Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

Roy Falls at Norris' gravesite

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Books for Sale

Monday, February 27, 2012

A MOST NOTEWORTHY EVENT ... If you fail to pick up on what the vast crowds saw, week after week, then your perception is flawed.


(Part 1 of 2)


(Part 1 of 2)

Acts 2:46“And they went from house to house with singleness of heart.”

This was the beginning of the New Testament Church in Jerusalem. This story is worth telling over and over. Buried beneath all of the peripheral sensational episodes of the J. Frank Norris ministry, the real story of this man, whose life was filled with both pathos and victory, has never adequately been told. It’s a story that has never been told in detail, but a glimpse of the early Jerusalem Church gives insight into what characterized the uniqueness of this phenomenal church.

While not attempting to equate the ministry of J. Frank Norris on the same level of the early church, you can be assured that Norris attempted, and to a great measure, he did pattern his ministry on the same principal, as did all of his associates after Norris had left the scene.

To tell the story in as brief a recall as possible, the ministry of J. Frank Norris as told by close associates, was the phenomenon of a “perennial revival atmosphere.”

When the rule which governs the contextual content runs its course, perhaps a hundred years or so, researchers will find the vast parishioners over a period of 40 years were transfixed with what they witnessed Sunday after Sunday.

And of the sensational skirmishes in which Norris was involved were only a glitch in the mind of most people. Most of them did not even realize they were a part of an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church. The controversies which surrounded their pastor, were not given a scintilla moment of thought. But yet, 60 years after his death, the legacy of a “gun totin’” parson arouses more interest, than the rescue of a soul in despair. Thanks to published sermons which remain, the unbiased observer will discover the heart and soul of most of his sermons, was to set the captive free.

I had the privilege of spending time with the middle son of J. Frank Norris. No one can know the heart-throb of a dad like only a son could relate. Is it any wonder that the spirit of a broken man would carry such an impact on others?

It has been said that J. Frank Norris should be no example for younger preachers to follow. Is it any wonder that the days of perennial revival has ceased? The end result, perdition, is sure to follow.

Roy Falls
February 23, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How A Riot Was Turned Into A Revival

It was in the exciting days of the "sit-down" strikes.

At Flint, Michigan, Dr. Norris was scheduled to speak in the huge municipal auditorium and the 10,000-capacity auditorium was packed to standing room and people standing on the outside.

The Chief of Police called him up at Detroit fifty miles away and said: "I cannot guarantee protection.  I hope you will call off the meeting.  It will produce a riot."  Governor Frank Murphy, then governor of Michigan, also pled with Dr. Norris not to go to Flint.

Dr. Norris told the Chief of Police and the governor:

 "It is your business to keep order, and I am going."

No sooner than he started to speak, there were two groups of hecklers (who) tried to break up the meeting.  Dr. Norris stopped and said:

"I want every red-blooded American over twenty-one and under fifty who believes in God, home and native land and free speech, to stand to your feet."

They stood, and then he said:

"Remain standing."

Then he turned and said:

"You low down, white livered, cowardly communists, now try to break up this meeting."   

There was profound silence.  There was a "half hour of silence in heaven," no more disturbance.

At the close of the meeting the ring leader of the hecklers came rushing up to the platform.  A group of Dr. Norris' ushers tried to stop him, but Dr. Norris said:

"Let him come on up here." 

And he took him to one side behind the curtain and this man said: "I want to apologize for leading this disturbance and I want you to pray for me.  I am a wrecked man.  Liquor has got the best of me.  I had a happy home, a wife and children and they are gone." 

Dr. Norris knelt with him and he was gloriously saved.  They drove fifty miles to Detroit and he baptisted him into the church.  This man's family came back and Dr. Norris got him a good job at Ford Motor Company and he is one of the best members of Temple Baptist Church.  

That is the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

(This story taken from one of Dr. Norris' sermons)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"The all-firedest explosion ever witnessed by any church."

(Excerpt from "A Fascinating Biography of J. Frank Norris)

Recommended by Dr. B. H. Carroll, J. Frank Norris was called as pastor of First Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas in September of 1909.

Norris describes his first two years as pastor of the church as peaceful and tranquil; but not being the type to acquiesce with the status quo, he soon initiated programs which disturbed the tranquil atomosphere, and also fulfulled a prophetic statement made by J. T. Pemberton:

"This church is not in condition for his (Norris') type of ministry.  If he comes there will be the all-firedest explosion ever witnessed by any church.  We are at peace with the world, the flesh, and the devil and with one another.  This fellow carries a broad axe and not a pearl handle knife.  I just want to warn you.  But now since you have called him, I am going to stay by him."

