Dedicated to all the friends of Brother Holder wherever they are, and particularly to those whom he influenced to be gospel preachers.
When we recall the past, we like to remember the best, the happy moments; when we remember people, it's their goodness we talk about. And it is indeed difficult to conjure up anything evil about a man whose life is the subject of this biography. It is even hard to remember that he was a mere man, and human as man can be. We use beautiful adjectives to describe him and desire to compare him to Christ.
But as he was only a man, it is perhaps more fitting to describe him as the substance of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Psalm of Life".Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
No one person could write the complete record of Charles Holder's life, for even one so dear to his family had experiences they will never know. But perhaps this book will provoke memories and renew old contacts among those who loved and respected Charles and Mattie Holder.
Both of these people are included in this tribute, for without her embodiment of the scriptures he loved and taught especially Proverbs 31, his life of service to man kind would not have been the bountiful harvest it was.
We who have contributed to this book now lay our offering at the feet of the ages with the prayer that those who knew Charles Holder will be strengthened from recollection of his faith in God and man and that those who did not know him will be inspired to richer, fuller lives. -B M B
$1.00 per copymail order
If, in this small book I can help to keep alive the good deeds of a devoted gospel preacher, refresh the memories of those who loved him so much and cause just one person to be more devoted to the Lord in following Brother Holder's ideals, these efforts will be well rewarded.
The many friends of Brother Holder are scattered far and wide. Though his travel and labors were in a relatively small area of the country, because of the many years of service in preaching, he has baptized many souls, married many couples, preached many funerals, and cheered many depressed hearts. He has been a guest in many homes, some of which were the poorest on earth and some of the finest. He was never too good nor too proud to visit with and help any person who so desired.
I hope that by these feeble efforts his family and friends will have something to keep in memory of a wonderful gospel preacher. We all will stand some day before the great Judge of the earth. May we live every moment of our life with that day in view. And may we hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant".
J. V. Copeland, Jr. Atlanta, Ga.
Table of Contents Chapter
Birth and Early Life
2 Family and Home Life 12
3 Early Years of Preaching 13
4 Interesting Experiences 17
5 What Friends Have Said About Brother Holder 19
6 "Brother Holder, As I Knew Him" 21 by Cecil D. Williams
7 The Growth of The Church of Christ In The Sequatchie Valley 24
8 Last Years and Funeral 26
9 A Command And A Prayer 28
Sermon by Charles Holder, Sr.
CHAPTER 1 BIRTH AND EARLY LIFE
The birth of a son is a proud moment for any parents, but had John Denton and Sue Gillentine Holder known on July 7, 1873, the future of their fifth child, Charles, their complete joy would have reverberated from the beautiful hills of Tennessee around Quebec in White County. However, these happy parents would die before Charles' manhood, the great amount of good he would accomplish and the host of friends he would make. In only a few years he and two sisters would be the only ones remaining on the small farm established by their grandfather, Spencer Holder.
The farm itself is somewhat historical from early stagecoach days when Spencer Holder moved from Virginia to Quebec to keep horses for a coach line. The location was then called Holder's Station because the coach changed horses there, and Mrs. Holder prepared meals in service to the travelers. The warm hospitality was always ready for them because the coachmen would stop at a distance from the station and blow his bugle to announce their coming.
The same farm is now owned by the family of Joe Petit, cousins of Charles Holder, and still contains a family burial plot where several of the Holder ancestors are interred. And even though the Holder family once owned all of what is now White County, Charles Holder never in all his life had great amounts of money or land at his disposal. In fact, after beginning to preach, he never owned a horse and buggy or automobile.
It is impossible to tell of the life of Brother Holder, the simple preacher, without discussing the church of the Lord, for it was as much a part of his life as a stream of water is to a water mill. In 1903 he was baptized by Brother Richard Gillentine in Quebec, Tennessee, at the Jericho Church of Christ. From this, his home congregation, he soon set out to preach God's Word, and he returned to preach at Jericho at least once a year for 50 years. The only other place where he returned as often was Bridgeport, Alabama.
Soon after beginning to preach and determining to devote his life, strength, and talents, to that work, Brother Holder and his two unmarried sisters sold the farm so he could devote his full time to preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. He resolved that he would evangelize as much of the world as he could in the time the Lord permitted him to be on the earth, even if it meant sleeping on the floor and going to bed hungry.
During his early preaching career, Brother Holder was asked to make a speech in behalf of William Jennings Bryan who was running for President. He did such a wonderful job that his friends and neighbors persuaded him to run for the Tennessee legislature the next year. However, before time for campaigning arrived, he read David Lipscomb's book, CIVIL GOVERNMENT. After reading this book and studying the Scriptures, he was convinced that a Christian had no business in politics. Consequently he did not run for the legislature and he commended Lipscomb's book to every Christian. From that time on Brother Holder believed that Christians should not vote, but they should pray for their civic leaders and be obedient to the laws of the land.
CHAPTER 2 FAMILY AND HOME LIFE
Charles Holder never aspired to own or live in a large, beautiful house, nor did he strive for the comforts and luxuries of life. When he visited in the homes of others, he expected no more than the family afforded themselves.
On one occasion after a service in the Sequatchie Valley, all except one man had left the meeting place. He said, "Brother Holder, didn't anyone ask you to go home with them?" "No," he replied. The man offered further, "I would ask you, but we don't have much to eat. I'll take you to a good place." Brother Holder answered that if the brother didn't mind, he would just go home with him, even if a glass of water was all he had.
In 1908 Brother Holder went to Orme, Tennessee, a small mining community about eight miles from Bridgeport, Alabama. While in his first gospel meeting there, he met, baptized and began to love Miss Mattie Scott, who became his bride the next year. At the same time he baptized his future wife, Brother Holder baptized her sister and brother.
Though she was quite a few years younger than her husband, Sister Holder was completely devoted to him and his efforts to preach the gospel. When he was away without a murmur of complaint, she kept the home and maintained the hogs, cows, and chickens so the family could subsist and he could continue to go about preaching Christ. Fathomless credit is due this woman who gave him a family and who walked through all kinds of weather to deliver milk, eggs, butter, and vegetables to the stores and homes of Bridgeport, just so he might go preach Christ. Though the apostle Paul likely did not have wives in mind, hardly a more fitting expression could be made of her than his "How shall they go (to preach) except they be sent." (Romans 10:15)
Those who were close to Brother Holder when he was away from home say that he was ever mindful of his wife, mentioning her and trying to think of something he could take home to her. In one home he saw a bar of Sweetheart Soap and asked the lady of the house if it were good soap. When she replied positively, he said he wanted to take some to his wife because the word "sweetheart" reminded him of her. He often said that he could not have done as much in the Lord's kingdom had it not been for his good wife. His frequent absence from home was not because he did not love his family; it was so he might serve the Lord and save souls.
But not all the praise is due this virtuous woman, for in this Christian home were three children - Ray (Mrs. Robert Melton), Charles, Jr., and James Elam-who grew up to accept readily responsibility. They contributed to the labors of their father by assisting their mother in providing their bare necessities. The entire family patiently and humbly endured the toil and sacrifice necessary to sustain Brother Holder in his devotion to preaching in needy and destitute fields.
As the Bible guided the Holder family, especially was it Brother Holder's practice to pursue it often and carefully. At home he would read for hours at a time, some in the morning, more in the afternoon. When he was away from home in gospel meetings, daily reading of the Bible was still his practice and doubtless accounts for his thorough knowledge and clear understanding of God's Book.
He was well read in other matters as well. He kept up with current events in daily newspapers and weekly news magazines and regularly read several religious papers to learn the progress of brethren in other parts of the nation and world. His intense interest in the spread of the gospel led him to keep up with religious debates and learn as much as he could from everyone he met. He was a firm believer in Christians reading religious literature and for years sent in clubs of subscriptions to the Gospel Advocate and Firm Foundation.
A necessarily temporal indication of his realms of influence can be suggested by the places where Charles Holder made his earthly home. Following is a list of these places and the times he lived in each:
7, 1873 - October
Valdosta, Georgia - October 2, 1903 - December 9, 1903
Pikeville, Tennessee - December 10, 1903 - February 19, 1909
South Pittsburg, Tennessee - February 19, 1909 - March 15, 1910
Dunlap, Tennessee - March 15, 1910 - May 25, 1910
Bridgeport, Alabama - May 25, 1910 - August 12, 1911
Lyerly, Georgia - August 13, 1911 - February 29, 1912
Bridgeport, Alabama - February 29, 1912 - April 26, 1961
CHAPTER 3EARLY YEARS OF PREACHING
Brother Charles Holder did not preach to receive men's praises nor to build a famous image. His continuously unselfish life evidences his determination to evangelize as much of the world as he could in spite of hardships.
After selling the family farm in Quebec, he moved to Valdosta, Georgia, and spent two months preaching there and in surrounding communities as well as in three places in South Florida. When he was ready to leave, the church wanted him to stay with regular support. However, since the church was supporting three other preachers by that time, he told them, "You can get preachers to come here because you can pay them. I'm going to preach where they can't pay for it."
Some of his colleagues suggested that Camden, Tennessee, needed a preacher and the work would be easier, but he wanted to go to Pikeville, in the Sequatchie Valley. One preacher said, "Those people are too rough and wicked; you don't need to go there." He relented after much persuasion and decided to go to Camden.
