Monthly Archives: September 2010

Living on the Edge

Calvin MillerAs the final section of his autobiography, Life is Mostly Edges (2008), Dr. Calvin Miller, pastor, poet and professor, asks the reader what he or she would do differently, if life could be repeated. At age 72 he answers the question for himself:

1. I would put more emphasis on being a better husband and father. To the church or the university I would whip out a lot more noes, and a lot more yesses to my family. I would eradicate almost all of the “Daddy’s-too-busies,” and the “later, darlings,” from my vocabulary. If the church suddenly came up with a critical meeting on circus night, I’d go to the circus.

2. I’d celebrate my mother in her presence. She was a simple woman whose humility kept her from seeing just how great she was. This adherence to her modesty I would shatter with the sledgehammer of praise. How would I do this?…I would write her a check for all the times she struggled to keep the family together…I would walk her to work in the morning and carry her lunch, and meet her when the day was over to tell her that I loved her…If anyone had maltreated her, I would get their address and visit them with an axe at midnight…For every time when I had made life hard for her, I would do seven years of penance…I would be there all the more for the woman who was always there for me.

3. I’d build a monument on Golgotha. I would build myself a replica of Golgotha, an Everest of Calvary, so high that the empty cross at its summit would be hidden by the mist of sheer altitude. I would keep a shrine at the top of my giant Calvary, with no sugary idols where the dying was done. I’d have no icons there, for the living Jesus who has been the central icon of my life would meet me there. When he came at sunrise, I would be there with the bread. And when he came at dusk, I would be there with the wine. And I would reverse my prayer life. I wouldn’t talk to him so much; I would listen more. I still wonder after a lifetime of chatty prayers, if I had not been so noisy in his presence, would he have told me more of his giant heart?

4. I’d babysit. Could I pass this way again I would take seriously a little girl in our church with whom I was hugging and laughing and having a great time, when suddenly she stopped my teasing her and asked point-blank, “Dr. Miller, do you ever do babysitting?” I told her I was too busy. But if I had to do all over again, I’d do more babysitting. In general I’d take more time for children and perhaps less for deacons.

5. What am I doing to be sure that I am a good steward of the years I have left? First, I am determined that this question will not drive me. One thing I do not want for the years I have left is to be so preoccupied with an agenda that I will not have time for anything but the drive…Such a tight little squinting of the eyes gobbles up our peripheral vision. It steals the panorama of what we might have seen if we had laid down some of our busy agenda and looked around a bit.

6. I’ll stop looking ahead and look around more. Looking around more will be my focus in my final years. I will smell the roses of Versailles and count the scent as sweet as those on the altar of the church. I will bypass a great many Christian novels and go on reading Pulitzer Prize winners just as I have always done. And I will not be so bent on my writing that I have no time to look around. I will not type my manuscripted way into the grave, staying so busy that I cannot take a walk with my wife, work the New York Times acrostic, go to a movie, or see a play…Looking around more means walking in a good direction but with an unhurried step. I would like to begin each day with God and then, coffee cup in hand, go out into the world. I don’t want to try and dissect it. I don’t want to figure it out. I just want to walk about in it. I also want to celebrate the simple things.

Miller, formerly pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Omaha, Nebraska, is currently Professor of Preaching and Pastoral Ministry at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. He has written over 40 books, including novels and poetry, notably The Singer and The Symphony trilogies. His papers (SC-24), comprising manuscripts, correspondence and watercolor artwork, are archived at Wheaton College (IL) Special Collections. He has lectured at Wheaton College on several occasions.

Such is the story of Rowena…

Rowena Hudson StrattonIn our age of technological sophistication and advanced medical sciences that easily prolong the live of many who would otherwise have perished it is somewhat shocking to read the stories of those who die young, especially during the throes of childbirth. Such is the story of Rowena Hudson Stratton. Born November 8, 1852 in Topeka, Indiana to Timothy Hudson (1823-1899) and Ann Louisa Wolcott Hudson (1829-1919). Rowena attended Wheaton College from 1872 to 1874. While a student she met John Leander Stratton, class of 1876. Stratton was the younger brother of Samuel Fay Stratton, class of 1865. They were married on October 24, 1877 in Noble County, Indiana. She died very young on July 26, 1879 in Wyanet (LaGrange County), Illinois. It would appear that Rowena died in childbirth as she is buried with her infant, unnamed, daughter. After her death a memorial scholarship was established in her name.

