Friday, October 12, 2012

Meet Evert Atkinson

One of my goals for producing this blog is to expose my readers to godly individuals, both living and dead. I take great pleasure in sharing various pastors, missionaries, teachers, authors, and Christian workers with my readers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. I also intend for you to be edified by exposing you to them.

I would like to expose you to a man I love dearly. He has had a major impact on both my personal life and my ministerial life. I would like to expose you to a number of godly individuals in an interview process. I am pleased to introduce you to Pastor Evert L. Atkinson of the Coal Creek Community Church in Longview, Washington.

What is your current position?

Pastor of the Coal Creek Community Church of Longview, Washington. I have been there for forty years.

Where did you graduate from Bible College or seminary?

I took an AA from Sacramento (CA) City College. I received a diploma from Briercrest Bible College.  Briercrest did not grant degrees because the University of Saskatchewan was the only school allowed to grant degrees in the province.  There was a lawsuit and Briercrest became the second school to grant degrees.  They were in the process of changing.  The faculty were told to get their graduate degrees.  Many went to Grace Seminary in Indiana.  That’s when they recruited new teachers like Erwin Lutzer who had just graduated from Dallas Seminary. I received my BA and Master's Degree from San Diego Bible College and Seminary. The three-year correspondence course was from San Diego Bible College and Seminary.  I don’t list them on any resume because it was more of a guided reading program.  They granted me my BA and Master of Theology degrees.  San Diego has merged with a school whose president is David Jeremiah.  I chose San Diego because they advertised in IFCA’s Voice magazine.  I read more those three years than ever before and since.  

Please describe your morning devotions. When do you begin them? What do your devotions consist of and or look like? How much time to you spend reading, meditating, praying, and etc?

I spend at least forty-five minutes in reading through the Bible and praying. While I pray through a prayer list, I also pray for special needs. I sometimes pray as I read, often asking for clarity in understanding and applying what I am reading. I try to argue with God but find He's right every time. I've read through the Bible some thirty times or more and am currently in Isaiah.

What book (s) are you currently reading in these three categories?

a)  for your soul
b)  for pastoral ministry
c)  for personal enjoyment

a)  Fox's Book of Martyrs. This is my second time and a good reminder to not complain over my little trials.
b)  Just finished MacArthur's, Christ's Prophetic Plans. It's a solid book on prophecy.
c)  None right now. I recently read Swindoll's (Chuck) Saying it Well and found it to be highly enjoyable. Swindoll has a gift for making Bible study enjoyable.

Apart from the bible, what book do you most frequently re-read and why? 

None. I would love to reread Ben Hur again but there are so many books I haven't read.

What three books (other than the Bible) have had the most impact or influence on your life? Why?

1)  J. I. Packer's Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. It solidified my views on salvation.
2)  Harry Ironside's Holiness, the False and the True. It showed how a believer changed his beliefs in an important area. Most of us stay close to what we were taught when young. (I have read that twice)
3)  F. F. Bruce's Commentary on Acts (NICNT). I love F. F. on almost everything he writes and this book is on top. (I've used this more than once.)

If you could study under any theologian in church history (excluding those in the bible) who would it be? Why?

I would rather sit under J. Boice or Erwin Lutzer. They are different but powerful preachers who know how to teach. I've heard them both. As far as Theologians go, I've gotten more out of Emery Bancroft than any other. He is clear and complete.

What single piece of counsel or criticism has had the most effect on your preaching? 

My wife counseled me to keep it simple. I can't remember who taught me to find a problem that is solved by every sermon. Lutzer taught me how to observe the text. Many doctrines come form the reader's imagination more than the words of Scripture. I always spend more time just observing the text over and over than anything else I do in sermon preparation.

What books on preaching have you found to be the most helpful to you.

I used to read one a year and the one that stands out is Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. It is practical and covers a lot of ground.

Where in ministry are you most tempted to discouragement?

I hate to see someone under my ministry who doesn't grow or serve. I am encouraged when I can see specific changes in one's life.

What do you do for relaxation or leisure? What are your favorite hobbies?

Right now, my age and illness keep me from doing as much as I used to in the ministry. I work out the laziness from sleeping and makes me alert enough for my devotions. I've never felt the need to unwind. I love the work of the ministry and time in my study and behind the pulpit are enjoyable.

If you were not in the ministry what occupational job would you have chosen?

My pastor told me I had the gifts for the ministry when I was still in high school. Since then I have had to work at a variety of jobs but I always knew where I belonged. Every job, physical or mental was just a step in the direction of the pulpit.

Thank you Pastor Atkinson for your time. 

Pastor Evert has served faithfully the Coal Creek Church for the past forty years. He has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. He trusts the Lord day by day for the strength and grace to continue to serve the Lord whom He has preached the past forty plus years and loved.

1 comment:


A wonderful post Gregg which I read with interest. I do hope his Parkinsons's don't get too distressing.