The inspiration for this website came from a Scripture song I heard over 10 years ago at a ladies retreat:

Like Apples of Gold in pictures of silver
A word fitly spoken shall be,
Like Apples of Gold in pictures of silver
Let my life bring glory to thee.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Proverbs 25:11

Although some of the "stories" listed are made up, the Scriptural truths they illustrate are very real and can be of great benefit in a Christian's walk with the Lord and as illustrations for the lost.

It is my heart's desire that amongst the pages of this website, the Christian find words of encouragement and be spurred on to service for our Lord, and that seekers of the truth find Salvation in the timeless truths of God's Word for these troubled times.

- Angela

Posts Tagged ‘man of God’

C.T. Studd

Charles Thomas Studd

BORN: December 5, 1860
Northallerton, England
DIED: July 16, 1931
Ibambi, Africa
LIFE SPAN: 70 years, 7 months, 11 days

On January 13, 1877, Studd who had recently received $145,000 from an inheritance, put it all in the bank of heaven, and continued on with his work in China as a poor missionary. Before it was all over, he had also brought Christ to India, challenged students across America to Christian service, and pioneered a great work in Africa which was to become the World-wide Evangelization Cru­sade.

Edward Studd, retired planter had made a fortune in India and had come back to England to spend it. He was very fond of sports of all kinds. But above all was his love for horse racing. He bought, trained and raced horses.

A friend, Mr. Vincent, invited the elder Studd to attend the Moody­Sankey revival in London in the spring of 1875. Studd received Christ, counseled with Moody and made some notable changes. He withdrew from the turf, selling his horses, except for one each that he gave to his three sons.

His three eldest sons were J.E.K. (Kynaston), G.B. (George), and C.T. (Charlie). They were all at Eton College when their father was converted. He made arrangements to meet his sons, and surprised them when he stopped their carriage in front of a hall with a sign, “Moody and Sankey revival.” The boys thought they were going to a theater or the Christy Minstrels. The father said, “Boys, I might as well tell you now. I’ve been converted by Mr. Moody. No more racing and gambling. I’ve found the real thing.” The sons were amazed but made no move.

Now young C.T. had to escape being alone with his father when he was at home, for salvation would always come up as a topic. One year passed. Their father usually had preachers staying at his house on weekends. One weekend two preachers came. One afternoon, one of the preachers caught C.T. on his way to play cricket. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. His answer not being convincing enough, the guest pressed the point and finally down on his knees went C.T. and when he arose, his heart was filled with joy and peace. All three brothers were won to Christ that same day, and all became outstanding witnesses for the gospel. This was in 1876 when Studd was 16 years of age.

About this time Study was fast becoming the most outstanding cricket player in England. The brothers started a Bible class at Eton and CAT. stayed on two more years, becoming the captain of the cricket team in his last year. He finished at Eton in 1879 and enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge, the next year, 1880A By 1882 he was considered one of the best cricket players in the world. He was probably the best known athlete of his day in England. He captained the team his last year at Cambridge 1883-84A He got his B.A.. degree and left Cambridge in 1885.

Study had been somewhat backslidden since his conversion, and it took the Moody-Sankey team meetings of 1882 at Cambridge University to straighten him out. He got a burden for souls, and a call from China seemed to be what he felt God wanted him to do. Soon six others from Cambridge University joined him in this goal and the “Cambridge Seven” became well known.

In February, 1885, they sailed for China arriving in Shanghai on March 18th. They at once began the study of the language seven to ten hours a day, donned Chinese garb, and ate with and like the Chinese.

It was on his 25th birthday (December of 1885) that he was to inherit $145,000. He had already determined it would go into the work of the Lord. He was alone at Chunking on that day. Perhaps Study was born in 1861 as we cannot account for a year. On January 13, 1887, he sent out four checks of $25,000 each and five of $5,000 each – a total of $125,000A He sent $25,000 to the following people:

DLL. Moody – expressing the hope that he would be able to start some gospel work at Tricot in North India, where his father had made his fortune. Moody used the money however to start Moody Bible Institute to train people to take the gospel into all the world.

George Mueller – $20,000 of which was to be used on missionary work and $5,000 for the work among the orphans.

George Holland in Whitechapel, to be used for the Lord among the poor in London. Holland had been a spiritual help to Study’s father.

Commissioner Booth Tucker for the Salvation Army in India. It was used to send out a party of 50 new officers, and came following a night of prayer for reinforcements.

In a few months he gave away several more thousands when he determined the exact amount of the inheritance. Most of this went to the China Inland Mission. He now had $17,000 left.

Priscilla Livingstone Steward arrived in Shanghai in 1887A She was from Belfast, Ireland. Studd arrived in Shanghai in April of that year. There was a Sailor’s Home where Miss Steward was working and where Study was trying to win the lost. Meetings were held and sailors were saved. Soon Miss Steward went to the center of China, and Study prepared to go North. Correspondence began in June and engagement was agreed upon on October 5th. Kneeling in the snow in March, 1888, praying for souls during an open-air meeting caused her to get pneumonia. Study himself had been at death’s door for weeks with pleurisy in both lungs, typhoid, and then pneumonia. He recovered just in time to come to Miss Stewart’s side. She got better. Everyone decided it was as good a time as ever, so Pastor Shi had a Christian ceremony, but they had to go to Tientsin to be married by the consul for official records’ sake. This was March 1888. Just before his marriage he presented his bride with the $17,000 remaining from the inheritance. She said, “Charlie, what did the Lord tell the rich young man to do? Sell all. Well then, we will start clear with the Lord at our wedding.” They wrote General Booth on July 3, 1888, and told him the Salvation Army would realine this last amount of funds. They left Tientsin with $5 and some bedding and for the next 41 years of marriage together God provided for them.

They went to an inland City, Lungang-Fu and the only house they could get was one considered haunted. For five years (1888-1892) they never went outside without a volley of curses from their neighbors. Finally opposition began to subside. Studd spent a good deal of time with an opium refuge for the victims of this drug. As many as 50 at a time would be there. During seven years some 800 went through the refuge, some saved as well as cured.

Their first child was born in 1889A Mrs. Studd had a relapse and almost died. Four more children were to follow, the fifth living just one day. Mrs. Studd never saw a doctor through all this. The four that lived were girls, Grace, Dorothy, Edith and PaulineA A sixth child was born after their return to England, a boy, but he only lived two days. Pauline married Norman Grubb, later WEC director.

In 1894 after ten years of service, the Lord directed them to return home to England, his asthmatic condition being a key factor. With four small children it was no easy job to journey to the coast. Naturally there was a royal welcome by Mrs. Studd (mother). The children knowing only Chinese now had to learn English culture and tongue. The health of the parents was poor, but soon Studd began to take meetings. Things were happening in the USA. Studd’s brother, J.E.K. at Moody’s request had toured the states telling the story of the “Cambridge Seven.” Students in America caught the fire, and two of their number began the Student Volunteer Move­ment, with amazing results. Hundreds were enrolled.

C.T. Study was invited to come. In 1896 he came and stayed for 18 months. He spoke as much as six times a day, seldom under an hour, had endless interviews with students. Outstanding things happen­ed in such places as Knoxville, Teen., in June; Lincoln, Nebraska in December; Minneapolis, Minx., in January of 1897.
Back in England from 1897 to 1900 gave him time for reflection, recuperation and readiness for the next assignment which was India. It was the father’s dying wish that some of the family would take the Gospel there. So they went, a better climate also appealing to them. However, his asthma which he had for years continued to plague him. He hardly slept except between 2 and 4 AM.. Night after night he was sitting up in a chair fighting for his breath. He was at Tricot for six months, then he became the pastor of the Union Church at Ootacamund in South India. The church reached out to all kinds of people, and a week never went by without one to three conversions transpiring. All four of his daughters made definite decisions for Christ and were baptized in India. The family returned to England in 1906.

From 1906 to 1908 he must have spoken to tens of thousands of men, many of whom never went to a religious service, but were drawn to hear him by his sporting reputation. Many made their decisions for Christ.

While in Liverpool in 1908 he saw a sign, “Cannibals want missionaries.” He sought out the author of the sign, a Dr. Karl Chum. Studd, now 50 felt the call to Africa. They talked together about opening Africa from the Nile to the Niger to Christian missionaries. This was the largest unevangelized region in Africa at this time. Penniless, turned down by a doctor, dropped by a committee, he persisted. God provided funds and on December 15, 1910, he left, sailing alone, leaving his wife behind. Arriving at Khartoum he had a delay of some weeks. Accompanied by Bishop Gwynedd, he set off for Southern Sudan. Joined by a third, they went by mule and foot on a 21/2 months-trek through malaria and sleeping sickness country. Of their 29 donkeys, 25 died. Back at Khartoum, Studd got a severe attack of malaria. While trekking in 1911 on the Nile they were told that beyond the southern frontier of the Sudan, in the Belgian Congo, between the Nile and Lake Chad were vast masses of people as depraved and destitute as those they had seen, who had never heard of Christ. He decided the rest of his life would be spent with this challenge.

Returning home briefly he visited Cambridge and stirred people to the depths with a challenge of the unevangelized world. He chal­lenged others to join him, set down a doctrinal statement, bought a missions headquarters, and in January 1913, was back in Africa. This time leaving his wife seemed harder. Studd simply believed “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.” Studd’s one companion was Alfred B. Buxton and they journeyed through Kenya and Uganda to the shores of Lake Albert. They had a good reception from the Belgian official and were allowed to enter the Congo. Soon they were in the very heart of Africa, after nine months of arduous traveling, living in tents. They had now reached the fringes of the great tropical forest which stretches for hundreds of miles to the south and contains, though unknown to them at the time, the biggest popula­tion of the whole of Congo. This was October 16, 1913.

Immediate work started, clearing, planting and building. A mission house went up in a few weeks. Once a poisonous snake slept with Studd all night and never bit him. Only five years previous these natives had been shooting arrows at every new arrival. Within two years the heart of Africa was surveyed, four strategic centers chosen, covering some hundreds of miles and involving about eight tribes. These included Napa (5 days south of Niagara), Poke (five days northeast of Napa), and Bambili (six days beyond Napa). Now Studd and Buxton split. Studd continued going 300 miles beyond Bambili to the Congo River, then 700 miles to the mouth, and then on to England to find more recruits. Buxton met a new party of five to open the work at Napa, plus reducing the language to writing. Buxton also had the first baptismal service at Niangara on June 19, 1915, during Studd’s absence, with 12 converts.

Studd arrived home in late 1914 to find his wife very ill, but faithfully carrying on the home-base operations. She formed prayer centers, issued monthly pamphlets by the thousands, wrote often 20 to 30 letters a day, planned and edited the first issues of a magazine. He issued the most stirring appeals that pen could write through his magazine. A farewell rally was fixed for July 14, 1916, with the actual departure July 24th. This would be Studd’s last day home in England. This would also be the third time he had to leave his wife, which does not get any easier as the years go by. He still had 15 years of ministry and was only to see his wife for two weeks during the remaining years.

A party of eight did go back with him, including his daughter Edith who was to marry Alfred Buxton. Arriving at Napa was an amazing experience for Studd. He had left a few deserted houses, now there were many Christians and a vibrant work. Then on to Niangara where the first white wedding in Africa’s heart was to be conducted. Studd settled at Napa and scattered his staff to man the other three strategic centers already named. In January, 1917, some 15 or 20 members of the native church went out to preach for three months. In April some 50 now wanted to go and preach plus they just baptized 81 more converts. By August 50 more desired baptism.

Soon a work was opened in the Ituri Province, which was to eventually surpass the work in the Welle Province where the original four stations were. Studd visited that area in June, 1918, and was amazed at what he saw. The station at Deti Hill had many Christians, large crowds and many converts. Things slowed down as the war halted new missionaries from coming and Buxton and his wife took a well deserved furlough 1919-21. In 1920 early prayer meetings seemed to be the only encouraging thing going for Studd as he was having a terrible irritation of arms and legs with many bad ulcers on his feet and ankles. However, beginning in 1919 new workers began to be sent and by 1922 the missionary population had grown from six to 40 including daughter Pauline and her husband. Buxton’s return in 1921 to Nala, freeing Studd for pioneer evangel­istic work up in the Ituri Province, was encouraging. Tribe after tribe now wanted missionaries.

In the Ituri forest, four days south of Nala, lived a big chief named Ibambi. His village was the center of a great population. In 1922 Studd moved his headquarters here. Ibambi became the name given the place. Natives came by the hundreds to be taught and baptized. Almost every day one could hear hymns of people coming from various directions. He began to go into the forest area around about. Up at Imbai (5 hours away) a house of God to seat 1,200 was built. Over to Adzangwe (3 hours away) saw 500 to 600 worshipping the Lord on Sunday. Studd’s health began to fail badly. Many urged him to go home to England, but it was as if he was in the midst of an amazing black-skinned revival, something he had already given his life for, so he felt he must stay on. Now six stations were operating in Ituri Province in addition to the first four original ones in Welle Province.

Back in England a miracle of sorts happened. The day after Studd left in 1916 his wife got off the invalid’s bed never to return. She began to live the life of a whirlwind, and the salvation of souls, plus the care of her children were the only things she lived for. She traveled in behalf of her Lord and her husband to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, and South Africa. She was considered one of the finest missionary speakers in the world. By 1921 Mrs. Studd expanded the headquarters at home. Previously in 1919 Gilbert Barclay, husband of daughter Dorothy became Over­seer of the Home Office. The mission title was changed from Heart of Africa Mission to Worldwide Evangelization Crusade.

