About the author
John Furman Wall, Jr. was born in 1931 in Boise, Idaho on his mother’s fortieth birthday; he grew up in Camden, SC, followed his father to the U. S. Military Academy at West Point (1956), and started his own Army career of over thirty-two years, retiring as a lieutenant general in 1988. Although his father, a noted horse authority and author on breeding thoroughbreds, was a horse cavalry officer, John joined the engineers like his boyhood hero Robert E. Lee.
He notes that his best assignments were ones with troops, leading at the platoon, company, battalion, and regimental levels. He also served in the civil and military planning, construction, and operational areas: district engineer (Ft. Worth, TX), southeastern division engineer (Atlanta, GA), and director of civil works (Washington, D. C.) He served in Germany, Thailand, Viet Nam, Korea, and Israel.
In Israel for over two years as a brigadier general, John managed the construction of two world-class military airbases in the Negev, a key component of the successful Camp David Peace Accord between Egypt (President Sadat) and Israel (Prime Minister Begin), brokered by President Jimmy Carter. This tour gave John first-hand knowledge of the Holy Land’s environment, people, and problems.
After retiring from the Army as the first three star commanding general of the U. S. Army Strategic Defense Command, John assumed the mantle of executive director of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association, Inc. and Stratford Hall Plantation in Westmoreland County, VA. After five years, he very reluctantly answered a call to enter the ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church and entered the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA when over the age of sixty. For periods of five years each, he served as vicar of three small churches in the Diocese of Springfield (Illinois), then led three rural churches in Virginia (Cople Parish), and finally became priest-in-charge, Church of St. Peter in Port Royal, VA.
John and his wife of fifty-seven years, Suzanne McHenry Jones, divide each year in Fredericksburg or Hague, VA and Pensacola, FL. They have three sons: One is an Anglican priest in Washington D.C.; one is active in prison ministry in Columbia, SC; and another is active in lay ministry in Charleston, SC. The Walls have eleven grandchildren (one of whom graduated May 2013 from General Seminary in NYC and will become an ordained priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Milwaukee) and three great granddaughters.
John’s stated reason for writing this book is that while most Christians in America know something of the New Testament, they are woefully ignorant of the contents of the Hebrew Bible and its role in the foundation of Christianity, other than short stories of Hebrew heroes. “After all,” he says, “Jesus of Nazareth was a practicing Jew who knew, used, and quoted the Hebrew Bible extensively!” Father John has never forgotten that when a graduate student in Ithaca, NY, he took his Sunday School class to a synagogue where the rabbi told his students, “You Christians are our spiritual grandchildren!”
John holds many military decorations from the U.S. and several foreign countries. He earned degrees from West Point (BS), Princeton (MS), Cornell (PhD), George Washington (JD), and the Virginia Theological Seminary.