His train route to Camden took him through Nashville, Tennessee, and when he arrived in Nashville, he took advantage of a layover to stroll the streets of the city for his first visit, and his last. After he was again on the train, he pondered more and more over where he should preach. There was already a church established in Camden with funds to support a preacher. There was no preacher in Pikeville and nobody to pay a preacher. When he finally reached Camden, his mind was made up. Immediately he went to the ticket window, purchased a fare to Quebec, and was on his way again without even leaving the depot.
From Quebec he went on to Pikeville, and on December 13, 1903, he preached his first sermon in the Sequatchie Valley at Smyrna, a few miles away from Pikeville. One week later he preached in Pikeville and thus began his fruitful work in the beautiful valley and its adjoining communities.
With his refusal to preach at Camden, Brother Holder established the pattern of devotion, unselfishness, humility, and desire to serve which characterized his life and work. He was repeatedly asked to preach for a number of strong churches, three of which were in Nashville. Each time he refused because he preferred to preach for small churches or in places where there was no church. Furthermore, he never preached for any church for more than a few consecutive months, usually during the winter in or around Bridgeport, Alabama. And even though Bridgeport was his home for almost fifty years, he only spoke there occasionally. He told me repeatedly that during his first eight years of preaching he was not paid as much as a dollar for his services.
Of course, the family's income during this time came from their livestock which were high quality registered animals. Below is a letterhead which Brother Holder used back in the '30's. It would be an unusual one for today's preachers, but it illustrates his interests and thoughtfulness in that regardless of his writing, he always reminded his correspondents of scriptures which had been meaningful to him.
Since during his entire ministry he never owned his own method of conveyance, he traveled by train or bus much of the time. Often members of the church where he was to preach came for him and returned him home after his preaching was finished.
As a man of great faith, he believed in the providence of God and never seemed too concerned if he had no money for train fare. His son Charles remembers numerous times when his father would set out for the depot with no fare, but before he reached the station someone would provide him sufficient funds. On one such occasion a man handed him $20; he used part to purchase a one way ticket and gave the rest to Charles to deliver to his mother. Charles asked him how he would get home, and he replied that there would be a way. There always was a way.
One of our newer songs, "The Lord Will Find A Way," expressed the faith he always manifested. Following are some of the words to the song:
I know the Lord will find a way for me. If I walk in heaven's light, Shun the wrong and do the right, I know the Lord will find a way for me. The Lord has said to preach the word to all the world. If I walk in heaven's light, Shun the wrong and do the right, I know the Lord will find a way for me.
Won't it be grand to hear him say, "Well done!"
If I walk in heaven's light,
Shun the wrong and do the right,
Won't it be grand to hear him say, "Well done!"
During the lean years of the depression, a church in Florida asked Brother Holder to come hold a meeting. They so much wanted him that they offered him $500 for the meeting. He refused the offer saying that they could get another man with the money; he was going where no one could afford to pay him for a meeting. He went at this time to a small church near Fort Payne, Alabama, and received no pay at all.
As a believer in utilizing every means to spread the good news, he usually enclosed tracts with the letters he wrote, frequently circling specific scriptures or penciling in a few additional ones. He distributed tracts on the streets, especially during his meetings, and during the period of 1931-1936 when money was scarce, he distributed at his own expense about 12,000 tracts. He also gave Bibles and other religious books to widows and poor people and subscribed to religious magazines for those who he felt could not do so for themselves.
Brother Holder preached in more than 200 communities in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia and baptized more than 2,000 people during his first 30 years of preaching. He performed many marriages and preached many funerals, often performing more of these services for denominational friends than those performed by their own preachers.
This esteem in which he was held was shown in a certain town on the occasion of the death of a Methodist woman. There was a Methodist revival meeting in progress and two visiting preachers were in town. Yet, Brother Holder was called to preach the funeral. One of the Methodist preachers remarked, "Isn't that something, a Church of Christ preacher preaching a Methodist woman's funeral in a Methodist church and three Methodist preachers in town."
Among those of his own faith who labored along with Brother Holder in the area of the Sequatchie Valley were such men as Aruna Clark, Chattanooga; Flavil Hall, Trion, Georgia; A. B. Blazer and Joe Jones, whom Brother Holder called a walking Bible, Hurricane, Alabama; Jimmy and Herman Meil and John Jenkins, Huntsville; L. B. Jones, Paint Rock, Alabama, Fred Little, Pikeville; W. C. Phillips, R. W. (Bob) Journigan, R. E. L. Taylor, and George W. Fasmer, Cleveland; and E. C. Fuqua, Rome, Georgia.
CHAPTER 4 INTERESTING EXPERIENCES
Men come to life in a revelation of their experiences, and Charles Holder's humanness is shown in his. Silas Shaw tells of once when Woodrow Byers of McMinnville, Tennessee, made a trip to Bridgeport to purchase stoves from the local foundry. He arrived about noon and had to wait until after lunch to have his stoves loaded. As he passed the time, he asked some of the workman to name for him the best man in town. Several of the men, none of them Christians, immediately answered, "Charles Holder." Another of the men added, "I have never put foot in a church house in my life, but I agree with the others. But if you mean the best man other than a preacher, I would say L. H. Hughes."
This incident made its way to Nashville where Batsell Barret Baxter utilized it in a sermon at the Hillsboro Church of Christ. Some of the congregation recognized the reference to Brother Holder in "The Best Man in Town," but his daughter Ray and her family who were in the audience did not know of whom he was speaking until near the end of the sermon. Tears filled many eyes that morning as Brother Baxter described the "Beauty of Holiness" and its influence on others.
The range of Brother Holder's influence is further shown in his reactions to the homes he visited and in his determination to spread God's Word in spite of personal inconvenience. In one home he visited during a meeting when the weather was cold, there was little to offer him, but he never complained to his hosts. He later said that the cracks in the floor were so large that he could see the chickens under the house, and even though it was cold, he had only one quilt on his bed. One night he was so cold that he finally opened the straw mattress and crawled in, spreading the straw around him in order to be warm enough to sleep.
Once he met an old man on a trail, and after a lengthy conversation, the man invited Brother Holder to come home with him and share a meager meal. When they arrived at the man's home, his wife came in and set some molasses, corn bread, and fat meat on the table. Without speaking, she timidly left the room until they finished their meal. Brother Holder was hungry, and he said the food tasted good. Later on after the couple was touched by Brother Holder's kindness and Bible teaching, both the man and his wife were baptized into Christ.
In another home during a meeting, Brother Holder found the house so dirty he wondered how he would make it. Since baked sweet potatoes were served at every meal, he mostly subsisted on them for a week because he peeled them himself before he ate. He wondered continually how he could tell his hosts to clean up, and finally, just before he left, he asked the man to sit down and talk to him. Brother Holder told him to buy some soap, clean the house, was the clothes and take baths, and the next time he visited there, the house was spotlessly clean.
One of his most remarkable contacts was an unbeliever who owned a coal mine and sent him a check every month for a whole year. When Brother Holder returned to the town where the man lived, he met him and asked him why he, an unbeliever, had sent him money. The man explained, "Because you have saved me money. Ever since you came and preached here, the men have been so honest that they quit putting rocks in with the coal they dug, and that has saved me lots of money."
On one occasion Brother Holder was called into court as a witness. When asked to put his hand on the Bible and swear, he said, "No, I can't swear by heaven for it is the throne of God, nor by earth, for it is the footstool of his feet. I just can't swear at all, but I am a Christian, and I will tell you the truth." That ended the matter; he went on and gave his testimony.
Another interesting anecdote comes from his preaching at Dunlap where he had a box set aside for people to put in Bible questions for him to answer. A group of young people decided to have some fun and trap him with this question: "If the devil should get a Campbellite accidentally, would he turn him loose?" Brother Holder silently read the question and then aloud, saying he would give a Bible answer. He said, "No, the devil would not turn him loose, because a Campbellite is a person who knows his duty but will not do it, and that's the kind of people the devil wants."
In another place after a meeting, he was expecting no payment until he was given a heavy "shot sack" at his departure. After boarding the train, his curiosity led him to open the sack and then to count the pennies he found there. The people had saved them from their scanty incomes, and he was surprised at the total of $42.
However, perhaps one of Brother Holder's happiest days of preaching came on his 80th birthday when he was finishing a meeting at Jericho. He was staying in his old home with the Joe Petits, and his family, including children and grandchildren, surprised him with a visit. He was beside himself with happiness on Sunday when he saw in the audience his entire family, and there was pleasure in his voice as at the end of the sermon he announced their presence.
After dinner he showed the family some of the old landmarks. The century old barn was put together with wooden pegs, and the stable spanned its length with separate enclosures for each horse. Brother Holder decided to climb once again to the third story. When he came down, memories of his childhood began to cross his mind, and he told the family a story partly connected with the old barn.
When he was quite a young man, he attended a revival in progress near his home. He frequented the mourner's bench, but after much praying by him and by members of that church, he failed to feel any miraculous manifestation. He was told to go to some quiet place and pray alone, and he climbed to the third story of the barn to accomplish this act. Since nothing unusual happened, he decided he would just take the Bible as his life's guide.
When Brother Holder finished his narrative, he pointed out where the bridle trail had been and spoke of his sister Josie, the equestrienne of the family. He pridefully said, "I believe Josie could ride anything with four legs!"
Back in the house many things were much the same as when he lived there. He enjoyed having his daughter Ray and granddaughter Barbara play the antique grand piano which his sister Mattie had played when it was theirs. For the entire family the occasion was a happy one, and departing was only "the End of a Perfect Day."
THE INCIDENT OF THE WAYWARD SON
During the course of one of Brother Holder's meetings, a young man under the influence of strong drink created a disturbance. A number of the congregation's leaders were intensely aroused by the incident, in those days a common one usually brought about by JP and Grand Jury action in the courts. This was being discussed, and Brother Holder is reported to have said something like this: "What do you suppose the Lord would have us do? What do you suppose is the Christian thing to do? That boy has a father and family who are your friends. If you were his father, what would you want the brethren here to do?" As Christians stopped to think, the talk was hushed and the act forgiven, and later the boy's family became members of the church.
THE WITHDRAWAL OF FELLOWSHIP
Upon his arrival at another community to hold a meeting, Brother Holder was met by the man who had secured his services and with whom he would be staying. The man began the conversation, "Well, the first thing we want to do to get this meeting off to a good start is to withdraw from about a half-dozen people." Brother Holder answered, "You let me preach here for a few days and then we will talk about that." Near the close of the meeting this same man confessed his own faults, and with tears streaming down his face, he told Brother Holder, "You prevented my making what would have been the most disastrous mistake of my life." The withdrawal never took place, and the meeting ended with wonderful results.
CHAPTER 5WHAT FRIENDS HAVE SAID ABOUT BROTHER HOLDER
Many comments have been made about the character and preaching of Brother Holder. It is not possible to list all of them, but these are a representative sampling.
From Jericho, near McMinnville, come these statements from various friends.
"Charles Holder, Sr., is the most Christ-like person that many of our people have ever known. Walk down our narrow valleys, journey across these mountain tops, climb up and down their slopes and talk to the people of God and this is the answer you will find upon a multitude of lips, 'Yes, I have known him a long time'. People have been known to say they have the strange feeling that they are looking into the face of Divinity when they behold his rugged, peaceful, and kind face. They knew, of course that he lived in mortal form, but what they were seeing was the transformed individual, transformed by the renewing of his mind, in the image of Him who created him; transformed by a continual looking into the perfect law of liberty; transformed by truth, the love of it and continual obedience to it until his life and character was radiant with its beauty.... To us he is our own personal example of the apostle Paul in matters of evangelism, perseverance, frugal living, steadfastness, and the giving of himself. We do not expect to see his like again."
Howard Hembree, Quebec, Tennessee.
"His work resembled the apostle Paul's."
C. J. Wheeler, Pikeville, Tennessee.
"I think I have never heard his equal these many years. I am thankful I was privileged to know him and learn from his lips the Holy Scriptures. He was indeed a prince among men."
Mrs. T. B. Geer, Cowan, Tennessee.
"I feel about him like Christ said about the woman, 'He hath done what he could'."
Annie W. Arnold, Stevenson, Alabama.
"Brother Holder will long be remembered by every one who had the privilege of knowing him."
Smith M. Lively, McMinnville, Tennessee.
"To me Brother Holder was 'The salt of the earth'."
Henry K. Allan, Fairbanks, Alaska.
"He was always ready and willing to go where the gospel was needed most, and the brethren were the fewest and weakest, never counting the cost."
Mrs. Ernest J. Slatton, Tampa, Florida.
"It was always such a blessing to have him in our home. He was loved dearly by all."
The R. C. Carpenters, Chattanooga, Tennessee
"It would be impossible to express what Brother Holder has meant to us. It was the souls of men he had at heart, not the dollar."
Members, Church of Christ, Jenny's Chapel, By A. R. Johnston.
"Without his love for us, his great faith and encouragement, we would not have been as faithful as we are."
Loyd M. Collins, Wood's Cove Church, Scottsboro, Alabama.
"As a child, when we would visit them all I can remember is seeing him sitting on the porch reading his Bible. He was such a good man."
A niece, Mrs. C. C. Dodson, McMinnville, Tennessee
"I believe Brother Holder was the most righteous man I ever knew, and I feel sure he is enjoying the reward of the righteous."
Ronald R. Morgan, Lafayette, Ga.
Brother Jack Withelm, Florence, Alabama wishes to include a few words from a letter Brother Holder sent to him. He said they express so accurately the characteristics of Brother Holder.
"For more than 60 years I have worked where there were few Christians, where the going was slow and hard and where there was little pay. But God and His church have never failed me and I am truly thankful. I am well and my son James Elam is preaching nearly every Lord's Day, and I am happy because of this over other things."
Brother Roy Burgess, Taylor, Michigan, says one outstanding remark of Brother Holder had encouraged him much. "I have been stumbling and blundering for nearly fifty years, and with the help of God, I intend to keep on going in spite of the stumbling and blundering. It would be a disaster to give up the Lord because of mistakes we make trying to serve him."
These are just a few of the many friends who could bear the same kind of testimony. Brother Holder treasured his friends very highly; he told me one time that he was a millionaire because he had a million friends.
CHAPTER 6"BROTHER HOLDER AS I KNEW HIM"
To write of all my remembered experiences with Brother Holder, and in all matters where he has touched my life, I am confident it would appear to be a story of my own Christian growth and development into a gospel preacher; for a record of his life's practice does consist in details of reaching out of himself and into the lives of others.
He was known, loved, thought of and addressed as "Brother Holder" by saint and sinner. Even his wife addressed him as "Brother Holder" in the presence of others, always, out of profound respect (I Pet. 3:1-6).
FAITH IN THE POWER OF THE PRINTED PAGE
One could not think of brother Holder without a mental picture of himself receiving something in good gospel literature. It was as common as was his full life of oral preaching to give away thousands upon thousands of tracts, encouraging many to subscribe to some religious paper such as the Gospel Advocate. You could always find him with a new list of subscribers and could get in on the club price. I do not remember participating with him in a meeting when announcement was not made of such papers, and tracts were always offered free.
His first real impact upon me, in forming a conviction and effecting a decision, was through a tract he gave me. It was during his regular appointments at Bridgeport church, when following the sermon, he as usual made mention of tracts which were free for the taking. The tract on that occasion was titled, "Christians and Tobacco." After reading it, I purposed at that moment to exchange the tobacco habit for something of greater value. I have since had twenty-seven years to rejoice in that decision.
He believed in the power of the printed page and entertained confidence that fruit would be borne by placing good reading in the hands of the people. I suppose there are none of the well-known tracts in the brotherhood but what have been purchased and distributed by him in the hundreds and thousands, in addition to his writing many of his own arrangements and having them printed and distributed into the tens of thousands.
ROUGH STONES FOR POLISHING
There is no way to really know how many young men he influenced to preach. I am persuaded that many, along with myself, attributed to him the credit in being responsible for whatever good we may be able to do, in the way that we attribute to God's servants these things. Brother Holder exercised great interest and patience in convincing another that he too, can be used of the Lord. To another, he may be one without seeming potential, but to Brother Holder, one such was fit material for the Lord-a stone in the rough for polishing-with which to exercise endless patience in turning his energies into doing good while on earth, and in making ready for heaven. He was convincing in his expression of confidence, that, if one prepares himself for a work, the Lord will open the opportunity for service first the preparation, then the Lord will see to it that the field is opened.
I could wish that all young boys believe early, and know that this principle has been tried and verified again and again in many delightful ways, especially in the great work of gospel preaching.
SOME PREACHING CHARACTERISTICS
Brother Holder believed the word of God for what it said. His life plan of preaching permitted him to hear very little preaching from others, but when he heard another preach in earnest fashion, unassuming, unafraid, with more regard for what God would say than what man may think, he would likely say, "He doesn't have any better sense than to preach the truth," always meaning that such a one would be faithful to the word, not hesitating to make the application fearlessly and the truth plain.
I have assisted him in meetings when, each night, he would use a different passage for a text, but each featuring some great characteristic of God's word, using the entire meeting in exalting the value of taking God at His word, doing what He commands, and trusting God for the promises made.
One favorite and all-convincing arrangement which he would develop point-by-point is worthy of every generation. It is as follows:,
"The word of God endureth forever." (Isa. 40:8)
"The Kingdom of God shall stand forever." (Dan. 2:44)
"He that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (I Jno. 2:17)
He believed the one as strongly as he believed the other. He believed the scriptures furnished the man of God unto every good work. He wasted no time or influence in the practice of politics, held membership in no organization on earth but the blood-bought church of the Lord, and taught others that we can be `complete in Christ.'
One of the most impressive statements he ever made to me on the subject of preaching was, in exact quotation: "Why Cecil, it does no more good to preach to some folks than pouring cold water on a duck's back, but the Lord said preach." I know this is the courage he would take when working with a "hard place" where seeming little could be accomplished.
Toward every one he ever met and talked to, he was the very personification of kindness and Christian charity, and whoever formed his "inner circle" could see his love and concern for him beaming through. But when in the pulpit, he knew "no one after the flesh." This was his conviction and consistent practice.
I remember the following incident which he related to me and which illustrates and may account for some of his methods in handling an audience. In his young days he conducted a meeting in which he "scorched their hides good", more and more severely toward the last of the meeting. An elderly gentleman, not even a Christian, said, "Well, I enjoyed your meeting, but if I were a preacher I would not do as you have." Brother Holder thought, "Who are you to know so much about what you would do," then asked, "well, how would you do it?" The old man continued: "I would come into a place for my first meeting, preach clearly what I believed, and toward the last I would ease up on them so I would get to come back. If I could not return, all my opportunities for helping them would be gone." This to Brother Holder sounded like wise advice for many conditions. His usual practice would be to "lay it on good and proper" when he knew an existing situation wrong, but then, he would not say anything more about that particular thing for a while, giving them a chance to "cool off" some. By then he could approach it from another angle and snatch some from the burning.
