In an effort to lead others to the Knowledge of the Truth, we feel the path can be easier followed
with the Testimonies of those that have gone before. We encourage anyone who has a testimony
regarding The Lord Jesus Christ and the truth of the Mystery revealed to Paul to submit there personal
testimony so that others may read and lean thereby. Below are the beautiful testimonies of our
brothers and sisters in the Lord who have been given that measure of the gift of the Grace of God,
their eyes being enlightened that they may KNOW what is the hope of His calling.
The following information is that which my son, Gary, requested that I put in written form to preserve the history of how my father, Gary’s grandfather came to know about and believe in “Right Division” according to the Acts 28.28 position. It is my privilege to do so .
My father, Lial Gifford, was born April 2, 1906 and died on May 15th 1975.
He was born in Winn, Mi. His father had a grocery store but died when my father was a boy. Later his mother married a Mr. Davis and they lived in Winn where she was later widowed again, continuing to live in Winn until her own death in the 1950’s. His mother attended the Winn Methodist Church and I assume that their teaching was the boyhood bible teaching my father had.
After marriage to my mother, Eva, my parents having lived various places, first in Lansing, Mi and later around the Mt. Pleasant, Mi area they moved to St. Johns, Mi. were my father worked in a creamery but also started a hatchery business. After it became a stable business he quit the creamery. I might add that my father had two brothers, Thelo and Floyd, but neither of them were studied in the scriptures as my father eventually became, though they too were believers in Christ.
Sometime, while I was yet a small boy, my parents both made a confession of faith in the local Baptist Church. My sisters, two, attended Sunday school there. At some point in my parents association with that church my father began to question their teaching on “baptism” (of which he and my mother had submitted to). Aside from attending the local church, my father was also listening to the radio ministry of J. C. O’Hair, pastor of the North Shore Church (I believe it was called) in Chicago, Il.
I assume that my father’s questions concerning “baptism” were born out of what he was hearing in the teaching of paster O’Hair and due to the great debate that had sprung up among the great fundamentalist preachers at that time. Among them were such names as Dr. Ironside (pastor of the Moody Bible Church in Chicago) and Dr. James M. Gray (Editor of the Moody Monthly). This was a wonderful time in the growth of “doctrine” as these issues were being discussed and debated among these renowned minister and scholars of that time. This was also the time of early radio which allowed for a larger audience that stirred many people to give deeper thought to such great themes of the scriptures.
This was an age when preachers (as they were called at that time) were mighty preachers and teachers of the word and left us a great heritage and blessing through their writings. We had one of these ministers of renown in our own state of Mi. out of Grand Rapids, namely, Dr. M.R. DeHaan who had his own radio ministry called “Radio Bible Class” which my parents were followers and supporters of that until my father’s death. Dr. DeHaan published a devotional “Our daily bread” which is still being published to this date. His ministry was non denominational, of which also was the ministry of Cornelious Stam (which I believe continued in O’Hair’s place). He did not teach “right division.”
As I said, my father began looking into the issue of whether baptism was necessary ---that is---water baptism. This was in the early 1930’s . At this time the name of Dr E.W. Bullinger (of England) and his teaching were being attacked as they differed greatly from the common fundamental teachings. They differed because of the way in which he divided the scriptures. Dr. Bullinger was an able scholar of Hebrew and Greek as well as an accomplished musician and dedicated student of the Word of God who authored many books and pamphlets on the scriptures. His teaching was, for the most part, strongly denounced publicly in pulpit and on radio. When a preacher did see truth being brought out from his teachings it is reported that most would not publicly agree or acknowledge it because of fear of losing their position in the church.
At some point in all of this my father became convicted that Dr. Bullinger was correct that “water” baptism was not truth for today. Armed with his conviction he made a point to talk with the pastor of his Baptist Church which resulted in the pastor asking him to leave their congregation---and he did just that. Yet, we, his children continued to attend Sunday school because we were being taught the bible stories and learning fundamental things of Christ taught by a sound Christian teacher.
Having heard the name of Dr. Bullinger, my father sent away for his magazine “Things to Come”, when money for them was available and this is where he really began to be taught “right division.”
During this period of time, having left the local church, my father learned of a Walter S, Stewart of Owosso, Mi who had been pastor of the First Baptist Church in that city but had left (I assume over doctrine) and started a fellowship of believers where he taught this truth.
Pastor Stewart had three sons all very accomplished musicians one of which, Paul, I recall played the mandolin. Pastor Stewart left Owosso for Portland, Oregon sometime in the early 1940’s where he started a small church of his own. I recall my father telling me that one of his sons had worked on the atomic bomb project---his sons were all very intelligent.
