Roy grew up as a preachers kid, and so did I. F.B. Hertzog, his father, was a leader in what was then the Mennonite Brethren in Christ Church, the precursor of the Bible Fellowship Church. Having served as pastor in several churches, he became a District Superintendent overseeing many churches.
After graduating from high school, Roy joined the Navy and served in the Mediterra- nean Sea area where he was concerned about the plight of Christians living in that area and in Eastern Europe. When his time was over in the Navy, he entered Columbia Bible College from which he graduated. Not one to waste time, Roy married Diane on their fifth date, even though he had dated Diane’s sister first! They stayed married for 63 years.
When the couple were accepted by Trans World Radio to serve at their radio station in Monaco, Roy could reach those believers in countries that were hostile to the Gospel. During his time there, he traveled extensively in North Africa and Eastern Europe, so much so that the KGB followed him around and just missed arresting him for preaching the Gospel and smuggling Bibles into Communist countries. During this time, and to Diane’s delight, God was faithful to him in protecting him from harm.
After 14 years with TWR, Roy and Di returned to the USA and accepted a unanimous call to pastor Cedar Crest BFC. In a historical sketch during their 125th Anniversary Celebration, Ron Hoyle wrote that “Roy was a stabilizing force, rebuilding a strong base both theologically and numerically with his counseling ministry … He implemented the rule by Elder and his administrative gifts were used to help in the process of reuniting with the mother church.”
In 1979, Roy agreed to become Associate Pastor joining Ron Mahurin in the reunited Bethel BFC/Cedar Crest BFC. At the very beginning, Ron said that he and Roy went on a three day retreat where they got to know each other, read the Bible together, prayed together, discussed ministry, and realized that they were on the same page. Ron described Roy as a gentle man, kind, a good administrator, loyal, firm in his opinions, but gracious to those who didn’t agree with him. Although offered the title of Senior Pastor, Roy deferred to Ron Mahurin and chose to be the Associate Pastor using his gifts of administration and counseling.
Because of his heart for missions and missionaries, in 1986, Roy left Cedar Crest BFC and became the first fulltime Director of the Board of Missions. His time on the mission field and pastoral experience made him the ideal candidate. From the 1985 BFC Yearbook, we quote: “Recognizing that there is a great need to provide additional pastoral care and oversight for our mission- aries, their children in the homeland, our appointees, and applicants, … and to provide additional and more effective assistance to our particular churches in organizing, strate- gizing, implementing, and promoting of missions… Resolved, that we ratify the election of Roy A. Hertzog as the full-time Executive Secretary of the Board of Missions.
Roy served in that capacity until he retired in 1996 having served the BFC for a total of 37 years. In the time of transition that followed, Donna Allen, my wife, continued assisting part time in the office. During those 12 years, my wife and I got to interact with Roy and Di on a fairly regular basis. We had many conversations. We didn’t always agree theologically. We had many discussions about God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. He leaned one way, I leaned the other. Regardless, we remained friends.
During his retirement, Roy spent a lot of time putting together his thoughts and all of the verses he could find to substantiate his position. He worked on it for four years, from 2005 to 2009. When finished, he wrote them down and printed them in a 134 page book, entitled: Calvinism in the Light of the General Tenor of Scripture, which he shared with me in a pre-published version, challenging me to dispute his findings. I didn’t. I knew Roy well enough to know that I wouldn’t be able to change his mind, so we just left it there. To his credit, he stood firm on his beliefs to the very end, and even now has the privilege of seeing his faith, not through a cloud darkly, but face to face with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Roy had a significant impact on the Bible Fellowship Church as two of our Articles of Faith, Article 10 on Human Ability and Responsibility and Article 19 on the Evangelistic Mission of the Church, were a direct result of Roy’s prodding. He also helped develop the Biblical Principles for Living having realized that Christians around the world don’t necessarily have the same cultural trappings as we do. His leadership in that area has had a positive lasting influence on the Bible Fellowship Church as we are able to adapt to different cultural settings both within and outside our country.
We may never know what impact our lives have on others while we remain on this earth. Roy’s preaching the Gospel as a missionary, his pulpit and counseling ministry at Cedar Crest, and his work at enabling others to serve the Lord cross culturally as Director of the Board of Missions, had an impact on lives that we will never know this side of Glory. His relationship and legacy with his wife, Diane, their children and spouses, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren will continue for generations.
THE FULL REWARD
There’s a full reward awaiting us in glory;
‘Tis for service given unto God’s dear Son;
It will make the joys of heaven all the brighter;
We’ll receive it when the victory is won.
Crown of life and crown of glory,
Crown of righteousness & joy,
Crown un-fading, full of splendor,
And to see Him by and by.
There’s a crown of life for humble service rendered;
There’s a crown unfading given for our zeal,
Crowns of joy and glory for the hosts unnumbered,
We may have them if by faith we only will.
There’s a crown of righteousness awaits our wearing;
It shines brighter than all others in His Word,
‘Tis for all who wait and look for His appearing,
And have crowned Him King of kings and Lord of lords.
But to sit with Jesus in His coronation,
Will be better than to wear the crowns above,
So we’ll cast them at His feet in adoration;
‘Twill be heaven just to realize His love.
This hymn, written by J. Wilbur Chapman, over 100 years ago, has been the official hymn sung at BFC Pastors’ funeral services, often by a quartet, because it speaks of both faithful service to the Lord here on earth, and the promise of being with Jesus when our ministry is over. It really does exemplify Roy Hertzog’s life. Please allow me to give you some of those highlights.
Roy was loved by his family, his two children, Dan and Deana, their spouses, Ginny and Fernando, his six granddaughters – Brittany, Tori, Shannon, Stephanie, Renah and Laura, their spouses, and the 12.8 great-grandchildren who will all miss the head of that family. Roy suffered several physical ailments over the past few years which restricted his movement and ability to get around. He was, however, able to eat ice cream almost everyday which I am sure helped prolong his life. Because his family thought that he would go and see Jesus earlier, his granddaughter, Tori, used the excuse that she couldn’t work as a nurse on Christmas Eve because she needed to see her grandfather for his last Christmas. She used that excuse five years in a row. His one regret was that he wished he could have played golf, something that I can relate to. He also had a dry sense of humor, was witty, an optimist, encouraging, respectful, and always had a smile on his face.