By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
All of us have heard the term “Christian gentleman.” But if you look up the definition of what a Christian gentleman is, I doubt you will find one. You would have to look up the definitions of “Christian” and “gentleman” and come up with your own.
For me, the definition is easy. I can define “Christian gentleman” in two words — Bill Palmer. I first met Bro. Bill when I served on the staff of the former Education Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention in the early 1980s. Bro. Bill, then a pastor in Tennessee, served as a commissioner (trustee) of the SBC entity. He discovered that I had South Carolina ties (as did he) and he took an interest in me. We began forming a friendship that lasted until the day before Thanksgiving last week when he passed away at the age of 99. See story HERE.
Our friendship grew over the years. He later became president of Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy (The King’s Academy) and I joined the staff of the Baptist and Reflector. We then had more opportunities to meet and visit. I can honestly say I never heard Bill Palmer say an unkind word about anyone. He loved people and he loved the Lord and his life reflected both of those qualities.
Tennessee Baptists lost an incredible human being and servant last week, but his legacy will live on in the lives of all who knew him.
I count myself blessed to have known Bill Palmer. He truly epitomized (at least for me) what it meant to be a Christian gentleman. May his tribe increase. B&R