Having become aware of Mr. Stewart’s home fellowship and bible teaching, we as a family attended somewhat regularly. We, in the late 1930’s would also drive to Grand Rapids to hear Dr. DeHaan at the Wealthy Street Baptist Church (I believe that was the name of it.) Mr. Stewart also came to our home on occasion for fellowship.
Not only did we attend the above ministries but in the late 1930’s we also had a weekly bible class in our home in St. Johns conducted by a Mr. John Foster with the credentials after his name: ph, b. b.d. Mr Foster was another Englishman and a very learned one at that. He wrote several papers on various subjects and I believe that I still have some among my father’s things. His card read Bible Study “Merely Aid In Doctrinal Difficulties.”
At this same period of time my father (I’m not sure just how) had made contact with a Mr Garret Hazekamp of Muskegon, Mi. where there was discussion concerning the teachings of Dr. Bullinger. ( I might add here that it was Mr. Hazekamp that ministered the service when my father died.)
World War II began and my father lost contact with those of “right division. My father found his hatchery business flourishing at this time and bought the 40 acre farm in Shepardsville, Mi about 5 miles E of St. Johns and he and my mother were putting in long hours and very busy.
In the late 1960’s he discovered C.R. Stam’s radio ministry out of Chicago which he had taken over after J.C. O’Hair’s death. This ministry published the little booklet “The Berean Searchlight”. There scriptural position was Acts 13 rather than Acts 28.28 but my father followed his ministry and received their magazine. He received several “papers” from him as well as bought me a “Companion Bible” which is the study bible from Dr. Bullinger’s notes.
By the mid 1960’s I had moved our family to Traverse City and being an advocate of radio, I came upon the Sunday broadcast of the “Berean Church” service under the ministry of a Paul Hume out of Muskegon, Mi. Both my wife and I agreed that we had never heard quite such a teaching of the scriptures as we heard from him. Reception via radio was not constant out of that area but quite often we were able to tune him in. I decided that I would like to meet him personally and so we made a point of driving down (about a 3 hour drive) one Sunday. We were greeted warmly not only by Pastor Hume but a number of people as well. We appreciated his ability as a teacher for we , ourselves had not been exposed to such teaching as from him. We attended on occasion for a few short years and for one fall and winter he came to our home to minister a weekly bible study with our children and a few of their friends but I don’t believe it was fruitful except with our own family. Pastor Hume’s church was affiliated with C.R. Stam. A Mr. Herman from that church used to send us their Wed. night study tapes for those short years we were in contact with he and Pastor Hume.
We told my father about Pastor Hume and he too made contact with the Pastor to inquire after his acquaintance Mr. Hazekamp. The pastor was able to give my father Mr. Hazekamp’s address in Muskegon. On making contact with Mr. Hazekamp my father learned that he had formed a class called “The Grand Rapids Bible Class” which he and my mother attended quite frequently until my father’s death.
It was through Mr. Hazekamp that my father learned of the ministry of Oscar Baker of Warsaw, Indiana who published the little paper “Truth for Today.” Mr. Baker also was a distributor of Dr. Bullinger’s books et. as well as Mr. C.H.Welch’s writings and tapes under the “Berean Trust” of England and the “Berean Expositor” which they publish. Another, but younger, one who was publishing “right division” material at that time was a Mr. Tom Ballinger --his paper was “Plainer Word’s” which we took for some time until he rather dropped out of contact --mainly because he had moved and was involved with business problems that came to him because of a wrong done to him.
My father and mother had attended a few yearly bible conferences that Mr. Baker had at his home outside of Warwas in the country which they at one point invited us to go with them which we did and attended with them until the death of my father. The conferences were always held the end of May.
The Grand Rapids Bible Class lasted a few short years after my father’s death but it never brought in younger people to replace those who grew in age and slowly either died, moved away to be near children or got to feeble to attend.
I think we attended one “Bible Conference”, taking my mother after my father’s death. I continued to get their literature but after that we were very much on our own. We continue to receive the “Berean Expositor”, Berean Searchlight and Mr. Penny’s material, who though from England, had a ministry in Wisconsin until ill health required him to return to England.
To the best of my recollection this is how my father and myself came into the teaching of “Right Division” and the Acts 28.28 position of Dr. Bullinger and Mr. Welch. These two men, as far as I know, opened up and recovered for all “truth for today” according to the ministry of “the mystery hid in Christ before the foundation of the world” and revealed for our learning through the prison epistles of the apostle Paul.