Among shadows and silvery light…

Alexander Grigolia, before resigning from the faculty of Wheaton College in 1945 to accept a professorship at Eastern Baptist Seminary, chaired the department of anthropology. During his nine years at Wheaton, Grigolia studied not only humanity, generally, but men and women, particularly as these unseasoned youth daily brushed elbows with him in the corridors of Blanchard Hall. His insights into human nature provided invaluable guidance for grateful students. For instance, cartoonist/evangelist Phil Saint remembers in his memoir, Saints Alive (1986):

But I had a mind to get me a wife while still at this school where so many lovely Christian girls were. So one day several months later I went to consult Dr. Alexander Grigolia, head of the department of anthropology. I respected this good man’s wisdom. “Well, Mr. Saint,” he said, “how things are going?” A European-trained scholar, he had a quaint way of inverting his word order. I knew what he meant. He also had a way of guessing what was on a person’s mind. “Well,” I answered, “I have a list of prospects…Of course,” I added, reddening, “they don’t know anything about this yet.” Looking seriously at me, Dr. Grigolia nodded. “Tell me who they are,” he said. I named several I deemed very nice Christian girls. When I came to Ruth Brooker, Doc brightened visibly. “Ah,” he declared, ” she is execkly feeted for your life! You must get her!” I didn’t really know Ruth very well, but his enthusiasm excited me. “Tell me more, Doc, tell me more!” I exclaimed. I listened with great interest. And as soon as I could I made a date with that girl. After just four dates I was wildly and hopelessly in love. Ruth’s spirit, her sparkling humor, every adorable change of her features as she talked or listened, were all I could dream about. For a whole week I found study impossible. My body went to classes, but my mind was preoccupied – with Ruth. Chaffing like a race horse at the starting gate, I waited for classes to finish so I could see her again. Putting my feelings into words as we sat one night on the porch swing at her home was the hardest thing I ever tried to do. The setting was perfect for a proposal. Moonlight threw a pattern of shadow and silvery light around us, and a soft breeze rustled the rose arbor. And Ruth was so near! After struggling for the right words, I finally gave up. Instead of proposing marriage, I just asked Ruth to pray about the future of our relationship. Ruth had already prayed and knew what it was. In the library the next morning, as I bent over to whisper something in her ear, I saw she was making up a list of bridesmaids!

Billy Graham and Alexander Grigolia

Likewise, Billy Graham in his autobiography, Just as I Am (1997), writes that Grigolia was one of the primary reasons he decided to major in anthropology, a discipline that would stimulate empathy for differing religions and customs should the young evangelist enter the foreign mission field:

The head of the college’s new anthropology department was popular among the students, “Don’t leave Wheaton without a course in Grigolia” became a favorite saying. Short and rotund, with flashing dark eyes and an accent that hinted at his Russian birth, he had received one Ph.D in Germany and another at the University of Pennsylvania; he had a medical degree tucked in there somewhere too. In a corner of his crowded little office, ever watchful, stood his faithful colleague Josephine, with whom I was to make a quick acquaintance; she was a full-sized human skeleton. Dr. Grigolia ardently convinced us that the origins of the human race were not up from the ape but down from the hand of God, as Genesis recorded. His humorous mistakes in the King’s English were a continuous source of merriment. Once when he was at the blackboard and a couple of students were whispering to each other, he said, without turning around, “Would someone please pipe him down?”

Pioneer Girls

Serving thousands of churches through much of North America, Pioneer Clubs has a rich connection with Wheaton College. In 1939, a freshman at the college starts Girls Guild. Betty Whitaker later renamed the fledgling organization Pioneer Girls. As the ministry grew a summer camping program was begun in the 1940s. Camp Cherith was launched and then replicated in over a dozen other states and in Canada. By the next decade a National Camp Council was formed to set program, safety and facilities standards for all the Camps Cherith that were being established.

