Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

19 Jun 2019

Tributes to Rolland D. McCune

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Monday, June 17, 2019, Rolland D. McCune went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Dr. McCune served as professor of Systematic Theology at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary from 1981 until 2009, during which he also served as President of the Seminary for ten years and Dean of the Faculty for six years. Before coming to DBTS, Dr. McCune taught for fourteen years at our sister seminary, Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN).

In the 2004 DBSJ, a festschrift for Dr. McCune, several of his colleagues and former students included brief tributes to Dr. McCune at the beginning of their articles. They are included below as a testament to a godly, gifted, and humble man of God.


“This [article] is presented in honor of Dr. Rolland D. McCune, professor, mentor, coworker, and friend, in deepest gratitude for his faithful teaching, unfailing encouragement, and unmerited support. Though all of my professors have had worthwhile and lasting impact on my life and teaching, none has excelled his.” – Dr. Roy Beacham


“Many men teach; some men educate; few men inspire. Dr. Rolland D. McCune does all three. When I first started seminary, I viewed theology as a cold and dry subject that one had to endure in order to graduate. While sitting under the instruction of Dr. McCune, I not only learned theology; I came to love theology. His life of dedication to knowing the Word of God and the God of the Word have been a constant example and inspiration to me. I consider it a great honor to be able to contribute to his festschrift.” – Dr. Alan Cole


“This essay is dedicated to my colleague of twenty-one years, Dr. Rolland D. McCune. I believe Dr. McCune was largely responsible for bringing me to Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in 1983, and I have worked for him most of those years in which he served as the Seminary’s Dean, and later, President. But my greater appreciation for him is as a teacher and scholar of theology. He has taught me much over the years and strengthened my own convictions in many areas. Though we are happy to celebrate his seventieth birthday, I pray the Lord will give him many more years of effective ministry.” – Dr. William Combs


“This article is written in recognition of Dr. Rolland McCune’s seventieth birthday. My association with Dr. McCune began in the fall of 1982 when he called to invite me to join the faculty of the seminary. Although I was not able to accept at that time, he called again the following year, and I agreed to begin teaching in the fall of 1984. In the intervening twenty years I have come to appreciate Dr. McCune as a fundamentalist separatist and as a systematic theologian. He has proven himself a leader in fundamental Baptist circles and as one of our foremost professors of systematic theology. I have found myself on numerous occasions sitting down in his office to discuss the interpretation and theological implications of a particular passage. I have greatly benefited from those discussions. Dr. McCune has asked me several times to put in print our mutual understanding of 1 Cor 13 and the cessation of miraculous gifts. I am pleased to dedicate this article to him as a colleague and friend in celebration of his seventieth birthday.” – Dr. R. Bruce Compton


“This journal is dedicated to a man whose life and ministry have placed a positive, indelible mark on my own ministry of the Word. In 1978, I graduated from college and immediately entered seminary. In my first semester of class, I was required to take my first three-hour systematic theology course. Both the class and the professor were used of God to change the direction of my life. This is not just a platitude or words of flattery, for a genuine metamorphosis began in my soul that is continuing until this day. My systematic class was Theology 411, and my professor was Dr. Rolland McCune. From my class, I learned invaluable truths, and the indispensability of accuracy in handling the Word of God; however, from my professor I learned to love the God of this incredible truth. Thank you, Dr. McCune, for your life investment in many students like me—what longsuffering you have practiced!” – Dr. Daniel Davey


“My theological foundation was laid, in large part, by Dr. Rolland D. McCune. I was his student and am now honored to be his colleague, teaching his very notes that I once profitably studied myself. It is a privilege to dedicate this article to him.” – Dr. Sam Dawson


“Dr. Rolland McCune has greatly influenced the lives of hundreds of men who passed through the halls of both Central Baptist Theological Seminary (1967 to 1981) and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary (1981 to the present). I count it a great blessing from the Lord to have received my seminary training under Dr. McCune’s instruction here at DBTS. Likewise, it has been a tremendous privilege to serve along side of him in the administration of this seminary. He has been uniquely used of the Lord in my life and in this seminary. His devotion to Christ, diligent service, and unbending dedication to the truth of the Word have been a powerful influence on my life and ministry.

