Longtime Baptist editor R.G. Puckett died May 12, having spent much of his 80 years in the “Baptist battles” that characterized the last 40 years (at least) of Baptist life in the South.

And he loved a good fight.

Gene Puckett always had an opinion and was willing to share it: folks were rarely in doubt about where he stood on the issues.

I read Gene’s sometimes sharp and sometimes touching editorials for years before being recruited to take over the editor’s chair at the Biblical Recorder following his retirement in 1998. Not the actual chair: he said it was a tradition for the editor to take his chair home with him. I bought another chair, but used the same desk.

It was a privilege.

I’ll be in Israel when Gene’s funeral is held on Saturday, but will offer a salute from afar to a man who lived — and died — holding firmly to his convictions.

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