To celebrate its 25th anniversary and to tie-in with the pioneer theme of its curriculum, Pioneer Girls embarked upon a cross-country covered-wagon trip. The 1970s through to the 1990s saw the expansion of the club programs, both in age-ranges of its curriculum and the gender of its participants. Pioneer Girls became Pioneer Clubs and the overall organization called Pioneer Ministries.

2004 65th anniversary of Pioneer Clubs.

2003 The Discovery program, the small-church solution, is released.
2005-07 Trailblazer, Pathfinder and Voyager curriculum completely revised.
2007 Pioneer Clubs debuts the Exploring program large-group-format club program.

Larsen, Timothy. “Pioneer Girls: Mid-Twentieth-Century American Evangelicalism’s Girl Scouts.” Asbury Journal 63, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 59-79.


End of Summer

Although the official Gregorian calendar doesn’t mark the beginning of the Fall equinox until September 21, we all know the tell-tale signs: tanned students back from summer break have returned to class, the temperatures are cooling, Labor Day is behind us, and white shoes are no longer seen in public. The Wheaton College Special Collections recently acquired an original Vaughn Shoemaker cartoon celebrating the days of summer. After some much needed conservation efforts, the print was scanned and is now housed in the Vaughn Shoemaker Collection. Shoemaker was a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist with the Chicago Daily News for thirty years. He is well-known for his John Q. Public character who depicts the common man.

View a video about Shoemaker.

In Light and Shadow

A new exhibit by Wheaton College art professor Greg Halvorsen Schreck opened September 17. The exhibit, titled “Portraits of Wheaton’s Presidents in Light and Shadow,” features images of the eight presidents of Wheaton College. Each portrait combines 96 separately machined pieces of wood. At first, the portraits appear to be concave chunks of thinly sliced wood, without an apparent image. However, when they are illuminated from beneath by a single light source in a darkened room, rich, lifelike black-and-white portraits emerge, formed by complex patterns of light and shadow.

Schreck, who has taught photography at Wheaton since 1989, designed the method for producing the portraits in collaboration with industrial physicist Mark Woodworth. The formula for creating them is based on Lambert’s cosine law, an optical equation describing radiant intensity calculated by mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Johann Heinrich Lambert in 1760. To produce the Lambertian photographs, Woodworth coded the equation into software that translates pixel densities into surface changes that can be milled onto wood surfaces. Schreck milled pieces of basswood to form the surfaces. Light will alternate between the images within the exhibit, “to communicate the idea of God’s hand moving through three centuries, blessing the College through the individual gifts of each president,” Schreck says.

During the unveiling ceremony for the portraits, David Malone, head of Archives & Special Collections gave the following historical overview of Wheaton’s presidents.

Jonathan Blanchard came to Wheaton in 1859 to lead a nationally-known abolitionist school in an abolitionist town. It was his desire that the college commit itself to a combination of intellectual growth and Christian faith. Blanchard once wrote, “A sound and thorough education is of priceless value, yet an education without moral and religious excellence, an enlightened intellect with a corrupt heart, is but a cold gas-light over a sepulcher, revealing, but not warming the dead.” During his 22 year presidency Jonathan Blanchard sought to build a school and produce students whose lives were devoted to Christ and His Kingdom.

In 1882 Charles Albert Blanchard took the lead of Wheaton. The school struggled to continue forward as a lamppost of Christian education in the region. As he viewed the culture decaying around him Charles Blanchard moved from his father’s optimistic post-millennialism to a pre-millennial position, writing a book on The Revelation titled “Light on The Last Days.” Therein he noted that “every student of the Word of God knows that unpardoned, unwashed men cannot have light and they cannot have strength.” Charles directed Wheaton for 43 years.

