The late Congo missionary and TEDS, Wheaton, and RTS educator helped organize the first Urbana conference.
H. Wilbert Norton, whose lifelong leadership brought a missions focus to Christian higher education, died last Monday, less than a week after celebrating his 102nd birthday.
Norton served at more than a half-dozen Christian schools prior to his retirement in 2003, expanded theological education in Africa as an Evangelical Free Church missionary, and helped organize InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s earliest student mission conference.
“Norton’s widespread impact as a church and denominational leader, educator, and missionary has left an amazing legacy,” said Trinity International University president David S. Dockery, who gave the sermon at his funeral Saturday. “We offer thanks to God for [his] life and influence.”
Norton launched missions programs at: Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he also served as president; Wheaton College Graduate School, where he also served as dean; and Reformed Theological Seminary, where he taught in Jackson, Mississippi, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Norton’s warm heart for sharing the gospel and visionary leadership for global missions has an enduring legacy in the world today through the many lives he touched and the many thriving institutions … that he worked to start or helped to grow,” stated Philip Ryken, Wheaton’s president.
Part of the first masters-level cohort at Columbia Bible College in the late 1930s, the Chicago native and Wheaton alumnus served as one of the first leaders of the Student Foreign Missions Fellowship—an evangelical counterpart to the Student Volunteer Movement, which had shifted more theologically liberal.
The organization became a part of the early InterVarsity Christian Fellowship …