Scott D. Harp
1:30p – 03.06.2017
Gus Nichols’ Position Concerning The Holy Spirit
Our challenge today is to examine the views of Gus Nichols on the subject of the Holy Spirit. To do so, it is essential to understand several things. First of all, brother Nichols’ views on any biblical subject, especially one as challenging as the Bible’s teachings on the Holy Spirit, were born out of a life-long study of the subject. For over fifty years of preaching, the man studied an average of five hours per day. Thus, his views on the Holy Spirit were borne out of years and years of pouring over every single place the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Scriptures.
Second, from a historian’s perspective, the audience is reminded that things as specific as one’s beliefs, views or teachings on any given subject are to be understood entirely within the context of that person’s belief system as it was interpreted from the Scriptures. That said, Gus Nichols views on the Holy Spirit were his views. Others shared them. Many of us recall well the buzz phrases many years ago that people would use concerning their takes on biblical subjects. In the place of saying whether they believed the Holy Spirit dwells in them personally or through the Word only, they might more easily explain their views by saying they were in brother Nichols’ camp or brother Woods’ camp. (Guy N. Woods 1908-1993) From time to time I remember hearing some quite proudly say they were in brother Camp’s camp. (Franklin Camp 1915-1991) Today, I think we all would like to admit our desire to be in the Lord’s camp on this and every biblical subject. That was certainly brother Nichols’ desire.
Third, it is important to recognize that his views were not just a view, but several insights on the multi-faceted presence and workings of the Holy Spirit revealed in the Scriptures. Many who propose to surmise Gus Nichols’ views of the Holy Spirit as being that he held the “separate and apart from the Word” or “personal indwelling” view, miss the fact of his teachings on the subject were far more vast than this one aspect of the Bible’s teachings on the work of the Holy Spirit. Time prevents us from exploring everything he taught on the subject. However, it will be necessary to see some of the evolution of his treatment of the subject.
Fourth, we want to see in this lecture how Gus Nichols views on the Holy Spirit was the results of a life-long effort to defend the truth against denominational error. His many defenses of the truth as a polemicist forced him, in the rejection of error, to accept what the Bible specifically says about the Holy Spirit’s participation in the life of the Christian. He was a literalist, in that, if the Bible said a thing to be true, he accepted it as true unless the context of the passage forced him to do otherwise. While those who view a personal indwelling of the Spirit as tantamount to, or at least a slippery slope leading to a claim of modern day revelation, Nichols saw the necessity of its admission because the Bible specifically says new Christians receive, as part of their salvation, the gift of, the person of, the Holy Spirit. With that, he always made it clear that the Holy Spirit, in no way, reveals truth in any other way except through the Scriptures.
I like one of brother Robert Taylor recollections. He said, “Gus Nichols once began a sermon with the wise observation that Christians should be far more interested in hearing what the Spirit says on a scriptural theme than what man thinks about it. Book, chapter and verse preaching is listening to the Spirit.” (Robert R. Taylor, Gospel Advocate, 11.04.1974, p.225)
By way of brief introduction, Gus Nichols was born on a small farm in Walker County, Alabama January 12, 1892. He grew into his teens under a Baptist influence, until his seventeenth year, when he was introduced to restoration preacher, Charlie A. Wheeler (1851-1937). Under his influence, the young man was not only converted to New Testament Christianity, but by the age of 25 was committed to preaching the gospel. He received college-level education at Alabama Christian College in Berry until the doors closed in 1922. In 1924 he moved his family to Cordova, Alabama for a couple of years. While there, he assisted in reconstituting the Lord’s church in Jasper. After a seven year mission engagement in Lamar county, Alabama he moved back to Jasper in 1933, where he spent the remainder of his life with the Fifth Avenue, and later Sixth Avenue church.
Time does not permit us to discuss in detail the multi-talented, multi-functional, and multi-capable Gus Nichols. He was the consummate student of the Bible. With two radio programs every day, along with sermons, lectures and teaching opportunities, he spoke on the average of above 900 times per year over the course of much of his preaching career. Today, schools, libraries like the one on this campus, meeting halls, scholarships, and even a few people, bear his name. At the time of his death in 1975, perhaps no person in the brotherhood was more of a household name than Gus Nichols. Thousands hopefully will be in glory because of this man, his love and his sacrifices. Only eternity will know the good he accomplished in his lifetime.
