TAMPA — His wife called Hank Lindstrom a scientist because he would never take something as fact without studying the evidence.
"You had to prove it to him," Jeanette Lindstrom said.
But he was also a preacher who relied on faith.
The Rev. Lindstrom saw no contradiction between science and faith, instead finding a harmony that embodied his evangelical work as a pastor, college instructor, and radio and television host.
"He took the word (of God) literally with his scientific mind," Mrs. Lindstrom said. "He spent hundreds of thousands of hours reading, literally, to see how God fit with science."
The Rev. Lindstrom, who founded Calvary Community Church, died Monday from diabetes complications. He was 68.
A Miami native, the Rev. Lindstrom graduated from the University of Florida with an electrical engineering degree, then went to Florida Bible College.
He used to say he could prove God engineered the world as exemplified in the Bible passage, "by him all things consist." If that wasn't true, he said, how else could people explain the power that came from splitting something as small as an atom?
Like a researcher, he left verbal footnotes in his sermons, always using the attribution, "the Bible tells us …" He visited Europe and the Middle East 14 times to study biblical settings.
In Tampa, where he lived since 1965, he started Bible clubs at high schools, was a chaplain for professional teams like the Cincinnati Reds, opened a Bible college and led to Christ many teens, including Terry Bollea, who would become Hulk Hogan.
But he was best known for hosting Bibleline, a local radio show for more than 20 years. He also hosted a cable access television show for more than two decades. Before few pastors could, he streamed his sermons live over the Internet, his family said.
He clung to the Bible the way a scientist relied on facts, rarely guessing what something meant.
If someone asked him a biblical question he didn't know, he looked it up. If he was stumped, he would say, "got to wait till heaven," his wife said.
A stickler for accuracy, he had his church celebrate Easter on Saturday nights because that's the time he thought Jesus arose.
He was rigid on the Bible but always evolving when it came to technology.
And he reached many with his message, friend Pat Floyd said.
For instance, when the Rev. Lindstrom died, Floyd tried to call a church deacon named Tom to make funeral arrangements. But he got one digit in the phone number wrong.
The man he reached also was named Tom. The man told Floyd he had the wrong number, but said he knew the Rev. Lindstrom, too. He had heard him on his radio show years ago.
And it had changed his life.
Justin George can be reached at (813) 226-3368 or [email protected]