(except the Obadiah Holmes tract which is used by permission)
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The following tracts are great for display in churches and in Christian bookstores.The devoted lives of these servants of God serve as an inspiration to Christians of all ages.Most of this information can also be found in our book The Christian’s Guide to Church History.
Obadiah Holmes, 1606-1682
Born in 1606, in Reddish, Lancashire County, England, Obadiah was the son of Robert and Catherine Johnson Holmes.In 1638, Holmes came to New England, settling first in Salem, and later in Rehobeth, Massachusetts.
While in Rehobeth, Holmes attained the status of freeman, which gave him voice and vote as a citizen.It was also in Rehobeth that Holmes attained freedom in his soul.After his conversion, Holmes united with the Baptists and moved to Rhode Island in search of religious liberty.He became a member of John Clarke’s church, the first Baptist church in America.
In 1651, Holmes accompanies John Clarke and John Crandall to Lynn, Massachusetts to worship in the home of William Witter.This trip would yield one of the greatest contributions to religious liberty in American History!
On July 20, 1651, while Clarke preached, the three were arrested and charged with “Seducing and drawing aside others after their erroneous judgment and practices.”Of Holmes, it was said, “You affirmed that you never did re-baptize any, yet did acknowledge that you did baptize such as were baptized before, and thereby did necessarily deny the baptism that was before administered to be baptism, the churches to be no churches, and also other ordinances, and ministers, as if all were a nullity; and did also deny the lawfulness of baptizing infants.”
They were fined, and if the fines were not paid they were to be well whipped.Holmes viewed payment of the fine as an admission of guilt and chose instead to suffer for conscience sake.On September 5, 1651, Holmes was led to the post in Boston, and there with his blood, he sealed what he believed.He was given thirty lashes with a three-corded whip, the executioner using all his strength.Holmes said:
“As the man began to lay the strokes upon my back, I said to the people, though my flesh should fail, yet God will not fail: so it pleased the Lord to come in, and fill my heart and tongue as a vessel full, and with audible voice I break forth, praying the Lord not to lay this sin to their charge, and telling the people I found He did not fail me, and therefore now I should trust Him forever who failed me not: for in truth, as the strokes fell upon me, I had such a spiritual manifestation of God’s presence as I never had before, and the outward pain was so removed from me that I could well bear it, yea, in a manner felt it not, although it was grievous.”
When he was released from the post, he said to the magistrates, “Ye have beaten me as with roses.”John Hazel and John Spur assisted Holmes after the beating.Both men were arrested and fined for their act of sympathy.
Obadiah Holmes was the second pastor of the BaptistChurch in Newport.He and his wife, Catherine Hyde, were blessed with ten children.Their posterity includes Abraham Lincoln and the “Browns of Providence Plantations.”He died October 15, 1682.
“For this is thankworthy, if a man suffer for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”I Peter 2:19
Peter Cartwright was one of the pioneer evangelists of the 1800's, working in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.He was a rather rough and crude character who became well known for his ability to handle troublemakers.
After living in sin for a few years, he was saved at Cane Ridge, Kentucky, during an outdoor Presbyterian revival meeting.His mother was a Methodist, so he joined a Methodist church and immediately began serving God.
Rather than attend Bible college, Cartwright just read his Bible, prayed, and started winning people to Christ.He eventually became known as the “Backwoods Preacher.”In 1802, at sixteen years of age, he was licensed to be an exhorter in the Methodist Episcopal Church.The family moved to LewistonCounty in 1802, and Peter soon became a regular Methodist circuit rider.
Due to his habit of baptizing his converts by sprinkling, the Baptists refused him, so he remained a Methodist.Still, God used him to turn many souls to Christ.
He married Frances Gaines in 1808, and they went on to have nine children.
Cartwright moved up in the MethodistChurch and gained much admiration, but he continued to travel his circuits and preach the Gospel.Souls were saved nearly everywhere he traveled, and the membership of the circuit churches grew greatly.
One weekend while traveling home through the churchless Cumberland Mountains, Cartwright spent the night at a home where a party and dance were to be held.As the party got underway, a pretty young lady asked him to dance.He then took her hand, stepped out onto the floor, and stated that he would never do anything of importance without first asking God’s blessings upon it.Still holding her hand tightly, he dropped to his knees and began to pray.The fiddler ran to the kitchen, others ran out the door, while others joined in prayer.When the whole thing was over, about fifteen people were saved, and Cartwright organized a church for them.
He moved his family from Kentucky to Illinois in 1824, but lost a daughter in the process when a rotten tree fell and took her life.Once in Illinois, he remained there for the rest of his life.He served as presiding elder for forty-five years, and attended sixteen annual meetings of the Illinois Conference.He also continued to travel various circuits.
Cartwright beat Abraham Lincoln in a race for a seat in the Illinois legislature in 1833, and he was elected for a second term as well.Lincoln later defeated him in a run for Congress (1846).Lincoln actually attended a Cartwright meeting once, but refused to stand and respond to the invitation.When Cartwright asked him where he wanted to go (meaning Heaven or Hell), Lincoln replied, “To Congress.”
By the time of his death in 1872, Peter Cartwright had fifty grandchildren, thirty-six great grandchildren, and seven great great grandchildren.He had traveled eleven circuits, and covered twelve districts.He had “baptized” 12,000 people, and he preached over 14,000 sermons and 500 funerals.Cartwright lived to be eighty-seven years of age and died on September 25, 1872, in Pleasant Plains, Illinois.
Fanny Crosby, 1820-1915
The greatest hymn writer in history is, by far, a dear blind lady named Frances Jane Crosby.While only six weeks old, she lost her vision when an unqualified “doctor” prescribed hot mustard seed to cure a cold in her eyes.Then her father, John, died before she was a year old.
Fanny’s mother worked for a living, so her grandmother had the greatest influence on her life.She would spend hours on end telling Fanny about God’s beautiful creation, and she introduced her to the Bible.As a child, Fanny memorized some whole books of the Bible, many whole chapters and numerous scripture portions.
At age fifteen, Fanny’s prayers were answered when her mother was able to send her to The Institute for the Blind in New York.She would spend twenty-three years here, twelve as a student and eleven as a teacher.
She began producing poetry, and she published her first poem when she was eleven.Her poetry made her very wellknown and her personality made her very well liked.She knew all the Presidents of her lifetime except George Washington.Fanny published The Blind Girl and Other Poems when she was twenty-four, and she also wrote several popular songs.At age twenty-seven she became an instructor at the school.
Fanny married Alexander Van Alstyne in 1858 when she was thirty-seven and had a very happy marriage with him.Their one and only child died while still an infant.
Having a special appreciation for music and poetry, Alexander assisted and encouraged Fanny greatly in her work.He also taught at the school.
Her true conversion to Christ did not come until 1851, when she was thirty-one years of age.She had spent years writing and speaking well of the Saviour, but her clear understanding of salvation by grace didn’t come until she attended a revival service at an old time Methodist church in New York.While the church sang, “Alas! And did my Saviour bleed . . .” Fanny trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as her Saviour.
