A few years ago I received much negative feedback when I laid claim to the title of “Ecumenist of the Year.” Billy Sunday (1862-1935), who was a significant influence in my evangelism, was also ecumenical in his approach to revivalism.
Sunday was America’s most celebrated and influential evangelist of the of early 20th Century. He preached the fundamentals of the faith. Sunday was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in 1903 but his ministry was nondenominational.
Wikipedia says, “Sunday refused to hold meetings in cities where he was not welcomed by the vast majority of the Protestant churches and their clergy.”
Wikipedia continues, “Sunday was not a separatists as were many Protestants of his era. He went out of his way to avoid criticizing the Roman Catholic Church and even met with Cardinal Gibbons during his 1916 Baltimore campaign. Also, cards filled out by “trail hitters” were faithfully returned to the church or denomination that the writers had indicated as their choice, including Catholic and Unitarian.”
In his ecumenicalism, Billy Sunday set the stage and example which Billy Graham was to follow in the second half of the 20th Century.
When I was called to preach, I studied and adopted Billy Sunday’s moves. Sunday, a former professional baseball player, was athletic in his preaching style. His favorite gestures were baseball poses.
Some clergymen thought that Sunday was undignified in his preaching style and placed too much emphasis on hell, fire and brimstone.
Good moves are helpful in drawing the attention of an audience who are not usually interested in religion. I like to brag that I have better moves than Mike Jagger; we are the same age, 76. I never tried to imitate the moves of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, because his moves were effeminate.
When I first started on the campuses a leader of Chi Alpha was critical of me, claiming that the Billy Sunday model was out of fashion and not appropriate for an intellectual setting.
Students have fun imitating my moves and voice inflections while I am preaching and later in the dorms. They enjoy regaling their friends with Brother Jed tales. I want to appeal both to people’s audio and visual senses, which will make an indelible impression on their minds.
The following is quoted from the New World Encyclopedia:
Part of Billy Sunday’s near universal appeal was his unapologetically vigorous and bombastic homiletic style. At a given meeting, Sunday would wait until the moment felt right, and then would launch into his message. Sunday gyrated, stood on the pulpit, ran from one end of the platform to the other, and dove across the stage, pretending to slide into home plate. Sometimes he even smashed chairs to emphasize his points.
His sermon notes had to be printed in large letters so that he could catch a glimpse of them as he raced by the pulpit. In addresses directed to an audience of men, many of which attacked sexual sin, Sunday’s delivery could be graphic (at least for the era). Some religious and social leaders criticized Sunday’s exaggerated gestures as well as the slang and colloquialisms that filled his sermons, but audiences clearly enjoyed them.
Further, some modern scholars argue that Sunday’s approach can be seen as an instance of the muscular, virile Christianity that was arising at the time in response to the perceived “weakness” inherent in stereotypical Christian values. Indeed, his ministry did “share the conviction [common in his day] that Christianity must be a muscular, masculine religion to be effective. Through the content of his message, his aggressive style of evangelism, and the remarkable story of his own life, Sunday’s revivalism both reflected and addressed some of the gender-related concerns of his day.”
In 1907, journalist Lindsay Denison complained that Sunday preached “the old, old doctrine of damnation,” getting results by “inspiring fear and gloom in the hearts of sinners.” But Sunday himself told reporters “with ill-concealed annoyance,” that his revivals had “no emotionalism.” Sunday told one reporter that he believed that people could “be converted without any fuss,” and, at Sunday’s meetings, “instances of spasm, shakes, or fainting fits caused by hysteria were few and far between.”
On another thread a FB friends asked why I do not address the problems within the current religious system, which he compares to Goliath. I wanted to pass off my answer to a wider audience:
My practice is not to criticize the church. She has far too many critics from both within and without. Anyone can be a critic; I am not impressed with critics. I prefer the men of action; the ones who are making history, not mere observers of history.
David asked, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” The shepherd boy was concerned for the reputation of the armies of Israel, which are a type of the church.
Like David, I believe in leading by example. David asked his eldest brother, who was discouraging him, “Is there not a cause?”
David took up his sling and five stones and advanced upon the Philistine. He did not tell the armies of Israel what they should be doing. Goliath was mocking the armies. That was not acceptable to David. He slew the giant and beheaded him.
As a result, the men of Israel and Judah were encouraged and pursued the Philistines and spoiled their tents. Words will not activate the church; heroic warriors like David will get the job done.
My fight is not with the armies of Israel, the various denominations of Christianity. My fight is against the world system without Christ, which is constantly defying the church.
The Soul Doctor, Brother Jed’s Virginity Test.
I can understand why females might begrudge virginity tests by gynecologists; their tests are invasive. Brother Jed’s test is not physically invasive.