Following the aged Blanchard as president was James Oliver Buswell. A pastor and theologian, Buswell established the nationally-ranked academic program that we enjoy to this day. As he echoes the words of John he reminds his readers in his Systematic Theology that Christ, as creator, is the light that lights every person.

When V. Raymond Edman assumed the presidency of Wheaton College in 1941 little did he know that he would serve the second longest presidency at Wheaton. Nor did he know that he would struggle at the end of his days. As Greg searched for photos of Dr. Edman he found it difficult to locate a portrait in which his eyes were not partially shut or squinty. This was because in 1959 Edman was diagnosed with the first of many eye conditions, some of which left him bed-bound for months and in complete darkness. Yet it was under his presidency that Wheaton saw its second wave of significant missionary activity among alumni. Sending the light of the gospel abroad.

In 1965 with a PhD from the University of Chicago, Hudson Taylor Armerding took the helm and charted it through difficult days of tumult in the 1960s and 70s. He sought to bring unity to a fractured time. In a speech to the faculty workshop in 1977 he reminded his listeners that fellowship is the result of walking in the light and that light, he believed, was the truth of the scriptures.


Wheaton’s next president, J. Richard Chase, came to Wheaton with significant experience as a college president after serving Biola. Most recently passing on to his reward, Dr. Chase steadied the course of Wheaton reaffirming its historic commitments. His own foundation was sure. In his last year at his final baccalaureate he said that his life verse was Psalm 91:1. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” He loved this passage because he said he could use all the help he could get.

Duane Litfin‘s vision of Christian higher education, borne out of his decade-long history as a college president, is illustrated in Conceiving the Christian College. Christ-centered education is one infused with the light of Christ where “all life and light, whatever their proximate sources, flow ultimately from him.” During his tenure he established footings of resources that will stand for years to enable Wheaton, God-willing, to continue to honor Christ.


.Now today we are at a new dawn. With the inauguration of Philip G. Ryken Wheaton embraces a fresh opportunity to see God’s faithfulness — to see his provision and care. May his presidency be one where the effulgence of Christ’s glory is revealed and known. May the only shadow known here be that of God’s hand of mercy and tender grace.


Francis Schaeffer papers

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, announced yesterday that the Francis Schaeffer Foundation had selected the seminary to serve as custodian of the Francis Schaeffer papers. It is interesting that Schaeffer’s papers will reside at a Baptist institution, despite Schaeffer’s life-long relationship with the Presbyterian tradition. Reinforcing this relationship is the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute at Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri. In response to questions about the paper’s new home, Deborah Middelmann, Schaeffer’s daughter, stated that

“My father was a very odd man. Had it been given to a more logical place it would have been very inappropriate.”

Below is a biographical sketch that accompanies the collection of Edith and Francis Schaeffer’s papers at Wheaton College.

Francis SchaefferFrancis August Schaeffer IV was born on January 30, 1912. Raised in a blue-collar working-class home, Fran, as he was called, learned the value of work from his father. Later, as a minister, he lifted up hard physical labor and working with your hands as the calling of God.

Though he valued physical labor it was intellectual effort that would characterize Schaeffer’s legacy. Purchasing a text on Greek philosophy by accident, it grabbed Fran’s interest and opened the door to his intellectual pursuits. Further studies in philosophy led him to explore basic questions about the meaning of life. This set Schaeffer on a path of search and inquiry.

In late summer 1930 Schaeffer attended a revival and experienced an old-style, sawdust trail, conversion. His new found religious fervor was coupled with his emerging intellectual appetite. In 1931 Schaeffer began his studies at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. With the nickname “Phily,” Schaeffer worked his way through school, continuing to value the synergy found in combining physical work with intellectual pursuits.

In 1935 Francis began studying at Westminster Theological Seminary, following J. Gresham Machen there after his departure from Princeton Theological Seminary. Unfortunately, another split surrounded Machen after his death. After Fran’s second year at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia the new Presbyterian Church in America denomination split and Schaeffer left Westminster, along with Dr. Carl McIntire, and helped found Faith Seminary in Wilmington, Delaware. Upon the completion of his studies he was ordained in the Bible Presbyterian Church.

