Slain pastor laid to rest

March 10, 2011

ARLINGTON, Texas (ABP) -- Mourners filled First Baptist Church in
Arlington, Texas, March 9 to celebrate the life of a young mission
pastor cut short by murder, while more than 500 others watched live on
the Internet.

Clint Dobson, 28, was laid to rest six days after his suffocation death
during a robbery at NorthPointe Baptist Church, a satellite of First
Baptist Church and part of the congregation's expansive mission outreach
to the poor.

Dennis Wiles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Arlington, reminded
worshippers the funeral service fell on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of
Lent celebrated for centuries by Christians worldwide to turn from
worldly concerns to focus on 40 days leading up to remembrance of
Christ's death on the cross.

"This year my journey will be deeper and richer because of Clint
Dobson," Wiles said. "My life will be more closely linked with Jesus as I
journey to the cross this year, because of the sacrifice of a servant
of God."

Friends, family and mentors in ministry remembered Dobson as a
fun-loving and gifted young minister devoted to his young wife, Laura.

"I take great hope in the promise of eternal life in Jesus Christ," said
Robert Creech, Dobson's former pastor for 15 years who now teaches
pastoral ministry at George W. Truett Theological Seminary. "I believe
in the resurrection of the dead. I believe in life everlasting. I mean
that. But honestly I have to say … we feel robbed, pillaged to have
Clint taken out of our world. The church and the world feel poorer for
it, and many in our seminary feel the same sense of loss that the people
of NorthPointe Church surely do and his family most of all."

Dobson graduated from Baylor University in 2004. He enrolled at New
Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, but after Hurricane Katrina
temporarily closed the school, he transferred to Baylor's Truett
Seminary. Professors there described him as a star pupil not only sharp
enough for doctoral studies but also rare in his love for others
demonstrated in ministry to the poor.

"Clint Dobson's life was lived well. Whatever he did he gave his all and
his best," said Jeff Waldo, associate pastor for discipleship at
University Baptist Church in Houston who supervised Dobson as a ministry
intern working at a low-income apartment complex in 2005. "In what time
he lived he got it right. He loved people and he loved God and he
communicated God's love with clarity."

After earning his master's degree from Truett in 2008, Dobson joined the
staff of First Baptist Church in Arlington as mission pastor of
NorthPointe Baptist Church.

"I remember his excitement about coming to NorthPointe and the
excitement that sustained during his time here," Waldo said. "He was
very thankful and appreciative for the opportunity that was extended to
him."

Others said between his ministry and marriage, the last few years were
the happiest of Dobson's life -- a life cut short by a senseless murder
allegedly committed during a robbery of items including credit cards
later used to buy jewelry at a nearby mall.

"We're not going to talk about why," said Dobson's father in law, Philip
Rozeman. "Why is too hard. We really want to talk about the question
'who?,' who Clint is."

"Clint's a man who lived God's word, a man whose life had tremendous impact, even if it was only 28 years," Rozeman testified.

Wiles make a similar point. "Since Thursday afternoon our minds have
been filled with questions," he said. "That is true of all of us. We
have asked hard questions and they have challenged each one of us. Why?
How? How could anything good come from something so evil? Those
questions will haunt us for a while. In fact it just may be that they
are so deep and profound for us that we might live out our entire lives
with those questions unanswered."

Wiles encouraged mourners to move forward living in faith and not by sight.

"This world is fleeting," Wiles said. "Sometime it goes by in only 28 years. God has created us for eternity."

In his closing prayer Wiles thanked God for "a life well lived" and "a gospel that is sturdy enough for days like today."