Davis College - Pursue God

Remembering Dr. Barackman – By Dr. Gilbert Parker

Posted in Blog
Dr. Barackman's Daughter and Son-In-Law in front of his photo in the library

Dr. Barackman’s daughter & son-in-law, Ruth and Ernie Jeliff pose by the photo of her parents  in the library

Dr. Floyd Barackman began his teaching career at Practical Bible Training School in 1962.  He began as an adjunct professor teaching Bible Doctrine to the freshman class.  He also was pastoring the First Baptist Church of Maine, New York. Dr. Barackman was an excellent teacher who was well prepared for each class.  He prepared copious notes which he handed out to students as part of his presentation on a particular topic.  He was not afraid to tackle questions and generally provided clear answers, usually with an appropriate illustration. (I know – I was one of his students.)

With the passing away of some faculty and others moving away to take other ministries, Dr. Barackman became a full time professor in the Bible/Theology department. It really launched him into a second career for which he was well suited. He was an excellent teacher, gentle and understanding, warm and gracious, and he would often put himself in the student’s place and try to figure out the best way to put a lecture together for the student to understand. His early class notes became the foundation for his many of his books including his Practical Christian Theology. Dr. Barackman was always invited to ordination councils of his students and would often moderate the council and participate in the ordination service.

When I first started teaching at the college,  Dr. Barackman would come to my office, or I to his, to discuss certain theological points to see what was the best way to convey it to the students. One of his favorite words was “stuff” which he used to cover extra and related information regarding a topic.  He always carried a jackknife in his pocket which became his chief way to illustrate various theological concepts in the classroom.  Dr. Barackman was also the college historian and wrote a history of the college and made presentations in chapel using slides and other memorabilia to portray the history in an accurate way. His hobbies included reading, collecting Indian artifacts and guns, and woodworking.

Dr. Barackman always remained a student of the Word and would continue his writing even after retirement. He would always share those things with former students. His former students remember him as a great teacher whose love for theology was conveyed to them. They in turn, developed a deeper love and appreciation for theology and the study of the Scriptures. We all appreciate his lasting influences in our lives. In retirement, he also began a jail ministry in which he led several prisoners to faith in Christ and then would disciple them in the faith. One of those students eventually completed serving his time and enrolled in Practical Bible College and became a pastor.

On my first trip to Russia to teach, I was presented with a Russian translation of his Practical Christian Theology.  The Russian pastors and students wanted to thank him and also to give him a copy of the book.  I had a similar experience when teaching in Romania.  I remember the day when his Practical Christian Theology arrived in the classroom.  It had been translated into Romanian. Again I was instructed to thank Dr. Barackman and also to take a copy to him. It also happened in other countries of the world.

He was a gracious Christian scholar whose influence remains to this day, not just in America but around the world.