Dan Winkler recently retired after 47 years of local work. However, far from being sedentary, he continues teaching at Freed-Hardeman University, where his classes are always full, as well as preaching and teaching at an incredible variety of venues from gospel meetings, lectures, seminars, workshops and of course, Polishing the Pulpit. Here are 5 questions posed to Dan during a recent visit.
What excites you most about the people of God today?
Their desire to connect with God and God with them – to have a relationship of head and heart with the Godhead. There seems to be a good balance of the logical and emotional, of head and heart. The Bible teaches both as part of a healthy spirituality (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). Historically, we have tended to emphasize one to the neglect or exclusion of the other.
What excites you the most about the future of the church?
This relates or adjuncts to the first question. I see an increasing theocentricity. The generation to come wants to be God-centered; now, that’s wonderful. The generation coming up truly are “Matthew 25 People,” – they want to help and serve and are interested in social action. However, this generation must come to realize, as important as this is, there is more to being God’s people than just being “Matthew 25 People” (having a heart for service and genuine concern for the poor and needy). Technology too excites me. Technology continues to advance as it is will allow amazing ways of studying and packaging the gospel. Imagine using holograms in Bible Classes! That kind of thing surely seems to be on the horizon. We need to capably use technology in a God-glorifying, expedient way. We must not allow technology to supplant God’s word; it is an aid to understanding and appreciating God’s word, not the substance itself.
Who are 3 mentors who helped you the most and how?
In this order, Wendell Winkler. He taught me how to live. He introduced me to Jesus. As a preacher, he influenced me with his philosophy of preaching and as a homiletician. William Woodson was more than a mentor – he was a dear friend. An older brother (20 plus years), he was a surrogate father when my own father passed away. He influenced me greatly in hermeneutics and exegesis. Hugo McCord, one of my professors in undergraduate studies. As a preacher, he taught me how to be kind and gentle. In my estimation, I have never known a man who showed the heart of Jesus more. Watching him taught me how to respond to conflict, to those who mistreat you or misunderstand you. He mentored me by his life. And he was a true scholar!
If you could say something to the next generation of preachers, what would you say?
Matthew 22:37, 39. That’s enough – nothing better could be said than what Jesus taught.
What do you want hearers to think and feel when they hear you preach?
What an awesome God! I hope they would say, “I really want to know more about Jesus, because He is how I get to know God.” What does this book mean – the Bible, and what does this book mean for me? It is NOT primarily about the messenger; it IS the message! I would want people to think I accurately and lovingly conveyed the message of my King!