A student at the undergraduate Christian school Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky, Nick Challies died after he suddenly collapsed while playing a game outside with friends and family at school, according to Religion News Service.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Nick Challies Was the Only Son & Had 2 Sisters
Challies was one of Tim and Aileen Challies’ three children. He had two sisters, Abigail and Michaela.
According to his Facebook page, he lived in and was from Oakville, Ontario.
Tim Challies has written multiple books and has also written articles on such controversial topics as pornography, including his article, “8 Sins You Commit Whenever You Look at Porn,” as well as social justice, which he wrote about in his book review on Scott David Allen’s book, Why Social Justice Is Not Biblical Justice.
2. Challies Was Studying at Boyce College, the Undergraduate School at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Nick Challies, a wonderful, kind, loving, young Christian full of life, went to be with the Lord last night. Here is a word from his father’s grief-stricken heart. Please pray for Tim and Aileen Challies and their family. https://t.co/nrLRikB94M
— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) November 4, 2020
According to Challies’ Linkedin page, he was studying at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s undergraduate program at Boyce College and was in his third year; he was on the seminary track, studying biblical and theological studies, and he expected to graduate in 2023.
Tim Challies announced on his website that his son had returned to their home in Canada as Boyce College shut its doors in response to the pandemic and transitioned to online classes in March: “My son (aged 20), a student at Boyce College and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (where he’s enrolled in the five-year program that combines the undergraduate and M.Div. programs), returned home on Saturday,” Tim Challies wrote.
He mentioned his son again in an April 3 “family update” blog post, writing:
My son returned home after Southern Seminary had to close its doors, and he has since dutifully completed the two weeks of isolation our government demands of those who return from international destinations. The seminary made a blazingly fast transition to online learning, so his classes have continued pretty much on schedule, albeit through a screen. This week is his spring break, but he has nowhere to go and lots to do, so his life continues apace.
In an April 17 “family update” blog post, Tim Challies wrote, “My son is in the homestretch for his college and seminary courses, so continues to plug away at those.”
In a November 4 article in Southern News, the school’s publication, Tim Challies thanked faculty and students for making his son feel at home:
Nick loved this place. He loved the college. He loved the seminary . . . I know how much he loved his fellow students, how much he loved the faculty, how much he loved the staff, how much he loved and admired the administration. I know how much he was loved by you.
Thank you for being his teachers, his mentors, his friends, and his family when he was here in America. He ran only a short race, just 20 years, but he finished strong. I’m thankful he was able to finish his race surrounded by the people he loved, surrounded by you.
The president of the school, Albert Mohler, described Nick Challies as “an outstanding young man, faithful to Christ, who was also a friend to all” and said he was “much loved and (an) important part of the Boyce College family.” Mohler said, “We are thankful to have known him, and so very thankful that he came to be a student at Boyce College. He made us all proud. No one saw this coming.”
3. Challies Was Engaged to Be Married
Nick Challies posted about his engagement on Facebook on August 21. The post received many congratulations and more than a hundred combined “likes” and “loves.”
According to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, his fiancée was “fellow Boyce student Anna Kathryn ‘Ryn’ Conley.”
According to her Facebook page, Conley works at College Run Farms and lives in Louisville.
4. Challies Collapsed During a Game
— Thomas Reese, S.J. (@ThomasReeseSJ) November 4, 2020
According to Tim Challies’ blog post, “Nick was playing a game with his sister and fiancée and many other students when he suddenly collapsed, never regaining consciousness. Students, paramedics, and doctors battled valiantly, but could not save him.”
The school reported that Challies’ death was not COVID-19-related and stated that a cause was not yet known.
Mohler announced via Twitter that classes were canceled Wednesday “so that students and faculty can minister to one another.” Challies’ father wrote that services would be held on Friday, November 6; he also said that the family “travelled through the night to get to Louisville so we could be together as a family.”
5. The Challies Family Has Received Support From Many Faith Leaders
I’m so sorry – may the Lord be with your family in this grief and loss.
— Matthew Smith from Indelible Grace (@matthewsmithUS) November 4, 2020
Tim Challies announced his son’s death in a heartfelt blog post in which he described Nick as “my dear son, my sweet son, my kind son, my godly son, my only son”:
In all the years I’ve been writing I have never had to type words more difficult, more devastating than these: Yesterday the Lord called my son to himself—my dear son, my sweet son, my kind son, my godly son, my only son.
Nick was playing a game with his sister and fiancée and many other students when he suddenly collapsed, never regaining consciousness. Students, paramedics, and doctors battled valiantly, but could not save him. He’s with the Lord he loved, the Lord he longed to serve. We have no answers to the what or why questions.
Yesterday Aileen and I cried and cried until we could cry no more, until there were no tears left to cry. Then, later in the evening, we looked each other in the eye and said, ‘We can do this.’ We don’t want to do this, but we can do this—this sorrow, this grief, this devastation—because we know we don’t have to do it in our own strength. We can do it like Christians, like a son and daughter of the Father who knows what it is to lose a Son.
We travelled through the night to get to Louisville so we could be together as a family. And we ask that you remember us in your prayers as we mourn our loss together. We know there will be gruelling days and sleepless nights ahead. But for now, even though our minds are bewildered and our hearts are broken, our hope is fixed and our faith is holding. Our son is home.
Tim Keller, a theologian and pastor from New York, wrote: “Tim, I’m really sorry to hear this. Our prayers are with your family.” Pastor Costi Hinn of Arizona’s Redeemer Bible Church wrote “Tim, my heart breaks over this news. Our family is mourning with you. May the peace of God still fill your hearts in the midst of pain.”
Pastor and publisher David Zadok wrote, “Dear Tim, I heard about the sad tragedy from an email your mom sent me. My wife and I and also our Hagefen staff have been praying for you and family. May He comfort you with his eternal comfort.” Christian author Trillia Newbell also wrote condolences on Twitter, saying, “I’m sorry and praying for you all now.”