Bob Slosser: Teacher, Mentor,
By Craig von Buseck
CBN.com Contributing Writer
CBN.com - It shouldn't
"Bob Slosser's writing class is the most popular one we have,"
the faculty secretary told me. "He sets a limit of 20 on the
class, and there is always a waiting list of our communication
students. Since you're a student in the Divinity School it is
doubtful that there will be an opening. But if you like we can
put you on the list"
She didn't hold out much hope, but I insisted that I be placed
on that precious list. I had been an admirer of Bob Slosser
for many years. Bob was still president of Regent University
when I first attended in the late 1980s. A job opened up for
me and I moved away from Virginia after only two semesters,
but I continued to be impressed by the writing of Dr. Slosser.
Bob retired while I was away, becoming President Emeritus, and
also a writer-in-residence in the College of Communication.
I had always enjoyed reading his work. In my estimation, he
was one of the great Christian writers of our time.
I've always had a passion for writing, and I held in high esteem
those who melded their craft with their ministry; people like
Jamie Buckingham, Ken Gire, Max Lucado, and Bob Slosser.
Years later, when I returned to Regent as a student in the
Divinity School, I had hoped to take writing classes in the
College of Communication as electives. A friend who was a joint
degree student in both schools told me that I should take Bob
Slosser's class, "The Craft of Good Writing" -- that is, if
I could get in.
I checked back with the faculty secretary, hoping for a miracle.
"I can't explain it," she told me, shrugging her shoulders.
"Only fifteen students have signed up for this class. I guess
I found out later that there had been a glitch, and a class
that was required for graduation was scheduled at the same time
as Bob's course. All the second year communication students
who wanted to graduate that year were forced to forego the "Craft
of Good Writing." By God's grace I got my first opportunity
to get to know this godly man.
Throughout the semester Bob encouraged us to look at writing
as a ministry. "Make your words white-hot, hard-hitting, passionate,"
The class was tough -- brutal at times. Bob didn't pull any
punches with his students. Like many aspiring writers I had
romantic notions concerning the life of a wordsmith. Without
apology he smashed those naïve assumptions to little pieces.
"Writing is painful," he declared, his face wrenched to mirror
the statement. "It is just plain hard work. If you are to be
a good writer, you will have to toil for countless hours to
hone the craft."
For me it was sweet agony. Bob was painfully honest. But it
made us better. It made us think. It made us stretch. It made
us grow. It made us good.
I was sitting at the feet of a master
writer -- I knew I may never have this opportunity again. I
wanted to make the most of it.
But this was also a mature disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bob didn't just talk about ministry, he did ministry, even in
the classroom. Every class was opened with prayer, and the needs
of the students were lifted before the throne of grace. If one
of the students was not feeling well, or requested prayer for
a physical ailment, this elder in the Episcopal Church would
pull a vial of oil from his pocket, and would anoint the head
of the student as he prayed for their recovery.
On one occasion one of my fellow classmates was facing a troubling
circumstance with her health. Like always Bob anointed her head
with oil and prayed for her recovery. But on this day, led by
the Holy Spirit, Bob kneeled down in front of this young lady
and placed both hands on her head. Looking up to heaven he implored
God on her behalf, praying with fervency and genuine concern
-- not something you are likely to witness in most of America's
institutions of higher learning.
No, Regent University was different from other graduate schools
-- and her former president had helped to move her in that godly
As the semester commenced, Bob's words about making writing
a ministry burned ever deeper into my soul. One day in the Dean's
office I was informed that a new program had begun that year
in the Journalism School called religious journalism. This study
course was designed for students who wanted to integrate writing
with ministry by spending a year in the Divinity School and
a year and a half in the Journalism School. I prayed about making
the move, and decided to seek godly counsel. Among other mature
Christians that I talked to I set up a meeting with Dr. Slosser.
Though he didn't say "thus saith the Lord" to me in his reply,
I knew that he was prophesying as he spoke. His words shot through
me like a laser beam. "There are a lot of 'right-thinking' pastors,
Bible teachers, and missionaries out there, Craig. But there
aren't a lot of 'right-thinking' writers and communicators.
If you believe this is what the Lord is saying to you, I am
in absolute agreement."
I transferred into the Journalism program the next day, looking
forward to spending more time learning from Bob. As a writer
for the Regent University newspaper I did receive some of his
feedback. But Bob's health was fading even then. In the middle
of that year Bob had another stroke and was admitted to the
hospital in intensive care.
A few days later the editor of the paper and I went to visit
him in the hospital. He was not able to get out of bed, and
he drifted in and out of consciousness. I wondered if he would
ever leave the hospital. To my astonishment, within a week he
was up and moving again. Soon he was back at school, but his
step was not as sure, and his mind did not seem to be as focused
as before. He taught for one more semester, and then retired
I was blessed to have been one of his final pupils.
Bob couldn't stand to be idle, and soon I received an invitation
to join he and his wife, Gloria, in a special gathering of Christian
writers in their home. They called the meeting the "shorehaven
group," and they modeled it after Francis Shaeffer's home meetings.
For me, this was the best time that I spent with Bob. Every
two weeks we gathered to read material that we had written,
to critique each other's work, and to lift each other up in
prayer. There were sparks of the old Bob Slosser that came through
again during these intimate gatherings. He was tough, and demanding
-- speaking the truth in love. It was a wonderful time as professors
from Regent mingled with students and other writers from the
community. After about six months Bob's health again took a
turn for the worse, and sadly the meetings were cancelled.