When, during "World War II," convictions were likely sacrificed by many at bargain-counter prices, emotions were high strung and it was so easy to lose one's sense of distinction between right and wrong, faith and opinion, and completely lose one's footing, I asked brother Holder what he regarded as the most serious need, and he said in substance, "To keep before the Church the fact of the 'One Body' and hold as many of them faithful as possible."
I think I could write many paragraphs telling of many profitable incidents. The trips with him to and from meetings were never dull. He could talk about more profitable things and relate them in application to our needs than anyone I've ever seen. Passage after passage of the sacred scriptures were discussed to my delight and edification. Many of my most sacred "holdings" were formed during these times which have served to guide me safely through many problems.
On one occasion, when he had preached a stirring and frightful sermon on some very vital subject, a listener, after the service had closed, approached him with, "Well, you preached me to hell today." To this Brother Holder replied with the following provocative question: "You are not there yet, are you?"
No one came closer than he in preaching the gospel in the language of the gospel writings. His practice was to organize an arrangement of passages and illustrations so as to let God's word speak with all authority on any given subject. I do not know how much of the Bible he could recite from memory, but no one who ever heard him preach was ever left with any doubt that he had his heart stored with the greater part of it. One of the most impressive sermons which he used again and again over the years was outlined and preached as expressed in Deut. 5:29:
"Oh that there were such a heart in them,
a. that they would fear me
b. and keep all my commandments
c. always, that it may be well with them and
their children forever."
A LOOK AT HIS PERSONALITY
Brother Holder was, as near as I could see, wholly unselfish. He did not withhold praise when he had opportunity to commend one for a good work. He would praise the good points of his critics. When he was criticized he would attribute the most charitable motive possible to it, and he would say to those closest to him, "No one can hurt you but yourself." He would commit himself to the Lord in well doing, believing the very thing the Lord wanted done would be done in the Lord's own way and time. This, all knew, was his exceptionally strong confidence in the "providential care" of God. He had open and standing invitations to preach at some places as long as he lived. In some instances where someone had said years before, "as long as I have anything to do with it, he shall not preach in this place." Brother Holder believed confidentially that God will honor your work.
It was a source of joy to him just to believe he could befriend a person. On one occasion he gave me a nice big fat hen from his fine flock. When I suggested he shouldn't do it, he said, "The Lord is not going to let me suffer in doing something for you, do you believe that?"
When he became unable to preach from the pulpit any more, he began thinking of what he could be good for. He came up with an answer to himself, "why, I can still write, mail tracts and ask people to attend church; my wife needs me and I can look after her."
His mental powers were marvelously preserved to the very last. He never quit reading the Bible and when bedfast, having it read to him. He had, all during the years, kept himself busy reading good books and engaging in a daily study of the Bible, always calling attention to some point which he wondered why he had not noticed before. This but points up the manner in which he always eagerly studied, the refreshing state of his mind in discussing the word of God, and the amazement with which he looked upon it.
And now, with all the fruit he bore for Christ while he was with us and which has been placed to his account, there is still more to come, for being dead, yet he speaks through fruit bearing of others who love life and see good days because Brother Holder lived. He rejoiced in the thought that one day he could see others `there' because he was here. With a host of others, James Elam, his youngest son in the flesh, rises up to call him blessed in preaching the glorious gospel of the Son of God.
THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THE
Even though the greater part of Brother Holder's work was done in the Sequatchie Valley, he did much preaching in the surrounding areas. The church's growth can best be seen after considering the few, scattered churches at the beginning of the century. According to Brother Holder, in 1900 there were four churches in McMinn County, Tennessee, and in 1903 there were only two churches in Chattanooga. Of the mere 16 in East Tennessee, only three small churches - Calhoun, Tennessee, Ooltewah, Tennessee, and Cowart Street in Chattanooga-owned buildings. There were only seven churches in the Sequatchie Valley, and in 1900 Harlan was the only church between Chattanooga and Rome, Georgia.
In those days most churches began meeting in old stone buildings or under a tent. The gospel was not always favorably received in such places, neither was the preacher. When Brother Holder first began preaching in LaFayette, Georgia, during one meeting he was shot at and finally run out of the school house. The meeting place was then moved to the court house, and finally two brethren rented a lot, bought a tent and put it up where they met for the next six months.
In Summerville, Georgia, one preacher was actually hit by a rock. "They were rough on all Church of Christ preachers in those days," commented Brother Holder.
In contrast today there are churches in nearly every town or community in southern Tennessee, northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia. And from Pikeville to Fort Payne, Alabama, it would be hard to find a Church of Christ in which at least one person had not known and been influenced by Brother Holder. Most of the churches in this area that were not begun by himself had their beginnings in people to whom he had preached in other places. Only eternity can reveal the good accomplished by his efforts.
His enthusiasm for his message is exemplified during his first meeting at Pikeville when he walked to the meeting house and sighted about 50 boys standing under a tree. He talked to them and invited them in. About half of them accepted the invitation, but for the most part paid little attention to the service. Afterwards he said he might just as well go home since he wasn't doing any good, One of the boys said, "How do you know?" He decided to stay on to see, and at the close of the meeting 18 adults had been baptized. Considering one convert, a man past 70, he said the man might never have become a Christian had he left.
Just as there can be no definite count of the people influenced by Brother Holder, it would be impossible to name all of the churches he actually started or helped start. However, I have received definite information regarding the following congregations: in Tennessee, Pikeville, Sale Creek and Graysville; in Alabama, Fort Payne, Stevenson, Jenny's Chapel, Wood's Cove, Lyon's Chapel and Smith's Chapel; and in Georgia, LaFayette and two churches in Summerville. In 1936 Brother Holder published and distributed a tract which is actually a report of his own work aimed to stir up people to be more missionary minded. The following is taken from that tract:
"THE POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM." For thirty years I have preached the gospel in twelve counties in East Tennessee, four in Northeast Alabama, and four in Northwest Georgia, in an effort to establish and build up New Testament churches. More than thirty congregations have been established, and several young men have been influenced to preach the Gospel. There are yet many places in these twenty counties where the gospel has not been preached. On Lookout Mountain, in North Georgia, and North Alabama, there is only one small congregation of eight members meeting in a private home. On Sand Mountain there are fifteen good community centers with good schools and only one congregation of the church. On Gunter's Mountain there are several good communities with only two congregations. At Grant, on Gunter's Mountain, is one of the finest schools in North Alabama with an enrollment of nearly five hundred young people. We have a few members there, with a house of worship not yet paid for and not yet painted. On Walden's Ridge, a part of the Cumberland Mountain, in Tennessee, from Crossville to near Chattanooga, a distance of seventy-five miles, there is a congregation. All this vast mission field is in these twenty counties.
All along I have refused calls from other sections and other States. I have never given all my time to one congregation, and have never asked a strong congregation to give me work. I have never refused to go to any place in these twenty counties where it was possible for me to go.
"I have shown you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
The past three years I have preached at SEVENTEEN places where a few disciples meet regularly for worship in private homes, school houses and old store buildings. I have preached at FIVE places where a few disciples have houses of worship, not finished, not painted and four of them not paid for. All these TWENTY-TWO places are in good towns and community centers and I believe good congregations can be built up at all of these places. But it will take time and work, and only one of these twenty-two places is able to support a meeting as it should be. The harvest is great indeed. "Lift up your eyes, and look on the field," and remember the command is: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." I am going in all kinds of weather, into all kinds of places, into all kinds of homes, and among all kinds of peoples. I am teaching publicly and from house to house, and giving away tracts and leaflets, as I go, in an effort to save the lost, help the weak and build up New Testament Churches.
Will you not take MORE INTEREST in this work, PRAYING often for those who are doing this work and for their families and will you not GIVE MORE to the support of this work that souls, for whom Christ gave his life and shed his blood, may hear the gospel and be saved? "BEAR YE ONE ANOTHER'S BURDENS, AND SO FULFILL THE LAW OF CHRIST."
In 1931, I held fifteen meetings that paid me two hundred sixty-three dollars and twenty-five cents. 1932 seventeen meetings paid me two hundred thirteen dollars and forty cents. To date, July 7, this year I have held seven meetings, which paid me forty-six dollars and I have eight or ten more of the same kind to hold if possible. In 1931 and 1932 and to date this year I gave away twelve thousand tracts and leaflets.
During 1936, I preached at ten places where a few disciples meet in private homes, school houses, sectarian meeting houses, and one place is an unfinished church building. I held 10 meetings during the year at these places. Seven meetings gave me $65.60. THREE MEETINGS gave me NOTHING. I plan to continue this work during 1937, the Lord willing. I think good congregations can be built up at ALL these places BUT IT WILL TAKE CONTINUAL HARD WORK FOR SOME TIME YET. There are many other places like these ten places, and near them, I plan to go as soon as possible. John 4:34-36. Acts 20:17-35.
The people at these places are our own people and the disciples at these places, though they are few in number and perhaps weak, yet they are our own brethren and sisters in Christ and they are entitled to all the blessings and privileges of the Gospel and are entitled to Gospel preaching the same as those who worship with strong Churches with good houses of worship.
The Government is spending BILLIONS to feed and clothe the bodies of our people but is not spending and WILL NOT SPEND, A PENNY TO SAVE THE SOULS OF PEOPLE.
