The Evangelists Hall of Faith

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) recently dedicated the “Evangelists Hall of Faith” at their headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia. The Scriptures tell us he that wins souls is wise. While evangelists have often gotten a bad rap (usually because of those white patent leather shoes and wild suits of the ‘70s), they are a gift to the body of Christ.
The inaugural class of the “Hall of Faith” included: Hyman Appleman, Walter K. Ayers, Cliff Barrows, Manley Beasley, Wayne Bristow, Sam Cathey, Clyde Chiles, E. J. Daniels, Ron Dunn, Freddie Gage, Mike Gilchrist, Billy Graham, Vance Havner, Jesse Hendley, Rudy Hernandez, Junior Hill, Eddie Martin, Angel Martinez, Homer Martinez, George Beverly Shea, Bailey Smith, J. Harold Smith, Jerry Spencer, Bill Stafford, Bette Stalnecker, Jay Strack, Leon Westerhouse, Gene Williams,  T. W. Wilson, and Don Womack.
It’s quite a list and one that brings to my mind many thoughts and memories. I have known several of these as friends and/or mentors, including Vance Havner, Ron Dunn, Manley Beasley, Junior Hill, Jay Strack, Wayne Bristow, T. W. Wilson, and Bill Stafford
I’ve had the privilege of meeting and hearing almost all of those listed. I will never forget the day I met Cliff Barrows, Bev Shea, and Billy Graham in an empty auditorium in Jackson Mississippi. I still have the New Testament they signed that day.
While I was growing up, Hyman Appleman, E. J. Daniels, Freddie Gage, Mike Gilchrist, Vance Havner, Eddie Martin, and Angel Martinez all came to my home church for meetings. I think I’ve heard all but two of those inductees in person, and I’ve participated or served in some capacity in crusades with everyone from Billy Graham to Hyman Appleman. As a pastor or staff member, I’ve worked with Ron Dunn, Manley Beasley, Junior Hill, Bailey Smith, J. Harold Smith, Jay Strack, and Bill Stafford.
Some of these men are now in glory. Others still walk among us as legends. They made the “Hall of Faith” because of their faithfulness, giftedness, and availability to the Lord to spread the gospel. They were all different. As I look at the list, I remember that some on that list were polar opposites in style and even at times in substance. But all had a common goal to reach the lost and build up the body of Christ.
Some, like Manley, Ron, and Vance, were more revivalists than evangelists. They knew that the church would never be evangelistic if it didn’t first have revival. Our problem today is we are trying to get carnal church members to care about the lost when they only care about themselves.
I love what Cliff Barrows said during his remarks. “The reason for the success of the Graham team was (1) Billy’s passion for the Word of God, (2) his passion for the invitation—Billy believed God for a response—and (3) his passion to be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Barrows said that when he was 23 years old, the Graham team was in a crusade in England, and it was there that Stephen Olford taught them about the necessity of the filling of the Holy Spirit. When the meeting was over, Billy Graham asked Stephen Olford to teach the team about the meaning of the filling of the Spirit. Billy Graham had the “gift” of evangelism like few in the history of Christianity, but he knew, even in his early days of ministry, that without the Holy Spirit there would be no power.
Cliff went on to explain how Olford came to the hotel and opened the Word to John 14-16. He said, “We drank it all in as he talked about confessing every known sin and the cleansing the Holy Spirit gives.  Then he talked about claiming by faith and believing that you are filled and you’re trusting Him.” Cliff Barrows went on to share that they began to pray, “Oh, God, by your presence and by your power anoint us by your Holy Spirit.”
What will turn the tide of our culture? A new generation of men and women who are longing for the filling of the Spirit to empower them to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The filling is not for a feeling, it’s for equipping the saints to do the ministry God has called us to. It is for power to serve, to share, and to proclaim good news.
I’m grateful I have known or heard many of these men. I am accountable for what I have heard. I need to pray more that God will continually fill me and that I would be unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I won’t make the “Evangelists Hall of Faith” and maybe you won’t either. That’s not the point. The point is that we should all be faithful witnesses of the life-changing gospel. There are some called to vocational evangelism..but all of us are called to be personal witnesses.

One thought on “The Evangelists Hall of Faith

  1. I use to hear about Manley Beasley from an old country pastor friend back in my youth. I had just returned from Vietnam, where I was combat-wounded and held my first revival at a little Baptist church in Leighton,AL. Where can I get some written copies of some of Manley Beasley’s sermons? Most sites offer only video feeds or cds. Thanks for your response.
    In Patriotism,
    Lonnie Wadsworth,Pastor
    Evergreen UMC,Springville,AL.

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