Part 2 of this series told of the powerful Protestant preachers who began evangelizing the world in the early 1700s and how the Holy Spirit not only inspired them but gave them great freedom in the pulpit. Part 3 continues the story but shifts the emphasis to Seventh-day Adventist preachers and ministers who have been mightily led by God.
RENOWNED ADVENTIST PREACHERS
H.M.S. Richards (1894–1985) was born
in Iowa, USA, and is most famous as
the founder of the Seventhday
of Prophecy radio
ministry and as a
pioneer in religious
His preaching style
was quiet, with few physical
movements or gestures, but his
sermon content and vocal appeal
were tremendous. Thousands came
to Christ as a result of his ministry. The
Adventist Church called him “the pastor
George Vandeman (1916–2000)
started his ministry in college with a
weekly 15-minute radio broadcast
in Elkhart, Indiana, USA. Later, he
worked as a full-time evangelist. He
patterned his preaching style after
Charles Spurgeon and had a wonderful
preaching voice that was easy to
listen to. In the mid-1950s, he began
the well-known television program It Is
Written, which surpassed 1.5 million viewers
in the 1990s. It Is Written was one of the first
religious telecasts to be aired on Soviet television.
In 2000, it was broadcast in eight languages to
more than 150 countries. It was a “pioneering
force” in Adventist evangelism.
Fordyce Detamore (1909–1980) was a Seventh-day
Adventist evangelist in North America
who prepared thousands for baptism and brought
many backslidden Adventists back to a living relationship
with Jesus and the church. Detamore
encouraged pastors and church leaders to help
these well-meaning people go to work for the lost
so they could become “fishers of men” instead
of “crabs.” Detamore is known for the following
acronym: HKWHTA (He Knows What He’s Talking
Kenneth Cox (1928–) discovered Christ when
a literature salesman left a religious tract with
the Cox’s neighbor, Mrs. Morgan. She wasn’t
interested, so she tucked the little magazine in a
catalogue that the Cox family received in the mail,
which he and the family read, and, as a result,
became interested in spiritual things. Then an
Adventist literature evangelist visited them and
enrolled the family in a Voice of Prophecy Bible
Course! Before long, Kenneth and his family accepted
the Adventist truth and were baptized. After
earning a degree in theology, Cox pastored and
conducted evangelistic campaigns with his team,
not only in the United States but in more than 12
other countries. Using a unique multimedia concept,
his campaign videos have become popular
worldwide. He has a clear, convincing preaching
manner that easily draws people to the Lord.
Doug Batchelor (1957–), son of Florida aviation
tycoon and philanthropist George Batchelor
and Hollywood film critic/actress/songwriter Ruth Batchelor, spent his youth searching for his purpose in life, including
exploring various religions. While living in a cave in the
mountains above Los Angeles, he somehow secured a Bible
and began reading it, which over time led to his conversion and
baptism into the Adventist Church. Eventually, he became skilled
in showing the links between ancient Bible prophecies and current
world events. Consequently, Batchelor developed a strong
Christian belief system that led him to become the speaker of
the national television program Amazing Facts. He is an energetic
speaker with an unusual ability to communicate not only
to church-oriented people but also to those who aren’t religious.
His spontaneous, lively humor and down-to-earth approach to
living the Christian life engages and brings hope and meaning to
hearts from every background.
Dwight Nelson (1961–) is a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist
and author, but his primary role is senior pastor of Pioneer
Memorial Church on the campus of Andrews University in Berrien
Springs, Michigan. He appeals powerfully to the thousands
of adults and students who greatly admire not only his evocative
and compelling sermons but also his person, which is warm and
charismatic. He has pastored at the Pioneer Memorial Church
for more than 30 years. He also hosted the television program
The Evidence. His preaching is dynamic, bold, and fearless. He
covers issues many pastors are too timid to address.
The space would fail me to tell of Mark A. Finley, Charles D.
Brooks, E. E. Cleveland, Robert Costa, Salim Japas, Alejandro
Bullón, Efraín Murillo, Walter Pearson, Carlton P. Byrd, Carlos E.
Aeschlimann, Mike Tucker, Dan Mathews, William Fagal, Braulio
Pérez Marcio, Milton Peverini, Charles E. Bradford, Shawn
Boonstra, Stephen Bohr, W. C. Scales, Lonnie Melashenko,
John Bradshaw, Lawrence Andrews Ewoo, John Carter, and
many other Seventh-day Adventist preachers.
It is evident that God has used these pastor-evangelists in a
mighty way for generations to further His plan for Planet Earth.
To be a preacher is a serious and solemn responsibility. As a direct
instrument of God for saving souls, the preacher’s behavior
can determine the eternal destiny of men and women. Humility,
dedication, a close connection with God through prayer, fearlessness,
fasting, and courage to do His will regardless of the
consequences are the marks of a great preacher. Understanding
and taking to heart the apostle Paul’s famous statement is vital
for success: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to
those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the
power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).
(To be continued)
Lamar Phillips is a retired minister and church administrator who
served for 39 years in six world divisions.