Tom Ascol, president of Founders Ministries and pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, is recovering after experiencing a medical emergency. Ascol was preaching on Sunday when he suddenly collapsed.
“We request your earnest prayers for Pastor Tom, his family, Grace Baptist Church, and Founders Ministries,” representatives of Founders Ministries wrote in a statement released on Sunday. The announcement says Ascol was rushed to the hospital where his vitals were stabilized and he was “in and out of responsiveness.”
Later that day, Jared Longshore of Founders Ministries wrote a brief update on Ascol’s condition, which had improved. Longshore said that as people prayed, Ascol became “much more coherent and responsive.”
Another update was shared on Founders Ministries’ podcast, The Sword and the Trowel, on Tuesday. At that time, Ascol was still experiencing mobility issues. Still, “God has done great and good things for us over these last few days,” Longshore said. Longshore also shared the things Ascol recalled after he collapsed. He remembers an exchange between an EMT and himself in which the EMT expressed frustration by cursing while looking for Ascol’s wallet. Ascol, only managing a whisper, told the EMT to “fear God.”
Ascol also said he “felt like I was ready to die” and “it would have been ok.” Ascol recalled praying for his children and grandchildren, his wife, and the elders of his church on the way to the hospital.
Longshore then asked Ascol “Given what happened, and what you know to be true, what do you want to say to the world?” Ascol replied:
You’re going to die one day. I didn’t die yesterday, but I’m going to die one day. One day, we’re going to meet God face to face and if you don’t know that you need a mediator before that day, you’ll know it on that day. That’s what’s so crazy–we have one. God gave his son. It’s amazing. So I didn’t want to die, but I felt like it was ok to die. And that’s God’s grace. That’s not any accomplishment; it’s just a gift…Everyone needs a Savior, and we have one. We have only one. It’s crazy that people would not trust him; it’s insane. It’s insane that we wouldn’t persuade people to trust him.
When Ascol learned that people around the world are praying for him and even arranging prayer meetings for him, he said it was “so kind” and called it “a testimony of God’s grace.”
He also heard a trauma doctor say: “That’s unbelievable. When he came in, he could barely talk. He was at such a detriment.”
Ascol’s wife, Donna, is also grateful for the prayers offered on her husband’s behalf. She used Ascol’s Twitter account to express her thanks:
This is Tom’s wife, Donna. We are overwhelmed by the expressions of concern & prayer for him & our family. He is still in ICU but is steadily improving. We face some challenges ahead but are experiencing God’s grace to be full of faith & hope. 2 Timothy 2:8.
— tom ascol (@tomascol) December 10, 2019
Just before the publishing of this article, Longshore shared another update, announcing Ascol is being released from the hospital, although the cause of the fall is still uncertain. He wrote:
We thank God for your prayers for Pastor Tom Ascol, President of Founders Ministries. He has shown more and more progress. He was able to walk a bit yesterday with assistance.
Many tests were run over these few days, but they have only ruled out various causes. The doctors say the bottom line is that they don’t know what caused Tom’s fall. He was engaged in significant fasting and prayer and diligent, faithful preaching in the days leading up to it.
Today, he felt even better, walked some more with assistance and is in the process of being discharged from the hospital as I write. He’s speaking on and on to the man driving his wheelchair about the gospel of Jesus. We will get him in the car soon. Thank God for His power and grace, and pray that Tom would regain his full strength quickly.
Ascol is known for his conservative views on the church and women. He is also known as a Calvinist and social justice critic. Not one to mince words or avoid controversy, Ascol recently wrote an article expressing his concern about Karen Swallow Prior’s appointment to the faculty of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS).