HIS STUDENTS PREACH THE GOSPEL TO MILLIONS
Dr. Stanley Toussaint and I first met in the fall of 2003, the first time my wife and I attended the Marathon Fellowship Class at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. He was the teacher that Sunday. Since I used a three-wheeled scooter to get around, I just rolled into his class and sat in the front row.
He and I both had polio as young boys, so we had that history in common and hit it off the minute we met. Little did I know that my wife and I were about to be blessed from then on with the teaching of a world-class Biblical scholar and one of the premier authorities on the Greek language in the entire world!
One beautiful Spring day in 2016 my wife Donna and I sat down at our kitchen table with Dr. Stan and his wife, Maxine. They graciously shared their life story—one that is full of so many accomplishments. Much of what follows I learned about them from our visit that day.
Stan was born on a Minnesota farm. When he was eight years old, his dad bought a hardware store in the small town of Hinckley, Minnesota. Hinckley is approximately an hour’s drive north of Minneapolis/St. Paul and about the same distance south of Duluth. At the time the population numbered approximately seven hundred people. The summers were pleasant, but the winters were extremely cold.
Stan was raised in a Christian family and attended an “evangelical, altar-calling, Bible-believing, premillennial Presbyterian church.” When he was nine, he trusted Christ as his Savior at a Bible camp. By the time he was twelve, he felt the call to commit himself to full-time ministry. He was proud to say that his church placed twenty-five people into full-time ministry in thirty years!
At age eleven Stan contracted polio, a disease almost eradicated in the world today. He became ill while on a hunting trip with his family in the St. Cloud area, where an epidemic of polio had broken out. Stan became very nauseous and could not bend his head to his chest. When they got back home, he started to walk across the living room and collapsed. By the next morning, he was not able to get up and could not walk at all. Because of my bout with polio as a young boy, I could easily relate to and recall those same symptoms.
Stan had hopes of playing football at school the following fall, but the doctor told his parents he wasn’t sure if their son would ever walk again. Stan missed about five months of school and was home-schooled. For the next two years he used crutches to get around. Though polio affected mostly his left leg and left him with a life-long limp, it was by God’s grace that he was able to walk again!
At age thirteen he began working at his father’s hardware store. As Stan tells the story, “This was a fantastic experience, as my dad was a good business man. He gave me no special treatment, and it was good training in learning to converse and interact with kids and people. I learned the business from the ‘floor up’. I learned to do everything, except to be the buyer. As the years passed, I could hike, climb, hunt, fish, and do anything I wanted, except to run, jump or skip. My dad hoped that I would take over the store when I was twenty-one.”
It was in his senior year of high school that Stan told his dad he really wanted to be a missionary. His dad was disappointed, but honored his decision. Stan’s physical limitations never held him back. He accomplished a great deal in his life and left a legacy to those he touched.
Stan spent his first year of college at Augsburg College, which is located in Minneapolis. He did not feel he was getting enough Bible training there, so he transferred a few miles away to Northwestern Bible College, where Billy Graham was president from 1948-1952. It was there that Stan met his future wife, Maxine.
Northwestern Bible College provided small groups of ten to twelve students to assist local churches on weekends. On one Sunday Stan and Maxine met for the first time when they were assigned to the same group. Since they had no car, they took a streetcar and had time to talk and become acquainted. They discovered that each of them shared the desire to serve as a missionary to China.
They began dating and neither ever dated anyone else. As Stan put it, “We were comfortable with each other.” As they got to know one another better, Stan asked the Lord for guidance to help lead them in their relationship. When Stan proposed to Max, he reiterated that he still wanted to go to China to work in missions. She said, “Yes”, and they were married their junior year in college. They were married for more than 60 years!
Stan transferred back to Augsburg College where he earned his bachelor’s degree. It was shortly after they were married that China closed its doors to missionaries, so their hope of serving there was no longer a possibility. After graduating they moved to Dallas where Stan knew several ministers. Max worked for Mobil Oil while Stan got his Th.M. and Th.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary. While attending DTS Stan also served as a youth pastor and song leader at Grace Bible Church in Dallas, which was meeting in the Highland Park Junior High School. It was there that he was ordained.
Since China remained closed to missionaries, they moved back to Minneapolis after his ordination. There Stan taught Greek, Bible, and theology for three years at Northwestern Bible College. During this time he also preached at Bible conferences and taught the Bible verse-by-verse on a radio program which aired three times a week for fifteen minutes. Stan said, “That was a great experience. The Lord opened so many doors there.”
Besides teaching at colleges and seminaries in Minnesota and Texas and pastoring churches in Texas and Virginia, Stan also served as president of a Bible college in Denver and edited a commentary on both the Old and New Testaments called the Bible Knowledge Commentary. Stan was a featured speaker at numerous Bible conferences in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Africa, Europe and in the United States.
As Dr. Stan thought back on his teaching years and his mentoring of so many over the years, he said that may have been more effective than if he had been a missionary in China.
Even after retirement and despite his physical limitations and being in his 80s, Dr. Stan continued to share his great knowledge of the Bible and its meaning, in depth, with the Marathon Fellowship class at Stonebriar Community Church. He also served as an elder of that church. Dr. Toussaint loved what he was doing. He felt deeply about serving as long as he could and said, “The Lord has blessed me with a measure of strength”. Two of his favorite Bible verses were:
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NKJV
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NASB
Dr. Stanley Toussaint pastored churches for twenty years and spent another nearly five decades of service teaching students at Dallas Theological Seminary. He retired from DTS in 2013 as the senior professor emeritus of Bible Exposition. Dr. Stan went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on September 5, 2017.
His legacy and one of his greatest joys was that he taught and mentored hundreds of alumni whom God is now using all over the world. These include Dr. Charles Swindoll, Dr. David Jeremiah, and Dr. Erwin Lutzer, as well as many of the current alumni faculty members at the seminary.
Many students called Professor Stan “Toughy Toussaint” because he was such a tough grader. Yet, he was fair and caring and was loved and respected by the students and admired for his knowledge, his gracious demeanor and his deep understanding of the Scriptures. He was known as one of the world’s leading authorities on the New Testament and was an editor, author, and conference speaker. He was committed to expository preaching.
Stan always commended the ministers he taught over the years and who now serve in large and in smaller communities and congregations. He said, “Sometimes it’s not some large, prestigious church — I’ll go and preach in one of their little churches and see how God is using them...I just praise God.”
Among those who were his students are many who now have their own radio/TV ministries:
Dr. Charles R. Swindoll, Insight for Living
Dr. David Jeremiah, Turning Point
Dr. Hal Lindsey, The Hal Lindsey Report
Erwin Lutzer, Moody Church Media, Running to Win
These and many others have collectively written many books and brought millions to Christ.
In one of GOD’S OTHER WAYS©, China may have closed its doors to would-be missionaries Stan and Max Toussaint, but God opened many other doors for them to fulfill His plan for their lives. With His guidance and direction of Stan’s efforts of teaching and preaching, the Lord spread and continues to spread His Word around the world.