The American people spend annually for tobacco $60.00 per capita, they spend $20.00 per capita for cold drinks and $10.00 per capita to attend shows. THINK OF THAT! $90.00 for EVERY MAN, WOMAN and CHILD in this country. $7,200,000,000 for tobacco, $2,400,000,000 for cold drinks and $1,000,000,000 for movies. HOW MUCH DO WE SPEND TO SAVE THE LOST?
Christ gave his life, body and blood for us. How much do we give to His cause and to extend His Kingdom, II Cor. 5:14; I Peter 4:1-10; Heb. 6:10; Matt. 6:33; Phil. 3:7-14.
Christ died for all and wants all saved. Rom. 1:16 and 8:9; Gal. 6:2-10; I Cor. 9:16-22.
CHAPTER 8 LAST YEARS AND FUNERAL
During Brother Holder's last two years of life, he was not strong enough to preach regularly, but when he was able, he usually attended services at Bridgeport or Rocky Springs, and on a few occasions he spoke for a very brief time. However, especially in 1960 there would be weeks at a time when his health did not permit him even to leave the house.
In three ledgers he kept a record of his sermons, including the date, place, scripture used and visible results. He also recorded wedding ceremonies and funerals, but he never listed a sermon subject. Checking his latest records, I found he preached only 24 Sundays in 1959. On the last Sunday in August of that year he went to Union Grove, near Cleveland, Tennessee, for a meeting. He had thought his strength sufficient to empower him to preach in a week's meeting, and he had already been able to preach in Bridgeport two Sundays before. However, after his first sermon on Sunday at Union Grove, his infirmities overcame him, and he asked the brethren to take him home.
That Sunday at Union Grove was the last time he preached from the pulpit. His last eight day meeting, however, was held at the East Chattanooga church in October, 1958, where he had annually held meeting for several years. Here in 1959 several Chattanooga preachers volunteered to preach one night each in a meeting if the church would send the money ordinarily paid them to Brother Holder.
Brother Holder was my personal friend for just over four years, and though I realize the blessing I missed in not knowing him longer, these few years were a rich experience. I do not know of a man more humble than he, nor of one more dedicated to the Lord.
He was always willing for the Lord's will to be done, but as the evening shadows began to fall on his life, I could see in him the perplexity which faced Paul in his desire to depart to be with the Lord and yet his desire to see the kingdom grow and cover the earth. He frequently said that he would like to live and preach until Christ returned, but in his last years his body was so tired and worn that he really preferred to go on.
Still, many times he stated, "I would like to live long enough to see a nice church building and a strong congregation in New York City, one in Singapore, and one in Hong Kong." He felt that each of these places were potential radiating centers for the good news of Christ, and he was thankful for this generation's opportunities and that he lived in the "golden age of Christianity."
His fervent belief in Romans 8:28 that "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord . . . ," was only temptable when Charles' wife, Lena, passed away and when his own wife became mentally incapable because of brain deterioration. He prayed about these, but he still quoted Romans 8:28 along with Romans 8:18 and 14:8 and Psalm 17:15. He even quoted Psalm 17:15 in his sleep while he was in the hospital.
Brother Holder rejoiced at the good work of the Herald of Truth, but he felt that the church itself was only doing a small percentage of what it could accomplish if every Christian would add just one more dollar to his monthly contributions. He said that if Christians would only realize how much this small increase could do, they could find ways to give it.
He never veered from his own humble appreciation for the monetary support of some churches and individuals who regularly thought of him when he was unable to preach from the pulpit. He did not ask for this support or for personal aid at any time during his life, because he believed the Lord would not forsake him in supplying his needs. Perhaps the Lord chose these people because they would give to Him through Brother Holder as they loved him and appreciated the work he had done. Brother Holder too was appreciative for all things as he showed in saying, "March 31, 1961, will be eight months, I have been in bed most of the time. It has been sad, trying, and expensive, but they have been the best days of my life. I think the Lord sent me to school on the 23rd day of July, 1960, to help me learn the meaning of Romans 5:15. I want to express thanks for the fact I believe God and His people have supplied my every need. I can't think of a thing I needed that I haven't received." For the many weeks Brother Holder was confined to his home, Preston Cox, himself a gospel preacher, expressed his own love and esteem for Brother Holder as he attended to his personal needs and brought him the Lord's Supper and shared a short service with him on Sunday afternoons.
During the time Brother Holder was in North Jackson Hospital, near Bridgeport, he was thinking of some good work he could do. He said he felt the Lord had a purpose in his being there and he wished to take advantage of it. While he was lying there in bed, he was constantly giving out tracts and talking about Christ and the Bible to the nurses and other employees of the hospital.
His own children were no less attentive to him than his host of friends, and his daughter Ray was with him during his last conscious moments when he uttered, "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21).
His grandson James was sitting vigil with him on April 26, 1961, when his spirit finally departed its earthly tabernacle. He had realized for several months that his illness was terminal, and with his departure in mind, he planned his funeral service. He selected the men he wanted to participate and named the songs he wanted the congregation to sing led by Brother Earl Inglis. He wanted Brother Cecil Williams to preach a lesson outlined in three main points - (1) The Word of the Lord Abideth Forever, (2) The Kingdom of God Standeth Forever and (3) He that doeth the Will of God Abideth Forever. He chose Psalm 103 as the text to be read by this writer.
At his request, the only flowers present were the pall on the casket. The beauty of the service itself, the singing of more than 300 friends and the inspirational message, was sufficient expression of love and respect for this man.
As his own last act of "Giving", Brother Holder had had printed a tract for the express occasion of this service. The subject was "Unity" - which he particularly emphasized in his later years and seemed to desire above all else.
In lieu of flowers he preferred that donations be sent either to the Manhattan Church of Christ in New York City or the Herald of Truth program in Abilene, Texas. For these causes more than $400 was contributed by friends and congregations.
Brother Holder's body was laid to rest in the Cumberland View Cemetery on U. S. Highway 41, just north of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. It is in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley which was dear to his heart from where his life and the influence of his Christ like character will spread for many years to come.
The words of a poet are fitting here -
Two hands upon his breast,
His labors all are done.
Two tired feet crossed in rest,
His earthly race is run.
A second funeral, less than six months later, was planned by the children for their beloved mother after she passed away on October 11, 1961. The service was as nearly possible like Brother Holder's for she was beloved of him as his faithful wife. Because of her mental condition, she was incapable of being the companion to him during his declining years, but when he was in the hospital she missed him and later gave evidence that she knew he was forever gone from her. She grew more restless, and as she required more constant care, James and his wife, Nell took care of her until she departed from their home.
She had not been able to communicate except for her clearly spoken "Daddy" for several years, even though she sometimes seemed to make sense without really knowing it. Brother Holder had shouldered, uncomplainingly, this burden, but when her body was laid beside his in Cumberland View Cemetery, they were both finally at rest from the encumbrance of the last years of their life on this earth.
CHAPTER 9 A COMMAND AND A PRAYER A Sermon by Charles Holder, Sr.
I trust that all of you are here to continue to study the Bible. This is the last night of the meeting, and I can't understand how erring members of the Church can hear these songs and listen to the prayers and lessons and continue in sin. I can't understand that. I can't understand how intelligent men and women can listen to the Gospel and listen to these songs and these prayers and go on in sin and die in sin and spend eternity in Hell. I can't understand it. I can't understand how intelligent men can enjoy the blessings of Almighty God day after day and continue in disobedience to his will and his way. I can't understand it. All we have and are, he gave to us. All blessings come from him, and if you think about it, it is ingratitude on your part when you fail to serve him.
Then another thing, He promises you a hundred fold in this present world in return for the service you render to Him, and in the world to come eternal life. It is a great deal more serious than you think to be an erring member of the church, because every erring member of the church causes somebody else to be in error. They hinder other people and bring reproach upon the church, and it is a serious thing-much more serious than most of us think. I would to God I could persuade you tonight if you are an erring member of the church to make up your mind like the prodigal boy to say, "I will arise and go to my Father's house," confess your sins and ask to be made a servant and then when you pray your sins will be forgiven.
Some who have children, I will warn you, you will answer for these children in the judgement. You brought them into the world without their consent, and you will answer for them in the judgement. You had better set the right example before them. You had better exert the right influence over them, and if you have not, confess and humbly pray God, and try to undo the wrong that you have done. Try to redeem the time that you have wasted. Those of you who never have been Christians, the Lord needs you, has a use for you. He has work for you that no one else can do. He has a temporal and eternal reward for you if you do the work. But the work must be done in the church as a member of the church. The Lord doesn't bless anybody in spiritual ways nor save anybody from sin until they enter into the church he purchased with his blood. He doesn't reward anybody in heaven and with eternal life for any good they do, except they do it in and through the Church. I want to appeal to you to remember that.
I want to talk tonight about a command the Savior gave and a prayer that he uttered, and more depends upon the carrying out of this command and helping answer this prayer than all else we do. Our relationship one to another, the way we treat each other, has more influence in the world than anything else. Preaching will have its effect if we live as we should. But upon these two things Christ seems to understand that more depends than all others put together. One command he gave, and one prayer he uttered. Peter had that in mind when he said in I Peter 3:8-1 "Finally, be you all of one mind, having compassion one with another, love the brethren, be pitiful, be courteous not rendering evil for evil nor railing for railing but contrariwise blessing." Then he said, "You that love life and see good days (now listen, I have seen many a chap forget about that), let him refrain his tongue from evil, (let's make a note of that), and his lips that they speak no guile. Let him turn away from evil and do good. Let him seek peace and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers. But the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."
