Dr. Jeremy Estrema was a student at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary from 1999 to 2002—Dr. Turk’s final years of ministry—and developed a special bond with his favorite professor.
Motivated by Turk, Estrema earned his doctor of ministry degree from Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary and served as a missionary to Argentina. He is currently the pastor of Widefield Community Bible Church in Colorado Springs.
He describes Turk as “very special,” saying, “You could tell he was different than all the other professors because he pastored you. He was more than just a professor.”
“He had a lot of patience with me,” Estrema adds. “He is the first professor I ever had that really believed in me, and that is what I think made a difference. He was a rare gem.”
In his final semester of teaching, Turk allowed Estrema to take from his library any of the books he wanted. He also remembers going to Turk’s retirement party without his beloved teacher. Turk, having suffered a heart attack in February 2002, had triple bypass surgery. He developed a staph infection, however, and died shortly before graduation. Earlier in the semester he had been the featured speaker at Faith’s Bible conference, as he was already planning to retire. He taught one final session of homiletics about a month before he died.
“You could tell something was wrong,” Estrema recalls. “His health faded quickly.”
But “he was a fiery teacher,” Estrema adds. “He always would say, ‘Guys, it is not how you start, it is how you finish that matters.’ And he finished strong.”
“He was a great guy,” Estrema says. “The Lord really used him in many ways.”
Paul J. Scharf (MDiv, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary) has served as a pastor, Bible teacher, and journalist. He is a freelance writer for Regular Baptist Press and has helped prepare six Life Design and Truth for Living adult Bible study leader’s guides. He has also assisted Dr. John C. Whitcomb in ministry since 2003. Scharf and his wife, Lynnette, live outside of Columbus, Wis.