In the early summer of 1938 Schaeffer and his family moved to Grove City, Pennsylvania to pastor the small Covenant Presbyterian Church. There were few children in the church and the Schaeffers helped organize and teach a summer Vacation Bible School–the first summer, in a church that had no Sunday school, seventy-nine children attended. However, not all of their early efforts were as successful. Their efforts to reach college students at Grove City College failed. However, with Schaeffer’s preaching and encouragement the church grew and in less than three years they built a new building and the membership exceeded one hundred.

In 1941 Fran began serving as the associate pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church of Chester, Pennsylvania, outside Philadelphia. He served this church for less than two years. Though his ministry was marked by compassion, Schaeffer was known to display a quick temper that expressed itself in sudden outbursts among his family.

In 1943 the Schaeffer family left Pennsylvania for Bible Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Here Schaeffer’s ministry was known as one of personal hard work and working his congregation hard. Shortly after his third daughter’s birth in 1945 Fran traveled Europe for three months on behalf of the American Council of Christian Churches and the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions visiting different churches in order to learn about their situation following the war. On his return he reported on his journey and its personal toll. Though it was one of his greatest spiritual experiences, it exhausted him. After months of recovery and a return to his pastoral duties, Schaeffer was given another leave to travel and speak in preparation for a meeting of the International Council of Churches meeting to be held in Amsterdam in August 1948.

The trip began an over-three decade involvement with Christian activity in Europe. One of the key friendships that began in Holland was with art critic and professor, Hans Rookmaaker. After the meeting in Amsterdam the family moved to Switzerland. Here they lived and ministered to those they met, particularly Americans military personnel. 1951 marked the beginning of a spiritual revival and renewal for Schaeffer and his ministry. He had been in Europe for three years, facing the crisis of how best to communicate the gospel in a culture that was not his own. He struggled to communicate to those who had suffered through two destructive wars and whose churches had spurned a biblical theology. He reaffirmed his belief that the Christian faith is rooted in the revelation of God in the Bible. By this time the Schaeffers were living near Champery, preaching in a small Protestant chapel located in a heavily-Catholic canton.

After returning from a seventeen-month furlough in the United States where Schaeffer taught at his former seminary, Faith Theological, he perceived fractures in his denomination. The Schaeffers were concerned for the future of their ministry. Some of his teaching generated controversy and their financial support suffered. However, the Schaeffers returned with a fresh emphasis upon trusting God with financial cares. It was in this context that in 1955 L’Abri, (“the shelter”) would be started, first in Champery and then in Huemoz in the Canton of Vaud. One of the hallmarks of L’Abri was a continual trusting in the provision of God for their needs from the original down-payment to purchase Chalet les Melezes to monies needed to buy everyday necessities.

Edith and Francis SchaefferThe Schaeffers described the purpose of L’Abri as showing forth by demonstration, in life and work, the existence of God. Fran and Edith came from opposite backgrounds and it was this diversity that would be exhibited in those who came to stay at L’Abri. Students from diverse backgrounds–Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, liberal Christians, Roman Catholics, and others of various anti-Christian and Christian views–came to their door from all over the world. Over the next decade and a half the work of L’Abri was extended to England and through broadcasts on Trans-World Radio. These efforts served to draw more seeking answers to the little Swiss village.

Schaeffer’s ideas and talks were in great demand. He was invited to speak at European universities and Ivy League schools. Accomplishing what few could, Schaeffer easily packed Princeton Seminary’s chapel. His twenty-one books have sold in the millions and have been translated into at least twenty-four languages. Some of his influential titles are The God Who Is There (1968), Escape from Reason (1968), He Is There and He Is Not Silent (1972), How Should We Then Live (1976) and Whatever happened to the human race (1979). His last books before his death were the best-seller A Christian Manifesto (1981) and The Great Evangelical Disaster (1984).

Diagnosed with cancer in 1978, Schaeffer felt that he had accomplished more in the last five years of his life than he had in all the years before he had cancer. Francis Schaeffer died early in the morning of May 15, 1984. An ally in pro-life efforts, Ronald Reagan remembered Schaeffer “as one of the great Christian thinkers of our century.”