When you go home tonight, sit down and do not sleep until you have committed I Peter 3:12 to memory, because unless you commit these to memory and get them fixed in your heart, you just can't carry them out. Now then, I've never stood in this pulpit when I was so anxious for this congregation to carry out what I am trying to preach as I am tonight. Your salvation is at stake. The salvation of others is at stake, and you and I cannot be saved without obeying this commandment; that is, we can't be saved in heaven. We can't be saved in heaven without doing our best to carry out this prayer. Listen at the command. "A new commandment give I unto you (get it and remember it) that you love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples in that you have love one for another." How much are we to love each other? As he loved us! Why? So all men can see that we are his disciples. Now the thing for you to do is make a note of that. Ask yourself the question, "Do you love all members of the body of Christ, as Christ loved you?" That's the way I study the Bible. That's the only way to study the Bible. Apply it to myself and then my friends, the prayer is, "Neither for these only do I pray but for all them which have believed on me through their word that all may be one as thou father art in me and I in thee that they all be one in us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." We are the only religious people in the world that preach that platform upon which all men can unite and be one without giving up a single truth, sacrificing a single principle or accepting a single error. The truth is that we do not practice what we preach.
In regard to all being one, let's study this question. In the fourteenth chapter of Romans are some things I want to get before you. For instance, he says here that, "He that is weak in the faith receive ye but not to doubtful disputations." It's wrong to argue with brethren and sisters who are weak in the faith, who do not know much, who do not have much sense, who are weak. It's wrong. There it is; it's not what I think. Him that is weak receive ye but not to doubtful disputations, and another thing, who art thou that judgest another man's servant? Now let's stop and ask ourselves, are we guilty of that? "Who art thou that judgest or condemns another man's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be holden up for God is able to make him stand. For none of us lives unto himself and no man dieth to himself." The Lord only knows how many people I have influenced either for good or bad. God only knows how many people you are influencing, for good or bad. If we influence them for good, it is well, but if for bad, woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling. It must needs be but woe unto a man through whom it cometh. After that, he said it is better to lose your hand, foot or eye than to be cast into the fire that shall never be quenched, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. It's just terrible to think about what's in store for men and women who miss heaven and who fail to enjoy eternal life. "But why dost thou judge thy brother or why dost thou set at naught thy brother, for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. As it is written, as I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, every tongue shall confess to God." You'll have to confess, my brethren, whether you want to or not. If you never confess with the mouth that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, someday you will have to, but it will do you no good. You'd better confess now unto salvation. All of you who are in the Church and guilty of sin will confess sometime, with a broken heart, but your confession will do no good. It'll do good tonight. Make up your mind not to let the service close without it. "Let us not therefore, judge one another, but judge ye this that no man put a stumbling block in his brother's way." Oh, how important that is. "But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not with thy meat for whom Christ died. For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God and approved of men." There is not a wicked man in this country that will not approve a good man and a good woman. Remember that it is good neither to eat flesh nor to drink wine nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth or is offended or is made weak. That reading is found in Romans chapter fourteen. I wish when you go home tonight, before you sleep that you will read that and make a note of these things that I have read.
There are several things that I want to get before you tonight. One is, you can't neglect one another without neglecting Christ. You can't wrong each other without wronging Christ. You can't sin against each other without sinning against Christ. I would to God that I had the power to express and emphasize that solemn truth. Let me repeat that. You can't neglect each other without neglecting Christ. Now isn't that true? He said, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." Why? Because they had neglected him, that's why. He said, "I was hungry and you gave me no meat, I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink. I was sick and ye visited me not. In prison and ye came not unto me, a stranger and ye took me not in." You made excuses for not doing that. "Inasmuch as you did it not to the least of these my brethren, ye did it not to me." You just can't neglect one another without neglecting the Christ, you can't do it. No wonder he commanded us to love one another as he loved us. No wonder he prayed that we might all be one, that the sinners of the world might have faith in him. The reason infidelity is on the increase is because of a lack of this among the disciples of Christ. Strife, division and contention, hatred and malice, slights and slurs and mistreatment, neglect and insinuation, that's the reason that infidelity is on the increase. We have it in our power to force the world to believe that we are the disciples of Christ. We have it in our power to force the world to believe in Jesus Christ by being one. That doesn't mean that we see every little thing alike. It doesn't mean that, but it does mean that each of us and all of us, like God and Christ, wants every mortal upon earth saved and have a kind, tender feeling toward every man and woman in the church because we are members of one common family, because we are brethren and sisters in the Lord.
While my wife and I do not agree about every little thing, God knows that my whole heart's desire is for the good and happiness of that little woman. God knows that. I am sure without a doubt that woman loves me above every thing else in the world and that her whole heart's desire and prayer to God is to be true to me. We don't see every little thing alike, but we stick together. That's what I am trying to get before you. She has faults. They don't look like much to me though. And I have faults, but I doubt she sees them. Why? Just because she loves me. And I read in the word of God that love shall cover a multitude of sins. Let's remember that, love shall cover a multitude of sins. Then some other things we ought to think about. Christ said one time, "All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them." That means that I would treat you and everybody as I would have them treat me.
Up at Daus several years ago a young man came to church drunk. Cursed, used vulgar talk in front of girls and women. Soon as service was over one of the brothers said, "Let's you and I go down to the telephone, call the sheriff, and get the young man put in jail. I knew very well who the young man was. I knew very well he was not the son of one of these brethren but I said to one of them, "Is that your son?" "No." "Well what would you do if it was your son? Would you have him arrested? Put him in jail?" Of course his face turned red and he dropped his head and said, "What do you say? I said, "I'm not saying anything, I'm trying to get you to say. What would you do?" He dropped his head and said, "I suppose." I said, "No you don't." He said, "I'd take him home and wait till he got sober and I would talk to him and try to get him to right the wrong he had done." "All things therefore whatsoever ye would that men do to you, do ye even so to them."
Up in Doyle, Tennessee, when I was a young man in school, a fine young woman was betrayed by a treacherous young man, led astray and committed a terrible wrong. What did the father do? He took her home and protected her and stood between her and the world. She had a great big strapping brother. With tears in his eyes he put his arms around her and said, "God bless you. You've done wrong but I'll stick with you as long as you live." Now that's what we would do with our loved ones and that's what we are to do toward our brethren and sisters in Christ. People go wrong. When our own go wrong we put our arms around them. We deeply sympathize with them and we try honestly and prayerfully to save them. That's exactly what Christians ought to do. That's why Christ said, "All things therefore . " Suppose a young lady goes wrong in this community, and you needn't be surprised if they do. Some of my brethren talked to me last night as if they were surprised when boys do wrong. I'm not surprised. I've got more sense than that. It's human nature. It is easy to sin, easy to go wrong, and there are times when if the tempter spoke to you as softly as he did to them, you'd yield too. My friends, do we do that when a girl goes wrong? Do all men do as they would do if it were their daughter. If not, why not?
Now listen at this. I preached on this at Bridgeport last Sunday morning, "Therefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not turned out of the way. Rather let it be healed." You and I are our brother's keeper. We are responsible one for another. Paul said, "Ye are all members one of another." Why you can't injure the least member of this body without hurting me, my whole body. You can't injure the least member of the body of Christ without hurting all the body of Christ. So my friends, in I Corinthians 8-12, "When you sin against the brethren wounding their weak conscience, you sin against Christ."
What I'm trying to get before you tonight is that you are to love one another as Christ loved you. I noticed that brother Shaw in his prayer confessed his weakness and his unworthiness, and I have to too. Let's remember we are to love one another as Christ loved us. How much did he love us? He died for us. He suffered for us, leaving us an example we should follow in his steps. Right here in this congregation, when I was a young fellow a young woman went wrong and became the mother of a little child, and several women in the congregation refused to go and talk to the girl. Now I remember that. I said to brother Simpson Holder, I am too young to talk to a young woman like that by myself. If you'll go with me, I want to go talk to that girl. I went and talked to her, and she came to church that night and confessed her faults and if she has ever done wrong since, we have no knowledge of it. "Let him know that he that converted a sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins." Then again in Galatians 6:1-2, "If a man be overtaken in a fault " now listen and get this, "ye which are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of meekness." The right thing must be done in the right way. But before we can do what Christ said do in John 13:34, there is another thing we must do. That's in Ephesians 4:31, "Let all bitterness ...." Now you be sure that in your heart there's no bitterness against anyone. I know by sad experience what I'm preaching. A man who lives 80 years will have his share of heartaches, heart breaks, trials, temptations and difficulties, and I've had mine. I know by sad experience that sometimes it surely is a cross, like putting out the eye or cutting off the hand. Treat people right. I know that must be done, because they are people first, and because second, we are saved and must save others, that's why. What did he say? "Let all bitterness . . . " Oh may we be sure there is no bitterness in our heart toward anyone. My friends, you can't realize how hard it's been for me in my life. Take people by the hand and talk to them kindly, who have tried to ruin me. It almost broke my heart, but I had it to do and the best thing I ever did was that. Because Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me." The hardest thing I ever had to do in my life is to get down on my knees and pray God to bless a man who had slandered and lied on me and tried to destroy me and my influence. But when I decided to do that, I conquered the man who had been my enemy. It hurt me. I didn't want to do it. I read a letter full of blasphemy, falsehood and misrepresentation. I turned to my wife and let her read it, and she cried as if her heart would break and said, "Why do people do that?" "I do not know" I said. "But" I said, "I know what God said for us to do. She said, "What is it?" I told her, and I tell you, I did not want to get down on my knees, but I did. And when I got up I was a better man. I want to tell you something I think was a little funny at the time, but it turned out right. I had a little girl there, my oldest child, a little tot about 4 years old. She had listened to all of it. I never thought about her, and when I got up she slapped her little hands and said, "We'll come out right now." And we did. We always come out right when we do right. "When a man's ways please the Lord," now listen, "he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." The thing that the world needs is Christianity. And the thing that the Church needs is love for one another like God and Christ loved us. And then we need to be one. We need to stick together no matter what a man does. Remember, the Church should try to save him. I'll tell you I've never been able to make anything but a cat out of a kitten. Never have, no matter how hard I tried. I've never been able to make anything out of a pig but a hog but I have helped to pick people up out of the dust of the earth and make noble characters out of them because they are made in the image of Almighty God. Nobody ever goes so far in life but what he's got a spark of divinity in him. No woman ever goes so far but what there's something good about her. It's your mission and duty, and mine, to convert the erring and strengthen the weak to help men and women through life. I'll tell you, you have no idea how many people come to me and tell me that if it had not been for me they couldn't have made it.