In 1864, Fanny finally met William Bradbury, a well-known composer who convinced her to try writing hymns.Once she began, she couldn’t stop.Her first famous hymn was Pass MeNot in 1868.Then came Safe In The Arms Of Jesus the same year.Then followed a flood of Christ-honoring hymns: Rescue The Perishing (1869), Blessed Assurance (1873), All The Way My Saviour Leads Me (1874), Close To Thee (1874), Saved By Grace (1891), Redeemer (1882), Jesus is Calling (1883), He Hideth My Soul (1890), and scores of others.Ira Sankey and D.L. Moody made her hymns a regular part of their meetings, which introduced her work to hundreds of thousands of Christians.
Fanny also wrote more poetry:Monterey And Other Poems (1849), A Wreath of Columbia’s Flowers (1859), Bells at Evening and Other Poems (1898), and Memories of Eighty Years (1907).
Alexander died in 1902, and Fanny died on February 12th, 1915, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.The church choir sang her own songs at her funeral, and her gravestone at Bridgeport reads “She hath done what she could!”
Bob Jones, Sr., 1883-1968
Robert Reynolds Jones was born into a farm family inShipperville, Alabama on October 30, 1883.His father was William Alexander Jones and his mother was Georgia (Cree) Jones.Bob was the eleventh of twelve children.
The Jones family was a strong Christian family, so Bob was exposed to the gospel early in life.At the age of six he began to be concerned about his soul, and he was born again at the age of eleven.
He began preaching immediately, and was even appointed Sunday School Superintendent at a Methodist church when he was only twelve.Early on, people took note of his great speaking skills.At thirteen, he had started his own church, and within a year it had fifty four members.He was licensed and ordained at fifteen, and he had a circuit of five churches at sixteen. God blessed his preaching and many were converted to Christ.
After high school, Bob attended college at Southern University in Greensboro, Alabama. During this time he had some life-threatening health problems, including “tuberculosis of the throat,” but God was gracious and healed him.
He married Bernice Sheffield in 1905, but lost her to tuberculosis within ten months.In 1908, he married Mary Gaston Stollenwerck, a lady who had been converted in one of his meetings.Bob and Mary only had one child, Bob Jones, Jr., born in 1911.
By 1915, Jones was holding large meetings throughout the country with several thousand people attending and hundreds being saved.Saloons and movie theaters were often run out of business.
In 1916, twelve churches sponsored a six week crusade in Gloversville, New York.175,000 people attended with over 1,700 making decisions for Christ.A Zanesville, Ohio, crusade the same year ran around 266,000 in attendance and over 3,200 signed convert cards.
Bob’s favorite meeting came in 1921 when he preached to 5,000 grown men and saw 2,000 decisions made.His message was titled “Sin of Men.”These successful crusades continued right on through the thirties and forties with many souls coming to Christ.
With a strong burden to provide Christians with a good Bible-based education, Bob founded BobJonesUniversity in 1927.The original site of the school was about seven miles from Panama City, Florida, on St. AndrewsBay.The school was later moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, in 1933, and then finally to Greenville, South Carolina, in 1947.Bob Jones University was (and still is) a clean place for young people to get an education, but the school has never taken a firm stand for the authority of the King James Bible or the pre-millennial second coming of Christ.Today, several thousand students attend the school.
Bob Jones continued to hold crusades at home and abroad, traveling some 40,000 miles annually and bringing hundreds of thousands to Christ.
He died in the BJU hospital on January 16th, 1968.His last words were, “Mary Gaston, get my shoes; I must go to preach.”
Adoniram Judson, 1788-1850
Adoniram Judson was one of the most devoted missionaries to ever live.Born in Malden, Massachusetts, he was the son of Adoniram and Abigail Judson.He was a very bright child, learning to read by age three and learning Greek by age twelve.He attended BrownUniversity in Providence, Rhode Island, and won many high honors while there.He graduated college in 1807.
His father was pastor of a Congregational church in Plymouth, but young Adoniram pursued a career in writing for the stage.One night while staying at an inn he slept in a room next to a suffering and dying man.He heard moans, gasps, and people moving about through the night and got very little sleep.The next morning he was stunned to learn that a lost college friend had died.He went back home and soon decided to enter the ministry.In May of 1809 he made a public profession of faith in his father’s church.
He studied for the ministry at Andover Theological Seminary and soon became very interested in foreign missions.
Adoniram married Ann Hassestine in February of 1812, and he was ordained the next day along with some fellow preachers from college who also were seeking an open door to the mission field.
During a trip to India, Judson and his friends decided to become Baptists, which cut off all support from the Congregational churches.They returned to America and by 1814 they had the support they needed from Baptist churches.
The doors to India were found to be closed, so Judson took a ship to Rangoon, Burma.Ann became ill and nearly died during the voyage, and their first child did die shortly after being born on the ship.Upon reaching Burma, they found the place to be very filthy and idolatrous.The emperor would not tolerate any religious teaching, but Judson slowly won his favor with his medical knowledge.He also worked on a New Testament translation for the Burmese people, and Ann started a school for children and women.
After a while Judson started preaching publicly.He held the first formal service in the native tongue on April 4, 1819.Two months later he had his first convert.Within two years, he had eighteen.
During this two year period, the Judson’s lost another son, Roger, who had lived only seven months after birth.Adoniram also fell sick and lay in bed for months.In 1821 Ann’s health problems forced her to return to America for two years.She returned in 1823.
Upon leaving the work in Rangoon in the hands of some new missionaries, the Judson’s headed for Ava to start a mission at the request of the emperor.However, about this time the tides were turning.Due to hostilities with Great Britain, all white people began to be looked upon with great suspicion.The Judson’s were about to endure some of the most gruesome persecutions one can imagine.
On June 8th, 1824, Adoniram Judson was arrested and dragged into prison.He spent nine months bound in fetters while suffering from severe heat, fever and hunger.His devoted wife Ann would often bribe the jailer and bring him food.After a three week absence, she came one day with their third child in her arms.He was greatly encouraged and wrote twenty-four stanzas of poetry in her honor.Ann also became admired by many other English prisoners for her efforts to relieve their suffering.
Ann and the little girl then fell sick and nearly died, and probably would have if not for the help of a kind Burmese woman.Due to Ann’s continuing appeals, Adoniram was finally released from prison in November of 1825.
Shortly afterwards they moved to Amherst to set up new headquarters.In 1826, at only thirty six years of age, Ann fell sick of a fever and died.Adoniram buried her under a hopia tree in Amherst, and he buried his little girl next to her three months later.
With a dead wife and three dead babies, Judson took courage and pressed on for God.He moved to Maulmain in 1827, and in 1830 he began preaching to the Karens, a wild race of jungle people.He led Ko Tha Byu to the Lord in 1828, a man who had been a slave, a thief, and a murderer.Byu became a fiery evangelist to the natives.
Adoniram married Sarah Boardman, the widow of another missionary,in 1834.They would have eight children over the next eleven years, but three would die very young.
Adoniram completed an Old Testament revision in 1834 and also saw over a thousand people come to Christ.His New Testament revision came in 1837.His second wife died in 1845.
Judson took a furlough to America and married Emily Chubbock in 1846.They returned to Burma a month later and continued the mission work until his death on a voyage in 1850.She died in 1854.
Only three decades after his death there were some 7,000 professing Christians in Burma, over sixty churches, a publishing house, dozens of preachers, and several schools.
