Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Men who achieve a degree of greatness are often polarizing figures

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on June 4, 2014 at 11:21 am


Men who achieve a degree of greatness are often polarizing figures.  This is not only true in the realms of politics and popular culture but in the church as well.  Bland men rarely stir great passions, but men of  conviction and gift often do.  In recent days much has been written about one of the prominent preachers among Reformed Baptist.   That man is Albert N. Martin.  For four years he was my pastor and instructor in Pastoral Theology at the Trinity Ministerial Academy.

Much has been written about the public ministry of Pastor Martin.   There are sermons that resonate with me nearly thirty years after hearing them.  There are the dozens of Pastoral Theology classes that form the bedrock of my life and ministry.  But there are three anecdotes that I want to share that have left the most lasting impression upon me.

When I first came to Trinity in 1986 I was largely ignorant of Pastor Martin’s ministry.   I soon realized that Pastor Martin’s gifts and graces had set him apart from many other teachers and preachers.  I thought this is the sort of man that people will write books about in future years.  That being said one of my first impressions of Pastor Martin was given following a fellowship meal at the church building on Sunday night.  After most folks had left, I turned around and saw Pastor Martin cleaning the tables.  He was picked up the plates and cups that others had left behind.  There were no trumpets being blown, no clearing of the throat to make sure a 23 year old ministerial aspirant saw him serving–just a man looking out for others.

A second incident occurred in those early days as well.  Early one Sunday morning I received a call from Pastor Martin telling me that he was going to be preaching in PA that morning.  His wife was ill and he wondered if I might keep him company on the trip.  Of course!  In those hours, he took a young man (23) under his wing and close to his side.  He was not the powerhouse of the pulpit but an older friend and mentor speaking about life and struggles and keeping to the main things of life. A few days later he handed me the address of the family who had put us up for the day so that I could send them a thank you note.  He was subtly teaching me to be a Christian gentleman.

The third occurred on July 1, 1989, the day I got married.  I got married in Norfolk, VA and Pastor Martin did not attend.  But he did call my wife early that morning at her father’s house (I have no idea how he got the number) to let us know that he was thinking of us and praying for us on our big day.  The church had hundreds of members and yet he took the time on a Saturday morning to show that we were more than ‘numbers’ to him.  When the day comes that Pastor Martin goes home to glory, it will not be sermons that I remember—it will be acts of service and love seen by few.

The Lord bless and keep him at he enters a new decade!

Jim Savastio, Pastor
Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville
  1. Reblogged this on 1689Nut and commented:
    Excellent thoughts by Pastor Jim Savastio!

  2. Thank you Jim. Pastor Martin has been a instrument greatly used of God to dramatically advance the growth of Reformed Baptist theology in America and around the world, both by his sermons and by his example. Thank God for such a gift to His church.

  3. Helpful thoughts. Thank you Pastor Jim.

  4. Thanks, Pastor Jim. I too have similar memories. For example, the first time he came to preach in our church he made sure I kept Saturday free. He spent the entire day in answering my personal and pastoral questions! I’ll never forget the thorough way he answered them as if there were 5000 people listening!

    Mike W
    Heritage RBC

  5. […] Savastio, Pastor is pastor of Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville, Ky. This article appeared on the Reformed Baptist Fellowship […]

  6. Jim, grace and peace. We have not met but because of my past relationship with Pastor Martin I was directed to your comments when they appeared on the Aquilla Report. I heartily concur with both your statements and conclusions. From 1973-1979 I enjoyed the blessing of Pator Martin’s personal and pastoral ministry which I am forever grateful. His commitment and pattern of expository and topical expository preaching and the marks of God’s grace in his life and calling were and still are significant and formative blessings for which I remain grateful to the Lord. To this day I still benefit from the Trinity Pulpit “tape ministry” which I have converted to CD’s. Furthermore he is extensively quoted and acknowledged in the book on Preaching and Preachers (working title) which Al Baker and I are finishing for P&R and his lectures on Preaching, Pastors and Pastoral ministry are foundational to the endeavor I am currently engaged in with Westminister Seminary in the forthcoming Westminister Institute of Preaching, Leadership and Public Theology. Finally his ministry and impact affect me to this day as a pastor-teacher serving at Briarwood PCA… all to simply say thanks for your appropriate post and I am glad I was directed to it Providentially. HLR3

  7. Thank you for these testimonies. I heard Al Martin at the recommendation from someone on the radio, it reached me as far out as Sayreville, NJ. I remember hearing him and saying – there are not preachers like that anymore.

    Then, I visited the church for one service. For various reasons, the Lord did not see fit to remove me from the Independent Fundamental Baptists. Then I heard “bad” stuff about Pastor Martin, but they mainly came from what seem to be rumor mills on the internet. In these last few weeks, I am happy to see these testimonies.

    Pastor Martin seems to have a relationship with Christ that is very evident in his teachings and preachings. I wish I had a similar relationship with Christ; I know every time I listen to Pastor Al Martin, I will be CHALLENGED to draw closer to Him.

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