Why a man in Bridgeport got so sorry (If I were to call his name, brother Shaw would know him well), got so sorry he was ragged as a tramp and dirty as a pig and his family nearly starved. His little boy died. Not a man in Bridgeport went to the funeral but me and the undertaker and taxi driver. Not a woman went. I conducted the boy's funeral, and the undertaker and I carried the little fellow in our lap to the burial ground. L. H. Hughes and another person in Bridgeport got after this man and talked to him, and one night when I preached in Bridgeport he came down the isle, clothes dirty, body dirty, ragged, depressed, down and out, confessed his faults and said he had made up his mind to try to live right. Why he could have no more lived right than I could fly, without help. L. H. Hughes, a man neatly dressed, went to him and put his arms around this man with dirty clothes and said, "I love you and I want you to stick to it, I'm 'gonna help you. I'm 'gonna stand by you." One other man went to him and said the same. The rest got up and went out. One night I was walking to Bridgeport with that man. Nice moonshiny night. He had got on his feet then. Was a song leader in Bridgeport. Had made some public talks. As we walked along, he turned around, faced me and said, "I'm going to get to heaven, but I wouldn't have made it if it had not been for L.H. Hughes and one other man. And strangely enough he dropped dead suddenly the next day. His son today is one of the best preachers in the brotherhood.
Now the question comes, do I love man as Christ loved me? Do you? Do I want peace and harmony in the church above my own feelings, wishes, inclinations, desires, and etc? Do I? How much am I willing to give, how much am I willing to give up? How much am I willing to undergo, to bear, to bring about the salvation of men and women? Paul said, "I become all things to all men, that by all means that I might save some." I've eaten at tables where I'd rather have taken what sister Hawkins cooked and put it in a pig trough and eat it. I could do it with a better stomach than places I've eaten in, but I've needed to save men, put them on their feet. I did it all because I loved Christ. The question comes, do you love Christ? Do you love him my friends, to the extent that you keep his word? He said, "Love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples in that you have love one for another." Then the other part, "That they all may be one." We can't all agree. L. H. Hughes and I did not agree about everything. John Loyd and the other elders in the church at Bridgeport and I do not agree about everything, but thank God for 44 years they have stood by me as faithful as men can, and I have tried to be faithful to them, because I'm trying to practice what I preach, trying to live what God said live. Be. cause for me to live is Christ, to die is gain. I want you to remember this lesson. Remember we are to love one another as Christ loved us and remember that we are all to be one, of one mind and with one mouth glorify God. We can only do it by just sitting down and making up our minds and say, "Oh! to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer pure as thou art, Come in thy sweetness, come in thy fullness, stamp thine own image deep in my heart."
Get this, a boy who has committed adultery and gone astray-treat him as you would treat him if he were your boy. If a girl goes astray, for God's sake and for humanity's sake, save her. One bad woman can do more harm than 100 men. Yes, they can. My old grandmother told me that a good woman was the best thing in the world. I didn't know it then, but I do now. And she said a bad one is the worst. I'm sure that's so. When a girl goes astray, a good woman ought to go to work honestly and earnestly to rescue and save her. Why, some of the finest women in the world have made mistakes as did the mother of one of our Beloved Pioneer preachers, one of the greatest the church ever had. He did not know his own father. One of the greatest men, one of the best governors Tennessee ever had, never knew his own father. We are not responsible for how we come into the world. There's many a poor girl gone wrong. Many a boy goes wrong through weakness like David did. Wronged some girl with no wrong intention. That's why we are to love one another as Christ loved us. Now listen, "He has not dealt with us after our sins," and thank God for that. "Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities, for as the heaven is high above the earth so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Like as a father pitieth his children the Lord pitieth them that fear him. As far as the East is from the West so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." No wonder the Psalmist David could say, "Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, all that is within me bless his holy name." Then he said why, "Who forgiveth all our iniquities. Who healeth all our diseases. Who satisfieth our mouth with good things and crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercy." It's a difficult thing to do some things. It's easy to do some things. It's easy to do the most of things. It's hard sometimes or Christ wouldn't have said "pluck your eye out, cut off your hand." He wouldn't have said cut your foot off if it hadn't been something hard to do. That's why he said if any man come after me let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me. May God help us to so live and act that the world can see Christ in us. May we so live and act that people will look to us, come to us, and expect help and sympathy and understanding among us. You can't bring children up without understanding them. You can't deal with men and women without understanding them. One of the hardest things I've tried in my life is understanding people, to learn them, to get their view, points and try to see their side of the question. That's why he said, "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works."
If you are here tonight, an erring Christian, God loves you just like he always has. He grieves over your wayward condition because He knows you are lost and knows what's in store for you if you don't turn back. All you have to do is simply to say "I have sinned. I've done wrong, I'm sorry. I've quit. I'll give up. I'll be faithful from now on." When you have made that resolution, all you have to do is come and confess your faults before the Church. You and the Church pray together, and you can leave the house with your sins forgiven and your soul saved. If you've never been a Christian, if you believe in Christ to that extent, you believe what he said when he said "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," if you believe that without a doubt, if you can say "Lord, I believe that, I'm going to do that, I want you to save my soul." If you can say that, you're ready to be baptized. If you can say "I believe what Peter said when he said `Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins'. " If you can say, "I believe that, I'm going to do that and trust God to save my soul, Christ to forgive my sins and give me the Holy Spirit," you're ready to make the good confession and be baptized.
NOTE: This sermon is one Brother Holder preached some years ago. Brother Silas Shaw has it on tape and the Meltons in Bridgeport also have a copy of it on tape in Brother Holder's original style and voice. We copied it here to make it available to all. The wording is as near the same as Brother Holder delivered it, as was possible to get off the tape. (JVC).
RAY HOLDER MELTON
NELL HENSON HOLDER
We humbly submit the life of my earthly father as we knew him. He was not perfect, but like Paul, he did press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 3:14.
He knew as we know when we shall have done all those things which are commanded of us, we are still unprofitable servants. We have done that which was our duty. Luke 17:10.
We write not boastingly, "For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it why dost thou glory?" I Corinithians 4:7.
Every true and perfect gift comes from God.
R. H. M.
We treasure the following articles because they were written by two of daddy's Baptist friends, Mr. Roy Woodfin, now deceased, Editor of the South Pittsburg Hustler, and Gertrude Jones, Correspondent for the Hustler.
GOOD MAN GOES TO HIS REWARD
By Roy M. Woodfin
On his way back from Stevenson, Ala., where he went on business connected with this newspaper Tuesday afternoon, its editor stopped at North Jackson Hospital to see one of its patients, Bro. Charles Holder, Sr., who had spent several weeks in his hospital room there. Unlike previous visits when the aging minister of the gospel was found to be cheerful, he had fallen into a coma and life for him was ebbing away. Notwithstanding this, his very fine daughter, Mrs. Robert Melton, knowing something of our warm friendship, took us to his bedside for a brief and last visit here on this mundane sphere with a man whom we had long known and admired.
Leaving the corridors of our neighboring hospital we were reminded that the "ambitions and energies of men take root, even as a tree, in friendly soil, and the achievements of men provide shade and protection for those who come after them." And then it was that memories of other days burst into our mind. We thought of the many times we had gone to his home to have him read proof on tracts we were printing for him. These were the ones referred to in the notice of his death on page one of this issue.
Brother Holder, upon more than one occasion, had us go with him to his chicken lot where he showed us his fine flock of white leghorns. From this brood he sold many dozens of eggs annually for hatching purposes. We mention this to show that he was thrifty and ambitious, characteristics attributed to him in the notice of his death. He would show us his garden in which he took much pride-especially his potato patch which was planted early and which always yielded well if frosts did nit interfere.
We mention these things to show that Brother Holder was nit a lazy man but rather a man who went about doing good. His mission in life was to be of benefit to his neighbor, and now that he is gone we shall join the many in expressing sympathy to those grieved by his passing. Truly a mighty oak has fallen, and it is justly true that "their works do follow after them."
HOME MY SERVANT, WELL DONE
By Gertrude Jones
I can say with the Psalmist "Precious in the sight if the Lord is the death if his saints." Psalm 116:15.
We know from God's Word that death is but the beginning of a larger fuller life-life, that is life indeed. What greater joy, what greater advance on progress can a Christian make, than to be in the presence if Him who conquered death?
Death has taken mire from our city than the soul if Bro. Charles Holder, Sr. It has taken a bit from the heart if every person who was fortunate enough to be numbered among his acquaintances and friends.
