Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Books for Sale

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"AS LONG AS THIS HAPPENS" - Story of J. T. Pemberton



This phrase shaped the early ministry of J. Frank Norris. These words, “As long as this happens” … were spoken by J. T. Pemberton, who served on the pulpit committee that called J. Frank Norris as pastor in 1909.

The story of this man, J. T. Pemberton gives evidence which refutes the false claim that J. Frank Norris eventually parted company with most of his one-time associates. Of all of the thousands of friends which Norris encountered along the way, none were more loyal than J. T. Pemberton. In the end, Norris considered J. T. Pemberton as the best friend he ever had and for that reason, the story of J. T. Pemberton needs to be told.

Initially, J. T. Pemberton opposed Norris at the beginning as pastor of the First Baptist Church. As it turned out, this man, Pemberton, who was the leading banker in Ft. Worth, Texas and for 38 years was in a position to befriend his pastor on more than one occasion. Strangely, it was J. T. Pemberton who cast the lone dissenting vote in 1909. Pemberton later explained the logic for casting a negative vote.

In addressing his fellow committee men, he stated, “If Norris comes as pastor, you can be assured we will not all be the same before long, for we are not ready for his type of preaching.”

“If he does come and when the fight is on, a lot of your fellows are going to take out, but I want to serve notice now. I will stay with him to the end.”

This accounts why J. Frank Norris considered J. T. Pemberton the greatest friend of his lifetime.

(This is a fascinating story which in all likelihood has never been told in detail).

In the midst of the early years, controversy soon developed into front page news, as the “city fathers” pursued means by which to silence the “straight talk” of Norris against vice and corrupt politics.

This is where the story of J. T. Pemberton begins. These “city fathers” tried to intimidate Pemberton by threatening to close his bank unless he cast in his lot to rid the city of this “trouble maker.”

J. T. Pemberton stood his ground and defied all the “would be” enemies. A typical reply to these would-be Norris assassins went like this: “I think that any man that God Almighty can get along with as well on He does with J. Frank Norris, I, J. T. Pemberton, will also get along with him too. ” Such loyalty would be hard to match which J. T. Pemberton exhibited time after time.
Addressing the critics of Norris, Pemberton said: “Gentlemen, you can cut this left arm off, and let every drop of blood in my body fall on this ground, before I will sit silently by, and let you ruin an innocent preacher, and drive him from the pulpit.”

A turnaround in Norris’ ministry began in the year 1913. At the height of this controversy with the “city fathers”, Norris had decided to leave Ft. Worth and head for California for a new start, but an interesting conversation at that time changed his (Norris’) ministry which lasted until the time of his death. Norris said to Mr. Pemberton:

“J. T., I am going to leave. I have made the best fight that I could. I have a wife and three babies. There is no use for me to try to stay here. I wish that I had never seen this town. I never want to see it again when I leave. I want to borrow some money. I haven’t a thing in the world to give you; no security.” (And that was Norris’ exact words)

Then Mr. Pemberton said: “How much do you want?” Then Norris said, “Well, I want more than I am going to ask you for. I am going out to Southern California. A friend of mine has got a ranch, and I am going to start life again.”

“I am going to get on my feet, and I will make something, or do something.” Then Mr. Pemberton said, “Well, I don’t blame you. You have stayed longer than I thought you would. Longer than I would.” Then Norris replied, “You have been a true friend.”

Norris just signed a note, with only his signature as security. Pemberton quotes as saying: “Go down there, and get your money. When are you leaving?” Norris replied, “I am leaving in the morning at 4 o’clock. I want to leave before daylight. I will take my wife and three babies, and I am going and I never want to see this place again.” “I wish that I had never heard of it. I have made a hard fight. I have been wounded to death. I have been betrayed. I have been stabbed in the back. I came here a young preacher. I thought that I was doing the right thing.”

