Over the years, those of us at Good News grew to consider Eddie Fox a great friend and brother in Christ. He was the most recognizable Methodist personality around the globe for many decades. Fox was passionate about his love for Jesus Christ and had a rocksteady commitment to sharing the good news of the gospel.
Upon hearing of his passing on July 28 at age 83, we remembered his consequential life dedicated to preaching and evangelism.
With gratitude for his vibrant life, we provide the following tribute from the Rev. Dr. Kimberly Reisman, executive director of World Methodist Evangelism. We appreciate her insights.
By Kimberly Reisman –
Eddie was a remarkable man whose leadership strengthened and expanded World Methodist Evangelism’s ministry in many significant ways. During his years as World Director, he traveled millions of miles to spread the good news of Jesus Christ and to empower Christians on every inhabited continent in the world to share their faith with authenticity and grace. We stand on the legacy of his firm foundation and continue to faithfully follow the vision he laid out during his 25 years of service to WME.
Eddie came from a long line of Methodists – six generations! His roots grew deep in the soil of a country Methodist church in Sevier County in East Tennessee. It was a point of pride for him that when John Wesley was alive, his family was already Methodist. By the time Eddie was 9 years old, he knew he wanted to follow Jesus. By the time he was 16 he knew he wanted to preach. From the time the church gave him a license to preach at 17, Eddie never stopped proclaiming the good news. God indeed used him in a mighty way.
World Methodist Evangelism’s impact for Christ grew considerably under Eddie’s dynamic leadership. A keen awareness of the importance of meeting the cultural moment drove much of his work. In the years following the dismantling of the Soviet Union, Eddie worked diligently to support emerging and re-emerging churches in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.
In partnership with WME, the Methodist Church in Estonia founded the Baltic Methodist Theological Seminary, and throughout these newly independent countries, new churches and other ministries were planted, and existing churches were strengthened. This movement came to be known as Connecting Congregations and it continues to impact not only churches in Eastern Europe and the Baltics, but churches in Africa and South America and throughout the various denominations of the global Wesleyan Methodist family.
Eddie also recognized the need to provide accessible faith-sharing tools to lay people and to instill the DNA of evangelism in emerging pastoral leaders so they would come to see themselves as mission evangelists for their entire communities. He was instrumental in creating the Faith-Sharing New Testament with the Psalms, which is a resource that has been translated into 40 languages and includes basic answers about questions of faith as well as helpful information about guiding others into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. 2021 marks the 25th anniversary of this important faith-sharing tool.
Also celebrating its 25th anniversary is The Order of the FLAME (Faithful Leaders as Mission Evangelists), which Eddie launched to equip pastors to do the work of an evangelist and carry out their ministries fully (2 Timothy 4:5). Pastors throughout the Wesleyan Methodist family in North America, Africa, and Ireland have been impacted by the FLAME ethos of holistic evangelism though word and deed, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Like many others across the globe, Eddie mentored and supported me as a young minister, consistently providing wisdom, guidance, and opportunities for growth. He was committed to building strong relationships and friendships, and because of his joyful spirit and warm heart those friendships came easy and grew deeply. Eddie’s preaching was inspired and inspiring – he knew it mattered. He was tirelessly committed to evangelism, to enabling others to discover a life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ. I thank God he never wavered from that deep commitment.
Please join me in praying for Eddie’s wife, Mary Nell, and the entire family during this time of sorrow and grief. We rejoice that he now rests easy in the arms of his Savior and yet the hole in our hearts is wide and deep. May God provide comfort to us and all those whose lives Eddie touched as we navigate this time of loss.
Kimberly Reisman is the executive director of World Methodist Evangelism, a ministry that brings the global Methodist/Wesleyan family of Christians together around the work of multiplying witnesses for Jesus Christ. Dr. Reisman is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church and has written numerous books, including The Christ-Centered Woman: Finding Balance in a World of Extremes (2013, Abingdon Press).