With that, it must be admitted, though Gus Nichols appeared to be bigger than life, he was just a man. He was not perfect and he would have been the first to admit it. My brief experience with him at a relatively young age left me nothing short of infatuated. We shared a bedroom once during a gospel meeting he preached at the congregation where my dad was preaching. I was at the impressionable age of 14. It was the only room in the house with bunk beds. I heard him snore. I watched him change his hearing aid batteries. I remember in detail the things we talked about. The man was truly and absolutely interested in me and my development. I was enthralled by his preaching. But, ALL who knew him would say the same.
The earliest days of influence on young Gus Nichols concerning the Holy Spirit came about by his father in the faith, Charlie Wheeler. Some years ago, his son Flavil reported that, “Various preachers helped Gus Nichols in his studies. Along with Brother Wheeler, two men especially influenced him in his early years, Brethren Gaddys (1885-1968) and Russell (1868-1943). Gaddys helped him greatly concerning the purpose of baptism; and Russell, who had studied under F. D. Srygley (1856-1900) at Mars Hill, helped him concerning Holy Spirit baptism, instrumental music, and other controversial subjects. Every issue of the Firm Foundation and Gospel Advocate was devoured by the young preacher as well.
To establish a little background to his teaching, his debating of the subject must be noted. Gus Nichols attended debates, as did so many others, early in his Christian life. His younger brother Charlie Nichols (1872-1975), entered the debate arena before his older brother did, and on a few occasions, Gus moderated for him in his debates. The first debate we know of his participation is the time when he moderated for Brother Charlie Wheeler in a debate with D.B. Salter, a Missionary Baptist, in mid July of 1921. It was held in Vernon, Alabama. (Firm Foundation, August 16, 1921, p.6) Salter was young, and brother Wheeler was in his 70s. Gus was 29. At least from that time forward he was regularly involved in debating.
It is not until the end of 1933, that a report of a debate involving the nearly 43 year old preacher is sent in to the Gospel Advocate. “Gus Nichols, Jasper, Ala., December 13: On December 7 and 8, I met Rev. J. L. Scott, D.D., of Chattanooga, Tenn., in debate at Carbon Hill, Ala. We discussed Holy Ghost baptism and signs and miracles. Mr. Scott is a nice man in debate, and has had many debates in the past, but for some reason had 'quit debating' until his brethren urged him into this one, which I think will be his last . . .He claimed to belong to the 'Original Church of God.' . . .Great crowds attended." This suggests that at least from 1933 he was debating on the subject of the Holy Spirit.
The next year, he met R.E. Rigdon – (Holiness) minister from Kingsville, Alabama. The discussion was held at the Christian Chapel church of Christ in Lamar County, Alabama. (Home of David Hester, and the Hester family preachers, the Blacks and many others). It was a four-day debate held on October 22-26, 1934.
In October 1940, he conducted a two-day debate with Church of God preacher, O.G. Lodge of High Point, Georgia. It was conducted in Vinemont, Alabama. It was a four-night discussion. In an open-air tent – over 1000 in attendance. All these discussions, along with many others, centered much around the work of the Holy Spirit.
N.B. Hardeman (1874-1965) introduced the Special Courses sessions at Freed-Hardeman College in January 1937. Gus Nichols attended that year, and never missed a session as long as he was alive. A man he long held in honor was Alabama preacher, John T. Lewis (1876-1967). On the forum the following year, Lewis spoke on “The Spirit of Christ.” In 1940, from January 4-17, H. Leo Boles (1874-1946) was invited from Nashville to come over and lecture to those in attendance on the subject of the Holy Spirit—In Creation, Conversion, and Sanctification. These lectures later appeared in a volume entitled, “The Holy Spirit, His Nature, and Works.” The Gospel Advocate published it in 1942. Perhaps, no one in brother Nichols’ estimation was more highly admired for his level of understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit than brother Boles. Of the book, brother Nichols wrote in the GA, “Brother Boles has adhered so closely to the facts and statements of the Scriptures on the subject that, in the main, his positions are not to be questioned.”
During the 1941 Special Course Series, Gus Nichols began a new role on the forum. The mock-debates program was something brother Hardeman was most excited about. Helping young preachers develop and prepare themselves for public defense of the gospel, had been the basis of thought in having the mock debates.