Martin Luther, 1483-1546
Martin Luther was born into a peasant family on November 10th, 1483, in Eisleban, Germany.His father was a copper miner who later became a rather wealthy man.With the kind help of some friends, Martin was able to acquire a good education, receiving his Master of Arts degree by 1505.
In 1505, upon the tragic death of a friend, Martin decided to enter the Catholic priesthood.In 1507, he was ordained a priest.
He began a vigorous study of Scripture and became a Doctor of Theology in 1512.All this time he wrestled with his own salvation.The Book of Romans echoed “the just shall live by faith” while he continued to perform all the pagan practices of the priesthood, growing more and more skeptical of the Roman church all the time.
By 1517, Luther had all he could take.Like Jeremiah of old, the word of God was burning in him like a fire, and he couldn’t keep quiet any longer.On October 31, 1517, Luther posted his famous thesis on the church door at Wittenberg.This thesis listed ninety-five points of disagreement with Rome.He continued to perform the functions of the priesthood and to teach.The pope and his men tried to silence Luther, but to no avail.Luther stood his ground and involved himself in a number of debates and correspondences.He refused to go to Rome, but rather testified of his faith in Germany.
His “Treatise on Good Works” was published in 1520, as well as some anti-Catholic works titled “Sermon on the Mass,”“On the Papacy at Rome, “ and his“Address to the German Nobility.”In October of 1520, Martin Luther published “The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,” which decreased the church sacraments to two, rather than seven.
He continued with this forceful protest of Rome and was summoned to the Diet of Worms in January of 1521.Here he was branded a “heretic” and forbidden to preach.The Edict of Worms went on to ban his writings in May of 1521.
He finally returned to Wittenberg in March of 1522 and kept writing.The Reformation was gaining so much momentum that Rome couldn’t stop it.Luther’s German New Testament was published in September of 1522, and an army of other writings and hymns followed.
On June 13th, 1525, at forty-one years of age, Luther married Katrina Von Bora, who was twenty-six.They had six children between 1526 and 1534.Luther’s greatest work came in 1534 when he published the entire Bible in German.
He died on February 18th, 1546.It has been said that more books have been written about Martin Luther than any other man in history except the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dwight L. Moody, 1837-1899
D.L. Moody was born on a small New England farm on February 5, 1837.When he was only four, his father died an alcoholic at forty-one years of age, leaving his mother of thirty-six to raise nine children.
He attended grade school for seven years in a one room schoolhouse and then went to work on a farm.He never attended college.
D. L. Moody received Christ as his Saviour on April 21, 1855, while working in a shoe store in Boston.He immediately became faithful in church work with a growing interest for the ministry.
He moved to Chicago in 1856 and worked with churches until starting his own Sunday school in the fall of 1858.The Sunday school, which began in a boxcar, grew to over 1500 in less than two years.
Moody married Emma Charlotte Revel in 1862, and he fathered three children by 1879.
He started the IllinoisStreetChurch with twelve members in 1864.He preached Sunday services at this church until another pastor was called in 1869.From 1866 till 1869, Moody also served as president of the YMCA, and in 1867 he held his first big revival campaign in Philadelphia.
Dwight met Ira Sanky, the man who became his famous song leader, in July of 1870, and he convinced him to come help in the ministry in Chicago.
A major turning point in Moody’s ministry was the great Chicago fire of 1871.He dismissed services one night, asking his congregation to examine their hearts and return the next Sunday to make a decision for Christ.They never re-gathered again.Many died in the fire, the church building burned, and Moody was devastated.
During this time Moody grew closer to God than ever.He began preaching in England and in the British Isles in 1872 and continued until 1875.Thousands came to Christ through the preaching and singing of Moody and Sanky.
He returned to America in 1875 and began crusades in the states with an occasional trip back to England.He started the Northfield Seminary in 1879, the Mount Hermon Massachusetts School for Boys in 1881, and the Chicago Evangelization Society (now Moody Bible Institute) in 1889.Some estimates show that Moody was instrumental in bringing over 1,000,000 souls to Christ.
D.L. Moody went home to be with the Lord on December 22nd, 1899, and C.I. Scofield preached his funeral.
George Mueller, 1805-1898
If one had to choose a single life in church history to illustrate living by faith, he couldn’t make a wiser choice than to choose George Mueller.He raised over $7,000,000 in his life by going to God for his needs.
Mueller was born in Prussia (Germany) in the year 1805.His father was a tax collector who had more concern for George’s financial future than his spiritual well-being.His mother died while he was only fourteen.At his father’s wishes, he began studying to be a Lutheran minister (for the money), although he had not been converted to Christ.He lived in sin until he was twenty years of age.It was at a Saturday night prayer meeting with a friend that George Mueller saw his real need for Jesus Christ.He was saved shortly afterwards.
He began supporting himself and financing his own education.His first sermon was preached on August 27h, 1826, and he completed his education at HalleUniversity in 1828.
In early 1829, he went to London in hopes of becoming a missionary to the Jews, but he soon changed his plans and settled in Devonshire.While at Devonshire, Mueller attended a small chapel and his spiritual life was greatly helped.He returned to London in 1829.
He began holding Bible studies and prayer meetings with friends and occasionally preaching at various chapels in Devonshire.In 1830, he began pastoring a group of eighteen people at the Ebenezer Chapel at Teignmouth in Devonshire.This same year he met and married Mary Groves.
Shortly after their marriage, the Muellers decided that they were going to depend on God for everything, without letting others know of their circumstances and needs.They would simply reveal their needs to God in private prayer and trust Him for deliverance.
In May of 1832, the Muellers moved to work in Bristol with his good friend Henry Craik.In 1834, George founded The Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad, an evangelistic work which also would include his Orphan House. His son, Elijah, died from pneumonia in 1835 and George himself became ill and had to slow down his pace.At this time he wrote The Narrative of the Lord’s Dealing with George Mueller.
In April of 1836, Mueller opened his first orphanage with twenty-six girls between seven and twelve years old.A second house was opened in November to care for children under seven.A third one was opened a year later (1837) to care for boys over seven.Another one for girls was opened in 1844.
Time and time again God would move miraculously to supply the needs of the orphanages.Food would show up on the front door steps. The milk man would give away his milk after his cart broke down right in front of the orphanage.The baker would wake up in the middle of the night feeling that he should bake extra bread for the orphanage.Those affiliated with George Mueller began to see first hand that God answers prayer.
In late 1845 Mueller began praying for funds to build a large orphanage with better facilities and a better location.Two and a half years later he had prayed in some $60,000 for the work.The first building was opened in June of 1848, housing 300 children.He began praying for a second such building in 1850, and, in November of 1857, a second building was opened which housed 400 children.The cost was $126,000.By 1874, Mueller had five orphanages housing over 2,000 children.He had prayed in over $650,000 for building expenses alone.
Mueller’s wife died in 1870.He married Susannah Grace Sangar in November of 1871.Then between 1875 and 1892, he turned the work over to his son-in-law, James Write, while he made sixteen preaching trips around the world.In this seventeen year period, Mueller and his wife traveled some 200,000 miles, in forty-two countries, preaching to 3,000,000 people.
In all, over the years, Mueller was responsible for housing over 10,000 orphans, leading 3,000 to Christ himself.He read the Bible through over 200 times, about half of which were on his knees.He also stated that he knew of some 50,000 specific answers to prayer.