But we must go back to Africa where the beloved “Bwana” continued to minister. A time of crisis developed, natives were saved but not really controlled by the Holy Spirit; some missionaries were rebelling against his leadership as too rigid. Studd built the work on living in native-built houses, plainest of foods, no holidays, no recreations, only complete absorption in saving the heathen. A number of missionaries resigned and two were dismissed. In 1925 some eight missionaries joined Studd in a great time of soul­searching and mighty power fell upon them, and the mission was reborn in harmony and power. The blessings spread to the remotest station. Soon the desire of his heart was to see a Spirit-filled church in the heart of Africa. Up to 2,000 would gather at such places as Imbai if they knew Studd was going to be there. He wrote nearly 200 hymns, which he accompanied on a banjo. We have already mentioned the Bangala language used in Welle Province, but in the Ituri Province the language was Kingwana, and so Studd, equal to the task was determined to translate the New Testament into this dialect. Quite a feat for a man nearing 70. He worked at it night and day, some 18 hours per session, with no meals but what he gulped down while writing. While he translated, Jack Harrison typed and at the end of the day would have to gently massage Studd before he could sit up straight again. He finished it, plus Psalms and Proverbs. His payment for this, heart attack after heart attack. In 1928 nobody thought he would live for a week, and only a Belgian Red Cross doctor’s treatment with various drugs revived him. By continuing to use morphia he could gain temporary strength to work and preach. He still had 3 more years to live. Studd had asthma, recurring malaria, dysentery, chills, pains of gallstones ever with him in varying combinations, yet he continued 8 to 18 hours per day to address, often for hours, thousands of black creatures, telling them of Jesus Christ.

In 1928 his beloved wife, whom he had not seen in twelve years, and whom he had only been with for about two years since 1910 when he left for Africa, who herself had come through so much difficulty, and who was to die one year later, visited Egypt and then paid him a visit for two weeks. Some 2,000 Christians gathered to meet her. The natives had always been told that their Bwana’s wife was at home, so busy getting white men and women to come out and tell them about Jesus, that she could not come herself. But when they saw her in person they began to understand in a way that no words could convey, the sacrifice that Studd and his wife had paid to bring salvation to them. The parting was terrible. They said good­bye to each other in his bamboo house, knowing it was the last time they would meet on earth. They went to a waiting motor car down the path from the house without another word being said. She got in with set face and eyes straight ahead in front of her and was gone. In 1929 she died while on a visit to Malaga, Spain.

Studd was soon to join her. On Sunday, July 12, 1931, Studd seemed fit, conducting a five-hour meeting at Ibambi. On Monday he asked for an injection of quinine as he felt cold and thought he had some fever- At night there was much pain which was diagnosed as gallstones. Tuesday and Wednesday his condition worsened. Thursday was his coronation day; he got so weak he could hardly talk. He did murmur “heart bad” and when asked if he was going to leave said, “very likely.” With each little breath he could spare he could only say, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” By 7 p.m. he was uncon­scious and at 10:30 p.m. he was gone. Nearly 2,000 blacks, including four chiefs, were at the funeral the next day. He was buried in a simple grave.

Go Ye into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature … England … China … America … India . . . Africa. There is little doubt he received a special, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” as he joined his wife for a well deserved vacation, something he never knew down on earth.

The main source of information for this story comes from the book, C.T. Studd, Cricketer and Pioneer by Norman C. Grubb.

– Ed Reeves, Fundamental Publishers

C.T. Studd, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. C.T. Studd is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Lester Roloff

Lester Roloff

BORN: June 28, 1914
Dawson, Texas
DIED: November 2, 1982
LIFE SPAN: 68 years, 4 months, 4 days

LESTER ROLOFF was a perfect example of a modern day prophet. In all his years of serving God he set the example for all who believe, man ought to obey God rather than men. Roloff was constantly engaged in battle against some of the forces of the state of Texas, primarily the Welfare Department – they would silence or greatly curtail his ministry if they could. The irony of it all is that he had done nothing but help change lives of countless youngsters who had nobody else to help them. It is hard to believe that the story you are now going to read could happen in America.

Roloff was born on a farm ten miles south of Dawson, Texas, to Christian parents. He was saved in a little country church called Shiloh Baptist when about twelve in a revival in July, 1926 under the ministry of John T. Taylor. High School was completed in Dawson. Reared on a farm he took his milk cow and went off to Baylor University in 1933 and milked his way through college. He graduated in 1937 with an A.B. degree.

While at Baylor he was far from idle. He started pastoring among the Southern Baptists in a succession of pastorates. First was the Prairie Grove Mills Baptist Church in Navarro County where he had 67 converted in a revival to begin things. He also preached at his hometown church at Shiloh which was located outside of Dawson. Then he preached a revival at the First Baptist Church of Purden, Texas, and had 143 additions, baptizing some 100 of them. This led to his call there while he retained the ministry at Navarro Mills. This latest venture happened his last year in college.

Roloff went on to Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth for three years, 1937 to 1940 while he maintained his ministry at Purden, going then to the First Baptist Church of Trinidad, Texas, his last year in Seminary.

He married Marie Brady on August 10, 1936 at the First Baptist Church of Galveston, Texas. They had two daughters, (Elizabeth, born June 20, 1937) and Pamela Kay, an adopted daughter.

From 1941 to 1944 he pastored the Magnolia Park Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, which had great crowds and much blessing. He was president of the local pastor’s conference during some of this time.

In 1944 he went to Corpus Christi where he remained the rest of his life. The Park Ave. Baptist Church extended a call to him where he went in March. On October 15, 1944, the church burned, and later property was purchased in another location of town and the church became known as the Second Baptist Church which he pastored from 1944 to 1951 with some 3,300 additions during this time. A branch mission church was started called the West Heights Baptist Church.

Roloff began a radio ministry on May 8, 1944 with his Family Altar Program, first broadcast over a 250-watt station locally Soon it was on more than 22 stations, approximately 65 hours a week, gradually increasing to 150 stations. Some of the broadcasts were 15 minutes in length, some one-half hour. Starting on the small KEYS station it had an interesting history. He was kicked off the radio ten months after he started; his fight against liquor being a prime reason. The next day he started to broadcast on KWBU, a 50,000-watt station where he held forth for eight years. In 1954 they decided to remove him because he was a controversial figure. Some businessmen bought the station and he was again on the air for a year. Then total programming conveniently removed him. The owners then lost $70,000 in one year. Roloff decided to try and buy the station and asked how much they wanted. The answer was $300,000 and he did not have a dime. However, with the help of God and the money of friends, $25,000 was put down as earnest money with $100,000 needed 90 days later. He had it all but $7,250 on the last day and $250 the last hour, but 45 minutes before the 2 p.m. deadline it was all there! Others of course became stockholders and owned the station, but Roloff was the vehicle used to get it (called KCIA) in the right hands.

Roloff founded the Park Avenue Christian Day School in 1946. The school operated a kindergarten and continued through upper grades. His headquarters continued at the Park Avenue Day School, located on the property of the former Park Avenue Church.

In April, 1951 he resigned as pastor of Second Baptist Church to enter full time evangelism. He founded the Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises, a non-profit organization which sponsored many projects of faith. In May, 1955 he printed his first issue of Faith Enterprise, a quarterly publication dedicated to the salvation of lost souls and strengthening believers.

In August of 1954, with convictions about being independent, founded a church in Corpus Christi which was to be called the Alameda Baptist Church. He and four others put up $2,500 on ten and four-tenths acres of ground, and it was organized with 126 members on October, 24. He pastored there until about 1961.

On March 13, 1956, Roloff stood in Waco Hall, in Waco, Texas; and spoke to more than 2,000 giving his swan song to Baylor University. He stated all the issues in no uncertain terms.


Other ministries soon developed. Roloff described at least major ministries that he was responsible for.. .

Thirty years ago, we started the Good Samaritan Rescue Mission that is still in operation. More than twenty years ago, the CITY OF REFUGE was started in an old Quonset hut given by Dr. Logan and put together by alcoholics at Lexington, Texas. The City of Refuge is now located in Culloden, Georgia, on 273 acres of an old antebellum home with lovely dormitories for men and women.

The LIGHTHOUSE houseboat was built by Brother E.A. Goodman and taken down the Intracoastal Canal in 1958. On the way down, a boy fell off and went under this boat and just missed the propeller. He was rescued by an unsaved boy who was going down to the Lighthouse for help, and one of our preacher boys, Bob Smith, who is now a missionary. This is where Bill Henderson, Ricky Banning and many others found God’s will for their lives. We have preacher boys that have come to the Lighthouse to study for the ministry in other Christian schools. I have just dealt with three eighteen year old boys in Corpus Christi within the last week who are drug addicts. The Lighthouse is located forty miles down the Intracoastal Canal from Corpus Christi and it can only be reached by plane or by boat.

The PEACEFUL VALLEY HOME for our older retired Christian friends is the prayer place. It is located near Mission and Edinburg, Texas, with many acres of citrus fruit and lovely vegetables that are grown there in the midst of a lot of nice weather. This home is just for Christians who want to retire in a lovely place and still be of service to others. It began in 1969.

The ANCHOR HOME FOR BOYS with three big two-story buildings for dormitories, a cafeteria, gymnasium, shop building and dining room, is located at Zapata, Texas. It has a capacity for nearly three hundred boys.

The BETHESDA HOME FOR GIRLS in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is for girls in trouble. It is a very beautiful home, located on Blue Lake, for both pregnant and delinquent girls. It has made many friends and received a warm welcome in Mississippi.

The REBEKAH HOME FOR GIRLS, located in Corpus Christi, Texas, is our largest home. We have had fifteen hundred girls in about seven years and the three dormitories have a capacity of about three hundred beds. It is located on 440 acres of land. This has been the most miraculous work we have ever seen and has been fought and despised by the devil. I have never seen such miracles in all of my ministry.

The REBEKAH CHRISTIAN ACADEMY is the school for the Rebekah Home. It has a beautiful two story, air conditioned building with the finest of equipment.


From 1961 to 1973 Roloff was developing these varied enterprises, and ministering as an evangelist in many churches, plus carrying on his radio ministry. He was an experienced pilot having flown about 12,000 hours in his 1966 Queen Air that a friend helped him to get, and also his 1968 Cessna Skywagon that was used for Lighthouse work which could land on the beach with people and provisions. These planes belonged to the Enterprise and had their own mechanic and radio men to maintain them and help fly them.

Roloff landed his plane at least four times on one engine, and in unusual places such as a highway. His flying lessons began in 1958.

His themes all through the years were “Christ is the Answer” and “Now the Just Shall Live by Faith.”

The last of his varied works of good will – which, by the way, make no charges for those that they help, is the Rebekah Home in Corpus Christi which has been the scene of recent controversy. This was founded in 1967 along with the Peoples Church, a place where girls in trouble can worship as they get straightened out. This school specializes in taking cases other agencies and homes refuse to take. And no wonder – Roloff got results. He ran his schools by Bible directives and naturally got Bible results – changed lives. Over $3 million dollars was tied up in the Rebekah project alone.

In September, 1970, the Gulf Coast storm, “Celia” hit but miraculously did not touch the Lighthouse, nor their home, although severe damage was most everywhere else. In 1971, their homes were filled to capacity, and they had to start turning people away. In May, 1972, the Roloffs moved into their lovely large new home on the acreage where the Rebekah Home and other buildings were already located. Another 118 acres of land was purchased. It had a runway on it for their plane, and they could farm some of the remaining acres. During the summer of 1972, workers built another big two-story building, which became the Rebekah Christian School.

At the close of 1972, they had four days of dedication for the following new items: Chapel at the Intracoastal Canal; their new home; the land adjoining the Enterprises property; a big new boys’ home at Zapata, Texas; five new units at the Peaceful Valley Home; the high two-story dormitory at the Rebekah Home; the two-story Rebekah School; and the People’s Church, which is nearly two blocks long.

The battle with the state of Texas developed ironically out of one of the most compassionate ministries done anywhere. Rebekah Home was founded as a place to help girls in trouble by giving them the answer which is Christ. A Dallas probation officer attests to the fact that the place to send young people in trouble is Roloffs work. Children rejected elsewhere are welcomed with open arms and a book could be told of the amazing changed lives. Some of the young men from the Lighthouse have married some of the girls from Rebekah Home (the bumble bees meet the honey bees).

The talk of licensing began in 1971 which threatened to shut the work down unless they conformed to rules and regulations that would have greatly increased the cost of the operation without improving on what they were doing. Roloffs legal problems began in April, 1973 when the state welfare department filed a suit in an attempt to have his Rebekah Home licensed. Had Roloff agreed to do this, he would then have had to follow welfare department guidelines, which would be totally alien to Bible principles and philosophy upon which the girls’ home was founded. Roloff had no desire to fight the welfare department or put them out of business, but simply wanted this unconstitutional interference to stop. It is government interference with religion. “Licensing a church home is as unnecessary and wrong as licensing a church” Roloff contended. At issue is the constitutional principal of separation of church and state.

