On rare occasions in life you’ll meet someone with that almost indescribable energy for life and passion for the vocation for which they have been called. Dr. Bruce Baker is that special type of person. When he speaks, people listen. And they listen for more than his expertly crafted humor; they listen because they are going to receive something of great spiritual and educational value. As a New Testament scholar, author of two books, pastor of nearly 26 years, US Navy serviceman, husband of nearly 40 years, father of three and grandfather of 10, Baker has maintained the consistent purpose—as his mentor and friend Dr. Rod Decker used to say—“All for the church.”
Living by and Committed to Truth
Baker is well read and has a good way of capturing complex theological concepts and explaining them in a few succinct statements. Dr. Wayne Slusser, Baptist Bible Seminary dean, has known Baker since they were in seminary together in 2001. Slusser is grateful for the impact Baker has had on his life and ministry. He notes, “Dr. Baker makes you think deeper and appreciate the process of getting to a specific conclusion.”
Slusser continues, saying, “He loves God, loves the Bible, loves truth, wants to live by truth and is committed to truth.”
Born in Peoria, Illinois, Baker went on to serve in the US Navy from 1980-91 as an electronics technician with the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He married his wife in 1981. After leaving the Navy, he worked as a TV engineer at a Christian television station until he took up full-time ministry and pursued higher education.
Baker graduated Calvary Bible College with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries; he then continued on to Calvary Theological Seminary, where he graduated with a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Studies with highest honors. He then earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Systematic Theology from Baptist Bible Seminary.
“Bruce lives his theology and believes in the sovereignty and authority of God in his life,” states Slusser.
Ministering Through the Written Word and Personal Experience
Baker wrote two books: “Spiritual Maturity: The Road to Wonderland” and “For Thou Art with Me: Biblical Help for the Terminally Ill and Those Who Love Them.” The former won the 2010 Small Christian Publishers Book of the Year Award in the nonfiction/living category.
His most recent publication deals with a topic very close to his heart. He was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in August of 2017 and given 18 months to live. Doctors have noticed something about him is different than other patients—he isn’t scared. In his book, he wrote about the reason for this difference as he endures his battle with a terminal illness.
He views terminal illness as a gift, because when a person is given a terminal disease, the things they have always wanted or needed to do take center stage.
The official description of the book states, “Facing a terminal illness himself, Baker has wisdom to share with all those who have this diagnosis as well as their loved ones and caretakers. With gentleness and candor, Baker explores questions to think about and actions to take during this time. “For Thou Art with Me” is written from a biblical perspective knowing that God’s truth is timeless.”
Final Advice and Remaining Hope
To those young in the faith, Baker says, “never underestimate the importance nor the usefulness of the doctrine of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus. There is a reason why the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ is called ‘the blessed hope.’ (Titus 2:13).”
He continues, admitting, “the current theological climate stresses social action as the true mission of the church. This is simply false. The mission of the church is to train people to lead godly lives while spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to all who will listen. We are to do this while we wait for the blessed hope.”
Baker has truly lived a life of humble service and has gained a profound wisdom through his various life experiences. As he continues on until this final chapter of his ministry on earth concludes, he admits, “my great love has always been teaching and preaching the Word of God. As a result of teaching through numerous books of the Bible, my ability to see God’s great plan for the ages has improved the longer I serve. I have been privileged to teach pastors in seven different countries on four continents during this time. Traveling to often forgotten places of the world to strengthen the Church has been a unique joy for which I’m very thankful.”
Story by Jessica Eddy, Senior in CSU’s Communications-Writing program