As Norris and Pemberton walked to the door, Pemberton said,

“Well, I will tell you goodbye. But with one last word. I am mighty glad that you had last Sunday’s great service before you left.” “You know I sat there and I saw twenty-five or thirty people coming down the aisle, some hard cases that I have known for years, old red-boned sinners coming up there and confessing to the Lord, and tears running down their faces, and I saw that night a still larger number coming.” Pemberton continued by saying:

“I don’t know, it must have been fifty or sixty during the day.” And do you know what I thought? Pemberton said: “Well, they are cussing out my preacher, and attacking him, and lying on him, but just AS LONG AS THAT HAPPENS and God uses him to win souls like that, no matter what they say about him, he will win out.”
Norris seized upon that one little phrase: “JUST AS LONG AS THAT HAPPENS.” This thought under-girded his ministry for the next 30 years. Norris then tore up the note and went home and told my wife we are going to stay.

That is why the J. Frank Norris Historical Society has been established and in conclusion it is in keeping with that one phrase, AS LONG AS THIS HAPPENS, Gail and I want to sing a song, which in another way tells the whole story of just what I’ve been talking about.

Song is entitled Christ Receiveth Sinful Men

Goodnight and may God Bless America.

Roy Falls
October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011


When you become tired of sinful ways,
When you become aware that you are going in the wrong direction,
When the way of the world, the flesh and satan become repugnant,
When you see yourself as a part of the earthly corruption,
When you begin to see that surely there is a better way.

These thoughts begin to weigh heavily upon your heart and mind. God's way then begins to break through,


They lead to a stirring up of that stubborn will,


That is when your thoughts begin to focus on the goodness of God's way.

Faith then leads us to pray the sinner's prayer ...

LORD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME, A SINNER ... just 7 words says it all.

Where sin abounds - Grace doth much more abound.

Roy Falls

Letter to Star Telegram Editor October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

Bud Kennedy
Star Telegram

Re: Oct. 23rd Sunday article entitled Religious prejudice never goes out of style in politics

Dear Mr. Kennedy,

Norris did not attack Catholicism simply because of religious views, but in the case of which your article refers, his attacks were directed on the basis of Catholic opposition to prohibition. The country in 1928 was divided on this issue. Why is it that J. Frank Norris is fair game for demonization, but others are given a free ride as if they deserve some sort of sacrosanct privilege?

You do give credit to Norris when he lauds the Catholics for their opposition to the menace of communism. Friends and foes alike agree on one characteristic of J. Frank Norris. Unlike many of his critics, he did not resort to subtle or misleading statements to express his opinions.

Mr. Hankins’ statement “Norris was part of a wing of fundamentalists who attacked Catholics simply because of Catholicism.” That is a subtle statement unworthy of comment. Would he say the same about the Capitol speech given by Dr. Truett?

The often quoted assertion that Norris killed an unarmed man is simply not true. The court records plainly reveal that at least 12 witnesses testified otherwise and then the jury ruled “not guilty”.

Truth is unassailable and for verification read the eulogy by Mr. Amon G. Carter upon the death of J. Frank Norris.

P.S. Stokes and Hankins resort to hearsay. At age 91 I am a first hand witness since 1928.

Roy Falls

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sept. 2011 Letter to Editor, Times Union, New York

September 27, 2011

Times Union
Box 15000, News Plaza
Albany, N. Y. 12212

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the J. Frank Norris Historical Society, I wish to point out glaring erroneous assertions in the article by Rev. David R. Stokes which appeared in your publication on August 27, 2011.

