“
When I was about fourteen, God put a born again, former Roman Catholic in my life that mentored me in rightly dividing the holy scriptures. While displaced for a time from other local church ministry, we met in this Bible student’s home as a family and received verse by verse instruction regarding the various covenants and harmony of differences in God’s dealings with mankind. I was given cassette tapes by Pastor Greg Estep on dispensational truth. I must have listened to those lessons at least a dozen times each. I could not get enough and was learning the Bible at a rate that actually alarmed some people around me.
Sometime that year, I watched and listened to the first message that I ever experienced from Dr. Ruckman in his “Drawing Men to Christ” series called “Where Do the Dead Go” at my grandparents’ house. That message shook me to the core! Keep in mind; I had been in Baptist churches off and on since I was eight years old at this point. I had never heard things so plainly and clearly in my entire exposure to preaching and teaching up to this time. I realized how ignorant I was. I realized it was a great error to continue with such a lack of God’s power in my own life.
I watched and read everything I could get my hands on by Dr. Ruckman. I still had a problem with assurance of salvation, but I was witnessing every chance I could and had made great effort to dedicate myself to the Lord.
God convinced me of the truth of the King James Bible being God’s perfect Book when I was nine years old because I noted the enemies it had. I knew it was different, but didn’t understand why until being exposed to Dr. Ruckman’s ministry.
My grandfather was pastoring during the time our family was first exposed to truth from Dr. Ruckman. He was removed from the church he was pastoring by the deacons for being too strong on the King James Bible issue. He was led to start life over and go to the school founded by Dr. Ruckman called Pensacola Bible Institute. I was a senior in high school and that had a profound influence on me. God also called me immediately after high school to sit and learn as much as I could in the classes being offered.
As soon as I got to Pensacola, I experienced what many term as “culture shock.” I had never been in a Christian service with that many grown men singing as loud as they could. The music was close to a full orchestra with drums playing a militant marching beat to most every song. The men went out every Saturday and preached publickly on the streets for six months out of the year. I had visited once before. I had read about some of this, but now I was completed immersed.
My schedule consisted of working forty hours a week in labor or service jobs locally and twenty hours a week in full-time classroom instruction at Pensacola Bible Institute. I thought I had settled my doubts about salvation, but still battled with doubt daily.
I spent some time in the United States Air Force later and understand better now some of the training given at Pensacola Bible Institute. IT WAS A TRUE SPIRITUAL BOOT CAMP!
About halfway through my three years of school, I finally got full assurance of salvation. I really expected and knew I deserved some kind of “excommunication” as it is required for students to be saved and know they are saved BEFORE beginning school. Instead of being kicked out, I was instructed.
One time it was mentioned that Dr. Ruckman had been a little too hard on me during my problems with learning to rest in the eternal security that God gives every believer, but his toughness was exactly what I needed. I had other pastors and teachers try to help me in the past. They just retreaded me and had me prayer a sinner’s prayer. I think most of them really tried to help me. Some tried to win me to their charisma or personality or tried to salve their own conscience because my striking conviction was so troublesome. Some just had poor training. Some of it was unbelief and plain spiritual retardation on my part. I realize that, but Dr. Ruckman and the other instructors did something different. They just continually pointed me to the word of God. They never tried to win me to themselves. They didn’t try to impress me with their personality.
If I was going to get assurance, it was going to be from the Holy Spirit and the word of God. The manner of man that the ministry operated under hindered me from getting comfort any other way. God did that. Dr. Ruckman dealt straight with me and encouraged me, but he was nonsensical about my plague of doubts and fears. One time after responding to an altar call for salvation, he had me turn and face the congregation to assure me that people there loved the Lord and were praying for me. I just started crying. I don’t know all why really. I was ashamed of myself and began to understand the love in that room. After closing the service, Dr. Ruckman turned aside with me briefly. We knelt; he put his arm around me, and prayed for me that night. I don’t remember what was said because I was a wreck, but God answered those prayers. Many others came forward afterwards to tell me about similar struggles they also had in their life. If I said I was greatly helped by God that night, it would be an immerse understatement.