At one session, C.D. Plum (1898-1977) was to take the scriptural proposition on “The Operation Of The Holy Spirit on the Sinner Directly.” Perhaps, no one was more capable of the task of espousing the denominational position than Gus Nichols, since he knew it so well.
Worthy of note, another mock-debate during the series was on the essentiality of baptism. B.L. Douthitt (1899-1989) took the scriptural position, and again, Gus Nichols took the position of the denominationalist. We don’t have transcripts of the debates, but we do have outlines that are still available. In later years, long-time faculty member, C.P. Roland (1893-1985) recalled that brother Nichols sought out brother Douthitt to discuss the arguments he planned to use ahead of time, so brother Douthitt would be well prepared for an appropriate biblical response. But, when brother Nichols approached him, he just pass it off, saying, “oh don’t worry about it, I’ll be ready for most anything you can bring.” Well, when the debate took place, brother Douthitt delivered the biblical views, and Gus Nichols slashed through every one of his arguments. Brother Douthitt flailed greatly in his rebuttals. In the end, everyone was in shock that brother Nichols had won the debate.
Of course, this did not sit too well with the planners of the program. Hardeman became deeply concerned that while he intended to help prepare young men for defending the truth, they were actually being led into error. The following day, brother Nichols was able to go before the students, and dismiss his own arguments from the evening before.
So, Gus knew his subject, and could defend it well. This was his first appearance on the lectureship, and he continued every year until his death in 1975 contributing in various ways to the program.
Later in 1941, beginning May 6 in Birmingham, Alabama, brother Nichols debated Glen V. Tingley on the subject of the direct operation of the Holy Spirit in conversion. Tingley had debated Foy E. Wallace, Jr. (1896-1979) the previous year. J.O. Jones (1910-1968) reported, “it was the greatest debate I have ever heard. Brother Nlchols presented the truth plainly then took Tingley's own logic and whipped him every way he started. Brother Nichols is indeed one of our greatest debaters.” (FF, June 17, p.6)
In 1942, he debated O.G. Lodge (Holiness preacher) in Birmingham. Flavil moderated for him. Part of the debate was held in the Church of God (Holiness) meetinghouse. Again, Nichols was victorious in his defense of the truth.
On the days of May 3-7, 1943, he participated in his most prominent debate, in Huntsville, Alabama, with C.J. Weaver, a Church of God preacher – calling himself a Gospel Trumpet Holiness. The debate was broadcasted nightly on a Huntsville radio station that reached out as far as the Shoals area in Lauderdale County. The debate was published, and may still be available. The issues covered in the discussion during the five nights include, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and other gifts of the Spirit; the doctrine of inborn sin; the second blessing-theory of sanctification, miraculous, healing, tongues, etc.; water baptism a condition of salvation, faith only, feet washing, and New Testament worship.
When the book was published by the GA – Guy N. Woods did a review. “Brother Nichols' defense of the truth is simply superb. Mr. Weaver's utter bewilderment is manifest on every page. The discussion was launched and maintained on a high plane, and the published report is very readable. This volume supplies a long-felt want in our literature. Widely circulated, it will be the means of leading many out of fanaticism into the truth.” (GA, Aug. 24, 1944, page 565.)
Great Preachers Of Today – 1966
In July, 1966, J.D. Thomas (1910-2004) released the ninth volume of his sermon book series, “Great Preachers of Today.” The sermons of Gus Nichols were featured in the volume. In the sermon, “The Commission And The Coming of the Holy Spirit,” brother Nichols discussed a number of promises fulfilled in Joel’s prophecies beginning in Acts 2. Under this section, he spoke of three different measures of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. One was the two incidents of Holy Spirit baptism in Acts 2 and Acts 10. The second measure was given to the apostles in order that they might lay hands on others, Acts 8:12-18; 19:4-7; 2 Tim. 2:5-6. The third was what he called, “An ordinary measure, or gift of the Holy Spirit.”
