Pastor shares an ‘honest, hope-filled look’ at death

Published 11:33 am Saturday, August 26, 2023

A retired Baptist pastor has written a book with the intent that people may know Jesus and His love better and follow Him more closely. It is also what he called an “honest, hope-filled look” at death.

Wesley “Wes” Ellis, who looks forward to his 89th birthday in September, has lived in Lincoln County since 2014. He and his wife Patricia Yeargin Ellis moved to the Home Seekers Paradise from near Rome, Georgia.

After pastoring for 42 years in churches in Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee and Georgia, Ellis began to write his book after becoming very ill from COVID. Titled “Through Death into Life Everlasting” — a line taken from the popular hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” — the book is “a biblical study from the perspective of eternity” which seeks to answer the question of who God wants in heaven. Simply put, Ellis said it is “human beings who are and are becoming more like Jesus,” saved by Jesus’ grace and continually changed by God’s Holy Spirit.

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This is the first book for the long-time pastor, who earned a degree from Mississippi College and two from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, including a Doctorate of Theology in New Testament and Greek. “Through Death” draws mainly from the Gospel of John.

“I’m thinking about writing another book or report of the basic New Testament theology suggested by this book,” Ellis said. “Lord willing, and if health holds out, I may.”

The subject of death may seem like a foreign or overly sensitive subject to some, Ellis said, but he believes he has insight to write about the topic every person will deal with one day.

“I have a personal relationship with Jesus, who died and arose from death, who is the best reference about it,” said Ellis. “Like most people my age, I have suffered the loss of both parents, as well as both foster parents, a step-father, other kinfolk and members of churches I have pastored, and one of my grown sons to a heart attack.”

Ellis also was widowed three times — his first wife succumbed to cancer after 41 years of marriage; his second died after four years due to Parkinson’s; and his third also died with cancer, after only three years of marriage. He and his wife Patricia have been married nearly 10 years.

Far from being a focus on the morbid, the pastor said he wants people to see the hope that comes when the reader looks at death “from the perspective of eternity.”

“It is vitally important to answer Jesus when He calls you to follow Him,” said Ellis. “He will lead you through ‘the Valley of the shadow of death.’”

The book is available in print and e-book versions at, and will soon be available as an audio book.