If licensed, the home would be required to hire a home supervisor who holds a degree in social work and who is approved by the welfare department. That supervisor would be required to complete an additional fifteen hours of college level social studies every two years. Not only that, but the home would be required to file financial reports regularly with the state welfare department. The home would also have to hire one state-approved worker for every eight girls. The home would also be forced to serve foods from a menu prepared by the welfare department. The welfare department also objects to Bible discipline, which would have to be eliminated. One could readily see that Roloff would not be running the home he gave birth to, so naturally he chose to fight this invasion of privacy. When the welfare officials appeared, he asked them what they wanted. When they presented new rules he simply took out his Bible and told them he was satisfied with God’s rules.

On August 3, an injunction was signed in which Roloff was enjoined from operating a child care institution without a license for those under sixteen years of age. On October 5, 1973, a district judge heard the case and fined Roloff $500 and $80 court costs for contempt of court when he refused welfare guidelines. With Roloff refusing to have the home licensed the welfare department leveled charges of brutality against the home based upon the testimony of a few of the girls. This adverse publicity was wide spread. It was found that of the 1,500 girls who have spent time at Rebekah Home, fewer than a dozen could be found that would testify against it. One set of parents was found willing to testify for the welfare department. None of the 1,490 who were helped or thankful for the home or their parents were consulted.

Finally on January 31, 1974 the case went to court again in Corpus Christi and Roloff was found guilty – fined $5,400 and sentenced to five days in the county jail on contempt of court charges. The court also ordered him to “purge the home” which would mean to “dump the girls into the street.” On February 4th, he was given the opportunity to present his argument on the constitutionality of state licensing of a church operated home before the Provisions Committee of the Texas Senate. What was to have been a five minute presentation blossomed into a three-hour session when the senators began questioning Roloff on the accomplishments and problems of Rebekah Home. His jail term was limited to one day, February 12th, pending appeal to the Texas State Supreme Court, and the fine was stayed as well, pending appeal. He was released from jail on a writ of habeas corpus.

On March 24, 1974, Roloff and his attorneys appeared before the nine judges of the State Supreme Court of Texas in a hearing to determine if a discharge of the charges could be obtained. This request was made on the grounds that the judgment was ambiguous and unclear in that it does not define what age constitutes a child or children. The former policy was that individuals up to age sixteen were considered children, but a recent state attorney general’s ruling stated a person to be a child up to age eighteen. Questions were also raised in the minds of the judges as to what constituted a childcare home. Answers were unclear from the welfare department and in one instance, contradictory. The high court agreed that children sixteen or over could be cared for by Roloff and as a result overturned the contempt of court charges May 20, 1974. Roloff received the news May 29, while at Bob Jones University in Greenville, S.C., receiving an award “for those who have made special contributions to the defense of the faith.” The Austin decision of the Supreme Court, however, did not end the fight.

The welfare department had been adamant in getting the under eighteen years of age law declared as needing a welfare license. Roloff continued to help girls of any age that came to him for help. He estimated that while he couldn’t actively recruit for the younger ages, had there been no harassment, he could have handled up to 700 young people over against his approximate 200 that were now cared for.

To illustrate the problem, two girls, ages 13 and 15 ran away after two warnings for other offenses. They were told they would be spanked for the next violation. They were found four days later in a locked bar. They had spent this time with ten men and had a woeful story to tell. Roloff kept his word and spanked them. Word got out about the incident and Roloff was served a summons for child abuse. At the hearing the girls admitted the offenses and the spankings. The judge declared Roloff could keep them until the trial. Roloff refused until the judge would ask them a question as to where they would like to go – back to Roloff or to some alternate arrangement. Hugging their “daddy” with great affection they said they wanted to be with Brother Roloff.

By March 1975, the Texas Welfare Department had filed against Roloff again for contempt and for being in violation of their rules and regulations. They had built up to 200 girls at Rebekah Home, half of what they had previously when forced to close. Even more tragic is that they turned away 3,000 during this time.

A legislative bill slipped through the Texas Senate on March 13, 1975, clearly aimed, many people feel, at outlawing his homes and work. It passed through the Texas House in May 1975. In June, another court order was issued whereby Roloff would be held in further contempt if he did not allow inspection of the premises of their homes. He allowed the inspections having nothing to hide.

On July 4 and 5, 1975, a great rally was held in Garland and Dallas where hundreds of people gathered to join in the battle, with such as Jack Hyles and Bob Jones, III addressing the crowds. On July 25, shortly thereafter the Lighthouse dormitory burned to the ground. Later a young boy got saved and confessed to setting the fire.

It seems that Roloff’s case was being considered a test case by many. What happens may determine the ultimate status of many other preachers.

By January 1, 1976, the new guidelines by the welfare department become law making it illegal for unlicensed homes to take in children under the age of eighteen. In May 1976, a judges order instructed Roloff Enterprises to allow state welfare workers to inspect the homes. This time Roloff refused. On June 3rd, a great rally with some 400 people was held in Austin, preceding Roloffs court appearance to fight state licensing. Again he was put in jail on June 21. He was released June 25th just prior to his 62nd birthday. He was fined $1,750. In the fall of 1976 a final ruling was laid down giving him freedom until the Supreme Court of the United States would hear his case.

On November 1, 1977 a great freedom rally was held at the convention center in Dallas. Great crowds came including over 1,500 preachers and public sentiment again swelled for Roloff. Nearly a year later, on October 2, 1978, the Supreme Court ruled against hearing the case from Corpus Christi. Attorney General John Hill of Texas said the case was frivolous, and the justices must have believed it. Appearing on nation-wide television “60 Minutes” with Mike Wallace on October 22nd gave Roloff some national favorable coverage long overdue. Then on November 7, this same thorn-in-the-flesh Hill was defeated in his bid for governor of Texas by William Clements in a very close election. Clements had indicated he would use his powers to free Roloff from all charges. Perhaps justice would still be mete out.

Roloffs battle with Texas authorities continued through most of his life. There were times when things were calm, and times when he was in court or in jail.

On the way to a meeting he with three of his staff flew into some turbulent weather and it is conjectured a wing disengaged from his aircraft. This was the end as the plane plummeted to earth killing all of the occupants. On the day of his death it was an ironic turn of events, for his chief antagonist, Mark White was elected governor of Texas. Long time friend, Jack Hyles conducted the funeral a couple days later in a civic auditorium in Corpus Christi, Texas. The work with some modifications has carried on, but some facilities have been terminated and moved to other states.

– Ed Reeves, Fundamental Publishers

Lester Roloff, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Roloff is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Gipsy Smith

Rodney (Gipsy) Smith

BORN: March 31, 1860
Wanstead, England
DIED: August 4, 1947
Atlantic Ocean
LIFE SPAN: 87 years, 4 months, 4 days

Gipsy Smith was, perhaps, the best loved evangelist of all time. When he would give his life story, the crowds that came to hear usually overflowed the halls and auditoriums. His trips across the Atlantic Ocean were so numerous that historians seemingly disagree on the exact number.

Born in a gipsy tent six miles northeast of London, at Epping Forest, he received no education. The family made a living selling baskets, tinware and clothes pegs. His father Cornelius, and his mother, Mary (Polly) Welch, provided a home that was happy in the gipsy wagon, despite the fact that father played his violin in the pubs at this time. Young Rodney would dance and collect money for the entertainment. Yet he never drank or smoked, which may have contributed to his longevity.

Cornelius was in and out of jail for various offences, usually because he couldn’t afford to pay his fines. Here he first heard the gospel from the lips of a prison chaplain. He tried to explain to his dying wife what he heard.

Rodney was still a small lad when his mother died from smallpox. A child’s song that she had heard sung twenty years previous about Jesus came back to her, comforting her as she passed on. Her dying words were, “I believe. Be a good father to my children. I know God will take care of my children.” Rodney never forgot seeing his mother buried by lantern-light at the end of a lane in Hertfordshire. God did take care of the children as the four girls and two boys (Rodney was the fourth child) grew up under the stern eye of their father. They all went into Christian service.

Following his wife’s death, Cornelius had no power to be good. One day he met his brothers, Woodlock and Bartholomew, and found they too hungered after God. At a tavern at the Barnwell end of town, they stopped and talked to the woman innkeeper about God. She groaned that she was troubled also and ran upstairs to find a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress. Hearing this read to them, they decided this is what they wanted. Cornelius encountered a road worker who was a Christian and inquired where a gospel meeting might be found. He was invited to the Latimer Road Mission where he eagerly attended the meeting with all his children. As the people sang the words, “I do believe, I will believe that Jesus died for me,” and There is a Fountain Filled With Blood, Cornelius fell to the floor unconscious. Soon he jumped up and said, “I am converted! Children, God has made a new man of me. You have a new father!” Rodney ran out of the church thinking his father had gone crazy. The two brothers of the father were also converted, (Bartholomew, the same night). Soon the three formed an evangelistic team and went roaming over the countryside preaching and singing the gospel. Now Cornelius would walk a mile on Saturday night for a bucket of water rather than travel on Sunday! From 1873 on, “The Converted Gipsies” were used in a wonderful way with Cornelius living until age ninety-one.

Soon after their conversion, Christmas came, and the six children asked their father, “What are we going to have tomorrow?” The father sadly replied, “I do not know, my boy,” The cupboard was bare and the purse was empty. The father would no longer play the fiddle in his accustomed saloons. Falling on his knees, he prayed, then told his children, “I do not know what we will have for Christmas dinner, but we shall sing.” And sing, they did …

Then we’ll trust in the Lord, And He will provide; Yes, we’ll trust in the Lord, And he will provide.

A knock sounded on the side of the van. “It is I,” said Mr. Sykes, the town missionary. “I have come to tell you that the Lord will provide. God is good, is He not?” Then he told them that three legs of mutton and other groceries awaited them and their relatives in the town. It took a wheelbarrow to bring home the load of groceries and the grateful gypsies never knew whom God used to answer their prayers. Prayer now took on a new meaning, as the teen-ager heard father pray, “Lord, save my Rodney.”

Rodney’s conversion as a sixteen-year-old came as a result of a combination of things. The witness of his father, the hearing of Ira Sankey sing, the visit to the home of John Bunyan in Bedford all contributed. Standing at the foot of the statue of Bunyan, Smith vowed he would live for God and meet his mother in heaven. A few days later in Cambridge, he attended the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Fitzroy Street. George Warner, the preacher, gave the invitation and Rodney went forward. Somebody whispered, “Oh, it’s only a gipsy boy.” This was November 17, 1876, and he rushed home to tell his father that he had been converted. He got a Bible, English dictionary and Bible dictionary and carried them everywhere causing people to laugh. “Never you mind,” he would say, “One day I’ll be able to read them,” adding “and I’m going to preach too. God has called me to preach.” He taught himself to read and write and began to practice preaching. One Sunday he went into a turnip field and preached to the turnips. He would sing hymns to the people he met and was known as the singing gipsy boy. At seventeen, he stood on a small corner some distance from the gipsy wagon and gave a brief testimony … his first attempt at preaching.

One day at a convention at the Christian Mission (later the Salvation Army) headquarters in London, William Booth noticed the gypsies and realized that young Rodney had a promising future. He asked the young lad to preach on the spot. Smith sang a solo and gave a good testimony. Though he didn’t try to be funny, there was a touch of sunshine in his ministry. On June 25, 1877, he accepted the invitation of Booth to be an evangelist with and for the Mission. His youngest sister was converted in one of his early meetings.

For six years (1877-1882), he served on street corners and mission halls in such areas as Whitby, Sheffield, Bolton, Chatham, Hull, Derby and Hanley.

He was married on December 17, 1879 to Annie E. Pennock, one of his converts from Whitby, and their first assignment together was at Chatham. Here the crowd grew from 13 to 250 in nine months. Their first child, Albany, was born December 31, 1880. Then it was six months in Hull in 1881. Here the name “Gipsy” Smith first began to circulate. Meetings at the Ice House grew rapidly and soon 1,500 would attend an early Sunday prayer meeting. A meeting for converts drew 1,000. Then came Derby with defeats and discouragements. However, the Moody 1881 visit in London was a big encouragement. Their last move was to Hanley, in December 1881. He considered this his second home for the rest of his life. By June 1882, great crowds were coming and the work was growing. On July 31st a gold watch was given him and about $20.00 was presented to his wife by the warm-hearted folks there. Acceptance of these gifts was a breach of the rules and regulations of the Salvation Army, and for this, he was dismissed from them. The love in Hanley was returned by Smith, for when his second son was born on August 5th, he named him Alfred Hanley. His eight assignments with the Salvation Army had produced 23,000 decisions and his crowds were anywhere up to 1,500.

Now Cambridge became Gipsy Smith’s permanent home for the rest of his life. However, the urging of the people at Hanley to return as an independent preacher was strong. So he returned – ministering there for four years. Crowds reached 4,000 at the Imperial Circus building which was used for three months during this time. These were the largest crowds in the country outside of London. At one pre-service prayer meeting in 1882, the crowd of 300, including Smith, toppled to the room below as the floor collapsed under them injuring seventy people! In 1883 came his first trip abroad with a visit to Sweden and on February 1, 1884, his third child was born … a girl named Rhoda Zillah. His brief appearance on the program of the Congregational Union of England and Wales Convention swamped him with several offers. Because of this, he traveled extensively from 1886 to 1888, hampered for nine months during 1886 with a throat ailment.