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crucifixion Prophesied 1000 Years Before

I will give you something to ask an infidel who says he doesn't believe the Bible.  You say, I want to ask you this question.  And he will tell you, if he is an intelligent man, that crucifixion was not known until the days of Rome's power.  "Then tell me how a thousand years before he was crucified was the identical, literal, minute crucifixion described in the 22nd Psalm?"  That is a thousand years before Jesus was born.  And you will find there some thirty specific prophecies fulfilled of His crucifixion, describing it in detail a thousand years before. 

It is easy to understand when we know that there is a God who knows the end from the beginning.

Remember this.  There were two indictments against Jesus.  One was blasphemy; the other was sedition.  The Jewish court, the Sandedrin did not have the power of life and death.  Only Rome had that power, everywhere that Rome ruled.  So, therefore, they arrested Jesus and brought Him before the Sanhedrin at night; and the charge against him as blasphemy, namely, that He said that he was the Son of God.  The Jews, their Sandedrin, could not put Him to death.  There, they had to bring Him before the governor.  There was no law in Rome against blasphemy.  They didn't care what you believed.  But there was a law, and the strongest law, against sedition.

Therefore, they changed the indictment from blasphemy to sedition.  They came before Pilate; they didn't say anything about this man saying He was the Son of God, but he says he is a king, and we have no king but Caesar.  They hated Caesar.  All at once they become very loyal to Caesar.  They hated Jesus a thousand times more than they hated Caesar.  Therefore, suddenly they became loyal to Caesar.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Will Continue On ... Until The Truth Be Known

(Periodically we will add to the list below ..... and re-post as a "new" post.)


In recording events, careful attention must be given to relative importance, their mutual relations, their causes and other consequences.

Without this consideration of the causes and their consequences of past events, history lacks its chief scientific and philosophic elements, and contributes little to one’s understanding of his own age or of the way in which he can best service his fellow man. (A quote from Dorothy Ruth Miller).

The J. Frank Norris Historical Society subscribes to this rule of historical research.


1.  “J Frank Norris was no more racist
than everyone else in his lifetime.”
(reference - Barry Hankins)

2.  “J Frank Norris was not cozy with the Klan.”
(reference - Texas Methodist Historical Society)

3.  “J Frank Norris did not murder an unarmed man.”
(refer to the testimony from - Jane Hartwell)

4.  “J Frank Norris never stood by and watched a lynching.”
(reference - The Waco Horror)

5.  “J Frank Norris' heart was in the right place.”
(reference - H. L. Mencken)

6.  "John Birch did more than any one man
to end the war in the Pacific."
(This is a quote from General Claire Chennault
according to Dr. John Rawlings and published in the
Biblical Evangelist, January 8, 2011)

7.  "J Frank Norris was among the first
who denounced the fraudulent document,
"The Protocols of Zion." Many clergymen
assumed an ambivalent attitude toward
this document."
(Read the history of the Baptist Union)

8.  "J Frank Norris, whatever the controversies,
deep in his character was the "spirit of
the builder". He built in beliefs, in
numbers and in stone. These monuments
remain."
(Amon G. Carter, Sr. editorial 1952)

9.  J Frank Norris loved the Jews, as God's
chosen, because they produced the greatest
prophets and preachers of all time.
(common knowledge)

10. J Frank Norris was not a "shooting salvationist";
he was a defender of his life against the threat
of a would-be assassin.
(reference: The jury has spoken)

11. J Frank Norris, in rare fashion, proclaimed
with clarity the simple story of salvation.
The many avenues approach is a deception
clothed in intellectual garb, thanks to the
C. S. Lewis phenomenon.
(read the articles of C. S. Lewis)

12. J Frank Norris was not pretentious.
The Webster dictionary associates religiosity with
pretense (showmanship).
What you saw was what you got.
(reference: All of his admirers would agree ... H. L. Mencken as well.)

13. J Frank Norris had a grasp of world history. 
He was at ease with potentates as well as the common man.
(reference: The record speaks for itself.)

14. J Frank Norris is quoted as saying the following: 
“I would do anything to keep a man out of hell.”
(reference:  Taken from a sermon (1912) and found in the archives of the
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth.
This belief was the underlying foundation of all of Norris’ ministry.)   

