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Dr. Toussaint, loved by students for his gracious demeanor, his understanding of Scripture, and his trademark catch phrases, is back by popular demand. Twice since he came on staff in 1960 he has left Dallas Seminary, only to return after brief absences.
“I feel like the apostle Paul when he said, ‘This is the third time I’m coming to you,’” Dr. Toussaint said.
The first time, he left to become president of Western Bible Institute in Denver, Colorado, and then to accept the pastorate of Immanuel Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia. Dr. Pentecost asked him to come back to teach in the Bible Exposition department. And a few years ago, he “retired,” although it wasn’t really a typical retirement.
“I was in ministry around the world, teaching in Bible colleges and seminaries in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Kenya, and Hungary.”
He expected to continue indefinitely teaching Bible conferences in such schools, most of which were begun by Dallas graduates, until Dr. Swindoll asked him back to teach again in Bible Exposition.
“He prevailed upon me to return, and I’m glad he did. I’m loving it.”
Dr. Toussaint grew up in a small town in Minnesota, which is the focal point of one of his well-known sayings: “I was reared in Hinckley, Minnesota, where the men are men, pansies are flowers, and the women are slightly above average.” He says this is a take-off from a quote by Garrison Keillor about his hometown, Lake Wobegon.
He refers to his home church in Hinckley as an “evangelical, alter-calling, Bible-believing, premillennial Presbyterian church.” While he heard the message of the gospel since his early childhood, it was at a Bible camp when he was 9 years old that he first trusted Christ. And by the age of 12, he was committed to full-time Christian ministry. (His church put 25 people into full-time ministry in 30 years.)
He waffled about this decision until he was a senior in high school, when God deeply convicted him about his calling. He shared this decision with his father, who owned a hardware business in Hinckley and was hoping that Dr. Toussaint would take over the business someday.
“When I told him, I know he was disappointed, but he didn’t say one word about it.”
Dr. Toussaint received his bachelor’s degree from Augsburg College and his Th.M. and Th.D. from Dallas Seminary. After that, he taught Greek, Bible, and theology for 3 years at Northwestern College in Minneapolis. He also taught on the radio 5 days a week, at Bible conferences, and at some of the larger churches in Minneapolis. “That was a great experience. The Lord opened so many doors there.”
He said his greatest passion in ministry is the exposition of the Scriptures in the pulpit and the classroom. “The only trouble in the Bible Exposition department is that you have to cover the material too fast—I’d rather go much more slowly.”
He gets excited when he hears that the Lord is using his former students in a variety of ways.
“Sometimes it’s not some large, prestigious position—I’ll go and preach in one of their little churches and you just see how God is using them in their small church. I just praise God.”