Susannah died in 1894, while Mueller was eighty-nine.Then Mueller died on March 10, 1898.
Lester Roloff, 1914-1982
One of the most Spirit-filled men of the twentieth century was Lester Roloff, a man of deep conviction who lived to help others in the name of his Saviour.
He was born into a Christian home in Dawson, Texas, in the year 1914.He was saved in a Baptist revival meeting at age twelve, and, after high school, he took his milk cow and milked his way through BaylorUniversity, graduating in 1937 with an A.B. degree.
While yet in college, Roloff began pastoring small Southern Baptist churches, and God gave him much fruit.From 1937 until 1940, while still serving as pastor in Purden, Texas, he attended Southern Seminary in Fort Worth.
Lester Roloff married Marie Brady in August of 1936.They had two daughters: Elizabeth (1937) and Pamela, who was adopted.
Roloff pastored from 1941 until 1944 in Houston, and then he went to Corpus Christi, Texas, to pastor Park AvenueBaptistChurch.The church building burned the same year, but a new building was built at a new location under the name SecondBaptistChurch.Roloff pastored there until 1951.
He began a radio ministry in 1944 and called it The Family Altar Program.Due to his hard preaching against sin, especially liquor, the station (KEYS) canceled his program.He went to another station (KWBU) and stayed on air for eight years.This station finally decided that he was too controversial, so they canceled him as well (1954).The following year KWBU lost so much money that Roloff convinced them to sell him the station.They wanted $300,000.He raised a required $125,000 down payment in ninety days and bought the station.
He also founded Park AvenueChristianDay School, in 1946, on the property of the former church.
In April of 1951, Roloff resigned as pastor of his church to enter full time evangelism and to establish Roloff Evangelistic Enterprises.
He started an independent Baptist church in Corpus Christi in 1954.AlamedaBaptistChurch was organized with 126 members on October 24, 1954.He pastored there until 1961 when he began running various new ministries.
From 1961 until 1973, Lester Roloff established a number of help ministries, such as girl’s homes, boy’s homes, a Christian school, and even a retirement home for Christians.He helped thousands of troubled young people by teaching them to trust the Lord Jesus Christ with their lives.By the early seventies, all the homes were full and people were having to be turned away.Lester Roloff had earned an outstanding reputation for repairing damaged lives, and young people were coming from everywhere.
The time had come for Satan to rear his ugly head.The state of Texas warned Roloff in 1971 that he ran the risk of being shut down if he didn’t acquire a state license and follow their regulations.He refused to get a license for his homes on the grounds of church and state separation and on the grounds that the state regulations were unscriptural.
In October of 1973, he was fined $500 plus court costs for operating a child care facility without a license.In January of 1974, he was taken to court again, for not having a license, and he was fined $5,400, sentenced to five days in jail, and ordered to “purge the home,” which basically meant to turn the girls into the streets.He was granted an opportunity to present his case on February 4th to the Provision Committee of the Texas Senate, and then the case went to the Texas Supreme Court.Roloff’s primary arguments were that the state had not clearly defined the age limit of a “child,” so it was wrong to charge him with illegally caring for “children.”The contempt charges against him were dismissed on May 20, 1974.
In the spring of 1975, the state came calling again with their regulations, and they demanded that Roloff allow them to inspect the homes.He consented, and the homes were inspected.In July, a large support rally was held in Garland and Dallas with hundreds of Christians expressing their support.
January of 1976 brought in new state guidelines forbidding Roloff to take in anyone under the age of eighteen without a license.A judge ordered Roloff to allow welfare workers to inspect the homes in May, but he refused.Another big support rally was held in Austin about this time, preceding his court appearance.He was jailed for five days and fined $1,750.Another ruling came in the fall, granting him freedom until his case could be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Another big rally was held in Dallas on November 1, 1977, when thousands of Christians (including over 1,500 preachers) came in support of Roloff.
In October of 1978, the Supreme Court ruled against hearing the case after Texas Attorney General John Hill said the case was frivolous.Roloff’s October 22nd appearance on TV’s “60 Minutes” turned out to be favorable.Then, on November 7th, John Hill was defeated by William Clements in the Texas governor’s race.Clements had indicated that he would use his power to free Roloff of all charges, but the battle would continue for the remainder of Roloff’s life.
Brother Roloff’s battle ended on November 2d, 1982, when he and three staff members were killed in a plane crash on the way to a meeting.
The Roloff ministries continue today with some modifications and some relocations.
Peter S. Ruckman, 1921-
Peter Sturges Ruckman was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 19th, 1921 (only four months after C.I. Scofield died).His father, John Hamilton Ruckman, wasa third generation Army officer with a Master’s degree from MIT in Boston.His mother, Mary Warner Armstrong Ruckman, was from a wealthy family in Pasadena, California.At this time, he had one older brother named Johnny.While Peter was still a baby, the family settled in Topeka, Kansas.
The Ruckmans were Episcopalians, so Peter was twenty-seven years old before he received a clear presentation of the Gospel.As a boy, he came through the Great Depression reading books, drawing cartoon characters, going to the movies, running with “the gang,” and being a first rate “daredevil.”
After high school, Peter went through the Citizens Military Training Camp at the demands of his father and then entered college in Kansas.While in ROTC, he transferred to the University of Alabama to finish his junior and senior years.Hard sinful living continued to be his “norm” no matter where he went.
With World War II being well under way, Peter figured he would be shipped over seas and killed in battle before long, yet he continued his education, changing his major to Radio Arts.
He secretly married Janie Bess Mays in March of 1944, whom he had met and dated while at the University of Alabama.She was a clean girl with a praying Christian mother, while Peter was a wicked fornicator looking for “convenience.”Their first child was born in June of 1945.
He served Uncle Sam in Japan and in the Philippines, but never engaged in combat.He had six years of infantry training, but he never had the chance to fire a shot.He didn’t know it at the time, but God had another war for him to fight.
After the war, he came back to Alabama and went to work as a disc jockey.He did quite well in radio, but he was growing more and more miserable on the inside.He had “lived” more in twenty-seven years than most people do in seventy, and he was just worn out and miserable.He even contemplated suicide.
One night after a few beers in a Pensacola cafe, Peter heard an inner voice telling him “YOU NEED TO GET A BIBLE.”The voice wouldn’t go away, so he stole a King James Bible at a nearby boarding house.He went home and randomly opened the Book to Ezekiel chapter twenty-eight.Verses two and three hit him “like a jackhammer,” and verses six through ten compelled him to throw the Book across the room.He then picked the Book up and read Deuteronomy 28:20-24.Across the room it went once again, and Peter went out and “got drunk.”This continued for a few weeks (in early 1949) until he decided to visit a Catholic priest and was encouraged to take convert courses and “join the church.”
None of this gave him any peace.Then one Sunday night in mid March he entered a Methodist church building during a Sunday night service to find Christ.He heard some singing in the building, but the auditorium was empty.He went to the empty alter and prayed for about a half hour.Knowing not what to pray, he just poured his heart out to God and went home in tears.The next morning God sent Hugh Pyle to lead him to Christ in the radio station where he worked.