Daily on campus, I ask, “How many of you girls are virgins?” Typically, a small minority raise their hands. Actually, more of them may be virgins then are willing to admit to it. Unfortunately, virginity, not promiscuity, carries a stigma in college life.
Next, I ask, “Who is willing to submit to Brother Jed’s virginity test? This is not a physical exam; it is a verbal test.”
Usually, I will find a willing humanist patient.
“Question number 1, have you ever had a penis in your vagina?” If she answers no, I inquire: “Number 2, have you ever had a penis in your mouth?” If she passes that test, I proceed: “Number 3, have you ever had a penis in your anus?” If she passes, I finally ask, “Have you ever had a penis in your hand?”
If she answers positively to any of these questions, I declare: “You fail the virgin test!”
If she answers negatively to these interrogations, I have one final question, “Are you a lesbian?” If she answers no, I declare: “You have just passed Brother Jed’s virgin test. Let’s all give this girl a hearty applause.” If she confesses to being a lesbian I warn, “If you have had your tongue in a vagina, you are not a virgin.”
Often a boy will claim to be a virgin and he wants to take the test: “I just have one question for you boy, are you a virgin because you can’t get any or are you a virgin because you don’t want any?”
For the girls, who have lost their virginity or given away it away without marriage, I say, “This is the good news; you can become a born-again virgin. Now girls don’t get to excited; I can’t promise you a new hymen; I am speaking figuratively. Spiritually, you can get your virtue back. In the sight of God, you can become as pure as the driven snow and you still might get a decent husband.”
Pausing to reflect for a moment, I then extend a word of encouragement, “On the other hand, the Bible does say all things are possible with God. If you are really a good girl, pay your tithes, sing in the choir or teach Sunday School, perhaps God can do a little miracle down there. And with the touch of his finger, he could give you a new hymen. Now I admit; I have never heard of that happening. But who ever heard of a virgin conceiving a child until Mother Mary came on the scene?”
Jennifer Gunter, a gynecologist who writes about women’s health issues, claims that virginity is “a patriarchal social construct.”
Social constructs are ideas that has been created and accepted by the people in a society but are not objective realities. Alas, the Blessed Virgin was not familiar with 20th Century pseudo social science.
Secularists and humanists are moral relativists, who are determined to abolish the very idea of virginity, because they likely lost their virginity illegitimately. Do away with the concept and in their twisted minds, girls will lose their guilty conscience. They may sear their conscience but they will still be condemned before God, if they don’t repent and believe the gospel.
Quin Hillyer, a senior commentary writer for the Washington Examiner, defends himself against President Trump recently calling the Never Trumpers “human scum.” Hillyer writes to Trump that “for two generations the Hillyers have worked in the trenches for the things your conservative allies value most.”
Many Never Trumpers report of being in the trenches for a long time, even decades before Trump became a warrior. We should all appreciate their stand; however, the trench mentality may be the problem.
Since the modern conservative movement of the mid-20th Century, we have not gained ground; we been pounded and lost ground. We keep having to abandon long held trenches and dig new ones further and further back. In retreat mode, we constantly have to redefine and water down conservatism.
We are thankful for William F. Buckley who battled in the trenches for decade with his National Review, which ironically now has become one of the most influential anti-Trump publications.
Conservatives under the leadership of Buckley dug their trenches in academia and “little magazines” other than the National Review. They became the conservative “intelligentsia,” a position of honor welcome at the Establishment cocktail parties. Others became advisers to Republican presidents and some even served in the bureaucracy.
Ronald Reagan was the political general who strove to establish conservative principles in government during the eighties. Reagan, however, did not take on the swamp, deep state, like Trump or Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy did in the fifties. Reagan, as good as he was, did not have the energy or leadership qualities or star power of Trump.
McCarthy, after some initial success of exposing the State Department as being infiltrated by communists, was finally defeated in his heroic efforts. Alas, since McCarthy, the media and establishment historians have been able to do such a number on him that few conservatives will defend McCarthy and are often afraid to expose liberals with the c-word for fear of being labeled as “McCarthyites” or some other pejorative like “racist” or “Nazis.” Trump has no fear of phony liberal labels.
In 1964 Barry Goldwater snatched the nomination for president from the Rockefeller wing of the Republican party before the evangelicals became politically active. When they were activated by Falwell, Sr. in the 70’s, Goldwater made the mistake of failing to embrace them and consequently his influence slowly was neutralized. We do give Goldwater credit for setting the stage for Reagan’s victory in 1980.
Suddenly out of no-where a new leader is raised up by God, Donald J. Trump. He appears on the political scene with the backing of powerful evangelical conservatives like Jerry Falwell, Jr., Dr. James Dobson and Franklin Graham. Donald Trump is elected president!
