O.S. Hawkins: 'Criswell: His Life and Times' (Review)


There have been several biographies written about W. A. Criswell over the years. There has even been an autobiography, Standing On The Promises (1990).

As an avid reader of biographies, I have noted that the more biographies written on a person, the more facets of that person’s life become understandable.

This is true of the present volume by Dr. Hawkins as well, Criswell: His Life and Times (B&H Publishing, April 2024). I worked with Dr. Criswell for 13 years (1975-1988) and I learned numerous things from reading this present volume I did not know before.

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Dr. Hawkins was one of Dr. Criswell successors as pastor of First Baptist Church Dallas from 1993 to 1997, while Dr. Criswell served from 1944-1990. In many ways they developed a father-son relationship. It is obvious that Dr. Hawkins had great affection for Dr. Criswell and vice versa.

In many ways, this present volume is more personal and intimate in its portrayal of Dr. Criswell. The reader certainly gets a more intimate portrait of Dr. Criswell and the personal trials he endured during his incredibly productive and inspirational ministry (cf. Richard Land, “Dr. W.A. Criswell: Hero of the Faith and Inspiration to Us All,” CP, March 15, 2024).

Whether you knew Dr. Criswell or just knew of him, you will have an even greater appreciation for Dr. Criswell’s greatness after having read this book.

I loved and admired the man, and I love and admire him even more after having read this book. Thank you, Dr. Hawkins, for making the real W.A. Criswell even more accessible and familiar.

Dr. Richard Land, BA (Princeton, magna cum laude); D.Phil. (Oxford); Th.M (New Orleans Seminary). Dr. Land served as President of Southern Evangelical Seminary from July 2013 until July 2021. Upon his retirement, he was honored as President Emeritus and he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Theology & Ethics. Dr. Land previously served as President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) where he was also honored as President Emeritus upon his retirement. Dr. Land has also served as an Executive Editor and columnist for The Christian Post since 2011.

Dr. Land explores many timely and critical topics in his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” and in his weekly column for CP.

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