The community of Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary is grieving with Jane Miller and their family on the loss of their beloved husband and father, Steven Miller. Though we, as they, grieve in the blessed hope of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus whom Steve so dearly trusted, loved, and proclaimed to all, we still miss him and feel the sadness of this loss.
Steve served seventeen years at RPTS teaching our missions classes. How the students loved him! A former missionary to Eritrea, Steve brought to the classroom both the vision of the crown rights of Christ and the reality of the cross of Christ’s suffering that are so needed in true missions training. A regular occurrence in Steve’s class was to hear him explaining from the Psalms God’s desire to bring the nations of the earth to the Lord, and then for singing and praying to follow to that holy end. Indeed, the Spirit-inspired Psalms fueled the passion in Steve’s heart for missions.
To know Steve was to know a true under-shepherd of Christ, for he was first and foremost a pastor. After decades of service in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, they “gifted” him to the Reformed Presbyterian Church when he took up the pastorate at First RPC of Beaver Falls. Though far too brief, this call was a heavenly match, for the love Steve and the congregation had for one another was present in so many ways. His pastoral heart never stopped beating for people, and his presence at RPTS was the true embodiment of our motto “Study Under Pastors.” His love of God overflowed into a sincere love for others, whether teaching in the classroom, preaching in the chapel, or simply stopping to chat and share a laugh with a student.
One of my favorite memories of Steve was at the Reformed Presbyterian International Conference in 2016 on the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University in Indiana. The church used this occasion to ordain a recent RPTS graduate and send him along with his wife and other ministry partners back into their home country of India to open up a new mission field. Steve was already battling ALS, so he actually was not able to be physically present. Yet he was there! For provision was made for him through digital means to address this man and the hundreds in attendance from God’s Word. There before us on a large screen, clearly the disease was weakening his outer man and voice, but his inner spirit was just as clearly renewed in his vision for missions. He proclaimed boldly Christ’s mediatorial rule over the nations of the world and then called this man and indeed the church to bring those nations into submission to the Lord. I only hope that the book he was writing on his vision of missions before his death will be completed and made available to the church. I have to believe that the incredible doors that are opening to the Reformed Presbyterian Church in various mission fields are due in significant part to the knocking that Steve was doing through his teaching and praying.
One other important thing I must say about Steve is simply Jane. You cannot think of Steve without seeing in your mind’s eye Jane there by his side as a true “rib” to her husband. Their marital love was special, and when you were around them you could see the love and joy they had for and in one another. And if Jane stood faithfully by Steve’s side in his health through all those years of family and ministry, which she did, how much more her Christ-like love for him was seen in the vigil she kept during his sickness. She was daily with him, kindly yet fiercely watching over his care and treatments, attentive to every detail. We commit to praying for this special woman, that the Lord would continue to stay close to her in her grief and refresh her in any weariness she bears.
The risen and ascended Lord gives wonderful gifts of love to his church. Thank you, Christ our King, for bestowing on the church the special gift of Pastor Steve Miller.
Barry J. York