On January 18, 1889, Gipsy Smith left Liverpool for his first trip to America arriving later in the month on a wet Sunday morning. He didn’t know a soul in America. He had nothing but credentials from friends back home which he used to introduce himself to some church leaders. Similar to Moody’s experience some years earlier in England, the ones who had originally invited him had either died or become indifferent. Dr. Prince of the Nostrand Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church of Brooklyn opened up his pulpit for a three week crusade with him. The 1,500 seat auditorium was jammed and between 300 and 400 people found the Lord. Following this, he traveled from Boston to San Francisco thrilling large audiences with his story and message. When he returned to England later in the year, he became assistant to F.S. Collier, of the Manchester Wesleyan Mission. Meetings were greatly used of God in a ten day campaign there. The midnight service saw people leaving theatres and bars to come in. Busy as he now was, he never grew tired of visiting gipsy encampments whenever he could on both sides of the Atlantic.

His second trip to America was in August 1891. The old James Street Methodist Church of New York, with Pastor Stephen Merrit, hosted his first meeting in September. There was a great revival. He went to Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a Methodist camp ground with a 10,000 seat auditorium. After a couple sermons here where he made many new friends, he returned to the Brooklyn church mentioned previously for a repeat crusade. Then a month long crusade was held at the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church of New York with Pastor James Roscoe Day. Many were saved. A good series followed back in Edinburg, Scotland in 1892. From this series came the Gipsy Gospel Wagon Mission, devoted to evangelistic work amongst his own people.

In 1892, he took his third trip to America, this time with his wife. He was invited to hold special “drawing room meetings” for some of the elite in one of the largest mansions on Fifth Avenue in New York City. It was not a public meeting, but personal letters were sent to various aristocratic ladies of New York, inviting them to be present. There were to be six meetings and at the first there were 175 ladies present. Facing Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, and such, he simply preached on “Repentance”. He said, “I only remembered that they were sinners needing a Savior.” He visited Ocean Grove, Lynn, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia in meetings sponsored by the Methodists. The newspaper coverage was good to Gipsy in a united campaign in Yonkers, New York. Denver, Colorado was exceedingly generous to them. From September, 1893 to January, 1894, he returned to Glasgow, Scotland for a seven week crusade in seven different churches over a five month period. The whole city was stirred.

On May 22, 1894, Gipsy Smith arrived in Australia and began a six week campaign in Adelaide. Then on to Melbourne and Sydney where he received a cable that his wife was very sick. This aborted his visit here after only three months, but 2,000 people came to his send-off. Stopping in New York, the news was that his wife was some better so he spent time at Ocean Grove and in an Indianapolis crusade. It was here that an old man felt Gipsy’s head saying, “I am trying to find your bumps, so that I can find the secret of your success.” Smith replied, “You must come down here,” and placed the man’s hand upon his heart. Home, in November, he found his wife regaining her health. In 1895 he went to London for three months and then on to Alexander MacLaren’s church in Manchester. Thorough preparation here produced 600 converts in an eight-day meeting. Then is was on to other towns, Swansee, Wales and back to Edinburgh, Scotland.

On January 1, 1896 he made his fifth trip to America and held a great campaign in the Peoples Temple in Boston. This was the city’s largest Protestant Church, with Pastor James Body Brady. Gipsy saw a sign outside the church, Gipsy Smith, the Greatest Evangelist in the World. He made them take it down. The four week crusade went seven weeks with 800 being received into the church. He then had a good campaign with Pastor Hugh Johnstone at the Metropolitan Episcopal Church of Washington, D.C. There he met President Grover Cleveland, one of the two presidents he was to meet, and also had blind 70 year old Fanny Crosby on his platform one night, singing one of her hymns. Upon his return home, he was made a special missionary of the National Free Church Council from 1897 to 1912. Staying in England for a while, his 1899 crusade at Luton had 1,100 converts and his 1900 crusade at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London had 1,200 converts. A Birmingham, England crusade resulted in 1,500 converts.

One of the high-lights of his life was his trip to South Africa in 1904 (age 44). He took his wife along. His daughter, Zillah, was the soloist. They spend six months there. He closed out in Cape Town on May 10th seeing some 3,000 come to the inquiry rooms during his crusade there. A tent meeting in Johannesburg started on June 9th in a 3,000 seat tent. He finally left in September, and it was estimated that 300,000 attended his meetings with 18,000 decisions for Christ during the whole African tour.

The 1906 crusade in Boston, Massachusetts was one of his most renown. Under the auspices of the Boston Evangelical Alliance and personal sponsorship of A.Z. Conrad, Smith conducted 50 meetings at Tremont Temple attended by 116,500 people. Decision cards totaled 2,290.

In 1908 and 1909 France was his burden. Speaking to the cream of society at the Paria Opera House, he saw 150 decisions made. In 1911 and 1912 he was back in America working with the Men and Religion Forward Movement. During World War I, he was back in France beginning in 1914 and for three and one-half years ministered under the Y.M.C.A. auspices to the English troops there, often visiting the front lines, resulting in receiving the Order of the British Empire which George VI made him a member of.

In 1922 The Nashville, Tennessee crusade seemed to achieve great heights of pulpit power. He had 6,000 Negroes out at a special service.

Once when preaching to Negroes only in Dallas, someone called out, “What colour are we going to be in heaven? Shall we be black or white?” Gipsy replied, “My dear sister, we are going to be just like Christ.”

An “amen” rang out all over the hall.

In 1924, his crusade at the Royal Albert Hall in London had 10,000 attending nightly for the eight day meeting.

In 1926 he made his second trip around the world. In Australia and New Zealand, radio greatly enlarged his ministry. In seven months he accumulated 80,000 decision cards from the large cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, etc., as well as in areas of Tasmania. His twenty-fifth trip to the U.S.A. was in 1928 with his son, Albany, who was also a preacher. They visited many churches. In Long Beach, California, he preached in a tent seating over 5,000. He also visited Toronto for the first time since 1909.

England was not responding to union crusades which Smith deemed necessary, so he was back in America in 1929. Now almost seventy, he traveled from Atlanta to Los Angeles with great power. He spoke to 10,000 people at Ocean Grove. San Antonio, Texas had 10,000 decision cards signed in three weeks. One of his greatest Crusades was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in a tobacco warehouse seating 6,000. 15,000 attended his last meeting with the total of decision cards for the whole crusade being 27,500.

A large youth crusade was conducted in London in 1931.

1934 found him at an open air meeting near the spot where his gipsy mother died. Some 3,500 heard him. A church was started there as a result, called the North Methodist Mission. In June, 1935, he had a rally at Epping Forest near the spot where he was born. 10,000 showed up to hear him talk about his life. His 1936 tour of America featured a great crusade in Elizabeth, New Jersey with 5,000 attending the last night which was the 60th anniversary of his conversion! Hundreds were saved. His favorite song, He Is Mine, was sung. Another great Texas crusade held at Dallas in the Dalentenary Fair Grounds resulted in 10,000 decisions. Gipsy Smith’s wife, Annie, died in 1937 at the age of 79 while he was in America. All of their children turned ‘out well: a minister, an evangelist, and a soloist. Harold Murray was his constant friend and biographer for thirty years and was pianist for him starting with the first World War.

Front page headlines on June 2, 1938 carried the news of the 78 year old widower marrying Mary Alice Shaw on her 27th birthday. This, of course, brought some criticism. But it was a good marriage, for she helped him in his meetings, sang, did secretarial work, and later nursed him when his health failed. He toured the United States and Canada from 1939 to 1945. In 1945 they went back to England. He preached a bit, but the country was pre-occupied with recovery from the war.

Gipsy was now very tired, and thinking the sunshine of Florida might be good for his health, they embarked again for America. Three hours out of New York, he died on the Queen Mary, stricken by a heart attack. Some say this was his 45th crossing of the Atlantic. His funeral was held August 8, 1947 in the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church of New York. A memorial with a plaque was unveiled on July 2, 1949 at Mill Plain, Epping Forest, England, his birthplace. So ends the life of one who once said, “I didn’t go through your colleges and seminaries. They wouldn’t have me … but I have been to the feet of Jesus where the only true scholarship is learned.” And learned it was, – to even compel Queen Victoria of England to write him a letter. Gipsy never wrote a sermon out for preaching purposes. Only once did he use notes when he needed some Prohibition facts.

Smith wrote several books:

As Jesus Passed By (1905),
Gipsy Smith: His Work and Life (1906),
Evangelistic Talks (1922), Real Religion (1929),
The Beauty of Jesus (1932) and The Lost Christ.

He would sing as well as he preached. Sometimes he would interrupt his sermon and burst into song. Thousands wept as he sang such songs as, Guide Me 0 Thou Great Jehovah with tears running down his cheeks, or such as This Wonderful Saviour of Mine and Jesus Revealed in Me, a song that he wrote.

Jesus Revealed in Me

Christ the Transforming Light,
Touches this heart of mine,
Piercing the darkest night,
Making His glory shine.


Oh, to reflect His grace,
Causing the world to see,
Love that will glow
Til others shall know
Jesus revealed in me.

Another song that he wrote was Not Dreaming. This was written while he was resting in a corner of a railway compartment. He was reflecting on all the wonderful events of a recent campaign and some teenagers said, “Oh, he’s only dreaming.” He soon had a song to give the world . . .

The world says I’m dreaming, but I know ’tis Jesus
Who saves me from bondage and sin’s guilty stain;
He is my Lover, my Saviour, my Master,
‘Tis He who has freed me from guilt and its pain.


Let me dream on if I am dreaming;
Let me dream on, My sins are gone;
Night turns to dawn, Love’s light is beaming,
So if I’m dreaming, Let me dream on.

Other hymns written were, Thank God for You, and Mother of Mine. C. Austin Miles wrote But This I Know, and dedicated it to Smith. B.D. Ackley composed the music for Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me, and dedicated it to Smith.

Although he was a Methodist, ministers of all denominations loved him. It is said that he never had a meeting without conversions.

– Ed Reeves, Fundamental Publishers

Gipsy Smith, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Smith is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

John R. Rice

John Richard Rice (John R. Rice)

BORN: Dec. 11, 1895
Gainesville, Texas
DIED: Dec. 29, 1980
Murfreesboro, Tenn.
LIFE SPAN: 85 years, 18 days

John R. Rice has been one of the most widely used and controversial figures in Christendom. But none can deny his accomplishments. He revived the spirit of evangelism in America in the mid 20th Century when it had almost faded from the American scene, and he certainly has to be considered one of the most prolific writers in the history of the Christendom. His weapons has been the weekly Sword of the Lord for over 40 years. The conducting of soul-winning conferences has helped ignite the fires of soul-winning and evangelism in more preacher’s bones than has any man of his time. Daring to be different, in preaching and convictions, Rice is one of the most under-rated Christian leaders of this century. In truth, he is one of the most significant men in Christian history.

He was born the son of Will and Sallie (LaPrade) Rice, the second of five children. Home was in the country outside Gainesville, Texas, where Will Rice pastored in a little building at a crossroads called Vilot Community. From early days his mother called John “her preacher boy,” which was to be remarkably fulfilled in later years. In September, 1901, when John was five, his mother died. He never forgot her plea for her children to meet her in Heaven. John attended the First Baptist Church of Gainesville. One Sunday morning the pastor, A.B. Ingram, preached on “The Prodigal Son.” John, age nine, slipped to the front of the church to make public his profession of Christ. No one showed him any Scripture, so it was three years before he got assurance of his salvation by reading John 5:24.

The same year his father moved from Gainesville to Dundee, in West Texas, where he married Dolous Bellah. There John lived with his family until he went to Decatur College.

He won his first soul to Christ at age fifteen at a revival meeting when a fourteen year old boy responded to the preaching by raising his hand. No public invitation was given, so Rice talked to him outside the building and led him to Christ.

John grew up in poverty conditions but learned how to get things from God. After finishing what high school courses were available, Rice decided to study for a teacher’s examination. Upon receiving a teacher’s certificate, he taught in a country school fifteen miles from his home, earning $220 for his four-month efforts. He felt an increasing burden to continue his schooling and broaden his education, so he began to pray much about this possibility.

In January, 1916, he packed his clothes, saddled his cowpony and started off through the rain toward Decatur (Texas) Baptist College, some 125 miles away, with about $9.35. He was able to borrow $60 from the bank in Archer City, Texas, and soon he was enrolled in school. He milked the college cows and later was asked to be one of the two waiters who served in the dining room. It was here he met Lloys McClure Cooke whom he would marry five years later.

One week after seeing the first football game in his life, he joined the college team as a regular tackle and played for the next two seasons. He was never knocked out or taken out from the moment he first began to play the game. He graduated in the spring of 1918.

Rice was then drafted into the army and sent to Camp Travis. He served in the Army for eight months where he was in the hospital with mumps and missed going overseas, so he went on guard duty, and finally was assigned to the Dental Corps. He was discharged in January, 1919, and immediately enrolled at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, from which he graduated with his A.B. degree in 1920 after only one and a half years.

He worked his way through college, getting up at 5:20 every morning to deliver mail from Waco to the University. He then milked the Baylor cows, strained the milk and put it away, until it was time to dry the dishes in the girls’ dormitory. In addition, he worked at the University bookstore and served as a janitor for a local Baptist Church. This was all besides the mission Sunday school he conducted for the same church, plus his studies, which ultimately brought him the 1914 Class Scholarship. This scholarship was presented each year to some worthy student who, by good scholarship, leadership, and character deserved honor. The tremendous pace of Dr. Rice in later years can be attributed to his learning to work early in life.