Over the years, one particular element of Dr. McCune’s teaching has served both to ignite the hearts of his students and to trigger opposition from those who disagree with it (and have usually never heard it firsthand!). It would be impossible to come away from Dr. McCune’s courses on systematic theology, dispensationalism, apologetics, or new evangelicalism without a greater sense of God’s glory and a greater recognition of the need for God-centeredness in all things. A critical component of this God-centeredness is a thorough commitment to God’s sovereignty. It was under Dr. McCune’s teaching that I came to embrace gladly the majestic vision of God presented in Romans 11:36, ‘For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.’” – Dr. David Doran


“Dr. Rolland McCune had a significant role in bringing me to Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in May of 1983. From the inceptive days of my ministry here, I have held him in the highest esteem as seminary president, professor, and friend. He has had a profound influence on my own theological development as well as my own personal life. While he helped refine and stimulate my theological interests in many areas, one area of theology relates to the Spirit’s indwelling ministry in the Old Testament (see his “Systematic Theology II” [class notes, Fall 1997], pp. 196–205). In light of our common interest on this aspect of pneumatology, I wish to dedicate this article to him on the occasion of his 70th birthday.” – Dr. Robert V Mccabe Jr


“It was with joy and gratitude that I read the e-mail inviting me to participate in the volume honoring Dr. Rolland McCune on the occasion of his 70th birthday. It was my good fortune, at God’s leading, to sit under his teaching ministry for both my M.Div. and Th.M. degrees at Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis in the 1970s. His influence, example, and encouragement have never been far from my heart throughout my pastoral and teaching ministries. Consequently, I offer this article as another, though inadequate, expression of gratitude for his faithful ministry not only to my life but also to my preparation for labor in the harvest field of our Lord.

It has been a privilege during more than twenty years of teaching for me to open the Book of Daniel, which Dr. McCune first opened to me as a student, to hundreds of students both nationally and internationally. Prayerfully, in a small but effective way, the admonition of 2 Timothy 2:2 continues to be lived out in my students because Dr. McCune lived it out in his life: ‘The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.’” – Dr. Charles McClain


“This article is affectionately dedicated to Dr. Rolland McCune, my good friend, colleague, and mentor, whose life and ministry epitomize the best qualities of fundamentalism.” – Dr. Gerald Priest


“Knowing that the overuse of superlatives can cheapen a tribute into mere flattery, I take a risk in identifying Dr. McCune as among the greatest of mentors for adolescent theologs in the present generation. It is by God’s good providence that I can name him as my own mentor. Dr. McCune’s personal godliness and practical theology contribute immensely to this privileged role as mentor, and he needs defer to none in these areas; however, the field in which Dr. McCune has excelled most visibly is that of systematics.

I did not fully grasp the idea of a systematic theology until I took two final classes from Dr. McCune, one on the Kingdom and the other on apologetics, to complete my M.Div. at DBTS. I can well remember the eureka moment, while taking these classes, when I finally understood that systematic theology was not an anthology of individual doctrinal studies or an assortment of fragmentary bits of biblical theology, but that the fundamentalist, dispensationalist, Calvinist, Baptist, and other elements in Dr. McCune’s theology were really part of a single, integrated system—a system that eschews antinomy and loves congruity. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in his discussions of the Kingdom (or, as he likes to call it, “the unifying center to all God’s activity”) and of presuppositionalist apologetics. It is the latter of these two topics that this essay will address, and I trust that its contents accurately reflect Dr. McCune’s theology and truly celebrate his contribution to fundamentalist scholarship.” – Dr. Mark Snoeberger


NOTE: Thanks to Chad McCune, Dr. McCune’s grandson, for compiling these tributes in the above format.