Back to Main Blog

A Tribute to Lou Priolo (1954-2023) ~ from his own words

blog dr. lou priolo iabc kevin carson Nov 28, 2023

A Tribute to Lou Priolo ~ from his own words

I pause this afternoon to share a few words about my friend, Lou Priolo. Just after midnight this morning, my friend transitioned from this world to the next, after a short illness. When I received a text early this morning sharing the news, my mind went back to conversations we had shared in conferences, email, texts, and over the phone. Lou was one of the first biblical counselors to influence me – as he did so many others like Martha Peace and Mark Shaw, just to name a few. In the early days, he primarily influenced me by his books; in the past many years, I am so grateful for our friendship. Below I share a tribute to Lou from his own words. I have borrowed from a blog he wrote about death, as well as his closing paragraph in his tribute of Jay Adams upon Jay’s death.

Before I share Lou’s words, let me briefly reflect on a personal note. In addition to my love for his manners, godliness, quick wit, and attire, I absolutely loved his commitment to truth and God’s Word. I remember over a decade ago when he and I were having a conversation together about the meaning of a particular text. We disagreed with each other (at least now he knows I was right – maybe!). Another nationally-known speaker came into the speaker’s room where we were talking with each other. This other speaker added later in our conversation, “…a little psychology never hurt anyone, Lou.” From there, it was on. I listened to our friend, Lou, powerfully, systematically, and passionately engage this other speaker. I did all I could do to withhold laughing out loud as Lou vigorously helped the other man understand his perspective. Later, Lou and I shared a big laugh over it.

As you will see below, our dear brother was not afraid to die. In fact, as you will see, his thoughts about heaven were very encouraging and challenging.

From Fear of Dying

What is it that Christians fear most about the process and results of dying? Here are six common fears and a very brief biblical remedy for each of them.


“I’m not so much afraid of dying as I am of the final leg of the journey.”

God promises never to leave or forsake us, not to tempt us beyond what we are able to handle by His grace, and to provide the grace we need to endure the trials and temptations He allows to come our way. This does not mean that death isn’t hard or difficult, but God promises in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that as Christians, our temptations (and the trials associated with them) are and will be limited by God both in scope and duration.


“I’m afraid that heaven is going to be kind of boring. I mean, sitting around on clouds and worshiping the Lord will be enjoyable, I’m sure, but if that’s all there is to it, I think will get kind of old.”

Since we will be fitted for heaven on arrival, even if all we did in heaven was worship God, heaven would be enjoyable. But we will be doing more than that. The Bible suggests that we will sing, eat, work, rule, judge, and learn. Moreover, the new earth will resemble the present earth as our new glorified bodies will resemble our earthly ones. Did Adam and Eve enjoy life in the garden? Imagine the garden of Eden on steroids. Whatever is necessary for our happiness and enjoyment will be awaiting us in heaven.


Some people get a claustrophobic feeling when they think too long about heaven. I know it will be wonderful beyond my wildest dreams, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to be trapped in some kind of eternal time warp—it’s scary to think about living forever.”

It is impossible for finite man to fully understand infinity. It can indeed be scary to be unable to comprehend “endlessness.” But heaven is a place of unimaginable happiness. There will be no claustrophobia in heaven because claustrophobia is a fear. The thought that God would allow His children to be troubled with even a hint of the misery associated with self-oriented fear is out of step with everything the Bible says about heaven. There simply will be none of this kind of fear in heaven, for when Christ appears, we shall be like Him—sinless (1 John 3:2).


“Look, I know I’m forgiven and my sins will not be held against me, but frankly the thought of having to give an account of my sins kind of takes away the excitement of all the good I know that comes after the judgment.”

This can actually be a good fear if it motivates us toward sanctification. “Everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). On the other hand, it is a fearful thing to think about standing in the presence of a thrice-holy God to watch a play-by-play not only of our sinful actions but also of our thoughts and motives. Perhaps the best way to elevate (or at least tranquilize) this fear is to immediately thank God for the fact that as believers in Christ we will not have to face His eternal wrath and that He will wipe away all tears from our eyes. (Even during the final judgment, we will have the assurance that because of Christ, we will not be condemned.)


“My family is so dependent on me for so many things. They look to me for material provision, for wisdom and direction, for emotional support, for meeting daily needs.”

It is important for us to think ahead about this and to prepare for it as best we can. Teaching our loved ones to look to Christ for their spiritual and temporal needs is also part of our responsibility as Christians. Once we have done this (and even if we haven’t), we can relieve our anxiety by committing our loved ones to God and praying that He will do what is best for them for His glory.


“I’ve worked so hard for so many years that the thought that I would lose all or even some of what I’ve worked for is chilling.”

Paul talks about being disqualified (after having preached to others; 1 Cor. 9:27). He tells Timothy to consider that if he doesn’t play by the rules, he might not be rewarded for all his hard labor (2 Tim. 2:5). John talks about striving to obtain a full reward, implying that some might lose some of what they have worked for (2 John 8).

I’m not sure that I want to have this fear removed. I think about it almost every day. But if you find yourself obsessing over this concern without any knowledge of any wrongdoing, chances are good that you are worrying yourself unnecessarily and you should learn how to handle your anxiety biblically. My guess is that as you learn how to address worry in general, this worry in particular (and pretty much all the others mentioned above) will diminish.


From Farewell to My Father in the Faith, My Friend, and My Fishing Buddy, Jay Adams

Jay E. Adams, will surely go down in history as one of the greatest reformers of the 20th century. Jay was a faithful friend to me. I know I will see my friend again, and I look forward to an eternity of fishing trips with him in the new creation (DV). 

Final Words

Lou experienced this morning what he only could partially dream about in his writing. He now knows our Savior in a new way, having seen him and now worshiping him in person. Who knows what all is going on right now with him? But this we do know… He is more alive than ever in the presence of our dear Savior and the Lord he loved. May God receive the glory.

by: Dr. Kevin Carson. See original post here.