Roy J. Fish, 82, died earlier today (Sept. 10). Fish served Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, for nearly 50 years.
“Dr. Roy Fish was at once a fabulous lecturer and the most consistent soul-winner I know,” Southwestern president Paige Patterson said. “He lit a fire under thousands of students. While we support his family in heart-felt prayer, and while he is irreplaceable for us, we rejoice with Dr. Fish and his entry to his Heavenly home. God help us all to love lost people like he did.”
Fish once occupied the L. R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism (“The Chair of Fire”), and his name has become synonymous with “evangelism” throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.
Longtime evangelism professor Roy Fish preaches during a chapel held in his honor at Southwestern Seminary in this 2007 file photo.
After earning his bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas in 1952, Fish moved to Southwestern Seminary, where he earned his bachelor of divinity (equivalent to the M.Div.) and his doctor of theology. As a professor at Southwestern, Fish impacted the lives of thousands of students, many who credit their professor with instilling a fire for evangelism in their souls. For many years, Fish organized the annual Spring Break Revival Practicum (now called Revive This Nation), as the seminary sent out hundreds of student preachers across the United States to preach revivals in local churches.
Fish held several prominent denominational positions, including interim president of the North American Mission Board and second vice-president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He served as pastor or interim pastor at more than 20 churches, and he spoke and preached at conventions, conferences and churches in every continent except Antarctica. He authored several books and numerous articles and essays on evangelism.
Fish also received various awards, including the W.A. Criswell Lifetime Award in Evangelism from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), the Charles G. Finney Award for Evangelism in Theological Education, and an honorary doctorate from Southwest Baptist University. In 2006, the SBTC established the Roy Fish Evangelism Award.
In 2005, Southwestern honored Fish when the seminary’s division of evangelism and missions in the School of Theology was reorganized and named the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions. The seminary later designated Oct. 10, 2007, as “Roy Fish Day, honoring Fish during a special chapel service and reception. He was honored as professor of emeritus of evangelism at Southwestern.
Fish is survived by his wife, Jean Holley Fish, and their grown children: Steve and Marci Fish, Holli and Dan Lancaster; Jeff and Holly Fish; and Jennifer and Charles Pastoor. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren.
Visitation will be held at Laurel Land Memorial Chapel at Laurel Land Funeral Home in Fort Worth from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13. The address is 7100 Crowley Road, Fort Worth, TX. 76134, and the phone number is (817) 293-1350.
The funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 14, in the Truett Auditorium at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, with graveside services following at Laurel Land Memorial Park of Fort Worth.
If you would like to make a contribution in Dr. Fish’s honor, the family has requested that you make it to the Roy and Jean Fish Evangelism Scholarship Fund. Please note the fund name on your check and send to: Southwestern Seminary, P.O. Box 22500, Fort Worth, TX 76122.