He dropped his Catholic convert courses and started attending BrentBaptistChurch in Pensacola, where Hugh Pyle was pastor.His wife, Janie, attended church with him, but was never really impressed with his conversion or with church.
In September of the same year, Peter enrolled at BobJonesUniversity to get his Radio Arts degree in a clean Christian environment, but it wasn’t long before he changed his major and studied for the ministry instead.His GI bill paid for the schooling, but he still had to struggle to support his family while living in a plywood trailer with no bathroom or hot water.
During his years at BJU, he read his Bible through about once per month and butted heads more than once with the “scholars” in the Bible department.He sat under the fine preaching of Bob Jones Sr., and he learned Greek and Hebrew.He began preaching on the street, leading souls to Christ, and even holding weekend meetings and doing chalk talk sermons.He was ordained in a Southern Baptist church in 1950.
After earning his Masters and his Doctorate from BobJonesUniversity, Peter spent several years as an evangelist, and he saw hundreds of souls saved and many young men called to preach.However, as he labored for the Lord, his family life suffered and his marriage grew weaker.
By 1959, Peter and Janie had five children: Diana (1945), David (1950), Priscilla (1952), John Michael (1956),and Peter S. Jr. (1959).
He began pastoring BrentBaptistChurch in 1962, and his wife left him and took all five children the same year.Within a couple of years he was granted custody of all the children.So, through the sixties, a single Peter S. Ruckman raised five children, pastored a church, held regular Bible conferences, wrote books, and started a Bible institute.
Brother Ruckman quickly became a well known advocate of the King James Bible.Pensacola Bible Institute was founded in 1964 for the purpose of teaching the Bible and training men to preach.A heavy emphasis was placed upon the local church, street preaching, and foreign missions.Those who read his books or attended his school were labeled“Ruckmanites” by people who knew very little about the man or the school.
He remarried in 1972 (to Sherry Rueben), and one third of his church opposed the marriage.Rather than stay and “fight it out,” he chose to resign.He founded BibleBaptistChurch in 1974.
Through the seventies and eighties, Peter continued to write books, hold Bible conferences, pastor the church, and produce dozens of Bible-believing pastors, teachers, and missionaries through the school.
Then, in 1988, his second wife left him.This marriage, like the first, had lasted sixteen years.In his autobiography, he describes the second marriage as a time of reaping what he sowed during the first marriage.In the first marriage, he did the taking and the wife done the giving; in the second marriage, just the opposite.
After much prayer and searching, he married Pamela Irene Huggins.Many of the brethren said he was “finished,” but God went right on blessing the ministry more than ever.
At the writing of this tract (early 2000), Brother Ruckman is seventy-eight years of age with a world-wide book and tape ministry, a monthly newsletter, regular Bible conferences, summer camp meetings, and over two hundred students enrolled at PBI.
His best literary works include commentaries on over twenty books of the Bible, The History of the New Testament Church (two volumes), Theological Studies (two volumes), The Christian’s Handbook of Manuscript Evidence,The Christian’s Handbook of Biblical Scholarship, The Christian’s Handbook of Science and Philosophy, Problem Texts, The Local Church, Music and Musicians, The Mythological Septuagint, and scores of topical booklet studies.His autobiography, The Full Cup, is very interesting, and should be read by anyone interested in knowing more about one of the most effective preachers of the twentieth century.
Cyrus I. Scofield, 1843-1921
The man behind the most widely used reference Bible in the English language is C. I. Scofield, born in Lenawee County, Michigan, in 1843.His mother, who died while giving birth to him, prayed that God would call him to be a preacher.
He later moved to Tennessee with other family members.He fought under Robert E. Lee in the Civil War and was awarded the Cross of Honor for his bravery.After the war he moved to St. Louis and married a Roman Catholic woman (Leontine Cerre).He was Episcopalian.
Cyrus studied law and was admitted to the Kansas bar in 1869.He was elected to the Kansas legislature in 1872, and President Grant appointed him the U.S. Attorney of Kansas in 1873.He later resigned politics and returned to St. Louis to establish his own law practice.
He began to drink socially with his friends, and then he began to drink heavily.Then one day, at thirty six years of age, Cyrus was visited by a Christian friend named Tom McPheeters.McPheeters witnessed to him and convinced him to receive Christ. Cyrus Scofield became associated with the YMCA and some very influential Christian men.He rapidly became an avid student of Scripture.Then, in 1882, he accepted the pastorate of the First Congregational Church of Dallas.The church had only twelve members.
Just prior to this, his wife had filed for divorce, not wanting to be married to a man of God.The divorce was granted in 1883.He remarried on July 14, 1884.His new wife was Hettie Hall VanWart, a member of his church.
The church grew to over 800 members by 1895 and became very involved in foreign missions.In 1895 D.L. Moody was successful in bringing Scofield to pastor the Congregational Church of East Northfield, Massachusetts, where he was a member.
At a Bible conference in July of 1901, Scofield became burdened to publish a reference Bible.A year later he returned to pastor his former church in Dallas, dedicating most of his time to the reference Bible project.After several years of hard work, much travel, and nearly losing all his work twice, the Scofield Reference Bible was published by Oxford in 1909.A final revision was made in 1917. (Note: The 1967 “New” Scofield Reference Bible is not a Scofield Bible, nor is it a King James Bible.It is a money-making scheme to use a man’s good name for a profit.The only revision authorized by C.I. Scofield was the one in 1917.)
In addition to his reference Bible, Scofield also authored Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, Things Old and New, Addresses on Prophecy, Old and New Testament Studies, and a correspondence course.
After nearly four decades of active duty for God, Cyrus I. Scofield died in his home on July 24th, 1921.
Charles H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892
Charles Spurgeon was born in Kelvedon, England in the year 1834, and his family moved to Colchester while he was still very young.His earliest years were spent living with his grandfather.
Viewed by many as the greatest Baptist preacher in history, Charles Haddon Spurgeon did not come from a Baptist background.Both his father and his grandfather were Congregational preachers, yet Charles, as a teenager, had not come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
Having purposed to visit every church around until he learned how to become a Christian, Spurgeon set out on January 6th, 1850, to visit yet another church.It was a cold and snowy morning, but he had to keep searching.Rather than visit the church he had in mind, the weather forced him to change his plans and attend services at the ArtilleryStreetPrimitiveMethodistChurch.The regular minister was absent due to the weather conditions, so a tall country gentleman went to the pulpit and took his text from Isaiah 45:22: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”The fill-in preacher was rather awkward and couldn’t pronounce his words correctly, but the power of God’s word hit young Spurgeon’s heart like a bolt of lightening.As the gentleman developed his message of simple salvation by faith, Spurgeon began to understand that Christ had finished the work of salvation and that he only had to believe.The preacher singled out Spurgeon and said, “Young man, you look miserable . . . young man, look to Jesus Christ! Look!Look!”He did, and he became a born-again child of God.
Immediately he began handing out tracts and trying to minister the word to others.He was baptized and joined IslehamBaptistChurch in May of the same year.Not long afterwards he began teaching Sunday school, leading in prayer meetings, and preaching where ever God allowed.His fame began to spread, and at seventeen years of age, a small Baptist church called him as pastor.In a very short time, the church grew to over one hundred members.
Two years later, at age twenty, Spurgeon was called to pastor the New Park Street Chapel in south London.The church of about a hundred members grew to over 1,200 in a year, and the famous Metropolitan Tabernacle was eventually built.
