I've never had to the chance to meet Graham Maxwell. If I had, merely saying "Thank you" would have been entirely inadequate to express how much his contribution to Adventist theology has meant to me. But I have always had a deep respect and appreciation for his teaching and his views about God. The good news about the kind of God we have has made all the difference for me as an Adventist Christian and as a pastor (currently, in the Collegedale, TN area).
I was a new Adventist in 1980 when I chose to enroll as a student at Weimar College. Through Dick Winn's ministry and teaching there, I began to understand the great controversy theme, and with his recommendation, I bought and read Graham's Maxwell's book, "Can God Be Trusted?" Reading it during breaks between quarters, I remember feeling so awed by the truth about God, so moved, that I asked God to help me teach others about Him. In short, I felt God calling me to the ministry with this very motivation.
I managed to survive the influences of the seminary (1986-1988) and still hold to these primary views in my thinking, although I didn't fully begin to understand the ramifications for this theology until later. Dr. Maxwell came to Andrews University during my time there and did a Week of Prayer, which I enjoyed hearing very much. One of my seminary professors was his brother Mervyn. And I remember sitting in PMC a few rows behind where he was sitting one day, listening to Graham's talk. And when he described God sorrowing and crying over the destruction of the wicked, I noticed Mervyn shaking his head, in what appeared to me to be disagreement. Although I remember that now with a sense of humor, I will never understand why anyone would disagree with how gracious God really is, even toward the wicked.
I am profoundly grateful that this man of God was also a friend of God and taught so tirelessly the truth that brings healing.