He took a teaching position in English at Wayland Baptist College at Plainview, Texas, and also coached football and basketball teams there. In the spring of 1921, he attended the University of Chicago, looking forward to a master’s degree in education and psychology.

One night he took off from his studies to attend services at the Pacific Garden Mission where Rev. Holland Oates addressed the men. He wasn’t polished but the message surely touched Rice. If God could use this man, surely a college English teacher should be able to be used also. That night he knelt beside a drunken bum and led him to Christ. His life work now seemed to be altered … no longer political and educational goals, but he was determined to pursue the souls of men!

Soon he left the University of Chicago and returned to Texas where he led singing in revival meetings throughout the state in the summer of 1921. He borrowed $100 to get married on September 27, 1921, to Lloys McClure Cooke at her father’s farmhome near Muenster, Texas.

Next, he enrolled in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas, in the fall of 1921 and stayed until the spring of 1923. During these days, he preached in jails, on street corners, and served as student pastor to rural churches in Cooke and Fannin counties. His summers were filled with revival campaigns. Upon leaving the seminary he became associate pastor of the First Baptist Church of Plainview where he stayed for a year. He then accepted the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Shamrock, Texas, where from 1924 to 1926 the church grew from 200 to 460 members.

In 1926 John Rice moved to Fort Worth, Texas to enter the field of evangelism. He became associated more and more with a great independent Baptist there, J. Frank Norris, and often supplied the pulpit in Norris’ absence. This relationship brought him enemies as well as friends. Opposition came from the Southern Baptists who insisted Rice break ties with Norris. This, plus Rice’s opposition to some of the denomination’s practices and teaching, began to close some of the Convention churches to him. However, his daily radio broadcast gave him many friends in Oklahoma and Texas.

Purchasing a tent, he held many good campaigns – beginning in the Fort Worth area. John then pitched his tent in Decatur, Texas, where his father lived. The revival lasted ten weeks resulting in many hundreds of conversions! Most of the churches had opposed his revival, so in order to care for the new converts, a tabernacle was erected and a new church began with 500 people. Then he went to Waxahachie, Texas, where he took a former livery stable and workers built seats for about 1,200. The twelve-week campaign ended with some 300 converts again organizing a new church. Then on to Sherman, Texas, where it happened again – 12 weeks of revival and a new church organized with another 300 people. Other cities experienced much of the same kind of blessing. Before this phase of his life was over, he was to build eight tabernacles with five becoming permanent churches.

In July of 1932, John Rice began an open air revival in Dallas. He had no money, no building, no organization – just God. Three weeks later, after hundreds had been saved, a group met on July 31 to organize the Fundamentalist Baptist Church of Oak Cliff. Nine hundred united with the work in a little under two years, and Rice stayed on to pastor until 1939. The membership grew to 1,700 with 8,000 professing salvation.

It was here that The Sword of the Lord was begun on September 28, 1934. The revival weekly had printed 5,000 copies its first issue and was offered for $1 per year subscription.

Norris, in Ft. Worth, and Rice, in Dallas, were proving that independent Baptist churches could thrive in the midst of strong Southern Baptist Convention country. However, 1936 brought a tragic split between them. Rice felt that Norris, one of the worlds great preachers sometimes attacked good men without justification. This he opposed, especially a forthcoming article on Sam Morris, another pastor and radio preacher. In January of that year, Rice had scheduled a campaign in Binghamton, New York. Norris did all he could do to cancel this crusade. He warned the pastor that Rice was a Holy Roller, accusing him of preaching “McPhersonism and Pentecostalism.” With many supportive letters in hand, the local pastor let the meetings proceed; they soon outgrew his Grace Baptist Church. Services moved to the Binghamton Theater seating 2,200 and several other churches joined in the revival series. From January 12 to February 23, Rice preached with some 374 public conversions recorded. The January 31st issue of Norris’s Fundamentalist described the “Rice heresy” as “one of the outstanding heresies of modern times”; whereas the February 6th issue of The Sword of the Lord had Rice urging people to forgive Norris for his charges and to support him.

A tragedy of a somewhat different nature took place on November 23, 1938, when his church in Dallas burned down. Fire was seen suddenly shooting up above the baptistry while a missionary named Skivington from South America was speaking. The church building was a total loss without one cent of insurance on the property. Starting all over again, the church recovered and on December 22, 1939, the name of the church was changed to the Galilean Baptist Church.

It was on January 19, 1940 that The Sword of the Lord announced Rice’s resignation from the pastorate to enter the field of full-time evangelism. The year 1939 had found Rice in various sections of the country – and now the fires of evangelism were burning in his bones. It was a time when city-wide campaigns and mass evangelism had all but disappeared. Bob Jones, Sr., and Mordecai Ham were finishing up great careers, but there was nobody new on the horizon, with the exception of Hyman Appelman. Rice was proud of the title “evangelist” even though the name generally was not too well thought of at that time. The Sword of the Lord was having an impact. Great soul winners of the past and their messages were featured. Such things as evangelism, preaching against sin, the public invitation, the evangelistic church, and the fullness of the Spirit were promoted. It was Rice who was leading the way into a new generation of revival and evangelism, winning thousands of souls along the way. The spring of 1940 found Rice moving his family, the paper, the office, and the bookstore from Dallas to Wheaton, Illinois. One reason for this move was his desire to get his six daughters under the influence of Wheaton College.

Praying one morning in a YMCA room on the south side of Chicago, Rice pledged himself to God to bring back mass evangelism to America. Having majored in single church campaigns, he was now getting invitations from groups of pastors to have him lead them in union campaigns. One of the first such campaigns was in Minneapolis where sixteen churches chaired by Richard Clearwaters called Rice … some 200 were saved. In March, 1944 it was Everett, Washington, with Stratton Shufelt as his regular songleader and soloist, some 300 to 400 were saved. In April, 1944, he held one of his largest campaigns in Buffalo, New York, at the Kleinhans Music Hall. Closing services saw thousands crowd in with hundreds standing or turned away. Some 115 churches participated and the number of first-time decisions was 997. Another great campaign was in Cleveland, Ohio, February 11 to March 11, 1945, with 93 cooperating churches. This campaign had some 800 first-time decisions for Christ and a closing night crowd of 3,767 jamming the Cleveland Public Music Hall. Again Shufelt was heading a fine musical program. Rice was now 49 years old. Youth for Christ and Jack Wyrtzen were a new phenomenon, and evangelism was becoming popular again. Hundreds of young men were entering the field of evangelism, many from Bob Jones University. Rice continued to do the work of two men for several years – large scale evangelism and editing and writing. In January of 1946, some 48 churches sponsored him in Pontiac, Michigan. In March, 1946, it was Miami, Florida, where 44 Baptist churches sponsored him, and in fifteen days there were 600 professions of faith at the meetings and another 400 in the public school meetings. A great Chicago crusade was held in May of 1946 with Rice speaking during the final fifteen days … the first united campaign there since Sunday’s meetings in 1918. Over 2,000 decisions were made during the series which also featured Bob Jones, Sr., and Paul Rood in the weeks preceding Rice’s ministry. In September, 1946, Rice held a campaign in Dayton, Ohio, with some 500 decisions for Christ at the meetings and 450 more at the high school services. Harry D. Clarke was now his songleader. In January, 1947, 20 churches brought him to Lima, Ohio with some 500 saved at services and schools. The Rice-Clarke team was in Marion, Ohio, in February with over 200 first-time professions of faith. In March and April, the team held a large tent campaign in San Pedro, California, with some 600 decisions for Christ. Seattle, Washington, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and other cities were also to be stirred.

The Sword of the Lord was growing by leaps and bounds as well, and soon Rice had to decide where to spend the bulk of his time, as an editor, trying to influence Christians weekly in revival emphasis, or as an evangelist in crusades across the country. Both would contribute to the winning of the lost. But after much consideration, the nod was given to The Sword of the Lord. Other evangelists on the scene could perpetuate the mass crusades that Rice and Appelman gave birth to in the early 1940’s.

With purpose never wavering in 41 years of issues, the weekly masthead continues to read, “An Independent Christian Weekly, Standing for the Verbal Inspiration of the bible, the Deity of Christ, His Blood Atonement, Salvation by Faith, New Testament Soul Winning and the Premillennial Return of Christ. Opposes Moderism, Worldliness and Formalism.” The paper averaged 7,200 copies weekly the first year – -1934. It reached 100,000 weekly in 1955; and some 200,000 in 1972; and then 300,000 in 1975 making it the largest independent religious weekly in the world. It is published with Portuguese and Spanish editions as well. There has probably never been a periodical in history that has seen so many saved, and so many Christians challenged to revival and soul-winning.

When Dr. Rice moved to Wheaton, the office work was done in his home. In 1945, a basement office was rented in the business section of Wheaton. In 1946, a large, two-story brick warehouse was purchased and remodeled. In 1952 another two-story brick building was purchased and in 1955 the First Presbyterian Church property was purchased to provide location for future building. Sword of the Lord Foundation was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1947.

John Rice’s evangelistic campaigns were replaced by periodic conferences on revival and soul-winning held at conference grounds and in strategic churches. This has continued through the years, stirring the fires of revival in thousands of Christians’ lives. In recent years, Jack Hyles has become his co-worker in this ministry. The first of these conferences were held at the Bethany Reformed Church in Chicago. In 1945 a large conference was conducted at Winona Lake, Indiana. Six evangelists agreed to work toward nationwide revival campaigns: John Rice, Bob Jones, Sr., Hyman Appelman, Jesse Hendley, Robert Wells, and Joe Henry Hankins. Repeat conferences were held in 1946 and 1947. After 1947, ironically, they were notified that they were not welcome back to the grounds housing the late Billy Sunday’s activities, (a man he was trying to follow.) Under new leadership, however, they were back in 1976. National conferences of great magnitude were held in Indianapolis in 1974, in Dallas in 1975 and Atlanta in 1976.

Rice’s book sales have been phenomenal, beginning with the tract/booklet, “What Must I do to be Saved?” written in San Antonio, Texas, during a revival campaign in the late 1920’s, and first published in The Fundamentalist, Norris’s paper. Some 15 million copies have been distributed and thousands of souls have been saved. It is in some 38 different languages. Along with Ford Porter’s famous tract, God’s Simple Plan of Salvation, and Campus Crusades God’s Four Spiritual Laws, it is one of the most effective and widely used explanations of salvation’s plan in print today. His first sermon was put into print in 1931.

Soon he was compiling his sermons into booklets and books, and writing on specific issues such as lodges, the movies, woman’s attire, prayer, the Holy Spirit, etc. In 1967 Moody Press published a list of over 10,000 books in print from 57 religious publishing companies. The one man who was responsible for the most books/ booklets published was Rice, with some 142 different titles and/or editions, more than doubling the second place entry, Harry Ironside, who had 65. The titles, too numerous to mention are widely accepted by Christians everywhere. In 1936 his first clothbound book came out entitled, The Coming Kingdom of Christ. His book, Prayer, Asking and Receiving (1942), sold 250,000 copies in these years, besides 8 foreign language editions. The Power of Pentecost is considered a classic on the Holy Spirit. His booklet, What is Wrong With the Movies? has caused thousands of people to turn away from movie attendance for more consecrated lives. The Soul Winner’s Fire, published by Moody Press, was another outstanding booklet. In 1973 the tally was 134 titles with a circulation of 47 million in over 38 different languages.

Rice stayed on in Wheaton until 1963, when he moved most of his large staff to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While in Wheaton, he founded the Calvary Baptist Church. Rice has six children, all daughters, and they all married men active in the Lord’s work. Grace was the first, born October 22, 1922. Along came Mary Lloys (June 27, 1925), Elizabeth (May 18, 1927), Jessie (January 13, 1929), Joanna (November 3, 1931), and finally Joy (September 27, 1937). Allan MacMullen, Charles Himes, Walt Handford, Don Sandberg, Wm. Carl Rice and Roger Martin, the husbands, all have made valuable contributions to the work of the Lord.

Rice has been engaged in several controversies, two of note in recent years: the Chafer book, and the policies of Billy Graham since 1957. In the 1940’s a book by Lewis S. Chafer entitled, True Evangelism, was produced by Moody Press. Feeling it to be a harmful book to the cause of evangelism, Rice protested loud and long about its continual promotion. In the 1950’s, Rice was one of the first men along with Bob Jones, Sr. to take the unpopular position of opposing the sponsorship of Billy Graham’s ecumenical crusades which began with the New York crusade of 1957. Previous to this, Rice had given Graham much encouragement by his reports of Graham’s ministry in The Sword. It has never been a personal vendetta, but a matter of following his scriptural convictions.

Almost overlooked in his ministries is the fact that he is a radio preacher and a song writer. His Voice of Revival broadcast continues on more than 30 stations across the country. On one occasion years ago, he received 17,000 letters in one week resulting from his broadcast in the Philadelphia area. His songs such as Never Lonely, Never Fearing, His Yoke is Easy, Souls Are Dying, Oh, Bring Your Loved Ones, So Little Time, Jesus is Coming, The Price of Revival, We’ll Never Say Good-bye, When Jesus Comes to Reign have been a blessing to many.

His exciting story is told in depth in Man Sent From God, authored by Robert Sumner.

One of his final projects was the editing of The Rice Reference Bible, with his notes of a lifetime.

He preached his last message in Wadsworth, Ohio. Failing health overtook him and he soon passed on to his eternal home.

