Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Friday, April 1, 2011

He Carried A Broad Ax ... (Figuretively Speaking)


It was not long after J. Frank Norris was called as pastor in 1909 that conflict was inevitable.

Following is an example of early confrontation. The chief deacon began his conversation:

"Norris, when we called you we thought you had some sense, but you are a D___ fool! And this is to notify you that you are fired!"

I walked up close to him, and if the Lord ever helped a poor preacher He helped me that noon. I was made over. There was something beyond human power and wisdom that shot through my soul. I looked him squarely in the eye, and I wasn't afraid of him. I had already come to the point where it mattered little what happened to me. All sense of fear was gone.

I said, "Mr W______ No. You have not made a mistake. I thought you made a mistake in the call, but you are the one that is fired."

He had objected to the crowd of poor people I was bringing to the church, and even went on the say, "I noticed the other night where you baptized a notorious street walker in the very same baptistry where I was baptized."

I said, "You are mistaken. There was not one; there were two. And I don't know how you know who they are, but last Sunday night they came to the church and it was crowded and they couldn't get in, but stood on the outside and heard the message. And the next day they came to my house, and one of them had a little girl five years of age. And they both in the presence of my wife and me related the story of their sin and sorrow and wanted to be saved and start life over again. We prayed, and they were both saved. And I want to say to you, Sir, that I would rather have my church filled with publicans and sinners that come to hear the gospel, than to have it run by a worldly, ungodly crowd of officials that have their automobiles full of liquor and women and go out and spend all night on the lake and then come around the next Sunday and pass around the bread and wine at the Lord's table. You are fired! And next Sunday I am going to tell the whole world your threats!"

And I did, and the fight was on, and it has been on ever since.


Roy Falls

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