Monday, February 26, 2024
Monday, February 26, 2024
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The Evangelists and Revivalists

In last week’s column, I wrote about summer revivals and outdoor baptisms. As a result, several reached out to me saying they fondly remember some of those. However, there were some who said the evangelists really scared them! I was just thinking about some of the evangelists and revivalists who preached in BMA churches over the years.

Some of them preached Hell so hot the lost could almost feel the flames. Others preached to the churches, encouraging them to devote themselves to carrying out the Great Commission. That pretty well categorized the evangelists and revivalists.

I will mention some whom I heard preach over the years. I know there are many whom I’ll fail to mention, but that will be due to lack of memory and certainly will not be intentional.

One of the earliest revivals I remember at Central Baptist in Ashdown was preached by Dr. D.N. Jackson. I couldn’t have been more than six years old. I vividly recall him entering the pulpit with Bible in hand, placing the Bible on the pulpit, and never opening it during the sermon. But he quoted his usually lengthy text, word for word, and then quoted his proof texts throughout the sermon. He did that every night for seven nights!

When I was a freshman at CBC, Central Baptist Church of Conway had Dr. Harold Brunson as an evangelist. I was impressed by his dapper dress as, each evening, he preached powerful messages from God’s Word. He, too, often quoted long Bible passages as he preached. (I have never been able to do that!)

During those days at CBC, “youth revivals” were quite popular in the churches, and spanned only a weekend in most situations. Two young preachers who were in great demand due to their dynamic preaching were William Willis and Mike Harmon. They were preaching somewhere almost every weekend.

It would take far too much space for me to write about each preacher, but your memories might be jogged if I just mention a few others whom our Lord has used to win souls to Christ and to challenge churches to revival. Some of these have already been promoted to Heaven, others remain with us, though they may not be quite as active as in days gone by. Men like Harold Leytham, A.D. Livingston, Jerry Jolly, Jim Sayers, Jurl Mitchell, Alfred Wayne Darst, A.D. Stuckey, Dr. Wassell Burgess and Dr. Harold Cooper traveled our state and nation doing exactly what they promised God they would do… preach the Word!

Aren’t you glad they did? If you have a precious memory from a meeting with some of these who are still with us, why not write a note, make a call or send a text. You never know how such a gesture might be encouraging medicine for them!