Let’s Celebrate

Dr. Lori Salierno is a nationally recognized public speaker and founder and CEO of Celebrate Life International, a non-profit organization committed to helping young people become leaders of integrity. Founded in 1996, CLI’s mission is “dedicated to transforming at-risk kids into responsible citizens through the building of their character based on practical leadership skills and universal ethical principles.” The organization is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with offices in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Cape Town (South Africa) and volunteer chapters established in metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Lori Salierno earned her BA in Biblical Studies from Seattle Pacific University and was presented the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997. She later completed her Masters Degree in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1992. In 2003, Dr. Salierno received her Doctor of Ministry degree in Leadership Development from Asbury Theological Seminary. She has authored six books and currently resides in Kennesaw, Georgia, with her husband Kurt.

Lori spoke at Wheaton College on October 9, 1991 from Philippians 4 on the theme of celebrating our lives in Christ with joy.

Audio icon (mp3 – 00:22:50)

A master of money

John H. ConverseIn amongst the various scholarships offered at Wheaton College is one in honor of John Heman Converse. Though not among more recent listings, Converse’s generosity is noted in history. He was born in Burlington, VT on December 2, 1840 to Mr. and Mrs. John Kendrick Converse. Converse was prepared for college in the local high school and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1861, where he distinguished himself for his intellect and moral force. Upon graduation Converse worked for three years as an editor for the Burlington Daily and Weekly Times. In 1864 he moved to Chicago to work for the Chicago and Northwestern Railway Company. He would remain associated with railroads for the remainder of his life, with the Pennsylvania Railroad and then the Baldwin Locomotive Works. He became a partner in 1873 of Burnham, Parry, Williams & Co., later the Baldwin Locomotive Works. In addition to his professional life Converse served as Director of the Board of City Trusts of Philadelphia, Trustee of Girard College (a private boarding primary and secondary school for children of single parents) and his alma mater, Director of several Philadelphia banks and trusts, Trustee of the Presbyterian Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Secretary of the Board. He also served President of the Fairmount Park Art Association, the nation’s first private, nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. The association was founded in 1872 by concerned citizens who believed that art could play a role in a growing city and adopted the country’s first ordinance that required that a percentage of construction costs be set aside for fine arts. Mr. Converse was a strong supporter of higher education, particularly a liberal education. He supported heavily his alma mater and wrote “Higher Education for business pursuits and manufacturing,” published in Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Volume 28 (1906). In addition to his association with Girard College and the Univesity of Vermont, Converse was a trustee of the Mount Hermon School that had been founded by Mr. Moody. He was one of the original signators founding the International Y. M.C. A. Training School at Springfield, Mass.

With all of these accolades and achievements it was known that he was exceedingly generous with his fortune. It was said the he was a master of his money and that it never mastered him. Like the biblical Abraham Mr. Converse determined to be his own executor, distributing his wealth during his lifetime and not by probate. His view of finances were informed by his faith. He was a thorough-going Presbyterian but was ecumenical in his involvements. He was known as a faithful and generous churchman. The Presbyterian Hospital in Philadelphia was of particular interest to Converse, serving as a trustee and secretary. As with the University of Vermont Converse helped build its physical plant through generous gifts. Converse was a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church and very active in several Christian enterprises in the “City of Brotherly Love.” In 1900 he was Vice Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of the United States and also served as Chairman of the Business Committee of the Board of Publication and the Committee on Evangelistic Work. He was a Trustee of the Princeton Theological Seminary and a member of the University Extension Association. He was a strong initiator of evangelistic efforts that were carried on by the Presbyterian Church in the United States. He encouraged noted urban evangelist J. Wilbur Chapman to return to evangelistic work and endowed a fund to be sure that the work continued if he were to die suddenly.

Continuing, further, his support of higher education he helped endow the San Francisco Theological Seminary through gifts to the library and a theology chair. When he was honored by the Presbyterian Church in 1902 those in attendance numbered nearly 2,500 and Supreme Court justices, federal judges, public officials and numerous clergymen of several denominations were among the guests.