15. J Frank Norris was not anti-Catholic.  Such accusations
are a cheap way of avoiding serious dialogue.
(reference:   Roy Falls)

16. J Frank Norris was one of the most complex characters
I had ever met; his whole attitude implied that he was
a man who had been through a most regrettable, even deplorable, but wholly unavoidable accident,
about which he had nothing to conceal.
(reference:  Marcet Haldeman-Julian, author of the original Shooting Salvationist from the 1920’s.  The Marcet interview took 4 days after the event.)

17. J Frank Norris is a tonic for jaded spirits.
(reference: T. T. Shields of the University of Nebraska)

18. “J Frank Norris was not a “rabble rouser.” 
Hundreds of classy young men from the
First Baptist Church served in World War II.
They were not rabble.  Many never returned home.
I speak on their behalf from first hand experience.” 
(Roy Falls)

19. "J Frank Norris could do anything with a crowd.
He could have them weeping,
he could have them laughing,
he could have them do anything,
and when you listened to him
you just were moved by him,
and you felt that way."
(W. A. Criswell, pastor First Baptist, Dallas Tx.)

20. J Frank Norris could make the plan of salvation
plain and simple. This art is missing today.
(Roy Falls)

21. "J Frank Norris was the most honorable man I ever knew."
(Brooks Morris, founder of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, told me this in an interview in 1975.)
(Roy Falls)

22. "When I get to heaven I want to look up that
gracious black man who carried me up the muddy banks
of the mighty Mississippi River.  I was less than
6 yrs. of age and on my way to Texas. 
My shiny red boots are still buried in that river."
 ~ J. Frank Norris 

23. J Frank Norris was a “one man” crusader for reform, which is a characteristic of all reformers.  Mobocracy  is a poor alternative, religion notwithstanding. 
(Roy Falls)

24. The life J Frank Norris cannot be assessed by Wikipedia research methods. 
(Roy Falls)

25. The art of dialectics is like the pursuit
of a lover whispering “sweet nothings”
in the ear of an unsuspecting maid.
(Roy Falls)

26. J Frank Norris was a proponent of free speech ...
if you doubt it, there's more to come.
(Roy Falls)

27. The J. Frank Norris that I knew never worried,
was not full of anxiety, never was in a hurry and
never looked for the next thrill. 
Above all, he was not a narcissistic loony.
(Roy Falls)

Mr. L. H. Nutt's Testimony At Trial

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Modern Balaam Story



CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Some call it sensationalism and perhaps it is, but it is a part of the J. Frank Norris legacy.

Red and Claire Thompson, two world famous rodeo performers, had reached the peek of their careers.  They both had reached the time in life when the glory days fade, there is a tendency to think of the afterlife.  Much of the story of Red Thompson focused on his last days in the hospital, knowing that his days were numbered.

Red and Claire had been nursing back to health a pony named Hog Eyes.  With the heart of a real life cowboy, Red Thompson became so attached to Hog Eyes, the pony’s well being became the obsession of Red and Claire.  As a prelude to the real story, Claire managed to sneak old Hog Eyes up back the elevator at the hospital where she managed to escape the attention of hospital personnel. 

When Red, at this point in time, had lost his eyesight, but feeling the presence of Hog Eyes gave him a sense of joyful reunion. 

Claire, ever so eager to see Red make that all important decision, had now convinced Red to go into the baptismal waters and make a public commitment to Christ. 

J. Frank Norris heard from Claire and all the details leading up to this occasion.  He agreed to the wishes of Red and Claire.  Just before the actual immersion of Red took place, he screamed out “Hog Eyes, where are you?”  Norris nodded toward the door where Hog Eyes was waiting.   Whether or not Hog Eyes was lead into the baptismal waters is not clear at this moment, but one eye-witness, Louise Oldham, is one still living witness to this event in 1944.

Norris then asked the all important question “Jack Thompson, do you now trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for your only salvation”, and Red replied “I do.”

The concluding remarks by Norris were, “It isn’t every day that you find yourself performing a baptism with a horse as witness in the pool alongside you.”  The crowd disbursed singing ”Shall We Gather At The River.”

Roy Falls
February 9, 2012

Personal Collection - Photo 24

CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Bible Baptist Seminary Student Body (Fort Worth Texas, 1948)

Dr. Norris and Mrs. Norris (light colored suits) to the left, in front.
Harry Hamilton, far left, in front. (He was from New York)
Jane Hartwell, (Office manager), fifth from left, in front....standing next to soldier.
Bill Frazier, second from right, in front.
Luther Peake, far right, in front.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

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