Trump exhorts the conservatives to go over the top of the trenches, and take the offensive against the liberal establishment. The entrenched conservatives say, “No way. We will be killed in no-man’s-land!” [Which just might be the case]. Conservatives are often afraid to be in control; they are content to be social and political critics instead of governing.
Trump is a natural leader. He is of the mentality that he will die trying. Or maybe a better way to look at it, Trump lifts the banner and shouts, “To hell with trench warfare, we are losing our country. Let’s man the tanks and roll over the bastards.”
Or even better, Trump commands, “Land by sea with the marines. Attack from the air with planes bombard the Capitol, which the traitors have occupied for decades.”
Commander-in-Chief Trump has the aggressiveness of Patton and the audacity of Billy Mitchell. The armchair generals fought Patton, especially when he even had the daring to slap a hospitalized soldier diagnosed with shell-shock. Patton called him a “goddamn whimpering coward.”
Billy Mitchell was court-marshaled [read impeached] as a result of accusing the Navy of “incompetency, criminal negligence and almost treasonable administration of the national defense.” Patton and Mitchell were not generals who were suited to fight a war of attrition; they were too tactical for the trenches.
Trump’s forerunner and ally Rush Limbaugh took the conservative movement to the airwaves to become “the father of talk radio,” which communicates with the common man in a manner which Buckley and his disciples could not do. Trump was ready and willing to get down and dirty with Hillary something the 16 Never Trumper candidates would not have done. However, some of them have been smart enough to board the Trump Train as soon as they recognized that it is unstoppable.
Never Trumpers need to rise up and go over the top. Otherwise Trump will continue to slap you in the face and call you worse names than even came out of Patton’s foul mouth. Patton hit the shocked soldier, pulled him out of bed and commanded him to return to the front lines. The General even reached for his pistol.
The Never Trumpers don’t know what they are dealing with in Donald J. Trump. He will not take flack from the Never Trumpers. Patton had to apologize to keep his command. But who is gong to make Trump apologize? Certainly not that witch in the House, Nancy P. Nor will the wimp at the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol. Trumpites have the back of the President.
My church still has a traditional form of worship, where the congregation stands and sings together to the grand organ with pipes dominating the front of the church. Each member of the congregation is holding a hymnal, robustly singing the same anthems that we have for all of our lives.
There is no minister of music with a microphone in hand singing over us; no television screen with the same simple lyrics to sing over and over and over. There is no band playing too loud; there is a robed choir, which has the best singers in the church. . . just chancel and congregational singing and hearing from God through great composers such as Charles Wesley and Isaac Watts.
There are no windowless walls with the lights low, no flashing lights or smoke from the stage. There are beautiful stained-glass windows, depicting Biblical scenes and reflecting light shining gloriously over God’s people and there are grand arches soaring high above and beautiful antique chandeliers hanging lofty over our heads.
So it has been since I was a boy attending the same church with my family, little has changed, except there are few, sometimes no, boys and girls. More often than not there are no children to come forward for the children’s sermon, even though the moment is still listed in the program. The boys and girls are now hoary-headed.
During worship my mind often goes back to the mid-20th Century, when I was a child and sat beside my parents and brothers and sister in the same pews. The pews were not cushioned then. Yet, the pews were much fuller with saints most of whom are now singing in the heavenly choir; sometimes I can almost hear their voices. I remember serving as an acolyte but now the acolyte is another one of those hoary heads!
Silently, I take solace in knowing the Proverb, “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.”—16:31
The President should not have chosen the word lynching to describe the Nancy’s (Caiaphas’) inquiry into Trump’s impeachment. Nancy’s sham is more like a mock trial and Crucifixion.
One Democrat operative said on Fox News that Trump needs to stop playing the victim and govern. In fact, Trump is veiling his ultimate victory in defeat, which his enemies, so blinded by pride and arrogance, cannot see. Trump will use impeachment to take back America from the claws of the beasts of the swamp.
Jesus was a victim on the Cross but through his Resurrection he became Christus Victor. The Ransom theory of the atonement is a metaphor which views the Crucifixion as the means by which Satan was trapped and defeated.
Satan overreached in conspiring to put Jesus to death; the Devil and his cohorts in the Sanhedrin condemned an innocent man. Neither Death nor Satan nor Hell could hold Jesus, because he was guiltless.
Jesus emerged victoriously from the tomb on the Third Day saying, “All power is given unto me in Heaven and in Earth.”
Trump will use this crucifixion to consolidate his authority and power and bring down “the deep state” and MAGA.
Trump the supreme strategist always wins. He will snatch victory out of the clutches of evil men just has he did with the Mueller “Investigation” [read: Inquisition], who in the end was exposed as an old uninformed fool.
Even should the House impeach the President and his “friends” in the Senate forsake him and convict him of phony “trumped up” House charges, he will be inaugurated as President for a second term by the people, the Deplorables. The way of the Cross ends with the Crown.