He said, “But there is another measure or gift of the Spirit which bestowed no miraculous power, and was not called a baptism of the Spirit, neither was it given by the laying on of apostles' hands. This gift of the Spirit has not ceased, but is still for all who will obey the gospel of Christ. All Christians had this gift of the Spirit in the days of the apostles, whether they had any miraculous gift or not. It was received after the baptism commanded in the Great Commission. (Acts 2:38; 5:32; Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 1 Cor. 6:19; Jude 19.)” On page 123, he continued, “We now have the ordinary gift of the Holy Spirit, which gives us no miraculous power, but works in our hearts through the word of God.”
As a quick side, I did some research on the use of the description “ordinary gift” of the Holy Spirit as an explanation of the Holy Spirit, himself, being the gift of Acts 2:38. In Goebel Music’s Resource Reference on the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, on page 1274, he chronicles an article in Barton Stone’s Christian Messenger in Vol. 8, No. 7, July 1834, pages 217 and 218, written by Texas preacher William Rawlins, (1796-1850) that the gift is the Holy Spirit itself. However, Rawlins does not describe it as the “ordinary gift.”
It is not until 1860 in an article that appeared in the pages of the Gospel Advocate, written by J.J. Trott (1800-1868) from the Cherokee Nation in NW Arkansas, under the title, “THE UNITY AND IDENTITY OF THE MESSIAH'S BAPTISM AND GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, that he makes reference to the Holy Spirit gift of Himself in a non-miraculous way as being what he called the “ordinary gift.”
David Lipscomb (1831-1917) referred to the designation of the gift of the Holy Spirit (TGOTHS) as the “ordinary gift” in his writings. H. Leo Boles discussed extensively the “ordinary gift” in his work, “The Holy Spirit, His Personality, Nature, Works,” beginning on page 171. On page 172 he said, “All agree that miraculous gifts were bestowed in the early days of the church, and all agree that every Christian received an ordinary measure of the Holy Spirit, for "because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Gal. 4:6.)
Lectures On The Holy Spirit
In June, 1967, the Nichols Brothers Publishing Company released a book entitled, “Lectures On The Holy Spirit.” In it was a series of eleven transcribed lessons, with corrections, that were recorded in a meeting Gus Nichols conducted at the Walnut Hill church of Christ in Dallas, Texas. This was the congregation where Hardeman Nichols was the preacher.
The book was reacted to with mixed emotions. Reuel Lemmons (1912-1989), editor of the Firm Foundation observed, “The reader will not agree with all the positions taken in this book, nor do we, but in the main they follow the main stream of thought among Bible students in the church.” (7.4.1967, p.430)
This series contains the best synopsis of Gus Nichols’ view of the Holy Spirit in an orderly and concise way. Like a lawyer building his case before the bar, brother Nichols built a foundational study, beginning with the birth of man’s spirit into the world that needs saving. He explained how the Holy Spirit has revealed, through the word of God, the source of man’s salvation in God. On pages 10,11 he explained that when Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit,” that Paul explained its meaning in Colossians 1:13, when he said that it was the soul being transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s dear Son. He described the Spirit’s work in conversion, illustrating it with his right hand representing the Holy Spirit, and his left hand the heart of the alien sinner. Does the Holy Spirit operate upon the heart of the sinner directly (hits his left hand), or through a medium (hits his left hand with a Bible)? He, then, enlisted several Scriptures to indicate the latter.
He continued to build his case by a fuller discussion on Jesus’ interaction with Nicodemus in John 3. This was followed by lessons on the Spirit and the spirit world, and the Spirit and Revelation. He discussed the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in a further lesson, and the miraculous gifts in another.
It is not until page 155, the seventh lesson, before he entered into a fuller discussion on TGOTHS. This is potentially the most controversial of his discussions. Introducing it, he said there are 3 basic possibilities: The Holy Spirit either: (1) really and truly dwells in us—faithful Christians—in a personal manner, or (2) He dwells in us in some other manner, or (3) else He does not dwell in us at all. This latter position would force one to make void many plain and easily-understood scriptures. Dismisses the 3rd, and discussed in the lesson (1) and (2). But with it, he stressed the need to not be divisive, but that all must maintain unity.
He began by talking about our spirit, saying one cannot examine his own mind with his five senses, but it is most assuredly there. Then, he quoted various passages that say the Holy Spirit dwells in us – Acts 2:38; 5:32; Rom. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 1 Thess. 4:8; Jude 19; Eph. 1:13 – saying these all teach we have the Holy Spirit in us. Gus Nichols believed the Holy Spirit literally dwells in Christians, and followed with the fact that one cannot examine the Holy Spirit with the five senses, but like the human spirit, He (The Holy Spirit) is there.
