Dr. Turk wrote three major academic papers in his lifetime. This brief survey of them will demonstrate his commitment to exegeting Biblical truth for the purpose of helping others put it into practice.
In 1958, Turk wrote his bachelor of divinity thesis for Northern Baptist Theological Seminary on the subject of church problems in 1 and 2 Corinthians. His thesis includes 80 pages that first deal with each of the two books, dividing their subject matter topically, then focuses on several major issues individually. These include immorality and separation, marriage, women’s place and conduct in the church, and spiritual gifts.
Turk’s master of theology thesis at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1967 is titled “Roman Catholic Ecclesiology in Relation to Ecumenism.” In it he deals with pressing issues of that decade, but his writing remains relevant to dilemmas we face even now. In this thesis, Turk provides 51 pages exploring the issues both historically and exegetically.
In 1980, Turk submitted his doctoral dissertation to Luther Rice Seminary under the title “The Church That Christ Built.” This 109-page paper (not counting the bibliography) offers a comprehensive and detailed examination of the church in terms of both doctrine and practice.
That dissertation became the basis for Turk’s class on church administration, which I was privileged to take from him in the fall of 1996 at FBTS.
These three documents teach us so much about the emphases of Turk’s ministry. They reiterate that he was a fundamentalist whose life and service were grounded in the text of Scripture, that he was constantly seeking to mine the truth out of that text alone, and that he sought to apply all that he learned practically to the church.
According to his widow, Turk regretted that he was unable to do additional writing during his lifetime. Yet these papers leave much to be uncovered by an enterprising researcher. All three are available for use as bound volumes in the John L. Patten Library at Faith.
Jeanne has also cataloged and digitally compiled the 221 recordings of Turk’s audio sermons that remain—stretching from 1968 to 2002.
Turk also wrote an outstanding article for Faith Pulpit in 2001, “Back to the Bible.” It, along with his other Faith Pulpit articles, are available at faith.edu/tag/ralph-g-turk.
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.