I have done extensive research on this very subject which Mr. Stokes’ uses as the focus of his remarks. You will note that Mr. Stokes equates “Fundamentalism” as the fertile recruiting soil for the Ku Klux Klan. Scholarly research does not validate his assumption. If you, as Editors, will substitute the word “Protestantism” for the word “Fundamentalism”, you will get an entirely different take on the man Rev. Stokes tries to make out as the leader of the “pack”. Protestantism of all sectors, including main-line Southern Baptist churches were the core leaders of different factions of the Klan in this time period. The vast majority of Klansmen were members of protestant churches and most pastors were sympathetic supporters, although themselves not dues paying members of the Klan. It is not surprising, that Rev. Stokes has found evidence that one such Klansman was a member of the Norris church. Read the archives of the Dallas Morning News for an eye-opener. At best, any involvement in the Klan on the part of J. Frank Norris would be considered on the periphery.

Another inaccuracy in the article is the oft assertion that Norris shot an unarmed man. This assumption is based on hearsay and out-of the court’s sources. It’s a long story, but I’ve talked and knew personally most of the defendant witnesses. At age 91, I do have a closer view and understanding of the events in 1926, rather than from a distance of 75 years.

For the benefit of all New York Jewish constituents, the name of J. Frank Norris will, in the course of history, be remembered as the most ardent exponent of Jewish causes, namely Zionism. This one aspect of Norris’ legacy has led me to an appreciation of his legacy, thus my endeavor on the J. Frank Norris Historical Society is committed to factual reporting.

Roy Falls
3505 Cherokee Trail
Granbury, Tx. 76048

J. Frank Norris' Opposition to Denominationalism

The difference between Fundamentalism and Denominationalism. Also the difference between pre millenniumism and post millenniumism.

CORRECTION: J. Frank Norris died in 1952, not 1925, as stated.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

TOP TEN COUNTRIES - As of End of September 2011

Click photo to enlarge
United States 4,082

Russia 161

Germany 48

China 35

Latvia 34

Ukraine 34

Canada 23

Philippines 23

United Kingdom 21

Thailand 15

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

J Frank Norris Supported Zionism

Tonight I want to deal with a subject which has very seldom been addressed at length. It is a subject in which the man for whom my website is named, The J. Frank Norris Historical Society, was vitally concerned for and had a deep-seeded compassion for its success.

I refer to the movement of what has been called, “Zionism” which originated in the mind of Theodore Herzl in about the year of 1900. Mr. Herzl, of Jewish descent, looked toward the future and foresaw the day in which a national homeland would be established for Jews scattered around the world for the first time in over 2500 years. This dream was finally culminated in 1948, but I must state, it was in part only, for the final and complete culmination is yet in the future.

I want to emphasize the futuristic concept of this dream, for that thought carries with it a host of unanswered questions worthy of consideration. The future is unknown but who knows, there may come a time scientifically, that we can foretell the future.

Zionism per se did not begin in the mind of Theodore Herzl, for the thought behind Zionism dates back to the Old Testament time of Abraham, 1500 years before Christ. The year of 1900 just happened to be the focal point reviving the concept of the re-gathering of the nation of Israel.

The connotation of Zionism invariably is linked with religion and in this case, it is the religion of the Jewish people. The subject of Zionism is important, not only from a religious standpoint, but also should serve as a basis for scientific research. In this modern era, science has reached a plateau of respectability and rightfully so in so far as true science is concerned. Science prides itself in holding to ideals of objectivity. It is no accident that the world’s greatest scientific minds are of Jewish descent. Albert Einstein is a case in point. Zionism likewise is an idea born in the mind of Jewish sages. What may seem like a silly idea to some just might be a meaningful source of serious research concerning the future of Zionism if the same amount of endeavor where forthcoming as that which is devoted to earthly science. We then just be able to determine the future of mankind.

Zionism is synonymous with the core message of the Old Testament, and out of this has immerged the era of Christendom.

Like all of life, Zionism is shrouded in mystery, but it’s adherents, while clinging to the hope of reaching the land of “milk and honey”, has motivated untold millions and so, like the Zionists and J. Frank Norris, a foremost proponent of Zionism, we join in singing there is a land that is fairer than day……In The Sweet By And By.

Roy Falls
October 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Family Devotion

A family devotion, not a church replacement, but a good supplemental practice.