Treatment Of Several Theories That Would Logically Deny The Holy Spirit Dwells In Christians
1. “TGOTHS is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Brother Nichols devoted a whole lesson to the subject of the BOTHS in his lecture beginning on page 86 of the book. However, in brief here, he made reference to his debate in 1943 with Holiness preacher C.J. Weaver where Weaver said that TGOTHS was a promise of the BOTHS. Weaver claimed Holy Ghost baptism would bring a "second blessing" called "sanctification," and might be received years after baptism in water, or might never come, to one who is saved. Brother Nichols’ refuted this by noting that Peter promised the TGOTHS to ALL who repented and were baptized for the remission of sins. Further, he said tongue speaking was always connected with Holy Spirit baptism (Acts 2:4; 10:44-46), but no tongue speaking is connected with TGOTHS. He gave five other reasons it is impossible that TGOTHS is the same as BOTHS, or even connected to it.
2. “TGOTHS is the laying on of a measure of the Holy Spirit.” Some say the “gift” is a promise that the apostles would lay their hands on them. He said if this is true, then the Holy Spirit has not been “on the earth” or available to anyone since the last apostle died. Also, since nothing is mentioned about the laying on of hands of the apostles until Acts 6:6 with the laying of the hands of the apostles to the work of the seven, it would appear that no one received the gift for the first two or three years of the church’s existence.
Further he suggested, the disciples at Rome had the “ordinary” gift without laying on of hands. In Romans 1:11, Paul stated he wanted to come to them and “impart . . .some spiritual gift to strengthen” them. Since Paul wanted to come and lay on hands in the congregation, it is proof that the church at that point had not experienced it. With that, the proof that the church only had the “ordinary gift” is clearly made when in Rom. 8:9, he states, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Altogether, he enlisted 8 reasons that TGOTHS could not possibly be connected with laying on of the apostles’ hands.
3. “TGOTHS must be miraculous if He is in us.” He listed five reasons this is not possible. His most compelling example of this impossibility is John, the Baptist. In Luke 1:15 the Bible says he was filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth. Yet, John 10:41 says he did no miracles. He followed with another point, saying our spirit that is within us, is in us in a natural way, the same is true with the Holy Spirit. He maintains a place within us in a natural and non-miraculous way.
4. “TGOTHS is in us representatively–by the word indwelling us.” He listed 21 reasons why this cannot be, but spent a good bit of time on how the Spirit’s WORD was given BEFORE baptism—in its preaching. As he saw it, the Holy Spirit himself, was given ONLY to Christians. He said, “Peter spoke of the ‘Holy Ghost whom God hath given them that obey Him,’” Acts. 5:32. Paul said, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19. “Know ye not that that ye are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16. He noted, “This very question indicates that they might not have known by their own reasoning that the Spirit was in them.” Brother Nichols proposed that if God had wanted to tell us that the Holy Spirit really and actually is in us—as Christians—how could he have chosen words more effective for the purpose than He has used?
Brother Nichols then focused on the word “receive.” TGOTHS was to be received after baptism. They had already received the “word” that revealed they would receive the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:41, it says they that gladly received the “word” were baptized. If the “word” is the “gift,” then they received the “word” before they received the “gift.” It is illogical that they received the word, were baptized and received the “word” as the “gift.” Further, he explained the “word” is for sinners, but the “gift” is for saved people. Sinners get the “word,” and part of what they get in the “word” is the realization that the “gift” is coming after they obey. He followed with several other passages to cast doubt on the possibility that the gift is the indwelling “word.”
5. “TGOTHS is salvation or remission of sins.” He then explained that salvation is for the lost. The Holy Spirit is for the saved. Salvation is offered to those out of the church, TGOTHS is offered to those IN the church – AFTER remission of sin, AFTER salvation is given. All in all he gave 5 reasons this view is not possible, including the fact that the passage says the gift IS the Holy Spirit, and not salvation.