– Ed Reeves – Fundamental Publishers

John R. Rice, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Rice is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

D.L. Moody

Dwight Lyman Moody

BORN: February 5, 1837
Northfield, Massachusetts
DIED: December 22, 1899
Northfield Massachusetts
LIFE SPAN: 62 years, 10 months, 17 days

Dwight Lyman Moody was the first evangelist since Whitefield to shake two continents for God.

It was on his mother’s birthday that Moody was born on a small New England farm. He was only four when his father, Edwin, a bricklayer and an alcoholic, died suddenly at 41. His mother, Betsy (Holton) was now a widow at 36 with seven children … the oldest being thirteen, and D.L. being the youngest. Twins were born one month after the death of the father bringing the total to nine. Their uncle and the local Unitarian pastor came to their aid at this time. The pastor also baptized Moody (age five) in 1842. This was undoubtedly sprinkling and his only “baptism” experience.

Six year old Moody never forgot seeing his brother Isaiah leave home. The reconciliation, years later, became an illustration in a sermon depicting God welcoming the wanderer home with outstretched arms. Moody’s education totaled seven grades in a one-room school house and during his teenage years he worked on neighboring farms.

On his seventeenth birthday (1854), Dwight Moody went to Boston to seek employment. He became a clerk in Holton’s Shoe Store, his uncle’s enterprise. One of the work requirements was attendance at the Mount Vernon Congregational Church, pastored by Edward Kirk. Church seemed boring, but a faithful Sunday School teacher encouraged him along. One Saturday, April 21,1855, the teacher, Edward Kimball, walked into the store and found Moody wrapping shoes. He said, “I want to tell you how much Christ loves you.” Moody knelt down and was converted. Later he told how he felt, “I was in a new world. The birds sang sweeter, the sun shone brighter. I’d never known such peace.” Not sure of his spiritual perception, it was a year before the church admitted him for membership!

On September 18, 1856, he arrived in Chicago where another uncle, Calvin, helped him obtain a position in a shoe store operated by the Wiswall brothers. His interest in church work continued as he joined the Plymouth Congregational Church. He rented four pews there to provide lonely boys like himself a place of worship. Then he joined the mission band of the First Methodist Church, visiting and distributing tracts at hotels and boarding houses. Here he met wealthy dry goods merchant, John V. Farwell, who later would be a great help. He also worked out of the First Baptist Church where he was later married. The prayer revival that was sweeping the nation in 1857-59 also contributed to his enthusiasm for the things of God. Discovering e little afternoon Sunday School on the corner of Chicago and Wells he offered his help. He was told there was already nearly as many teachers as students so he began recruiting. The first week he brought in eighteen students doubling the Sunday School! Soon his recruiting overflowed the place.
He withdrew to the shores of Lake Michigan in the summer of 1858 and taught children, using pieces of driftwood as chairs. He was dubbed “Crazy Moody” about this time, but respect came through the years as the title slowly changed to “Brother Moody,” “Mr. Moody,” and finally, “D.L. Moody.”

In the Fall of 1858, he started his own Sunday School in an abandoned freight car, then moved to an old vacant saloon on Michigan Street. A visiting preacher reported his favorable impressions … seeing Moody trying to light the building with a half-dozen candles and then with a candle in one hand, a Bible in the other, end a child on his knee teaching him about Jesus.

The school became so large that the former Mayor of Chicago gave him the hall over the city’s North Market for his meetings, rent free. Farwell visited the Sunday School and became the superintendent upon Moody’s insistence. The use of prizes, free pony rides and picnics along with genuine love for children soon produced the largest Sunday School in Chicago, reaching some 1,500 weekly. Moody supervised, recruited, and did the janitor work early Sunday morning, cleaning out the debris from a Saturday night dance, to get ready for the afternoon Sunday School.

It was in June, 1860, that Moody decided to abandon secular employment and go into the Lord’s work full time. He was now 23 and in only five years had built his income up to $5,000 annually and had saved $7,000. Friends believed he could have become a millionaire had he concentrated his efforts in business. Income for the first year in his Christian ventures totaled no more than $300.

This decision was prompted by the following incident. A dying Sunday School teacher had to return east because of his health and was greatly concerned about the salvation of the girls in his class. Moody rented a carriage for him end the teacher and went to each girl’s home winning them all to Christ. The next night the girls gathered together for a farewell prayer meeting to pray for their sick teacher. This so moved Moody that soul-winning seemed to be the only important thing to do from then on. He made a vow to tell some person about the Savior each day, even though it eventually meant getting up out of bed at times.

On November 25, 1860, President-elect, Abraham Lincoln visited Moody’s Sunday School and gave e few remarks.

In 1861 he became e city missionary for the YMCA.

He married Emme Charlotte Revell on August 28, 1862 when he was 25 and she nineteen. The three Moody children were Emme (October 21, 18(A), William Revell (March 25, 1869), and Paul Dwight (April 11, 1879).

With the advent of the Civil War, Moody found himself doing personal work among the soldiers. He was on battlefields on nine occasions serving with the U.S. Christian Commission. At the Battle of Murfreesboro in January, 1863, under fire, he went among the wounded and dying asking, “Are you e Christian?”

During the Civil War, he was also back at his Sunday School from time to time, where popular demand forced him to start a church. A vacant saloon was cleaned, rented end fixed up for Sunday evening services with the Sunday School continuing et North Market Hall until it burned in 1862. Then Kinzie Hall was used for a year. In 1863, when only 26, he raised $20,000 to erect the Illinois Street Church with a seating capacity of 1,500. It began February 28, 1864 with twelve members. This was the official beginning of what is now known as Moody Church. He preached Sunday evenings until a pastor, J.H. Herwood was called in 1866 end served until 1869, during which time Moody served as a deacon.

The Chicago Y.M.C.A. was moving ahead also, as Moody rose to its presidency from 1866 to 1869. He had a part in erecting the first Y.M.C.A. building in America when he supervised the erection of Farwell Hall in 1867, seating 3,000. That year he also held his first revival campaign in Philadelphia.

In 1867, primarily due to his wife’s asthma, the couple went to England. He also wanted to meet Spurgeon end Mueller. On this trip, while they sat in a public park in Dublin, Evangelist Henry Verley remarked, “The world has yet to see what God will do with end for, and through, and in, and by, the man who is fully consecrated to Him.” John Knox allegedly originated this saying that was now to burn in Moody’s soul (some historians put this Verley conversation in en 1872 trip). Moody met Henry Moorhouse also in Dublin and was promised a visit to Chicago.

Three incidents prepared Moody for his world famous evangelistic crusades. First, in February, 1868, Moorhouse came as promised, to Moody’s pulpit in Chicago. For seven nights he preached from the text, John 3:16, counselling Moody privately, “Teach what the Bible says, not your own words, and show people how much God loves them.” Moody’s preaching was much more effective after that.

A second incident was the meeting of Ira A. Sankey, while attending a Y.M.C.A. convention in Indianapolis in July of 1870. Moody was to speak at a 7 a.m. prayer meeting on e Sunday morning. Sankey was there. When Moody asked for a volunteer song, Sankey began to sing. There is a Fountain Filled with Blood. Moody’s direct approach was, “You will have to come to Chicago and help me. I’ve been looking for you for eight years!” Sankey left his post-office job in Pennsylvania and joined Moody in Chicago in early 1871.

A third incident was the Chicago fire and the ensuing filling of the Holy Spirit. On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, while preaching at Farwell Hall, which was now being used because of the increased crowds, Moody asked his congregation to evaluate their relationships to Christ and return next week to make their decisions for Him. That crowd never regathered. While Sankey was singing a closing song, the din of fire trucks and church bells scattered them forever for Chicago was on fire. The Y.M.C.A. building, church, and parsonage were all to be lost in the next 24 hours. The church was reopened on December 24, 1871, and it was now called the North Side Tabernacle, located on Ontario and Wells St., close to the former building. There was no regular pastor at this church in its brief history 1871-1876.

While out east raising funds for the rebuilding of this church, he describes a life changing experience he had upon locking himself in a room of a friend’s house:… “one day, in the city of New York, Oh what a day! I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it, it’s almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God was revealed to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand …”

In 1872, he returned briefly to England where he accepted an invitation to the Arundel Square Congregational Church in London. The evening service ended with nearly the entire congregation in the inquiry room. He continued on for ten days with some 400 people saved. It was learned that an invalid had been praying for two years for him to come to the church!

Three English men invited him back the following year. With their families, Moody and Sankey left June 7, 1873. Little did they know that they were going to shake England as Whitefield and Wesley had 125 years previously. Two of the sponsors had died by the time they arrived and they were fortunate to get an invitation to conduct some meetings at the York Y.M.C.A. Five weeks of meetings saw 250 won to Christ. F.B. Meyer was the principal supporter. Then they traveled on to Sunderland for five weeks with Arthur A. Rees, the host. Next came Newcastle where the meetings were gigantic with special trains bringing people in from surrounding areas. Here a novel all-day meeting was held and their first hymn book was introduced to the public.

Now being invited to Scotland, the evangelists began in Edinburgh on November 23. For hundreds of years, only Psalms had been sung here with no musical instruments. Now Sankey began “singing the Gospel” and crowds packed out the 2,000 seat auditorium. By the time the last service was over on January 20th, Moody was receiving requests from all over the British Isles. They spent two weeks in Dundee and then began the Glasgow, Scotland crusade on February 8, 1874. These meetings soon moved into the
4,000 seat Crystal Palace and after three months climaxed with a service at the famed Botanic Gardens Palace. Moody was unable to even enter the building surrounded by 15,000 to 30,000 people, so he spoke to them from a carriage and the choir sang from the roof of a nearby shed! Later the team returned to Edinburgh for a May 24 meeting held on the slopes of “Arthur’s Seat” with a crowd of 20,000. An estimated 3,500 converts were won in each of these two places.

Now Ireland was calling, so they began at Belfast on September 6, 1874. People flocked to hear them and the largest buildings of each city were used. A great climactic service was held in the Botanic Gardens on October 8, in the open air with thousands attending. One final service was held October 15 with admission by ticket only. Tickets were given only to those who wanted to be saved. 2,400 came. Next it was Dublin (October 26-November 29), where even the Irish Catholics were glad at the awakening amongst their Protestant neighbors. The Exhibition Hall seating 10,000 was filled night after night with an estimated 3,000 won to Christ.

Back in England on November 29, the Manchester crusade was held at the Free Trade Hall. No hall was large enough! As many as 15,000 were trying to gain admission for a single service. Next came Sheffield for two weeks beginning on December 31st, then Birmingham with untold blessing. The January 17-29, 1875 crusade noonday prayer meetings drew 3,000. Bingley Hall seated only 11,000 but crowds of 15,000 came nightly. Liverpool was next, where the 8,000 seat Victoria Hall was used from February 7 to March 7.
Finally, it was the London Crusade climaxing the tour. It was a four month encounter from March 9 to July 11. Five weeks of preaching began in the Agricultural Hall in the northern part of the city. Then he moved to the east side in the 9,000 seat Bow Road Hall for four weeks. Next came the west side in The Royal Haymarket Opera House. Often, during this time, Moody would hold a 7:30 meeting with the poor on the east side, and then shuttle over for a 9 p.m. service with the fashionable. Then on the south side of London he spoke for several weeks in the Victoria Theatre until a special tabernacle seating 8,000 was constructed on Camberwell Green where he finished this crusade. A total of two and one half million people attended! The awakening became world news and it was estimated that 5,000 came to Christ. A final preaching service was held in Liverpool on August 3rd before sailing for America. He arrived home August 14 and hurried to Northfield to conduct a revival. His mother, many friends and relatives were saved there. Invitations for city-wide crusades were coming from many places in America now.

His first city-wide crusade in America was in Brooklyn beginning October 31, 1875, at the Clermont Ave. Rink, seating 7,000. Only non-church members could get admission tickets as 12,000 to 20,000 crowds were turned away. Over 2,000 converts resulted.

Next came Philadelphia starting on November 21 with nightly crowds of 12,000. The Philadelphia crusade was held at the unused Pennsylvania freight depot which John Wanamaker had purchased. It was located at Tenth and Market. His ushers were very well trained, capable of seating 1,000 people per minute, and vacating the premises of some 13,000 in 4 minutes if needed. The doors were opened 1’/2 hours early and in 10 minutes the 12,000 seats would be taken. On January 19, 1876 President Grant and some of his cabinet attended. Total attendance was 1,050,000 with 4,000 decisions for Christ.

Next it was the New York crusade running from February 7 to April 19, 1876. The meetings were held in the Great Roman Hippodrome on Madison Avenue, where the Madison Square Gardens now stands. Two large halls gave a combined seating attendance of 15,000. Moody had just turned 39 for this crusade. Some 6,000 decisions came as a result of his ten-week crusade. Three to five services a day were held with crowds up to 60,000 daily.

Back in Chicago, his beloved church was expanding. Property had been purchased on Chicago Ave. and LaSalle. Thousands of children contributed five cents each for a brick in the new building. The basement, roofed over, served as a meeting place for two years, then in 1876 the building was completed and opened on June 1, 1876, and formally dedicated on July 16 with Moody preaching. It was now called the Chicago Ave. Church, and W.J. Erdman was called as pastor.

