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Obituary: Paul Cook (1932–2020)

February 2021 | by Robert Strivens

Paul Cook, who died on 9 November 2020, belonged to the generation of ministers who fought hard for biblical truth at a time when there were few solidly evangelical churches in England and liberal theology dominated the mainline denominations.

For many years Paul attended the Westminster Fraternal as well as the annual Westminster Conference, which he helped organise and at which he regularly gave papers.

The fellowship of like-minded men that Paul enjoyed at such gatherings (under the leadership of Martyn Lloyd-Jones) provided much-needed spiritual strength and sustenance.

Paul Eric Graham Cook was born on 17 August 1932. He was converted to Christ at the age of 16 and without delay began open-air preaching in the Blackpool area where he then lived. He trained for ministry at Spurgeon’s College and was called to his first pastorate in Northallerton in 1960.

In April 1961 he married Faith Rowe, daughter of missionaries to China, and in due course were born Esther, Jeremy, Oliver, Simon, and Edward.

In 1964, Paul was called to the pastorate of Belton Street Baptist Church in Shepshed, Leicestershire. Difficulties at the church ultimately led Paul and others to leave in 1969 and form Shepshed Evangelical Free Church.

Early in his time at Shepshed, Paul helped encourage the inception of a new work on the Holywell estate in nearby Loughborough.

Some years later, the Shepshed church under Paul’s leadership saw another new work planted at Gorse Covert on the north side of Loughborough.

Paul was involved in the early years of the East Midlands Bible rallies and, with Graham Harrison, compiled Christian Hymns, first published in 1977 and still popular today.

In 1981, Paul was given sabbatical leave by the Shepshed church and, due to ill health, eventually stepped down from the pastorate there.

After a while, he was called to a Reformed church in Kingston-upon-Hull (now Kingston Evangelical Church), which he pastored for fourteen years until retirement in 1997. He and Faith moved to Breaston, near Derby, and became members of Beeston Free Church.

Paul was a man of strong convictions who preached with passion as well as exegetical clarity. His unswerving faithfulness to the truth of God’s Word and to the proclamation of the gospel of Christ is a cause for thanksgiving to the God in whose immediate presence he now rejoices.

Robert Strivens

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