By Mike Willis
Those of us who are working to produce Truth Magazine are constantly looking for ways in which we can improve the quality of the Magazine. Hence, we sometimes produce special issues on current topics, make technical changes in the printing of the paper, etc. all of which are designed to make Truth Magazine a better journal through which the gospel of Jesus Christ is presented. Among the things which we have done to improve the paper is to secure the services of qualified writers to make sure that the content of this paper is worth the cost which our subscribers pay. We like to think that we have always presented a good staff of writers who regularly contribute articles to this paper which make this magazine among the very best in print.
Sometimes we lose writers for one reason or another. Some of our regular writers are growing old to the point that their years of service are very much limited. Some, because of health reasons, are no longer able to write regularly for us. Others have committed themselves to other fields of labor to such an extent that they are no longer contributing articles to Truth Magazine. Hence, we are losing staff writers from time to time. Even at this time, we are losing Ferrell Jenkins, Harry Ozment and Bruce Edwards. Hence, we find it necessary to enhance our staff of writers by adding some new staff writers at this time.
Before announcing the names of our new staff writers, there are some introductory remarks which I would like to make. It should go without saying that each writer is solely responsible for the material which he himself writes. We ask no writer to accept responsibility for the total content of this journal nor even request that he defend us in all matters of judgment. There will always be times when the manner in which another author writes is not pleasing to me and the manner in which I write will not be pleasing to someone else. Hence, we only ask that each writer be responsible for his own work. There will be times that various members of our staff will disagree with things which appear in this journal and may choose to express that disagreement. Sometimes, as editor, I even request that opposing viewpoints of different matters be presented. This is done in the belief that the presentation of both sides of an issue will help make the truth shine brighter.
We always request that each staff writer contribute at least six articles each year for publication. Our reason for this is that we have no intention of publishing a masthead filled with the names of venerable brethren who do not regularly write for this journal. Hence, if any of our staff writers decide that they do not want to write at least six articles per year for Truth Magazine, we request that they at least let us know of their intention to quit writing for us by resigning.
The men whom we have chosen to write for us are very well qualified men. One is a well-known, experienced preacher who has been serving our Lord for more years than I have been alive. Two others of our writers are rapidly approaching the ripe old age of thirty and the fourth has recently passed that age. I guess that we would have to list him as being in the prime of his life. All of those whom we are adding are known and respected for their faithfulness to God and His word. Their lives are impeccable and their abilities are well-known. We sincerely believe that Truth Magazine will be enhanced by their contributions.
In order that I might introduce these men to you, I have written a brief, biographical sketch of each of these men. By knowing a little of their background, perhaps you will appreciate their works a little more. In alphabetical order, our new staff writers are as follows:
On November 28, 1926, Bill Lavender was born in Bemis, Tennessee. The son of Methodist parents, Bill graduated from high school in 1944 and promptly joined the United States Navy serving until August, 1946. While in the Navy, he served as a pharmacist’s mate. Two years after his discharge from the armed forces, Bill married Miss Marinel Raines of Malesus, Tennessee.
Bill attended Union University in Jackson, Tennessee and David Lipscomb College in Nashville; he graduated from Lipscomb in 1950.
While in the Navy, Bill obeyed the gospel. He was stationed in San Francisco, California when he heard the gospel preached, believed it and obeyed it. Less than two years after he was baptized into Christ, Bill had preached his first gospel sermon in his hometown. While attending school, he preached for two years at the Deason church in Bedford County, Tennessee and then at the Philadelphia church in Maury County and the Fosterville church in Rutherford County by Sunday appointments.
Since then, Bill has done local work at Ashland City, Tennessee; Cooper, Texas (4 years); Dallas, Texas (3 years); Longview, Texas (5 years); and Port Arthur, Texas (14 years). He has preached for the Imhoff Avenue congregation for the last eleven years.
During his life, Bill has had the privilege of personally baptizing approximately 900 people. He has had one debate and that with a United Pentecostal preacher. At the present, while working with the brethren at Imhoff Avenue, he holds ten to fifteen gospel meetings every year and writes an eight-page monthly church bulletin which has a circulation of 4,500. Bill is known and loved by brethren all over these United States.
Bill and Marinel have four sons: Paul, Philip, Bradley and Bait. They are also the proud grandparents of one little girl. I know that you will enjoy the articles which Brother Bill Cavender writes for us.
