My days are spent going from room to room, seeing patients. Like most doctors, my office is busy. Handing my nurse a chart, I turned to enter the next room, took the chart from the door holder and glanced at the name. “ROGERS.” Didn't think much about it, but as I opened the door, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see Adrian Rogers. It caught me by surprise. “Oh my goodness, what's Adrian Rogers doing seeing me?”
I’d grown up in Memphis. After med school, my wife, Pam, and I were looking for a church. We’d watched Dr. Rogers on TV and one Sunday we decided to visit. After the first service, we sat through the second, just to hear it twice. We couldn't get enough.
We were already saved when we joined, but just baby Christians. We needed solid food. My office was near the church then. Dr. Rogers wanted me to be his doctor. That was the start of a relationship like I had never had before. We just hit it off and became good friends. He went with me and others on hunting trips. We had the same sense of humor and loved to laugh.
The backbone of what I learned about the Bible, I learned under Adrian. I started teaching and the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn.
Adrian was a role model in teaching men how to be good fathers and husbands. I tried to emulate that and pass it down to our three boys. They grew up hearing his sermons. My little boys understood him as well as I did. They’re the men they are today because of what they learned. Even today they quote Adrian.
People might wonder, “Could this guy really be what he seems?” I knew the man literally inside and out. I was with him from the early 1980s until I stood at his bedside the moment he passed away. We developed a strong friendship, more than doctor-patient. He was my spiritual father. And I'll tell you right now, Adrian Rogers was 110% genuine. How he preached is how he lived. I saw it in so many different venues.
In later years when Dr. Rogers developed some health issues, we walked dark paths together. At one point he was about to undergo a surgical procedure in which he would be put to sleep. We were talking, and I said, "Everything's going to be fine. "He said, "Mark, you know, it's a win-win either way. I come out of this and continue to preach the gospel or I meet Jesus.” He went into surgery smiling.
Later, he developed another illness. He could have asked, "God, why are You doing this to me?" But he never did. He was true to his belief that God is going to do what's best for you. Even in the darkest hour, he trusted, knowing God would take care of the situation.
I remember the night he passed away. My memory went back to when he’d hold the Pastor Training Institute and wanted me to speak; he’d always introduce me as “the man who’ll be holding onto my feet when I’m trying to go to glory.” That night as he was passing, I went down to the foot of his bed, grabbed hold of his feet and held them. I know the moment he passed away.
I know Heaven opened wide the gates and throngs of people welcomed Adrian—people he led to the Lord and influenced over the years.
Even in the latter days of his life, we talked a lot about his legacy through LWF. It was so important to him for LWF to continue. And because of LWF, I can still listen to and watch his sermons. LWF is such an important arm of Adrian's ministry. People are still getting saved. I see patients every day who say, “I watch every week or I listen every day on Christian radio.”
The sermons I watch or hear on LWF now—I was usually there when he preached them. What he said then is still as relevant in 2018 as the day they were preached! It’s like he just spoke them today. Nothing is dated. Everything about him and his sermons are eternal.
I’m Dr. Mark Castellaw, and that is my LWF story.
This story was originally published in January 2019.