Dr. Randy Singbeil (1964-2009)

I just received word that a very dear brother, Pastor Randy Singbeil, of Alliston, Ontario, died last night quite suddenly from a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. Randy was a lover of the doctrines of grace, and a graduate from Knox Theological Seminary (D.Min.). I counted Randy among my good friends and esteemed him as a colleague in ministry. I first met Randy about twelve years ago when he was pastoring at Walsh, here in Ontario. What drew us together was a shared love for the same historical figures—men like the Puritans and Jonathan Edwards, Calvinistic Baptists like Andrew Fuller and Charles H. Spurgeon, and that remarkable Welsh preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones—and a great desire to see revival and reformation here in our Baptist churches of Ontario.

It was a privilege to get to know Randy even more as he studied at a seminary with which I am very familiar, Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, where he graduated with a D.Min. I remember reading over portions of his well-executed thesis "Can These Dry Bones Live? Church Revitalization in the Cultural Mosaic of Canada (2004)". And when I came to Toronto Baptist Seminary as Principal in 2003, and was seeking for pastoral leaders who would support the work at Toronto Baptist Seminary, I turned to Randy, among a few others. By that time, he and his dear wife Crystal had moved to Toronto to pastor Long Branch Baptist Church. Randy, and Crystal as time allowed, was always present and supportive at our seminary functions and showed a great interest in what we were doing.

I last saw him, I believe, at the Sola Scriptura conference in London, Ontario, last November, though we had ongoing contact through e-mail since then. He and Crystal were there, and we talked about a possible trip to Geneva this summer to celebrate the quincentennial of John Calvin’s birth. Randy was his usual outgoing, warm self, that I always deeply appreciated.

One of our mutual heroes, the Baptist pastor Andrew Fuller often resorted to poetry and hymnody when overwhelmed with emotion. Shortly after getting the news about Randy I was led to think of this hymn by D.A. MacGregor, the nineteenth-century Canadian Baptist, who also died quite young. These are stanzas 5-6:

Life is death if severed From Thy throbbing heart. Death with life abundant At Thy touch would start. …

Jesus! all perfections Rise and end in Thee; Brightness of God’s glory Thou, eternally. Favour’d beyond measure They Thy face who see; May we, gracious Saviour, Share this ecstasy.

We trust and confidently believe that Randy is now seeing the face of his and our Saviour, and rejoicing perfectly in God’s mercy in Christ.

Please remember his wife Crystal and his and her families in prayer. The funeral will be Saturday in Alliston, Ontario.

PS See the tribute to Randy by my dear friend Heinz Dschankilic on the Sola Scriptura website: "Today We Grieve at the Loss of a Dear Friend."