Daniel Hayden King
Daniel was born on August 1, 1948 to Mr. and Mrs. Hayden King of Union City, Tennessee. His father was a “sharecropper.” To the King’s were born two other sons and one daughter. To make a living as a sharecropper in that area was extremely difficult; hence, in 1954 the King’s were forced to leave Tennessee in search of a better job. The family ended up in Detroit, Michigan where Hayden King worked in the construction trade.
Daniel’s father was reared as a Methodist; his mother was a member of the Lord’s church, as most of her family before her had been. Her family had been forced to disassociate themselves from the Christian Church when the division occurred over instrumental music and missionary societies. Because of strong gospel preaching and the influence of a god-fearing woman, Hayden King was converted to Christ and took the lead in raising his family to be Christians. Mr. and Mrs. King must have been rather effective at this since all four of their children are faithful Christians.
When the family moved to Michigan, they began to worship with the East Detroit church. Already, the battle was raging over whether or not the church could scripturally support benevolent institutions and the sponsoring church arrangement. Letters from home reported the Newbern, Tennessee debate between Roy E. Cogdill and Guy N. Woods. The aftermaths of this debate are the primary cause of the King’s stand against liberalism in the church today. Finally, when the church at East Detroit became too liberal for the King’s to tolerate, they left the congregation and identified with the saints at South Macomb in Roseville, Michigan.
In the meantime, Daniel was having some trouble deciding to be a Christian. The presentation of evolution as scientific fact had persuaded him that the biblical account of creation could not be true. He wrestled with this until, in the summer of 1965; he was baptized into Christ by the ‘young evangelist at the East Detroit church, Jimmy Carter (no relation to the President, I presume). Upon his conversion, Daniel decided to change his plans from majoring in Biology to become a gospel preacher. Soon, he preached his first gospel sermon on “Creation.”
During the period following his graduation from high school, Daniel met Miss Donna Jean Chapman, the young lady destined to become the wife of a young preacher. She had been a member of the Catholic Church but through their studies together, she became a Christian. On September 7, 1968, Donna and Daniel were united in marriage.
During the years that Daniel was getting his education, he worked part time with several congregations. From 1966 to 1968, he studied at Wayne State University in Detroit where he primarily studied Greek and public speaking. From there he went to David Lipscomb College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible. His interest changed to the study of the Old Testament while at this college. Soon, he enrolled at Harding College Graduate School of Religion from which university he received the Master of Arts degree in Old Testament in 1973. While in Memphis, Daniel help to establish a new congregation in Millington, Tennessee. During this time, the church grew from twenty members to over eighty members in just two and one-half years. In 1973, he moved to work with the Gallatin, Tennessee church with which he labored until 1975. When he moved to Nashville to work with the Hillview church, he continued his education by attending Vanderbilt University where he has almost completed the classroom work for a Ph. D. degree in Old Testament Studies.
Daniel has written for several periodicals. He was a regular contributor for Facts For Faith, a periodical dealing with Christian evidences. In October, 1972, he engaged Dr. David Otis Fuller, author of Which Bible? in a written discussion on whether or not the King James Version was the best translation of the biblical texts. Too, Daniel has contributed several articles to Truth Magazine.
Daniel and Donna have one son, Daniel, Jr., who is now four years old. They are expecting their second child in March, 1977.
Keith is richly blessed by being the son of a faithful gospel preacher. He was born September 27, 1945 in Del Rio, Texas to H. F. and Pearl Sharp. H. F. Sharp, a native of Arkansas, has been preaching for nearly 35 years and was the first preacher in the state of Arkansas to publicly take a stand against church support of orphan homes. Through the years he has manifested a steadfast, unyielding and uncompromising loyalty to truth.
During Keith’s childhood, the Sharp’s were doing located work primarily in Conway, Arkansas. After completing high school in that city, Keith attended Florida College where he compiled quite a record as an outstanding student, holding several class and society offices and receiving several awards for outstanding work. While in Florida, Keith also met the woman who became his wife, Miss Sandra Diane Hawkins. They were married on September 4, 1965. Sandy is from Elgin, Illinois; her parents are faithful Christians and her father formerly served the Elgin church as an elder.