Converse was married in Bay Ridge, Long Island, NY, on July 9, 1873 to Elizabeth Perkins Thompson. Together they had two daughters and one son. In 1908 he adopted the daughter of a cousin who had become an orphan in order to provide for her. Converse died suddenly from heart disease at his Rosemont, PA home on May 2, 1910.

Dr. Louis H. Evans, Sr.

William Evans, a native of England, heard D. L. Moody preach in New York City in 1890, and there received the gift of salvation in Christ. Advised by Moody to attend his new school in Chicago, Evans traveled to the Windy City, enrolled at Moody Bible Institute and graduated in 1892. He was, in fact, its first graduate. After a few years in various pastorates, he was appointed as Director of Bible at his alma mater. Aside from his classroom accomplishments, Dr. Evans contributed three lasting agents in the propagation of the gospel message. His first contributions were books titled How to Prepare Sermons (1917) and Great Doctrines of the Bible (1912), still in print through Moody Publishers.

Louis EvansHis other contribution was not a book but a son, named Louis Hadley Evans, who would one day be cited as one of the notable preachers of the twentieth century. Born in Goshen, Indiana, in 1897, Louis was raised in Wheaton, Illinois, in a house that stood on the corner of Franklin and Irving, where the Nicholas wing of Buswell Memorial Library now stands on the campus of Wheaton College. Louis attended Wheaton Academy, across the street from his home, for one year (1914-15), then later entered Occidental College in Los Angeles. A remarkable athlete, muscled and broad-shouldered at 6 ft. 4, he participated in football and basketball, winning multiple honors. After serving in the Navy during WW I, he acquired a theological education at McCormick Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Chicago. Ordained in the United Presbyterian Church, Evans led congregations in North Dakota, California and Pennsylvania. While serving as pastor at Third Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh he received a call to Hollywood, California. Initially he found the request unappealing. “I said no at first when their call came,” he commented to Time magazine. “But later I realized it would be a burr in my saddle and that Hollywood would be one of the finest recruiting grounds in America. Also, I wanted to get my teeth into something.” When Evans assumed leadership at Hollywood Presbyterian in 1941, he found the church $250,000 in debt with a membership of 2,378. Within the first year the debt was wiped out, and for each successive year his parishioners topped their offerings, giving more than any other Presbyterian congregation in the U.S. As membership increased, swelling to the largest assembly in the denomination, so did Sunday School enrollment. Henrietta Mears, Director of Christian Education, was responsible for discipling these converts and implemented an engaging program that inspired hundreds of young people to enter full-time Christian activity; among these were Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ.

After serving for 12 years at Hollywood Presbyterian, Pastor Evans resigned in 1953, leaving a healthy congregation of 6,400 members. “It made a rancher out of me instead of a shepherd,” he joked. For the next nine years he traveled as Minister-at-Large for the National Board of the United Presbyterian Church, USA, speaking to universities, conventions and churches, often appearing on radio or television. As he journeyed from one engagement to another, his wife, Marie, usually drove as he sat in the back seat, tapping out sermon notes on a specially built typewriter stand. In addition to itinerating, he served as President Eisenhower’s summer pastor in Washington, DC, and was one of the co-founders and early president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Life magazine named Evans as one of “America’s Twelve Outstanding Religious Leaders,” along with Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, Fulton Sheen and George A. Buttrick. Writing eight books, he continued public ministry until four months before his death in 1981. His memorial service was officiated by Dr. Lloyd John Ogilvie, who also served as a pastor at Hollywood Presbyterian (1972-95) and eventually as Chaplain to the U.S. Senate. “Rolled into one man,” eulogized Ogilvie, “was the brilliance of an Apostle Paul, the impetuousness of a Peter, the love and tenderness of a Barnabas.”

The papers of Louis H. Evans, Sr. (SC-31), are archived at Wheaton College (IL) Special Collections. The collection is comprised of photographs, recordings and typewritten documents.