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When the name W. A. Criswell is read or heard, certain thoughts come to mind. Many likely remember him as a president of the Southern Baptist Convention, or the founder of the Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, or the senior pastor for five decades of one of the largest Baptist churches in America, or even one of the key figures during the Conservative Resurgence. All of these are acknowledgments of the importance of the life of Criswell, but these do not necessarily capture who he was as a man, as a husband, as a father, as a friend and mentor.

O.S. Hawkins was closely mentored by Criswell and was his pastoral successor. In Criswell: His Life and Times, Hawkins takes on the task of capturing the life of one of the most important figures in modern Baptist history. He discusses his humble upbringing, the dedication of his parents to ensure he received a proper education, his early years as a pastor, and how his love for the church influenced those around him over the course of his life. It is a biography that is both admiring and honest, and written with the knowledge of someone who could only know Criswell as a friend and a mentor.

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