The Chicago crusade started October 1, 1876 in a 10,000 seat tabernacle, closing out on January 16, 1877. The sixteen week crusade was held with estimates being from 2,500 to 10,000 converts. Moody never kept records of numbers of decisions, hence reports vary. The meetings were held in a temporary tabernacle erected on Farwell’s companies property, located at Monroe and Franklin, which was converted to a wholesale store after the crusade.

The Boston crusade was held January 28 to May 1, 1877 in a tabernacle seating 6,000. 1877-78 saw many smaller towns in the New England states being reached. 1878-79 saw Baltimore reached in 270 preaching engagements covering seven months. In 1879-80, it was six months in St. Louis where a notorious prisoner, Valentine Burke, was saved among others. In 1880-81 it was the Pacific coast, primarily San Francisco.

Moody went back to England in September 1881, returning home for the summer of 1882. He returned for an important student crusade at Cambridge University in the fall of 1882, then back to America, and returned the following fall for a crusade in London from November 4, 1883 to January 19, 1884, where some two million heard him in various auditoriums. Wilfred Grenfell was among those saved and young C.T. Studd was also won indirectly.

From 1884 on, his crusades were smaller and limited to October to April. He spent his summer months in Northfield, Massachusetts for study, rest, family and development of his schools.

From 1884-1886 he was in many of the smaller cities of the nation, remaining about three days in each place. In 1888-1889 he was on the Pacific coast from Vancouver to San Diego. In 1890 he held his second crusade in New York, in November and December.

A last trip was taken in 1891-92 to England, Scotland (99 towns), France, Rome and Palestine, where he preached on the Mount of Olives on Easter Sunday morning. On his trip home to America, he endured a shipwreck, a dark hour of his life, but God spared him.

Peter Bilhorn who substituted for Sankey in the 1892 Buffalo, New York crusade tells his amazement of Moody’s personal work, observing him lead the driver of a carriage to the Lord in the midst of a violent rainstorm.

In 1893 he had the “opportunity of the century.” The World’s Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) was to be held in Chicago from May 7 to October 31. He had a burden to saturate Chicago with the gospel during this time. Using many means and meetings in different languages, including 125 various Sunday services, thousands were saved. 1,933,210 signed the guest register of the Bible School.

In 1895 he had a large crusade in Atlanta. That same year a roof collapsed on a crowd of 4,000 at Ft. Worth, Texas. Fortunately, there were no deaths.
In 1897 he conducted another large Chicago crusade, packing out a 6,000 seat auditorium.

His church which was renamed Moody Church in 1901 continued to progress with the following pastors: Erdman (1876-78), Charles M. Morton (1878-79), George C. Needham (1879-81), no regular pastor (1881-85), Charles F. Goss (1885-90), Charles A. Blanchard (1891-93), and Reuben A. Torrey who began as pastor in 1894.
His interest in schools left him a lasting ministry. The forming of the Northfield Seminary (now Northfield School for Girls) in 1879, and the Mount Hermon Massachusetts School for Boys (1881) was the beginning. The Chicago Evangelization Society (later Moody Bible Institute) was opened with the first structure completed on September 26, 1889 with R.A. Torrey in charge. The school was an outgrowth of the 1887 Chicago Crusade.

In 1880 he started the famous Northfield Bible Conferences which continued until 1902, bringing some of the best speakers from both continents to the pulpit there. The world’s first student conference was held in 1885 and the Student Volunteer Movement started two years later as a natural outgrowth.

In 1898 Moody was chairman of the evangelistic department of the Army and Navy Christian Commission of the Y.M.C.A. during the Spanish-American War.

He started his last crusade in Kansas City in November, 1899. On November 16, he preached his last sermon on Excuses (Luke 14:1624) and hundreds were won to Christ that night. He was very ill afterward, the illness thought to be fatty degeneration of the heart. Arriving home in Northfield November 19 for rest, he climbed the stairs to his bedroom never to leave it again. He died about seven a.m. December 22, with a note of victory. He is reported to have said such things as the following. “I see earth receding; heaven is approaching (or opening). God is calling me. This is my triumph. This is my coronation day. It is glorious. God is calling and I must go. Mama, you have been a good wife … no pain … no valley … it’s bliss.”

The funeral was on December 26 with C.I. Scofield, local Congregational pastor in charge. Memorial services were held in many leading cities in America and Great Britain. Moody left to the world several books, although he never wrote a book himself. His Gospel sermons, Bible characters, devotional and doctrinal studies were all compiled from his spoken word, those after 1893 by A.P. Fitt. However he read every article and book before they were published. His innumerable converts were estimated by some as high as 1,000,000.

R.A. Torrey, one of his closest friends, writes his conclusions in his famous Why God Used D.L. Moody: (1) fully surrendered, (2) man of prayer, (3) student of the Word of God, (4) humble man, (5) freedom from love of money, (6) consuming passion for the lost, (7) definite endument with power from on high.

Perhaps the world HAS seen what one man totally consecrated to God can do.

– Ed Reeves – Fundamental Publishers

D. L. Moody, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Smith is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

BORN: February 12, 1809
Hodgenville, Kentucky
DIED: April 15, 1865
Washington, D.C.

Sixteenth president of the United States, 1861-1865. Abraham Lincoln was one of the world’s truly great men. The American Union was preserved under his leadership. Lincoln expressed the deepest beliefs of the American People and, though primarily self-educated he created some of the finest examples of American literature. As president, he never lost touch with the common people who knew him as “Honest Abe” and “Father Abraham.”

Like many other Americans of his time, he was born in a one room log cabin, 16’x18′. The logs were chinked with clay and light came dimly through the single window. There was a dirt floor with a cornhusk stuffed mattress on top of a bed constructed of poles. He grew up in a farming family facing the hard times of frontier life. In the spring of 1811, the family moved to a farm on Knob Creek, ten miles northeast of Sinking Spring, Kentucky. This was the first home Abe would remember and he loved it. He learned to plant, hoe, husk corn, build hearth fires, carry water and chop wood. When he was six years old, his sister Sarah and he would tramp some two miles each way to a log schoolhouse where he learned reading, writing and arithmetic. Even in dusty or snowy weather, Abe would practice his writing using charcoal on the back of a shovel. At the age of seven, his family moved to present-day Spencer County, Indiana where his mother (Nancy Hanks) died early in the winter two years later. Abe’s father (Big Tom Lincoln), made her rough-hewn coffin which was held together by wooden pegs, hand-carved by little nine-year-old Abe. As she was buried in a shallow winter grave, Abe remembered her words: “I would rather Abe be able to read the Bible than to own a farm if he cannot have but one.”

Tom was an uneducated farmer descended from an English Quaker family who came to America only seventeen years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. His grandfather, also named Abraham, emigrated from Virginia to Kentucky, with his wife and five small children in about 1780. He was shot and killed by an Indian six years later. His son Tom, a wandering laboring-boy, grew up without an education. Somehow he learned enough carpentry to become competent in this trade. He was a sober, hard-working man, that was respected by his neighbors.

In 1816, Tom Lincoln settled with his young family in Indiana where they lived for about 15 years. Tom chose Indiana since slavery wasn’t practiced there. It was grueling work, covering 160 acres of virgin forest into workable farmland. They shared this primitive region with bears and other wild animals. That first winter, they lived in a make-shift cabin of three sides, a roof, and a continuous fire on the fourth side. Abraham was very young, but large for his age and strong enough to handle an ax. All winter, in fact as long as he lived in Indiana, he was seldom without his ax. Together they built a comfortable cabin for the family.

In the autumn of 1818, milk cows in the Valley of Pigeon Creek, Southern Indiana, were affected by a disease caused by eating poisonous plants. The result was an epidemic of “milk sickness” which spread over the countryside. Pretty Nancy Hanks Lincoln soon had the disease which had already fatally taken two other members of the family. On her death-bed, she called Abe and Sarah to her, touching them and admonishing Abe to care for his sister and be good to his father.

It was a terribly lonely time for the struggling family. Abraham’s sister, then twelve years old, kept house as best she could. Not only did Tom have his own children to care for, but also their three orphaned cousins; Dennis Hanks, plus Squire and Levi Hall. One day it became even more lonely as Tom left them with a promise to return as soon as he could. His destination was Elizabethtown, Kentucky to look up Sarah Bush Johnson, who he knew was also now a widow. He had proposed marriage to her many years previously, but she had chosen someone else. He found her willing to come and grateful that he would pay off her debts. Dennis explained it this way: “Tom didn’t drink or cuss none, so she married him.” They borrowed a team of horses, loaded a wagon with her belongings, including her three children, and hurried back to Pigeon Creek.

When the wagon rolled into their farmyard, the children ran out to greet the wonderful woman who became at once a loving mother to all. “Here’s your new mammy,” Tom announced, as Abe looked up into the strong, large-boned, rosy, kind face with steady, loving eyes. When she held him against her skirt it seemed like a heavenly gift, but when she traded his old cornhusk mattress for a soft featherbed, he knew God had indeed sent a miracle. There was never any partiality or resentment toward Tom’s kids. She accepted her stepchildren, as well as their cousins, as if they had been blood brothers and sisters to her own Matilda 9, Elizabeth 13, and John 5. Although she tried not to show any favoritism Sarah quickly took a special liking to Abe. She always made him “feel like a human being.” Tom was immediately inspired to greater potential by Sarah, who encouraged him to provide for them all. He put in windows and flooring for their one room cabin and she in turn kept both the cabin and the children spotless.

Sarah’s industrious personality was further enhanced by her ringing Christian testimony. Although Tom was a good man and attended church, it was Sarah who saw to it that the family Bible was always at hand. Family devotions were a part of every day and included Bible reading; Scripture memorization; morning and evening prayers; and a hymn or two in between. As a member of the Pigeon Creek (Hard Shell) Baptist Church, she was an exemplary Christian. The only contradiction was that she kept her hair curled. This was considered by some to be a frivolous, worldly act – but she smiled, kept it curled and maintained her testimony.

The nearest school was nine miles away, so Sarah talked her husband Tom into allowing Abe to study at home. A few years later a neighbor, Mr. Crawford, opened a school in his log cabin which Abe gratefully attended. Tom didn’t see any need for education. Sarah recognized Abe’s exceptional intelligence and determined to further his education in any way she could. Abe read every book that crossed his path – often borrowing from others in the community. When he came across a passage noteworthy, he would write it down on boards if he had no paper. He also used a board and charcoal to do his arithmetic before the big fireplace. Abe read the Bible until he knew much of it by heart. Other favorite books were “Aesop’s Fables,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and biographies of George Washington, Henry Clay and Benjamin Franklin.

Later, Lincoln described his education this way: “There were some schools, so called, but no qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond readin’, writin’, and cipherin’ to the rule of three. If a straggler supposin’ to understand Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizard … when I came of age I didn’t know much, but I could read, write and cipher to the rule of three, but that was all.”

Long before Abraham came of age, he reached his full height of six feet, four inches. He was thin and awkward, big-boned and strong. His face was homely, his skin dark, and his hair was black, coarse and often standing on end. Everyone, however, seemed to like him. Even as a boy, Lincoln showed ability as a speaker. He would often amuse himself and others by standing on a stump and imitating some preacher or politician who had recently spoken in the neighborhood.

At age 19, Abe got his first contact with the outside world by taking a flatboat of cargo down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. From sunrise to sunset Abe and the boat owner’s son pulled on the long oars of the flatboat that measured 40 feet from bow to stern. The two brawny young men even had to fight off robbers as they guided their valuable cargo into port. They lived on board, cooking and sleeping in a rickety lean-to on deck. In New Orleans Abe got his first deep impression of slavery. He saw his first auction of slaves in May of 1831. Slavery was lawful south of the Ohio River. “If I ever get a chance to hit that institution, I will hit it hard,” he said.

Although he was free to strike out for himself, he spent his 21st year helping his father build a new log house in Illinois. Abe took down the trees, formed the logs for the cabin, and split the fence rails. From this experience he gained the moniker “Rail-Splitter” that stayed with him the rest of his life.

In 1830, the Lincolns, the Hanks, the Halls, and the Johnsons … thirteen in all, moved from their crowded Indiana farm home to Illinois where they settled in a cabin ten miles south of Decatur.

Soon Lincoln was on his own, but he never forgot his step-mother. A man of few words, Lincoln once explained his success thusly: “All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to may angel mother.” In further illustration of his devotion to her, the following narrative is included. “Even in the limelight, Lincoln never neglected his stepmother. Late in the evening of January 30, 1861_ , several persons had gathered at the depot of the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad in Charleston, Illinois to greet him, three months after being elected president of the United States. He had come 120 miles from Springfield, eluding office seekers and politicians who were dogging his every step, for a very special visit. He came on an evening freight train, so the few passengers there were stepped from the caboose several hundred feet down the tracks. Presently the President-elect was seen picking his way through mud and slush in a faded felt hat and a coat several inches too short for one of his great height. His battered bag, tied with an ordinary string, would not have impressed anyone, but Lincoln hadn’t come to impress anyone . . . he had come to tell his stepmother good-bye before leaving for the White House.”

At age 21, Abe moved to New Salem, Illinois where he stayed for six years. There he clerked in a store, served as postmaster and deputy to the county surveyor. When things were especially tight, he could always work as a farm laborer or salesman. In 1831, he was defeated for a seat in the Illinois State Legislature.

