John Flipse Walvoord, theologian, writer, and teacher, seminary president, and defender of dispensational pretribulational premillennialism, was born on May 1, 1910, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He was the youngest of three children. John was raised in a home that valued education in general and religious training in particular. His father, John Garrett Walvoord, was a school teacher. During his mother Mary Flipse Walvoord’s difficult pregnancy, her doctors advised an abortion; however, because of their conviction that the child was a gift from the Lord, they brought John to term. The child proved to be robust, and Mary lived to be 102. The family were members of the First Presbyterian Church, his father an elder and Sunday school superintendent. His parents determined that their children would be reared on the Westminster Shorter Catechism and Scripture memory.
When John was fifteen, the family moved to Racine where his father was a junior high school superintendent. During his high school years, John excelled in academics and athletics but continued to have only a nominal interest in Christianity, although he had committed his life to Christian work when he was twelve. His family joined the Union Gospel Tabernacle (now the nondenominational Racine Bible Church). While attending a study of the book of Galatians, he became assured of God’s mercy toward him. Three years later (1928), he entered Wheaton College. John continued to excel in academics and athletics, though he also distinguished himself as a member of the debate team that won state championships in 1930 and 1931. Additionally, he was president of the college’s Christian Endeavor where he made a commitment to foreign missions. He completed his undergraduate degree in 1931 with honors having accelerated his progress due to summer school work at the University of Colorado.
He married Geraldine Delores Lundgren in her hometown of Geneva, Illinois. Geraldine was the fifth of six children born to native Swedes Gustaf Edward Lundgren and Emily Skoglund.
Geraldine was born September 6, 1914 in Geneva, Illinois. Geraldine made a personal decision to accept Christ as her Savior at an early age. After developing avenues of ministry in music and youth programs in her church, Geraldine continued her education at Wheaton College and Northern Illinois University. It was during this time that Geraldine`s sister Harriet Lundgren began dating Ellwood Evans, a student from Evangelical Theological College (later renamed Dallas Theological Seminary). One Christmas holiday, another theology student traveled with Ellwood as he headed north to visit Harriet. When they arrived, Ellwood made the simple introduction, “Geraldine, I want you to meet my friend John Walvoord.”
John accepted the invitation to stay for dinner before traveling on to his parents’ home in Wisconsin and over the next several years more than a few letters and visits cultivated their friendship into a lifelong romance. Deeply in love and convinced of God’s will for their lives, John and Geraldine were married on June 28, 1939.
“What I covet for you is the same experience that I had — and that is discovering God’s perfect will for your life — nothing less, nothing more, nothing else.”
– John F. Walvoord
John graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1934. He wanted to go to China as a missionary. At the time he couldn’t believe that everyone didn’t want to go to China. But the Lord had different plans for him. As he launched into his doctoral studies in Dallas in 1934, the young graduate was called to the Rosen Heights Presbyterian Church in nearby Fort Worth where he served as a pastor for sixteen years. Then in 1936 more responsibility came. He was asked to temporarily fill the position of registrar at the Seminary and in a short time he did much to organize and structure the office. In 1945, after nine years of faculty service, Dr. Walvoord was asked to assume the role of assistant to the president, a position he held until the death of Dr. Chafer seven years later. On February 6, 1953, John F. Walvoord was inaugurated as the second president of Dallas Theological Seminary.
Dr. John F. Walvoord is considered perhaps the world’s foremost interpreter of biblical prophecy. He was a member of the Dallas Theological Seminary faculty for fifty years from 1936 to 1986. He served as president and professor of systematic theology at Dallas Theological Seminary from 1952 to 1986. He has served as chancellor at that institution since that time. He holds A.B. and D.D. degrees from Wheaton College; an A. M. degree from Texas Christian University; a Th.B., Th.M., and Th.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary; and a Litt.D. from Liberty Baptist Seminary.
Under Dr. Walvoord’s leadership, Dallas Theological Seminary enrollment grew from 300 to over 1,700, four major educational buildings were erected on campus, and the degree programs increased from three to six. Dr. Walvoord is known worldwide for his evangelical scholarship in Christology, pneumatology (the doctrine of the Holy Spirit), and Bible prophecy. Dallas Theological Seminary, one of the world’s largest, is recognized for its commitment to the inerrancy of the Scriptures, premillennial theology, and biblical preaching and teaching.
Dr. Walvoord is the author of nearly thirty books including:
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary* (co-editor of two volumes).
- The Holy Spirit,
- The Rapture Question* ,
- Israel in Prophecy,
- The Nations In Prophecy
- The Church In Prophecy
- The Return of the Lord,
- The Millennial Kingdom,
- To Live Is Christ,
- The Thessalonian Epistle,
- The Revelation Of Jesus Christ,
- Jesus Christ Our Lord,
- Daniel, The Key to Prophetic Revelation
- The Holy Spirit At Work Today,
- Major Bible Themes* ,
- Matthew: Thy Kingdom Come,
- The Blessed Hope And The Tribulation,
- Major Bible Prophecies: 37 Crucial Prophecies That Affect You Today,
- The Final Drama: 14 Essential Keys To Understanding the Prophetic Scriptures,
- The End Times: An Explanation of World Events in Biblical Prophecy
- What We Believe: Understanding & Applying The Basics Of The Christian Life,
- Four Views On Hell (co-author), and
- Every Prophecy of the Bible* .
- Blessed Hope: The Autobiography of John F. Walvoord*
(Note: many of the books listed may be purchased online at a discount by clicking on the link.
* = highly recommended, these books are a must have for any personal library.
When autographing his books, Dr. Walvoord would put the Bible reference “Rev. 22:20” beneath his name.
“He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Dr. Walvoord’s New York Times Best Seller: Armageddon: Oil And The Middle East Crisis* , sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide. Originally written in 1973, a revised edition was released in January 1991 just before Desert Storm got underway in the Persian Gulf.
John received a call from The White House requesting a copy. Apparently the Oval Office understood the significance of biblical prophecy in relation to events in the Middle East because the next day, the White House called back requesting more copies. Members of President George H.W. Bush`s White House Staff were reading it together.
John and Geraldine had four sons:
John Edward was born on February 20, 1942 in Fort Worth, Texas. On December 22, 1972 he married Jane Evelyn Currin.
James Randall was born on June 17, 1945 in Fort Worth. James died December 23, 2014 in Plano, Texas.
Timothy Peter was born on April 17, 1954 in Dallas. He died in a tragic auto accident on June 22, 1979.
Paul David was born on August 8, 1957.
Dr. John F. Walvoord departed this earth to be with his Lord and Savior on December 20, 2002. He was 92 years old.
For more about the life of Dr. Walvoord, please read: Blessed Hope: The Autobiography of John F. Walvoord.