But Bob was a fighter. Working with his doctors, he searched
for the right medications that would enable him to continue
to write. Soon he was back to work at CBN, helping in Direct
Marketing on a part-time basis. Our lives intersected yet again
at this juncture when he called to tell me that there was a
full-time position available as a writer in this department.
I was nearing graduation, and was already sending out resumes.
I jumped at the opportunity, and with Bob's endorsement I was
interviewed and hired for the job. Again I looked forward to
working with Bob, and again I was disappointed when his health
forced him to leave the position only a short time after I started.
But Bob wouldn't give up.
In a few more months he was at it again with his doctors, and
then with another writing position at CBN -- as a regular columnist
for CBN.com. After two years in the Direct Marketing department
I also joined the Internet staff at CBN. By this time Bob was
only able to make it into the office once a week. The rest of
the time he worked from home. Of course any time that I could
spend with him was a joy. He was very supportive and encouraging
-- always urging me on in my writing. He took particular interest
in a historical novel that I was developing.
In time Bob's physical limitations forced him to stay home
and write from the comfort of his shorehaven refuge next to
the Atlantic Ocean. In the final two years of our relationship
our roles reversed somewhat. I became the chief editor of CBN.com,
and he was one of my regular columnist. Like a child who finds
himself caring for an elderly parent, I was editing Bob's writing,
and he was bouncing ideas off of me for upcoming articles. It
was a peculiar honor to be in such a position.
Things were getting more difficult for Bob and Gloria in the
final months, but he refused to quit. Just days before being
admitted to the hospital for the final time, Bob wrote a moving
review of Peggy Noonan's book on Ronald Reagan. I sent him an e-mail
with my congratulations for such a wonderful piece.
It was the last thing he wrote for CBN.
I am who and where I am today partly because of the encouragement
and friendship of Bob Slosser. But I am not alone in saying
that. There are countless others who have been touched through
his many books -- including such notable volumes as Reagan
Inside Out, Plain Bread with Ben Kinchlow, The
Secret Kingdom with Pat Robertson, Child of Satan, Child
of God (based on the life of Manson family member Susan
Atkins), A Man Called Mr. Pentecost with David duPlessis,
and The Miracle of Jimmy Carter with Howard Norton.
Thousands of people have been blessed by his regular
column on CBN.com, as evidenced by the e-mail that poured
in for him.
Thousands more have been touched through his ministry as President
and Board of Trustee member at Regent, and through his time
in the classroom. "Bob was a refreshing model of grace and joy
who engaged life and ideas with enthusiasm and love," said Regent
Professor Dr. Terry Lindvall. Another Regent professor, Andrew
Quick, formerly of the BBC, commented that Bob was a "consummate
journalist who embodied the old cliche that printer's ink ran
in his veins."
That ink was so thick, that even when his body was being ravaged
by disease he still wanted to come into the office. He called
me this summer and asked if he could spend a few hours every
week day working among us. Of course he was more than welcome.
He came in with his lovely wife to a hail of greetings from
our entire staff. After settling in to his office he worked
for about an hour before we all went out to lunch to celebrate
the birthday of one of our co-workers. Since it was his first
day back at the office Bob decided to join us.
I was blessed to sit across from Bob that afternoon at the
restaurant. The service was poor that day, but I didn't mind
a bit. It allowed me nearly two hours of uninterrupted time
with my mentor. Bob was just as curious as ever about the goings-on
at CBN, and particularly at CBN.com. For Bob, CBN.com was a
dream come true. He told me that day, as he had before, that
he saw the Internet as the future of communication in our world.
In God's grace, Bob was made available to me for one last time.
Our conversation ranged from my current writing projects to
his time covering the Watergate break-in for the New York Times.
It was a wonderful afternoon for me, but I could tell that it
was taking a toll on his frail body.
It was the last time I ever saw Bob Slosser.
Though it was a shock, it wasn't a surprise when Pat Robertson
announced on The 700 Club that Bob had gone on to be
with the Lord. Bob had fought bravely for many years, when many
others would have just given up. Only eternity will tell how
many more will have been won into the Kingdom of God because
of the painful work that Bob did for the Lord in these final
Yes, like other writers, Bob will live on through his work.
But his work will carry with it an eternal spark, because back
in the 1960s Bob Slosser made a decision that he would no longer
live for himself, but that he would surrender to the Lordship
of Jesus Christ. Though he was a noted journalist for the New
York Times before coming to salvation, as a communicator he
did his greatest work under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
after becoming a born-again believer.
It was the strength of the Holy Spirit that helped him to achieve
such great things for God while he was well, and it was the
strength of the Holy Spirit that helped sustain him when he
Bob would want you to know about the Holy Spirit -- and not
only to know the Holy Spirit, but to embrace Him. For it is
the Holy Spirit that made Bob Slosser the great man of God who
I knew, and who was loved by so many.
I will miss you, Bob, but I know you are enveloped in the arms
of your Savior, and joined by that great cloud of witnesses,
who are urging the rest of us to remain strong for the Kingdom's
sake -- just like you were.
No, I shouldn't have gotten into that class, but I am eternally
grateful that I did.
Please send me your
Memory: Bob Slosser
Ross: Another Patriarch Has Passed On
of One by Aaron Bull
on Bob Slosser by Martha Noebel
Read Bob's columns on
Craig von Buseck is Ministries Director for CBN.com and a graduate
of the College of Communication at Regent University. Please send him your e-mail
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