October 18, 2019, Purdue
I started preaching with my banner and drew an audience of 8 to 10 with whom I had a good discussion for about 20 minutes until it broke up. One girl had just two weeks ago been baptized by one of the campus ministries, gave a bold testimony. Hopefully, this will be the start of her being a strong student witness. A Catholic boy also stood up for the Lord.
On the other hand, a brazen woman boasted that she was an adulteress, lesbian, drunkard and a gossip. She had no shame whatsoever. It is remarkable how harden a person can quickly become in their sins. There was nothing attractive about this woman whatsoever neither physically or spiritually.
Later one of the outwardly prettiest lesbians that I recall meeting introduced herself to me as I was waiting for the next break. She merely wanted to take a selfie with my banner behind her. Obviously, she had no shame over her sin either.
About 1:30 a long-time preacher friend, who is a chemist, drove down from Wisconsin with his family. He had a 5 ½ hour drive having to go through Chicago. He preached between the break when there were few students. His message was, “What do you love, darkness or light?”
A Jewish boy with whom I have had several confrontations confronted the preacher. The Jewish boy did not even believe in the Torah. His religion appeared to be “standing up for what is right.” Clearly, he had no universal standard to which he could appeal for determining right from wrong. He could not see anything wrong with sodomy.
At the break, the preacher’s wife, Mary, spoke mostly giving her testimony. Her mother had been a radical feminist and her father a Marxist. Mary went to the University of Wisconsin and soon realized the hypocrisy of the feminists and fell into the drunken party life. However, during her undergraduate years, she found the Lord. She was influenced by the ministry of my long-time friend, Leonard Allen. Mary gathered several students around her.
For a time, the three of us each had people around us. There was a group of five, apparently 12 to 13- year old boys, gathered, who hung around for a while. They had lots of questions. They were not very respectful but I have encountered a lot worse.
I left campus at 3:30 while Mary was having intense dialogue with a young. There were many parents/high school tour groups, which passed by throughout the afternoon,
Pastor Jeffries calls his friend, President Trump, a “Christian Warrior.” Trump is reviving the warring spirit within the hearts of Christians, who have been overtaken and neutralized by the pacifism. Our epic hero Trump is waking up the church to the crusading spirit of old, which made the church great and enabled her to conquer with the sword of Truth and the shied of faith. The unbelieving world and the pacifists within the church picture us “Deplorables” as crazy. Paul warned that “the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness but unto us that are saved it is the power and wisdom of God.”
October 14, 2019, Indiana State University
I carried a hand held sign which Sister Pat made for me which read, “HAPPY COLUMBUS DAY!” I announced to the students that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue and discovered American. I figured some would want to inform me that Columbus did not discover America. Sure enough; someone informed me about Leif Erickson. Let the dialogue begin!
None of them have been taught that Leif Erickson was a Christian. I did get a about an hour of mileage out of the Columbus issue, explaining how he paved the better way to the Cristianization of the “New World.” I compared the visionary and heroic life-giving faith of Columbus to the pagan way of death of the indigenous peoples with their false Gods.
Mental health as opposed to mental disorders was our main topic for the last hour. An overweight female claimed to have eating disorders. What is my solution? Start eating orderly. What about those suffering from depression? I answered chose the joyful life in Christ instead of the depressing life of unbelief and hopelessness. Terrible sufferings were inflicted by Jesus; yet he asked forgiveness of his enemies and he ended up a victor instead of a victim.
A high percentage of students claim to be afflicted with depression or some such mental disorder. One came out dressed with a black cone hat and multi-colored robe she claimed to have depression. I said, “No wonder you are depressed you admit to being a witch.” No wonder the students are depressed they lack vision and hope beyond this life, which is reflected in darkness and despair in this life.
I taught that we need to get over or overcome bad things that have happened to us in the past by keeping the proper perspective that we have ourselves wrong others. We need to be ready to forgive and not harbor bitterness nor blame God. I spoke of guilt which can rob of us peace of mind. They did not want or accept my simple life choice solutions. They have come to prefer their drugs or maybe the sympathy they gain for being a victim of past wrongs. The alternative to rejecting the joy of the Lord is accepting a life of gloom and ultimate doom.
Christopher Columbus faced a lot of hardships and rejection in his life; yet by faith he was more than a conqueror over his trials, tests and tribulations. On May 20, 1506, in Valladolid, Spain, with his two brothers and two sons at his side, Columbus uttered his last words: “In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum (Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit).” Thus, he assured himself of eternal happiness.
I was planning on only spending an hour on campus, since I wanted to prepare for my Tuesday morning Bible Study and pack to go back out on the road after the study in the morning. I ended up being on campus for three hours. Cindy and Pat stayed home in preparation for going out of town.