Although Spurgeon was a Calvinist, his fame continued to spread.The Anglicans mocked and ridiculed him, but he pressed forward.Newspapers printed his sermons, even American newspapers, and he published a monthly paper titled “Sword and Trowel.”His church membership passed 5,000.
He founded Spurgeon’s College for pastors in 1856 and trained some 900 students for the ministry.He founded Stockwell Orphanage in 1867, which accommodated 500 children.
Spurgeon was ill during the several years preceding his death, but he continued to preach.He preached his final sermon on June 7th, 1891, to over 5,000 people at the Tabernacle.With his every ounce of energy, Spurgeon exalted his blessed Saviour and encouraged his listeners to “enlist under the banner of Jesus Christ.”
At fifty-seven years of age, C.H. Spurgeon died on January 31st, 1892.Memorial and funeral services were held at the Tabernacle a few days later with over 100,000 people attending in a five day period.His preaching Bible was placed on top of his casket and opened to Isaiah 45:22.
Spurgeon’s literary works are a treasure, especially his massive Metropolitan Pulpit sermons, a set of forty-nine volumes.His commentary on Psalms, The Treasury of David, is a must for any preacher, and his Morning and Evening Devotions are very good.Other works include Lectures to My Students, My Sermon Notes, Storm Signals, The Saint and His Saviour, Feathers for Arrows, John Ploughman’s Pictures and John Ploughman’s Talks. Spurgeon’s writings are the some of the most circulated writings (possibly the most circulated writings) in Christianity.
C. T. Studd, 1860-1931
Charles Thomas Studd, founder of the Worldwide Evangelization Crusade, was the son of a wealthy Englishman, Edward Studd, who was saved at a Moody revival in London in 1875.About a year later, C.T. received Christ himself when some preachers were staying at their home.He was sixteen at the time.
He completed his education at Cambridge while becoming an outstanding cricket player, but he backslid from Christ at the same time.It wasn’t until 1882, when Moody spoke at Cambridge, that he got his heart right with God.In fact, it was about this time that he became burdened for souls in China.Three years later (February, 1885), Studd and a few other Cambridge students headed for China.
In December of 1885, Studd received an inheritance of $145,000.He gave it all to various ministries.Then in March of 1888, he married Pricilla Stewart with only five dollars to his name.God gave them five children, although the fifth one died after birth.Mrs. Studd nearly died with the first child, and C.T.struggled with asthma, but God provided and met their needs.
In China, they worked in the city of Lungang-Fu several years and saw some fruit.Then they returned to England in 1894.He also visited America and spoke to many students about God’s work in China.He returned to England in 1897.
In 1900 he decided to go to India, where his father had made his fortune.Although fighting severe asthma attacks each night, C.T. Studd took his wife and four girls to India.He worked in Tirhoot for six months, and then he pastored at Ootacamund in South India.Souls were saved every week, and his four daughters were saved and baptized there.
He returned to England in 1906 and began speaking to thousands, and many came to Christ.
He then became burdened for Africa.In 1910, at fifty years of age, with failing health, God provided Studd with the funds to go to Africa.He left his wife behind and made his first trip to Africa.He decided that the Belgian Congo, between the Nile and Lake Chad, would be his next mission field.He returned home, organized his efforts, and, in January of 1913, he was back in Africa, leaving his wife in England.
At first he worked with Alfred Buxton setting up mission sites, but the two later split up to cover more territory.
Returning to England in 1914, Studd found his wife very ill.He nourished her back to health, and she greatly assisted him in raising more support for the mission work in Africa.In 1916, he departed again, leaving his wife behind for the third time, although he did take eight workers with him, including a daughter.
Over the next fifteen years, thousands of souls came to Christ in the Welle and IturiProvinces.
While fighting asthma, heart attacks, recurring malaria, dysentery, chills and gallstones, Studd also translated the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs into the Kingwana language.
His wife came to visit him in 1928 and then returned to England.She died a year later.Charles died three years later on July 16, 1931.His funeral was attended by some 2,000 Africans, including four chiefs.
Billy Sunday, 1862-1935
Born the son of William and Mary Sunday in Ames, Iowa, William Ashley (Billy) Sunday would live to see over 1,000,000 souls come to Christ.
While Billy was just a baby his father died from a disease he had contracted during the Civil War.His mother re-married only to be deserted a few years later.Circumstances forced her to send Billy and his brother Edward to a soldier’s orphanage.At the time, Billy was twelve.
A couple years later the boys returned to live with their grandfather on his farm, but Billy had other plans.He went to a nearby town to find work.He worked at various odd jobs, and ended up working in a furniture store in Marshalltown, Iowa.He also began playing baseball on the town team.In fact, his swift speed made him a star player on the team.
During this time, Sunday was granted a “try out” for the Chicago White Stockings, and he made it.He beat Fred Pfeffer in a foot race by fifteen feet.He then became the fastest runner in pro baseball.
In the fall of 1887, Billy Sunday and some friends were sitting on a street corner in Chicago after a drinking session in a saloon.Just across the street were some Christians playing hymns on various instruments.As Billy reminisced about his Christian mother and his Sunday school days, tears filled his eyes.About this time a young man spoke out and said, “We are going down to the PacificGardenMission.Won’t you come down to the mission?”Billy arose and informed his friends that he was through with sin and that he was ready for Jesus Christ.Some laughed, some remained silent, and some encouraged him.He went to the mission, fell on his knees, and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
He kept playing baseball, but also witnessed and spoke out for Christ at every opportunity.He also became a faithful member of Jefferson Park Presbyterian Church in Chicago.He was later traded to Pittsburgh with a large salary increase, and then he was later traded to Philadelphia.
Billy married Helen Amelia Thompson in 1888 and went on to have four children with her, none of which would live beyond age forty-five.His children were Helen (1891), George (1894), William Jr. (1902) and Paul (1908).
God was calling Billy to preach, but he was bound to a three year baseball contract with Philadelphia.He made it a matter of prayer, and he was released from his contract in March of 1891.He also turned down a $5,000 contract with Cincinnati.Instead of a famous life in baseball, Billy chose to work for the Y.M.C.A., receiving a salary of $83.00 per month.
Two years later he joined up with J. Wilbur Chapman as an advance man and general helper.He held this job until the end of 1895 when Chapman returned to the pastorate.It was about this time that Billy received an invitation to preach a town revival in Garner, Iowa.He borrowed eight sermons from Chapman and headed for Garner.He saw 268 souls saved in ten days, and he saw that the time had come for him to be a full time crusade preacher.
Billy Sunday conducted crusades in smaller towns for several years and then larger ones after 1910.Usually a few hundred would come to Christ in the small town meetings, and thousands would come in the larger ones.Sometimes twenty to thirty percent of a city’s population would walk the “sawdust trail” and receive Christ.Saloons and immoral clubs would often close, and spiritual fruit would remain evident in a town many years after the meeting.A typical crusade would last about six weeks, and Billy would conduct five or six of these per year.Thousands upon thousands came to Christ.
His greatest crusade came in New York, April 8th through June 19th, 1917.This ten week crusade brought nearly 100,000 souls to Jesus Christ!Billy’s love offering on the final day was $113,000, all of which was given to the Y.M.C.A. and the Red Cross.