At the time of the Black Hawk Indian War in 1832, he was elected captain of a company of riflemen from the New Salem region. He really enjoyed that. In all, he served ninety days. During that time he saw no fighting, but, as he later said, he “made frequent attacks upon the wild onions and had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes.” In 1834, while he was campaigning for legislature, he began to study law. He overcame his doubts about his education. Perhaps he reasoned that if he could teach himself the fundamentals as a boy, and learn enough on his own to be a surveyor, he could learn law as well. He had to borrow the books, often walking to and from Springfield for this purpose. He tackled his legal studies with great vigor. While he was still in New Salem, a strong attachment developed between Lincoln and an attractive, intelligent girl of the village named Ann Ruthledge. The romance ended in 1835, when she died. For years Abe regularly visited the grave, seven miles outside of New Salem, Illinois.

Four times Lincoln was elected to the Illinois State Legislature as a representative of the Whig Political Party. He soon became a prominent political figure. He was witty, ready in debate, and so skillful in party management that he became the Whig floor leader at the beginning of his second term. In 1842 he declined further nomination. Meanwhile, in 1836, he had been admitted to the bar and began to practice law in Springfield (1837). During his leadership in the Whigs, he led a successful campaign to move the “Illinois State Capitol” from Vandalia to Springfield, where he lived and frequently lifted his voice in opposition to slavery.

It was in Springfield, a few months after his arrival that he and several other lawyers attended a camp meeting on the outskirts of town. Peter Akers, preached that night on “The Dominion of Jesus Christ.” In essence, his sermon said that the “dominion of Christ” could not come to America until slavery was abolished. The preacher further explained that it would take a civil war to destroy the evil institution of slavery. Lincoln was moved and said the next morning, “I shall be involved in that tragedy.”

On November 4, 1842, Abe married Mary Todd, a dark-eyed, lively Kentucky girl. They lived at a Springfield boarding house where they paid four dollars a week for their room and board. Eighteen months later, Lincoln bought the plain, but comfortable farm house that was to be the family home until he became President. By that time, his first son, Robert Todd was 9 months old. The second son, Edward Baker, was born March 10, 1846, but died four years later after a 52 day illness. The third son, William Wallace, born December 21, 1850, died in the White House at the age of twelve. Thomas “Tad” Lincoln was born April 4, 1853 and died in 1871 at the age of 18. Thus only one of the four children reached adulthood. The family lived humbly but comfortably. The portrayal of Lincoln as a poverty-stricken failure, is an inaccuracy. It is true that he often took care of his own horse and milked the family cow, but so did most of his neighbors. His marriage was often unhappy and turbulent, in part because of his wife’s pronounced instability. Her emotional sensitivity was certainly heightened by the loss of her three children.

In 1843, Lincoln was defeated for a U.S. Congressional Seat. In 1846, however, he defeated the Methodist circuit-riding preacher, Peter Cartwright for a seat in the National House of Representatives. In serving as a Whig representative from Illinois (1847-49) he was a strong voice denouncing the Mexican/American War. He was defeated for re-election to the U.S. Congress in 1848. Returning to private law practice, Lincoln became recognized as the leading member of the Illinois bar. The issue of slavery continued to trouble his conscience. He strongly opposed Stephen A. Douglas in 1854 on the question of slavery spreading to free territories. In 1855 he was defeated for the U.S. Senate and in 1856 he was defeated for the U.S. Vice Presidential nomination.

Abraham Lincoln became one of the founders of the Republican Party whose formation in 1856, was necessary to create a political vehicle that clearly opposed slavery. As the Republican candidate for U.S. Senator in 1858, he held a series of joint anti-slavery discussions throughout Illinois with the Democratic candidate, Stephen Douglas. These debates attracted the attention of the country. Although Lincoln carried the popular vote, he lost the senate election by just a few votes.

Two years later, Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination. On November 6, 1860 he was elected president by a strong vote on the third ballot. It was a clear victory since the Democratic party was split by north and south. Lincoln received 180 electoral votes, John C. Brekenridge (Southern Democrats) 72, John Bell (Constitutional Union Party) 39, and Stephen A. Douglas (Northern Democrats) 12.

Inauguration day came on March 4, 1861. In his inaugural address, Lincoln argued the futility of secession, declaring the union perpetual. Several states had already seceded over the slavery issue and a few weeks later, The American Civil War was declared. Hostilities began with an attack by the Secessionists of South Carolina on the Federal troops at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. The fort surrendered on the 13th. On the 15th, Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to meet in Springfield, Illinois. The control of events passed from the cabinet of bureaucrats to the camp of soldiers. In a fever of excitement, far more volunteers than the government could equip responded. As Commander-in-Chief, Lincoln had to select officers capable of organizing green volunteers into armies. He also had to maintain strong popular support. After the first enthusiasm wore off, different opinions arose. Many Northerners were willing to fight to preserve the Union, but not to destroy slavery. Others wanted to put the destruction of slavery as the key fighting point. Since slavery was protected by the Constitution in states where it already existed, Lincoln faced an enormous political challenge. He needed to preserve the Union and in the process defeat the South so that slavery was no longer a government recognized institution. Time after time in public statements he declared that the purpose of the war was the restoration of the Union . . . by this course the border states remained during the first critical months of the war.

The Lincoln’s considered their “home” church in Washington to be the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Dr. Phineas Densmore Gurley, a Princeton Theological Seminary graduate of 1840, responded to a call from the “F” Street Presbyterian Church in 1850. Nine years later this church united with the Second Presbyterian Church to form the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, where Dr. Gurley became Lincoln’s pastor in 1861. The last four years of his life, Lincoln heard Gurley preach the central doctrines of the cross. No phrase fell more frequently from his lips than “Christ and Him crucified.”

Lincoln expressed his appreciation for the Gospel message he received at this church: “I get enough politics during the week. When I go to Church I like to hear the Gospel.” Mrs. Lincoln joined the church. As was the custom at that time, she reviewed a chart of the church seats, selected a pew eight rows from the front on the center aisle and rented it for the then current rate of $50.00 per year. The pew today is marked by a silver plaque and is closed with a silver cord.

The death of their little son, William, in 1862, deeply affected the President and Mrs. Lincoln. After the funeral service, Lincoln presented the pastor with his son’s bank with coins saved for Sunday School missions. From this time on Lincoln leaned even more heavily on spiritual strength.

Noting his increased interest in spiritual things, a lady of the congregation approached Dr. Gurley with, “Why don’t you get Mr. Lincoln to unite with our church?” “We’ll be glad to have Mr. Lincoln when he is ready to join,” replied the pastor. Then he added, “Mr. Lincoln believes enough to join our church, but he doesn’t seem to think he does.”

There are two stories about his conversion: One takes place in Springfield, Illinois in May of 1839 Lincoln (age 30), heard a sermon by a Methodist pastor, James F. Jacquess on “Ye Must Be Born Again.” The preacher related, that following the sermon Lincoln visited him, consulted and prayed with him about his soul’s salvation: “I have seen hundreds brought to Christ,” this pastor said, “and if ever a person was converted, Abe Lincoln was converted that night in my house.”

The other salvation experience seems to be more reliable and plausible. When Lincoln was age 53, his twelve year old son, Willie, died in the White House. In his hour of great grief, Willie’s nurse shared with Lincoln her personal relationship to Christ and encouraged him to know the Savior. Some time later he told a friend he found peace, saying, “When I left Springfield, I asked the people to pray for me, I was not a Christian. When I buried by son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg, and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.” In the days that followed, Lincoln worshipped regularly at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, not only on Sunday, but at the Wednesday evening prayer service as well.

By late summer of 1862, it was clear to Lincoln that the time had come for a change in his policy toward slavery. He issued a preliminary warning September 22, 1862, declaring that effective January 1, all slaves would be freed in the rebelling states or where practiced in parts of bordering states. On January 1, 1863 he issued the famous, world-changing “Emancipation Proclamation.” This soon led to the writing of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution by which slavery in all parts of the Nation was ended.

Another especially moving experience was the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Lincoln proclaimed a day of thanksgiving for the victory. That same day, he went to church and heard Dr. Gurley preach on “Man’s Projects and God’s Results.” His Gettysburg Address of November 19, 1863, was a high point in the record of American eloquence.

In 1864, Lincoln was unanimously nominated for a second term. He received an overwhelming majority in the election; 212 electoral votes to 21 for George B. McClellan, the Democratic party candidate. He began his second term of office March 4, 1865. His second inaugural speech was a classic that reads like a sermon, with two complete verses of Scripture and fourteen references to God. A month later he entered Richmond, Virginia with the Federal Army, only two days after the flight of the Confederate Government. Five weeks after Lincoln’s second inaugural address, General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. The tragic American Civil War was over on April 9, 1865.

Photographs of Lincoln taken at this time show the effect that four years of war had upon him. His face was gaunt and deeply lined. His eyes were ringed with black. He had slept little, eaten irregularly and found almost no relaxation . . . he was terribly weary. Nevertheless, he continued to see the widows and soldiers who called daily at the White House and when he could to help them in their troubles.

President Lincoln was occupied with plans for the Reconstruction of the South when he was shot at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. while watching a play entitled, “Our American Cousin.” A shot rang through the crowded house. John Wilkes Booth, one of the best known actors of the day, had shot the President in the head from the back of the Presidential Box. Leaping to the stage, Booth caught his spur in the folds of the American flag. He fell, broke his leg, limped across the stage brandishing a dagger, and crying “Sic semper tyrannis” (Thus ever to tyrants, the motto of Virginia). Lincoln died the next day, April 15, 1865, at 7:22 a.m.., bringing the nation and the world into mourning and sorrow. The timing of his death, just 8 days after the end of the Civil War, seemed to indicate that his life’s work was finished.

According to Dr. Gurley, Lincoln’s pastor, Lincoln had made all the necessary arrangements to make a public confession of faith in Christ on Easter Sunday, 1865, sadly, the assassin’s bullet ended his life before the events could transpire. Although he had long believed in Jesus Christ as his Saviour, Lincoln had some doubts on a few minor points of the Westminster Confession of Faith, a requirement for Presbyterian Church membership. When the pastor pointed out that as e laymen he didn’t have to subscribe to every article as long as he believed the essential parts, Lincoln had decided to unite with the church.

Lincoln was both one of the most loved end most hated men in American politics. Reflection has made him “The Greet Emancipator”, “Champion of Freedom” end “Hero of American history.”

His love for the Bible was boundless. He reed it end referred to it in his speeches. He wrote to e friend, “Take all of this Book upon reason that you can, and the balance on faith, end you will live and die e better men.” He also wrote, “I decided e long time ago that it was less difficult to believe that the Bible was what it claimed to be then to disbelieve it. It is a good Book for us to obey.” He was adamant in his faith, praying often and exhorting others to prey.

Undoubtedly, when Lincoln came to Washington, he was unsettled in his beliefs. From this period came many statements such as “I could join any church that teaches love to God end neighbor”, which were often quoted to prove he didn’t understand the Gospel’s plan of salvation. Uttered early in his residence et Washington, such sayings do not give time for his faith to grow end do not indicate his final beliefs.

Ultimately, Lincoln end Gurley became close friends. Occasionally, the President and his pastor used to cell together on the sick in Washington hospitals. When war clouds loomed menacingly, Lincoln would send for Gurley, even in the middle of the night, to come to the White House end pray. More then once Lincoln expressed his faith in Christ as God end Saviour to his friend. They had e special arrangement between them permitting the President to attend e prayer meeting at the church, unnoticed and unhampered. Whenever he could, one Wednesday night, the President would unobtrusively slip into the Pastor’s study from e seldom-used outside door and sit unnoticed in the dark, hearing the entire service clearly through doors slightly ajar. No reference was ever made to Lincoln’s presence in the adjoining room. Today, that room is celled the Lincoln Memorial Room. Lincoln’s blossoming friendship with Gurley was demonstrated in many ways including the delivery of e fat turkey for Thanksgiving the year before he died . . . end after he died, Mrs. Lincoln sent Gurley the hat worn by him, for the first end only time, et his Second Inauguration with the words, “While its intrinsic value is trifling, you will prize it for the associations that cluster around it.”

Dr. Gurley was with Lincoln et the end. At 10 o’clock in the evening on Good Friday, a White House carriage came to the pastor’s door with e message from Mrs. Lincoln, asking him to come immediately to her husband’s side. Not until then did he learn of the tragedy. All night long Pastor Gurley remained at Lincoln’s bedside until his death the following morning.

As President, Lincoln had sometimes been bitterly criticized. After his death, even his enemies praised his kindly spirit and unselfishness. To the millions that had felt e personal kinship to him – the image of e “Father Abraham” – his death mirrored the loss of e beloved parent. Thousands wept as the funeral train made its lonely journey from Washington to Springfield where he was buried on May 5, 1865 et The Oak Ridge Cemetery.

To all Americans, end to the people of many other nations, Abraham Lincoln has become a beloved symbol of union end democracy. Ed Reeves – Fundamental Publishers

Please view the Credits under “Biographies”  for Fundamental Publishers

Abraham Lincoln, as a Bible believing Christian, knew that his place in Heaven was secured by repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood He shed for our sins when He died on the cross of Calvary. Brother Smith is with the Lord Jesus Christ right now, but do you know, with 100% assurance, from God’s Word, that you will be with Jesus when you die?

If you do not have this assurance, please read:

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

These things have I written unto you
that believe on the name of the Son of God;
that ye may know that ye have eternal life,
and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1John 5:13

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