In May of 1965, Keith began his first full-time work by preaching in Quitman, Arkansas. While working with that congregation, he continued his education by attending Arkansas State Teachers College (now known as the University of Central Arkansas) in Conway. In 1966, he moved to El Dorado, Arkansas to preach for the Union Heights congregation. While there he received the BSE degree in social studies from Southern State College in Magnolia. After graduating, he taught one year of school at Parkers Chapel High School. That must have been a busy year for Keith because during that year he taught school, drove a school bus, attended to extra-curricular school activities, preached weekly, and wrote a bulletin. During this same year, Sandy gave birth to their firstborn son, Brent (now eight years old).
In 1969, Keith moved his family to Rogers, Arkansas. He continued his secular education by attending the University of Arkansas from which institution he received the Master of Arts degree in history. During their stay in Rogers, their twins, Michelle and Bryan, were born. Too, Keith engaged E. H. Miller of La Grange, Georgia in a debate on the “one cup” and classes issues.
In 1972, the family moved to Baytown, Texas where they are presently located laboring with the Pruett and Lobit church there. He is presently editing two bulletins published by that church, one which is handed out to the members and one which is mailed out to residents of Baytown. This past summer, Keith had his second debate, a debate with a Mormon.
During his years of preaching, Keith has contributed articles to the Gospel Guardian, Preceptor, Searching the Scriptures, Torch and Truth Magazine. The Preceptor Company is in the process of printing his first book, a class book on first principles entitled What Must I Do To Be Saved
Their fourth child, Timothy, was born in 1975. Hence, the Sharp’s are blessed with four children. This July, they will be moving to begin work with the church in Conway, Arkansas. You will be appreciating the articles which Keith will be writing on the Sermon on the Mount.
Johnny Stringer was born August 2, 1947 in Lufkin, Texas. He was reared in East Texas, primarily in Longview. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. N. W. Stringer, are faithful members of the Greggton church in Longview. They had one other son, a young man who was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 18 in 1963.
Since his parents attended the Greggton church, Johnny was privileged to grow up under the influence of the preaching of Brother Bill Cavender during the time that he worked there. At the age of 15, Johnny obeyed the gospel during a gospel meeting conducted by Luther Blackmon. Brother Cavender was a major influence on Johnny during these years. He was the one who contributed the most influence in Johnny’s decision to spend his life preaching the gospel. Of course, after Johnny had made this decision, his parents and home congregation encouraged him. Approximately one year after his baptism, he was given the opportunity to preach his first lesson during the morning service of the Greggton congregation. Too, his parents made many sacrifices in order to make it possible for him to attend Florida College.
In the fall of 1965, Johnny enrolled in Florida College. He completed the four-year program at Florida College and earned the certificate which they give to those who have completed that program. During these years, he was able to spend his summers working with various congregations. In 1967, he worked with the church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and in 1968 he worked with the 40th Street church in Tampa, Florida. During his last year at Florida College, Johnny preached for the church in Dunedin, Florida.
After leaving Florida College, Johnny began working with Bill Cavender in a two-preacher arrangement in Port Arthur, Texas. He, therefore, had the privilege of working under the oversight of godly elders and with an experienced preacher. This arrangement continued from June, 1969 through July, 1971. At that time, Johnny moved to Terre Haute, Indiana to work with the small, struggling church in that city. While there, Johnny and I had the occcasion to work together regularly in the publication of our bulletins. Through that association, I have grown acquainted with him to the point that I have nothing but the highest respect for his abilities, his dedication to God and loyalty to his friends. Needless to say, my family was saddened when Johnny announced his plans to move to Trumann, Arkansas in November of 1973. Being personally associated with Johnny, I am more intimately acquainted with some of the sacrifices that he has made to be able to preach the gospel. He has worked with churches which lacked the ability to pay him what other gospel preachers were making, yet I have never heard him complaining about it.
Johnny married Nanette Birdwell, the daughter of O. C. Birdwell who is one of our associate editors and a board member of Cogdill Foundation. Those acquainted with the Birdwell’s know of their faithfulness to God. The Stringers have a very intimate family association and are blessed with one daughter, Cynthia Marie who was born September 27, 1974. Their second child is expected to be born in May. Nanette has always been willing to share Johnny’s load of work and sacrifices; I have never heard her complain of the problems associated with being married to a preacher.
Johnny has written articles for The Gospel Guardian, Seraching the Scriptures, With All Boldness, and Truth Magazine. Recently, he published his first booklet entitled The Grace-Unity Heresy which was previously reviewed in this magazine.
Truth Magazine XXI: 10, pp. 147-151
March 10, 1977