Sunday’s crusades worked closely with local churches and pastors, and the names of new converts were given to the churches.The tabernacles themselves were large wooden buildings which had been designed especially for the crusades.
Billy Sunday himself was a very fiery and energetic preacher who would walk, run, and jump about a mile in every message, which would be about an hour in length.His famous message against the liquor traffic, Get on the Water Wagon, lasted over an hour and a half.
However, every rose has its thorns.Billy was very grieved over the highly publicized problems with his children.George even committed suicide in 1933.Billy later confessed that he wasn’t as close to them as he should have been.
Billy Sunday preached until 1935 when he was seventy-two years of age.He died on November 6th, 1935, in Chicago.
The great missionary to China, James Hudson Taylor, was born in Barnsley, England, in the year 1832.He came from a Christian home, his father being a Methodist preacher, but Hudson chose to live for the world until a praying mother and a gospel tract brought him to Christ at the age of seventeen.
In 1849, he became very unhappy with his spiritual state and decided to start preparing to go to China as a missionary.He moved to a low income area and forced upon himself numerous hardships in order to better acquaint himself with the kind of life he would have in China.He saw first hand that God is able to care for and bless those who put Him first.
After some medical training in London, Taylor left for China under the Chinese Evangelization Society in September of 1853.He arrived at Shanghai, after a very rough voyage, on March 1t, 1854.At first he settled in Shanghai, butcivil war soon forced him to move to the International Settlement where other foreigners lived.
He began making preaching trips, sometimes alone, and sometimes with other missionaries.In 1855, he traveled to many villages preaching, distributing books and providing medical care.He also did some work on the island of Tsungming , but was forbidden to return there because his medical service was causing a loss of business to the local physicians.
Taylor and Scottish evangelist William Burns traveled about 1,000 miles south of Shanghai and ministered at Swaton for a few months in 1856, but the door there was soon closed.
He was robbed the same year as he traveled to settle in Ningpo, losing his travel bed, some clothes, two watches, a Bible his mother had given him and some surgical instruments.To make matters worse, his mission board stopped sending him funds.He resigned the mission board in late 1856 and kept preaching the word.
In January of 1859, Hudson Taylor married Maria Dyer, a twenty-one year old helper to Mary Ann Aldersey, an English missionary.They had a very happy marriage together, and Godgave them several children.
With Hudson having health problems, the family took a furlough back to England in 1860.While on furlough, Hudson translated the Ningpo New Testament, and he wrote the book, China: It’s Spiritual Needs and Claims (1865).
He established the China Inland Mission in 1865 and began praying for God to give him twenty-four missionaries to take back to China.Within a year God gave him his twenty-four volunteers and $13,000.In December of 1865, the Taylors lost a child in a premature birth and Maria’s lungs were permanently damaged.
The Taylors and sixteen of the volunteers set out for China in May of 1866.After enduring a typhoon in the South China Sea, they were towed on in by a steam tug in September.Due to overcrowding at the Ningpo mission site, they decided to move on to Yangchow in December.An eight year old daughter (Gracie) died in 1867.By the end of July, 1868, they had reached Yangchow and set up their own compound.However, they were beaten and robbed a few weeks later, and their compound was burned to the ground.Some of the missionaries were severely injured, including Maria, who could not walk without help.This turned out to be a spiritual turning point for Hudson, where he vowed to trust God and abide in Christ rather than labor in his own strength.They settled in Chinkiang for several weeks and then returned to Yangchow in November.
In February of 1870, the Taylors made the tough decision to send four of their five children back to England, keeping only baby Charles with them.Five year old Samuel then died on February 4th.Finally, on March 22nd, three children (Bertie, Freddie and Maria) were sent back to England in tears with Emily Blatchley who would care for them.
Another child was born in July (Noel), but he died after only thirteen days.Only three days later (July 23rd), Maria herself died of tuberculosis.She was thirty-three, and had given birth to eight living children and one stillborn.
Health problems and ministry needs back home caused Hudson to return to England in 1871.He met and married a Miss Faulding the same year.The following year (1872) he formed the London Council of the China Inland Mission and then returned to China with his new bride.
In 1874, Hudson’s faith in God brought in $4,000 for work in new provinces, and he also opened up a western branch of the mission in Wuchang with another missionary.
Miss Blatchley then died back in England, so Hudson and his wife had to hurry home to the children.During this trip he seriously injured himself and spent the next few months paralyzed in bed.God then restored his health, and he left for China again.This time, he went alone, leaving his wife in England to care for six children (three from the previous marriage, two from the current marriage and one adopted daughter).
Political changes opened new doors in China, so Hudson spent the next two years (1876-1878) traveling 30,000 miles opening new mission stations.His wife rejoined him in 1878.By 1887, fifty-nine churches had been established with over 1,600 members.In 1887 alone, God gave him over $100,000 for the work and 102 new missionaries.
Health problems forced him to return home soon.He and his wife ended up semi-retired in Switzerland.Then the Boxer Rebellion broke out in China which led to the murder or expulsion of hundreds of missionaries and native Christians.His wife then died in 1904.
In 1905, Hudson Taylor returned to China one last time.After making several visits and inspecting a site for a new hospital in Changsha, he died on June 3rd and was buried next to Maria near the Yangtze River.
R. A. Torrey, 1856-1928
Rueben Archer Torrey was born the son of a New Yorklawyer and banker in 1856.He was a bright kid who learned well and even planned to be a lawyer.During his teen years he became worldly and somewhat skeptical while attending Yale, thus showing very little interest in spiritual matters.
Then one night, at the age of eighteen, he dreamed that his mother appeared to him as an angel, asking him to preach.He considered suicide, but then gave in and received Christ as his Saviour.Back at home his mother had been up praying for him that very night.
He soon enrolled at YaleDivinitySchool, and he became an avid soul-winner.Both of his parents died in 1877, and he received his B.D. degree in 1878 (his D.D. came years later).He was ordained in 1878 and began pastoring the Congregational Church in Garretsville, Ohio.
Torrey married Clara Smith in October of 1879, and God gave them five children over the next fourteen years.
He furthered his studies in Germany in 1882-1883, and then returned to the States to pastor theOpen Door Church, a small church in Minneapolis.He then served as pastor of the People’s Churchuntil 1889, and he also led the Congregational City Mission Society during this time.
In 1888, Torrey chose to give up his salary and live on the freewill offerings of God’s people.He also made it a habit to hold special prayer meetings, asking God to pour out His Spirit and give revival around the world.
The following year (1889), D.L. Moody asked Torrey to serve as Superintendent of his school (now Moody Bible Institute).He accepted the position and remained there until 1908.It was there that Torrey became well known as a truly spiritual man of prayer and faith.
He served as pastor of ChicagoAvenueChurch (now MoodyMemorialChurch) from 1894 to 1905.The church grew and the members were taught to win souls and pray.In 1898, he began holding weekly prayer meetings at the school.Eventually, attendance grew to some 300 people who would gather and pray for worldwide revival.The praying paid off with over 100,000 souls coming to Christ over the next few years.
