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Life Story of Dr. J. Frank Norris
Foreward by T. T. Shields

p. 5


      “We Question Whether Any Book Outside the Bible Was Ever Published So Full of Inspiration and Suggestion and Explicit Direction to Sunday School Workers as This Latest Book by Dr. Norris.” - The Gospel Witness.

      The Editor of The Gospel Witness, Dr. T. T. Shields, Is Known for His Conservatism. All the More Valuable, Therefore, Is His Testimony.

      January 13,1938 THE GOSPEL WITNESS 343-7.


      This is the title of a new book of three hundred and thirty pages, by Dr. Norris, generously illustrated with cuts of his great buildings in Fort Worth and Detroit. On the title cover are these words:

      “During the three years of the joint pastorate of Fort Worth and Detroit there were received the total number of new members, 6,193. There was raised in cash for all purposes, $421,333.62. There were printed 6,376,500 copies of The Fundamentalist. The present combined membership is over 15,000. There were over 18,000 in attendance in special Bible School. The Pastor travelled 119,000 miles.”

      If subscribed for at once, the amazing price of this book is only 60c, and everyone who gets it will receive, as book value, at least $5.00 worth for one tenth that amount. Its value as an epitomized biography of a great preacher, and the condensed record of the unprecedented achievement of the same great preacher in the leadership of two great churches fifteen hundred miles apart, cannot possibly be estimated. We remember to have read a statement by Dr. A. T. Pearson, about Spurgeon, to the effect, that after the Lord had made C. H. Spurgeon, He broke the mould. There is only one J. Frank Norris. So far as we have been able to observe, in many respects he is unlike any other man we have ever known.

      Some years ago a southern friend remarked to us that when the Lord made Norris, He found that He had run out of the element of fear, so He made him without fear. It reminded us of a certain man who used to attend Jarvis St. prayer meetings, a very precise man, who was biblically well-informed. For a good while he attended the meetings, and delivered himself of fifteen or twenty minute prayers, until we could endure it no longer. But his prayers were very thoroughly prepared in advance, and were extraordinary essays, evidently prepared to exhibit the prayer-essayist’s ability. He was very fond of recounting the wonders of nature, and we recall a sentence from one of his prayers to this effect: “We thank Thee, O Lord, for the percolating power of a sunbeam.” On another occasion he had evidently been delving into Job, and his prayer was largely a dissertation on leviathan; and we recall that he reminded the Lord that leviathan was “the only creature whom Thou hast made without fear.” It may have been quite fortunate for us that that particular gentleman was unacquainted with Dr. J. Frank Norris, for he would have had to make an exception in his case, and include him with leviathan – and then the usual twenty-minute prayer must have been extended for an hour or so.

      Dr. Norris is a fearless man in more ways than one. We have known men who seemed to have any amount of moral courage, who were physical cowards; and we have known men abundantly endowed with physical courage, who were moral cowards. But Dr. Norris is afraid of nothing, either in the physical or moral realms. Who but Dr. Norris would have dared even to attempt what, by the blessing of God, he has achieved in Detroit? Even the most daring of other men would have been afraid to try.

      It was this Editor’s privilege and honour years ago to enjoy the warm personal friendship of the late Russell H. Conwell, in many respects, in his day, the world’s greatest lecturer. We never heard Dr. Conwell lecture without feeling at the end that nothing was impossible. We have the same feeling when we read this record of the achievements of Dr. Norris. It gives us a feeling that there is no enemy physical or moral that may not be defeated and utterly routed; nor any task in our Lord’s service which may not be accomplished.

      Dr. Norris has been subject to trials that were no easier to endure than those of Job, but he has triumphed over them all. In Fort Worth, twice his great church was reduced to ashes – each time to rise from the ashes greater than ever. Some people in this northern part of the Continent would be inclined to say, “Yes, of course; but that was in Fort Worth. And Dr. Norris is a Baptist, and Baptists grow in the Southern states almost without cultivation. Notwithstanding their orthodoxy, they seem to be rather indigenous to the soil.” It is a fact that Baptists are perhaps the largest body of Christians in the South, and we think it is probably true that Baptist churches do multiply more rapidly in the South than in the North - that is, of course, under the ministry of ordinary men. But that explanation of the First Baptist Church, Fort Worth, will no longer hold.

      For what about Detroit? Can anyone find a more difficult city on the American Continent in which to do Christian work than Detroit? It may not be more difficult than Chicago or New York, but certainly the difficulties are at least as great. And yet in the short space of three years the Temple Baptist Church of Detroit has outgrown all its buildings, and like Abraham, has dwelt “in tabernacles, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” The story of these marvelous achievements must prove an inspiration and tonic to the faith of every true believer; and what is equally important, it will provide a spur to the Christian effort of all who read it.

      Could we afford it, we would place a copy of this book in the hands of every minister of every denomination on this Continent. It should prove equally valuable to deacons and elders, and church officers of every name and rank in all churches; and we question whether any book outside the Bible was ever published so full of inspiration and suggestion and explicit direction to Sunday School workers as this latest book by Dr. Norris.

      To Jarvis St. Members Particularly

      We are particularly anxious that it should have a large circulation in Jarvis Street Church. It costs only 50c – three hundred and thirty pages. We should like to see a copy of this book in every family in the entire church, and particularly we desire to see a copy in the hands of every one of our Sunday School teachers and officers. We suggest that all Jarvis Street members and friends in Toronto, who are interested, send in their order at once to the Jarvis St. Church Office, and we will order these books in bulk, and they can later be obtained at the Office. We attach herewith an order form, which you need only fill in and put in an envelope with 50c, and either hand in at the Office or put on the plate on Sunday. Friends outside of Toronto will please order direct from Temple Baptist Church, 14th and Marquette Sts., Detroit, Mich.

      The book, we understand, will later be priced at 75c or $1.00 – and it ought to be; but to introduce it, the price is set at 50c. And at this price, he must have the money with the order. So please fill out the order form below with your name and address, put it with the money in an envelope, seal it so that the silver cannot escape, and bring to the Church Office or put it on the collection plate.

      In closing this article we should like to give this testimony. This Pastor has had many helpers during the course of his ministry, but the visit of Dr. Norris to Jarvis Street in 1924 – ten months and more abiding spiritual results than we have ever had from the visit of any minister.

[From J. Frank Norris website. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

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