Dr H Allan Hamilton, Laborer in the Word and Doctrine


Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine (1 Timothy 5:17).

Dr H Allan Hamilton was my pastor.

He was born in small Colorado town in 1921. After Bible college in Los Angeles, at the age of 20, he took his first pastorate in a rural California town with all of five buildings. In that migrant town, the “boy preacher” and his wife learned to pray and trust in God’s daily provision. In time they moved to Colorado and then Kansas and Missouri.

The 1950s were a busy decade. The couple visited a pastor’s conference in Nebraska, where afterward his wife declared, “This is one place I NEVER want to come to.” A few weeks later the family moved to Nebraska.

In 1954 Dr Hamilton, his wife, and two young daughters hit the road in a two-wheel trailer starting churches throughout the American midwest. They were missionaries in the Philippines until called to pastor in Portland, Oregon in from 1969 to 1990.

Dr Hamilton was tall, slender, and had a thick shock of neatly groomed white hair. I called him “The Admiral.” Each Sunday morning he’d step into the pulpit and his congregation, which was the largest in the state of Oregon, were prepared to hear the Bible preached and Christ Jesus exalted. There was never a hint of fanaticism or trendy topical sermons, but the Word of God taught in a carefully prepared and presented verse-by-verse manner.

He wasn’t a musician or singer, a carpenter or caretaker. His call and gifting was in teaching the Scriptures and mentoring young men in the meaning of being a man of God. Dr Hamilton exemplified the words of Paul to a young pastor named Timothy: Give your whole attention to reading the Scriptures, to preaching, and to teaching doctrine (1 Timothy 4:13). The Word of God was Dr Hamilton’s whole attention.

I last saw him when we conducted a funeral together in the early days of 2012. He’d suffered a stroke. His hands trembled, his voice was feeble, but his mind sharp as ever. When he stepped into the pulpit that morning, Dr Hamilton’s voice immediately strengthened as the Holy Spirit’s power filled each word and the clear, unadulterated Gospel of Jesus was proclaimed. Once a preacher, always a preacher.

Dr Hamilton went to be with Jesus on February 9, 2016.

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