News of the death of Dr. C. Everett Koop brought back several memories--including the recollection of one of my life's most embarrassing moments.
Dr. Koop will be remembered fondly and with great respect for a life well-lived. Dr. Koop was a skilled and compassionate pediatrician, as well as a knowledgeable lay theologian, serving for a number of years as an elder at Tenth Presbyterian Church during the tenures of both Drs. Barnhouse and Boice. With them, and in the presence of our Lord, he awaits the resurrection
Among Dr. Koop's many accomplishments, the one of which you are least likely to read, is that for a time, Dr. Koop was on the board of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. This was back in the day when the White Horse Inn was under their auspices.
With great fondness, Mike Horton recounts some of his memories of Dr. Koop, whom Mike approached in the early 1980's to write a chapter on faith-healing for the book The Agony of Deceit. The White Horse Inn is making available Dr. Koop's chapter from that book, along with a White Horse Inn interview with Dr. Koop from 2001. You can read Michael's reflection upon his relationship with Dr. Koop here: Horton Remembers Dr. Koop.
I once met Dr. Koop in person at a CURE/ACE function, which was so long ago I don't remember the particular circumstances. I just remember his distinctive voice and his bowtie. We were introduced, shook hands, and that was it.
But it was another encounter with Dr. Koop (well, with his voice) that I will never forget.
Back in the days when we taped the White Horse Inn live on Sunday nights at the KKLA studios in Glendale, after returning to Mike's house, we would often torment Rod by tuning on TBN to watch replays of "Praise the Lord" with Paul and Jan. One Sunday evening someone brought a VHS tape of an "anointing service" from a TBN broadcast from a big church in Tulsa. The program featured Word-Faith luminaries Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin and T. L. Osborn passing along their "anointing" to three younger Word-Faith pastors, Richard Roberts, Kenneth Hagin jr., and Kenneth Copeland.
During the "anointing" service the older Word-Faith gurus slayed the younger gurus-to-be in the spirit, during which time Kenneth Hagin launched into a tongue-speaking rap which would make Scatman Crothers and Cab Calloway proud. We watched this spectacle over and over again, laughing harder every time. Of course, Rod hated it--but laughed despite trying not to. In fact, we still greet each other before White Horse Inn tapings with quips from Hagin's tongue-speak rap.
Well before I attained my present level of virtue and sophistication, I thought it might be funny to put Hagin's rap on my phone's outgoing message. I recorded a long portion of Hagin's unintelligible tongue-rap followed by my quip, "any interpretation? Leave a message." Greatly self-satisfied, I finished up, left the house for lunch, dying to see who would be the first to call and get my clever message.
I return from lunch, see my phone blinking, and eagerly hit "play messages." To my chagrin I hear this unmistakable voice booming back to me, "This is Surgeon General C. Everett Koop looking for Michael Horton . . . I have no idea what that was or if someone was trying to be funny . . . Please have Mr. Horton return my call . . ."
Not quite the interpretation of Hagin's tongue I wanted or expected.