911 E. Urbandale Drive, Moberly, MO 65270 | 660-263-3900

(The following remarks were delivered at the 2019 Men’s Banquet by Dr. Eric Stevens, Academic Dean and former student of Dr. Gary D. Bailey.)

Central has been blessed through the years to have many dedicated friends who maintained a special relationship with the College throughout their lives. When these people gain their eternal rewards, we miss their presence and fellowship at our events and as part of our campus community.  Tonight, we remember Dr. Gary D. Bailey, a man with a passion to learn and teach God’s word, both to students at CCCB and churches where he served. His story here at Central started 50 years ago.

 

Gary was born March 16, 1950, in Irvine, Kentucky. He later lived near Mount Gilead, Ohio, between Mansfield and Columbus.  Gary ran track in high school and upon graduation from Mount Gilead High School, he attended the Mansfield School of Technology in the Fall of 1968.  Apparently, he desired to study more than the career path that was provided there.So in January 1969, when Jack Spratt was CCCB’s president, Gary transferred 11 credits and started taking Bible classes as a freshman.  And Moberly became Gary’s new home. Gary’s grades in his first semester did not demonstrate the kind of academic quality he would later be known for.  But he did invest in an even more important course of study when he met Judy Stoner, another CCCB student, from Ravenwood, Missouri. They began writing their own love story together.  They said “I Do” in 1970 and had over 47 years of marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible from Central in 1973.  He had taken classes and received his highest grades in subjects like Biblical Greek, Hebrew, Philosophy, and Church History.

Here is what Gary wrote about some of his influential teachers at Central: “Gareth Reese taught me to be thorough and complete and to love the word; 

Edsel Dale taught me the importance of principles and to be practical; Lynn Gardner taught me scholarship.”

Gary would go on to have ministries in Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.  He would also enroll in graduate studies at Lincoln Christian Seminary and Ashland University, where he earned a Master’s Degree.  Gary would later return to Central and serve as a Professor in three different decades: the 1970s, 1980s, and 2010s.

Dr. A. Wayne Lowen was the Academic Dean from 1977-1987.  He hired and taught with Gary Bailey at CCCB.  He wrote the following

Gary and I taught together, but were also best friends, despite my being his “boss” as the Academic Dean.   Gary was a brilliant scholar, especially astute with the Greek language and Biblical theology. But beyond his strong teaching was the fact that he absolutely loved and cared about his students, which explains his great popularity with the students from the 1970s and 1980s.

Gary traveled on many of the CCCB “Mountaintop Experience” backpack trips to Colorado.  He was the devotional leader in the great rugged Rockies.  Many students came to Central after the inspiration of those backpacking trips.  

In late 2013, he wrote about the value he placed on Central: It is important that Central remain open and be viable for the Kingdom. It is one of the few and true Bible colleges left.”

Gary returned to the classroom in Fall 2014 and continued to teach Greek courses for us while also teaching high school at Higbee.  


My own experience as a student studying under Gary and his Academic Dean is as follows.

“Gary Bailey’s approach to teaching was unique, just as he was unique.  You never really knew what would be on his mind from moment-to-moment or what question you would ask that would send him down a road of reflection and introspection that would make that day in class better than any sermon or class you had ever been in.  

Along the way, his approach was to give you the tools necessary to discover the truths of Scripture on your own. And he would model the process for you, quoting from this grammar or that church father or some Greek playwright as he untied interpretive knots your chubby little exegetical fingers couldn’t quite get ahold of.

At Central Christian College in the early 1980s, all of the professors were in agreement with the Restoration Movement slogans, like “The New Testament is our rule of faith and practice” or “In Faith Unity, in opinions liberty, in all things love.”  But the professors had different ways of expressing it.  One professor would give the historical process by which the Restoration Movement arrived at those slogans.  Another professor would tell the biblical basis (chapter and verse) for those slogans.  Another professor would describe (from many years of experience) how local congregations either succeeded or failed to live out those slogans.  And all of those approaches were helpful.

However, one approach captured my mind and then my heart:  cracking open the New Testament in the original language and letting it speak to me.  Gary Bailey drilled the process into me semester-by-semester in learning the grammar, vocabulary, and syntax of the Koine Greek language in which the New Testament was written. Slowly but surely, I learned how to read chunks of Scripture in context.  Word meanings were explored and wrestled with and then held gently–waiting for the next piece of the puzzle to fall into place.  Verb tenses and noun cases were looked at from every angle to discover why the inspired author chose specific forms and placed them just so.  As the process was followed, it produced a result that spoke God’s Word freshly and powerfully into my life.

What I appreciate about Gary’s ministry to me was how he took up his Greek New Testament and word-by-word and verse-by-verse he followed the path laid out by inspired apostles and prophets. He arrived at living conclusions: how to put into practice the unity of faith, how to have liberty in opinions, and how love must govern all things.  

Above all other professors, Gary Bailey inspired me to a life of devotion to the Lord, a life of devotion to God’s Word, and a life of devotion to Christ’s church. I am honored to contribute to a scholarship fund that will carry on his legacy by promoting the careful study of God’s Word in the original languages.” -Dr. David Fincher


Gary pursued doctoral studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia and finally earned a doctorate from Louisiana Baptist University, which he finished in 2017, the same year he would pass away.

Dr. Gary Bailey went to be with the Lord on November 26, 2017, at the age of 67.  Many of Dr. Bailey’s students, fellow employees, and friends gathered on December 1 to celebrate his life.  Until that time, he had been a Dedicated Friend of CCCB as a student, minister, professor, and community member.

We are pleased that his family has allowed us to honor Gary Bailey as a Dedicated Friend.  During tonight’s offering, we ask you to consider continuing Dr. Bailey’s legacy of helping students learn about the Bible’s original languages.  The Dr. Gary D. Bailey Scholarship for Excellence in Biblical Languages has been established to provide funds for those who succeed in the study of Greek and Hebrew.  If you specify your gift as a memorial in the memo section, then we will add it to the endowment funds for this purpose.