6. “TGOTHS is the gift of eternal life.” He negated this idea by saying that eternal life is AFTER this life. TGOTHS is for THIS life. He argued that we do not have eternal life right now, but the HOPE of it. (Titus 1:2). Paul said, “in the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22 Then, he referred to the list of Scriptures he gave at first to show the Holy Spirit is for the Christian’s lifetime.
7. “TGOTHS is the influence of the Holy Spirit.” Some say the Holy Spirit is giving his influence, like the widow gave two mites in Mark 12:42. He retorted, “Two mites are two mites. If you give a thousand dollars, it’s a thousand dollars. If the Holy Spirit is given, it is the Holy Spirit. He went on to emphasize that the influence of the Holy Spirit comes through the Word. However, KNOWING He’s in us SHOULD cause us to live differently, like if Jesus lived across the street from us, we would act differently. Corinth was told they, the individuals making up the church, were the temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 3:16,17 to encourage them to live a certain way. Again, he quoted, 1 Cor. 6:18-19 emphasizing that just as he (GN) knew his soul was in him, he also knew the Holy Spirit was in him. Neither have power to reveal new things from God. The Scriptures ONLY can do that. He finished by going back to Pentecost and said the influence of the Holy Spirit was being felt in people before they were baptized, but the gift had to have been different since it was given after baptism.
8. “TGOTHS is human spirits made holy.” Some say that when baptized they would receive a “holy” human “spirit,” i.e. their human spirit would become holy. He gave two answers–mainly that the Holy Spirit promised Himself, not that your spirit was what was given. He asked, “Acts 2:38 promised the gift OF THE Holy Spirit. Where in all the Bible is the human spirit ever called THE Holy Spirit?” Then, he argued that our spirits are made holy when WE turn from our sins in repentance to live the dedicated and faithful Christian life.
9. “TGOTHS is a gift given BY the Holy Spirit.” In other words, it is “something” the Holy Spirit gives a Christian. Two points of disagreement were given – mainly that the Holy Spirit was the gift, and not something HE would give. Further, he emphasized the word “Whom.” Peter said, “WHOM God has given to those who obey,” Acts 5:32. Also, 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19. It is “WHOM” and not “SOMETHING” the Spirit chooses to give.
10. “TGOTHS is the promise that the Holy Spirit will dwell in the church.” He gave five reasons this is false. He commented, “It seems that some think the Holy Spirit can dwell anywhere except in a Christian.” Argued that if the Holy Spirit is in the Church, it must be in the Christian since, Christians are the church—not the building.
Brother Nichols concluded his discussion on the subject with 15 extremes to avoid in this controversy. He reiterated that the Holy Spirit is a gift, and that the Holy Spirit gives no new information beyond revelation. He reiterated that there is not a true religious idea today which is not found in the word of God. (Q&A – p. 181ff)
Let me conclude here by saying that it appears that brother Nichols believed that the biggest benefit to the Holy Spirit’s presence in us is the KNOWLEDGE we have that He is IN US. Knowing he is there, forces us to act in a better way. 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19. Knowing we are the temple bearing the Holy Spirit should cause us to take care of our temple.
Brother Nichols’ views or interpretations on what the Scriptures teach on the Holy Spirit were never used in a contentious or divisive way. Perhaps many in this room recall the annual lectureships at the Freed-Hardeman each year when Guy N. Woods (1908-1993) was moderating the Open Forum. Brother Woods held the “through the word only view.” Every year someone would ask about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Brother Woods proceeded to give his view, and inevitably brother Nichols would begin making his way to the podium. Always, brother Nichols was given his opportunity to disagree. Yet, the men always showed a sense of friendly banter over the subject, and never were divisive.
Both men knew and experienced in debate and other platforms divisive and false views on the Holy Spirit on many occasions. They defended valiantly the truth of the Scriptures every single time. But, neither ever considered the subject of how the Spirit dwells in the life of a Christian as a test of fellowship.
Brother Nichols was a hero to so many. He loved the church. He loved his brethren. He loved this great institution. You could see it in his face. You could hear it in his voice. He was lost to the world November 16, 1975. His departure was a dreadful loss to the brotherhood. But, oh how heaven is made even sweeter to know we can see him again someday around the throne of God.
Webpage produced 03.04.2017
Courtesy Of Scott Harp
Special Note: It was my privilege to present this information at the 2017 Faulkner University Lectures in Montgomery, Alabama, March 6, 2017.