I was reading my Bible in the days shortly after that when the Lord spoke so clear into my heart. I’ve only heard God’s voice so strongly that it was almost audible a few times in my life. This was one of those times. The Lord let me know I had two choices. I could be miserable the rest of my Christian life or I could believe what God said in his Book and start enjoying the salvation he had given me. I remember letting out a deep sigh of relief and saying, “Okay, Lord. I’m done. I’m sorry.” In the weeks following my mind would drift back into uncertainty, but I began choosing again and again to side with God against my wrong feelings and thoughts. I began consciously resisting Satan’s lies of doubt and soon my troubles of lacking assurance went COMPLETELY away for good. It’s been fourteen years now and my testimony concerning salvation has been crystal clear. I don’t get defeated like I used to. Once every six months or year, the devil tries to get me back under bondage in my mind by trying to tell me I was never really saved, but within seconds, I recognize the enemy’s tricks and give the battle back to God.
God used Dr. Ruckman to save me from certain spiritual shipwreck as a young man. He helped me so that I could be more than assured that I was eternally secure, but helped so I could become profitable to the Lord. I remember having some very personal trouble later on and let him know about it. He was genuinely sorry for my trouble and gave some needful counsel.
He was the toughest preacher in the pulpit and the most gracious person in one-on-one conversation that I have ever known. He loved dogs and children. He had a great sense of fun. He loved his wife, family, church, and his students. He loved his personal enemies, but didn’t hold anything back against enemies of the Book.
Some people accuse Dr. Ruckman of many things. They say he was racist. They say he supported abortion. They say he wasn’t qualified to stay in the ministry because of trouble concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage in his personal life. They say he doesn’t deserve to be heard. They say he’s done much harm to the body of Christ. They boil the man’s life down to a few things taken out of context by his enemies. These people are subverted and deceived for whatever reason. I don’t have time for the detractors who base their judgments of him on second or third hand information.
I’ve lost friends over sitting under the man and following the pattern God gave him. The training I received has created some peculiar challenges that pale in comparison to the absolutely top notch biblical instruction I received during my time at PBI from 2000-2003. I got a little sore about the reality of the trouble of being connected to the school a few seasons after graduating, but it wasn’t long before God confirmed and reminded me of some things. I’m thankful for other men who are neither ashamed of Dr. Ruckman nor the price paid for staying in the ministry when many would have quit. I’m grateful for the kindness many extend to his students while for some years they are proven as to whether they will be true to the trust they are given.
He taught us there would be trouble. He never liked the attention. He said we would get called names, but told us not to wear the names as a badge of honor. He wouldn’t want us praising him except to draw attention to the truth and the Lord Jesus Christ.
He taught us to study, think for ourselves, and above all to keep our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ at the very top of every other priority imaginable.
I have sound Bible answers for ALL of your lies about the man, his manner, and his ministry. I can with little effort give you scripture for the so called peculiar doctrines taught at PBI. I may not be able to give out personal specifics, but even things I do know, I might withhold knowing some of you are just a bunch of self-righteous bottom feeders anyway.
I have no way of measuring the benefits I have received that will reap eternal rewards because of submitting to be trained at PBI. God saved my wife as a result of the preaching of Dr. Ruckman’s associate, Brian Donovan. I support God’s choice in placing him in care of the church and institute. Only a fool would continue dissembling after so many years of faithfulness to the Book. That King James Bible and the grace of God are the only reasons there has been such lasting good done through Bible Baptist Church of Pensacola, Florida. I pray it continues until the Lord calls the church out at the rapture (which I hope will take place before this article is finished), but if it doesn’t I will know why. Dr. Ruckman did things in such a way to biblically ensure that if anyone tried to make a monument out of his life’s work it would basically collapse on itself and cease to exist. He went against the spirit of the age. He lived his life hazarding himself and everything he had for his Saviour.
For his followers, DO what he said and actually READ the cross references in his books.
Dr. Ruckman is not who you read about in the bulk of the internet trash heap. If you behave like a fool about that stuff don’t be surprised if you are marked. That’s what I’m commanded to do.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. Philippians 3:17