God began opening doors around the world for Torrey.He soon left Chicago and preached in Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, India, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Ireland and Wales.Thousands were saved at most every meeting, and thousands also agreed to start praying for world-wide revival.Torrey returned to America in 1905, resigned his positions in Chicago, and went on to preach in many American cities over the next several years.A couple trips were also made to Asia and Europe.
From 1912 to 1924, Torrey served as Dean of the Los Angeles Bible Institute, and he served as first pastor of the Church of the Open Door.
From 1924 until 1928, R.A. Torrey spent his time holding Bible conferences and giving lectures.He wrote some forty books, the best ones being on prayer, soul-winning and revival.
Torrey went home to glory on October 26, 1928.
John Wesley, 1703-1791
John Benjamin Wesley was born the fifteenth child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley on June 17, 1703, in Epworth, England.Out of nineteen Wesley children in all, only ten of them survived infancy.John’s father was an Anglican pastor, and his mother was a very dedicated mother who devoted most of her time to the proper training of her children.
John himself was educated at the CharterhouseSchool in London, and he went on to receive his B.A and M.A. degrees at Oxford in 1724 and 1727.He was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in 1725, and he began preaching shortly thereafter.He also became a fellow, a moderator, and a Greek lecturer at Oxford.He spent some time assisting his father in his pastoral work between 1726 and 1729.
In November of 1729, John began leading a group known as the “Holy Club.”This group read Scripture together, fasted twice per week, received the Lord’s Supper weekly, and also assisted in various ministerial duties.Because of their consecrated “methods,” people began calling them Methodists.
John, his brother Charles, and two others traveled to America to evangelize the Indians in October of 1735.On the boat to America, John was witnessed to by a Moravian pastor named Spargenberg.Having a high church background, John didn’t see himself as a lost sinner, so there was no conversion.He traveled on to Savannah, Georgia, to do mission work for a couple of years, but with very little success.He returned to England in December of 1737.
John kept preaching, but not with much fruit.Something was definitely lacking.Then another Moravian pastor named Peter Bohler began to witness to John and Charles.On Wednesday, May 24th, 1738, John attended a Christian society meeting and heard the reading of Luther’s Preface To The Epistle To The Romans.The glorious light of the gospel filled his heart and he received Christ as his Saviour.Charles had been saved four days earlier.
Wesley’s conversion changed his preaching significantly.He even began open-air public preaching (like George Whitfield) within a year.Until 1740, he still met and worshiped with the Moravians, but he broke fellowship with them and started the first “Methodist Society” in the summer of 1740.These societies were groups of converts who would meet at least once per week for prayer and devotions.John would visit these societies as he traveled about preaching.
He became a very popular preacher.Thousands would gather to hear him preach just about anywhere he traveled.Once his father’s former parish wouldn’t allow him to preach in the church, so he went to his father’s tombstone in the churchyard and preached to thousands there.He once even preached to 30,000 people in a public gathering at Gwennap.
The societies multiplied, so it became necessary for Wesley to better organize things.He drew up some “General Rules” for them to follow and even allowed for appointed lay preachers to oversee the societies.Naturally, all of this widened the gap between Wesley and the Church of England.
Beginning in 1747, he began doing much evangelistic work in Ireland.He turned many souls to Christ and strongly encouraged holy living.Years later (1775) he would also do work in Scotland.
John Wesley married a widow named Mary Vazeille in 1751, and the marriage was a disaster.They had no children, and she left him after twenty years.
In 1794, Wesley took the necessary legal steps to make the Methodists a self-governing and self-perpetuating organization.Later that year came his final breach with the Church of England (although against his will) when he ordained his chosen leaders to carry on the Methodist movement.Alexander Mather was ordained to work in England, while Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey were picked for America.Wesley also consecrated Thomas Coke as their superintendent.Coke then ordained Francis Asbury, and the Methodist movement began to spread in America.Over the span of his ministry, John Wesley traveled over 250,000 miles on horseback, preached some 42,000 sermons, and wrote thirty books.He also wrote, edited, or translated over 200 volumes of sermons, commentaries and hymns, and he produced his Christian Library of 50 volumes.He could preach in English, German, French, and Italian.Wesley’s Journal, coveringfifty-six years of ministry, simply boggles the mind.Some say it is the most exhaustive work of biographical information ever penned by man.John Wesley may very well have been the most active preacher the world has ever known.
When he died on March 2, 1791, the Methodist movement had over 118,000 members.John Wesley’s final word was “Farewell.”
George Whitfield, 1714-1770
George Whitfield was born in Gloucester, England, in the year 1714.His father, Thomas, a wine merchant and innkeeper, died when he was only two, leaving his mother, Elisabeth, to care for seven children.She remarried later, but the marriage was not a happy one.
At the age of fifteen, George convinced his mother to let him drop out of school and work at the inn.He later returned to finish school, and he went on to attend Oxford in 1732. About a year later he met up with John and Charles Wesley and joined the Holy Club.Two years later, after a severe sickness and much spiritual struggle, George received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.
Health problems forced him to leave school and return home in May of 1735, but he did return to school the following March.He was ordained a deacon in the Church of England in June (1736).He preached his first sermon the following Sunday.
Whitfield developed his preaching skills over the next year and became quite well known as a very powerful orator.Then, in January of 1738, he left to do evangelistic work in America, as did the Wesley’s a few years earlier.He worked mainly in Georgia and South Carolina, caring for orphans and opening some schools.
He returned to England by the end of 1738 and was ordained a priest in the Church of England in January of the following year.He then returned to America to find that his affiliation with the Methodists had turned many against him.He still preached where he could, though, and with some fruit.
However, the most fruit from George Whitfield didn’t start coming until he decided to try public open-air preaching.His first public sermon was preached in February of 1739, and about two hundred people came to listen.Within just a few months, this number would increase to several thousand.This was the case in America, England, and everywhere else he traveled.
George Whitfield’s preaching became so powerful and dramatic that people would normally receive Christ while the preaching was still in progress.His natural voice was so loud and clear that Benjamin Franklin claimed to have heard it a mile away.
Whitfield’s travels between England and America would take him across the Atlantic thirteen times, requiring over two full years of his life on water.In America, he preached to thousands in Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island, Maryland and Massachusetts.Everywhere he went, mass multitudes would gather to hear him preach, sometimes 20,000 or more.Though many loved him, many others also greeted him with dirt clods and rocks.Sickness also plagued him throughout his travels, but he kept preaching.
Beginning in 1741, numerous trips were also made to Scotland and Wales, with many souls coming to Christ.He preached in Bermuda (1748), Portugal (1754), Ireland (1756), and Holland (1768).
Whitfield made his final trip to America in the fall of 1769.He converted his orphanage into BethesdaCollege and spent the winter in Georgia.He then headed northward in the spring.Being now a well known soldier of the cross, he was warmly received in Philadelphia, New York, and New England.In August, he preached in Boston.Illness struck in September, preventing him from preaching to thousands who waited to hear.On September 29th, he prayed for strength to preach once more in Exeter, New Hampshire.God granted his request, and he stood for two hours and preached to an enormous crowd.He then had dinner with Jonathan Parsons, a Presbyterian preacher at Newburyport, Massachusetts.After the meal, a crowd began to gather outside the house, requesting to hear a short message.With a burning candle in his hand, George stood on a stairway and preached until the candle went out.Later, at , he had an asthma attack, and he died at that morning.
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