He was mire nearly Christ like in his concept if good than any man I have ever known. His front door and his kind heart remained open to all who cared to enter, and no one went away without feeling they were a better person.
Brother Holder's life was another pattern if service above self to his fellowman and to the community he lived. He belittled no man's belief and that endeared him to this Baptist friend. I see him now listening intently ready with words if comfort or counsel. The law if conscience was in everything he did. Because he believed in God, he believed in man.
The church was filled to an overflow fir the funeral services on Friday, April 28. It was his wish that his funeral be kept simple and inexpensive and he once said "throughout his life he had more flowers than his share given to him by friends who lived him."
The sings included his favorite hymns which he had selected.
I cannot say that Brother Holder is no mire fir he will be remembered after the youngest person who attended his funeral be crumbled into dust,
THE SILVER LINING
"How beautiful are the feet if them that preach the gospel if peace and bring glad tidings of good things". Romans 10:15.
We never fully comprehended the beauty and meaning if this scripture until we knew daddy Holder. Nell H. Holder.
He preached and lived this wonderful gospel fir over sixty years. In his own words, "we have tried faithfully to obey I Corinthians 15:58, and be governed by the truths if Luke 4:18, Acts 20:33-35, Romans 15:20-21, I Corinthians 9:22, Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 1:20-21."
Of course I have made many mistakes, but I have never list sight of I John 1:7-10 and 2:1-6. I have never taken a vacation. I have never been a member of anything except the "One Body." It takes all of my affections, time, effort and means to be "just a Christian. I put my trust in Christ and in Matthew 28:18-20. Christ has never failed me, and I trust that through His blood and the Mercy if God and the help of the Holy Spirit to obtain eternal life."
"In order to live up to his high motives, he was a continuous seeker after truth. He wouldn't embroider a story to make it better to save his life." -Gertrude Jones.
Daddy's life was one if simplicity and devotion. Devotion to God, family, friends and all who needed help.
A MORNING RESOLVE
"I will this day try to live a simple and sincere life; repelling promptly every thought if discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness magnanimity, charity, and the habit if holy silence; exercising economy in expense, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a child-like faith in God." I Timothy 6:6-19. Author Unknown
This brief paragraph, a favorite if his, which he printed in many of his tracts exemplified his manner of life.
He always displayed nit only a great courage and perseverance but individual dignity. We always marveled because he was so dignified yet so warm and so human.
He never gave flowers in memory if a departed one. He gave the flowers in life, kind words, a letter if encouragement, often a good book.
GIVE THE FLOWERS NOW
eyes can't see the white rises,
Closed hands can't hold them, you know;
Breath that is still cannot gather
The odors that sweet from them blow, Death with a peace beyond dreaming,
Its children if Earth dies endow;
Life is the time we can help them,
So give the flowers now. Here are the struggle and striving;
Here are the care and the tears;
Now is the time to be soothing
The frowns and the furrows and fears. What to closed ears are kind sayings?
What to hushed heart is deep vow;
So give the flowers now.
Naught can avail after parting, Just a kind word or a greeting,
Just a warm grasp or a smile -
These are the flowers that will lighten
The burdens if many a mile.
After the journey is over,
What is the use of them, how
Can they carry, who must be carried?
Oh, give the flowers now. -Leigh M. Hedges.
He liked to read poetry, Life's Mirror was one if his favorite poems.
By Madeline S. Bridges
are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,
There are souls that are pure and true;
Then give to the world the best you have
And the best will come back to you.
love, and live to your life will flow
A strength in your utmost need;
Have faith and a score if hearts will show
Their faith in your word and deed.
truth, and your gifts will be paid in kind,
And honor will honor meet;
And a smile that is sweet will surely find
A smile that is just as sweet!
pity and sorrow to those who mourn;
You will gather, in flowers, again,
The scattered seed from young thoughts outborne,
Though the sowing seemed in vain.
life is the mirror of king and slave,
'Tis just what we are and do,
Then give to the world the best you have
And the best will come back to you.
His interests were varied. I can truthfully say he was interested in everything but never let anything interfere with being just a Christian. He was interested in world affairs. He always listened to the news on the radio, read newspapers and magazines and kept abreast of the times, "So I can converse intelligently."
He was interested in young people. He encouraged them to take part in public worship. On his eighty-sixth birthday he wrote, "If all young people would commit to memory, meditate upon and live by the first Psalm, they would not only keep out of trouble, they would find true success and lasting peace." Proverbs 3:1-8; Psalm 37:25.
His interest in young people was active. A young man who was a Christian made a mistake and had been put in jail for forgery. Daddy went to see this young man. He assured the officials he would be responsible for him and have him pay the amount of the forged check. The young man repented and confessed his sin and went with daddy during the summer months and led the singing in all of his meetings.
He loved the beauty of the earth, the soil, to plant and see things grow. I never heard him say he would do a thing or go some place without adding, "The Lord Willing."
He had a keen sense of humor. We were always amused at the indirect answering he gave us. There is a difference of fourteen years in James' and Charles' ages. Charles and I realized he wasn't as strict with James as he was with us. When asked why, he said, "Wise men change, fools never do."
He never raised his voice, was never angry and always kind but firm. He asked us to do something one time. We heard and obeyed or took the consequences of disobedience.
He loved to listen to hymns being sung. In worship services he never failed to mention the sentiment and meaning of the hymns sung. When he was ill and visitors came who could sing, he always asked them to sing for him His favorite song was "After the Shadows," and another favorite was "Closer to Thee."
Closer to Thee
to Thee, near to thy side,
Closer, dear Lord, I would abide;
Hold me in Thy embrace,
'Neath every smile of grace,
Grant me, Thy child, a place
Closer to Thee.
to Thee, near to Thy breast,
Closer to Thee; Lord, let me rest;
Guide me when I would stray,
Keep me from sin each day,
Draw me, dear Lord, I pray,
Closer to Thee.
to Thee, happy and free,
Grant me, 0 Lord, ever to be;
Hear me in every cry,
Stand near when I must die,
Then take me home on high,
Closer to Thee.
The lessons he taught us we will always remember. You are your brother's keeper. Don't take vengeance, vengeance belongs to the Lord. Judge not that you be not judged. Don't judge a person by what they do, you might not do as well under the same circumstances. Do your best. Remember, the Lord requires only your best effort; leave the results to him. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
He knew most of the Bible from memory. One of his favorite chapters was the eighth chapter of Romans. He quoted often the twenty-eighth verse: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." One he strongly emphasized is, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." He placed emphasis on "ye are bought with a price". I Corinthians 7:19-20.
The scripture which gave him strength and courage is, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". Philippians 4:13. He never wrote a letter in which he didn't include a passage of scripture, frequently 1 Corinthians 15:58. "Therefore my beloved brethren be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
He stressed unity and love. "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." Philippians 2:2. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for the other." John 13:35. "That all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." John 17:21.
"Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no division among you: but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." I Corinthians 1:10.
The scriptures that have come to mean so much are the ones he quoted, near the end of his life, while in the hospital. "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8. "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Psalm 17:5. "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain." Philippians 1:20-21. "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8.
He had a deep and abiding faith in God. He often said, "God's people will never let me down," and they didn't. When he was no longer able to preach they supplied his every need. When we went to him with our problems he always said, "God still lives, the sun still shines." There was never a cloud in his life so dark that he didn't look for and find, "The Silver Lining."
"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesses."
We are rich, rich in heritage. We had loving and devoted parents, devoted to us and to each other. Mother was indeed a help "mete" for daddy. She was beautiful, kind and gentle. Daddy often said she had the most beautiful and innocent eyes he had ever seen. Thus she remained until the end. She did the things for which there is not much glory or praise, never complaining, always patient. I'm sure whatever the reward, mother and daddy will share equally.
In our family we always shared. Since we shared in all the good things, it was a privilege to share in the work. Sharing the work was not considered a sacrifice but a labor of love. We enjoyed togetherness whether at work or play.
Our inheritance can never be taken from us nor will it depreciate in value. A deep and abiding faith in God was instilled in our lives. We were taught awareness. "The beauty of the earth, the glory of the skies, and all that round about us lies." We were given a formal education, the three of us are graduates of David Lipscomb College. Still the most important part of our education was in the home. Early in life we were taught to appreciate the fine arts, music, literature, and others. Before we learned to read, our parents read to us, had us memorize verses from the Bible, poems and songs. After we could read, we were given the best of literature, religious and secular. We will always remember our parents had time for us.
Our most precious moments were at night when we had family worship. We sat at the dining table, each in turn reading the Bible and saying a prayer.
The son and two daughters who came into our family by marriage were as welcome as the ones who were born into it. They were loved as deeply and they in turn loved all of us. We were all one happy family.
Note: This was a forty page book, now out of print, but giving a good overview of the work in South Central Tennessee in the early to mid-20th century.
Directions To The Grave Of Charles Holder
Holder is buried in the cemetery just north of I-24 in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. Take the Hwy 72 Exit and go north. Go past the fireworks businesses, and just past the turnoff that leads to the Wal-Mart Shopping Center, you will see the cemetery on the right. It is called the Cumberland View Cemetery, but there are no signs. It is operated by the Rogers Funeral Home #423-837-7176. Enter the cemetery in the center section. Stay in the center road as you travel down the hill and veer to the right. Stop at the bottom of the hill and walk in seven rows back up the hill. The Marker will nearly be in line with a tree that will be to its right. At the bottom of the hill, if you get past the "Tate" cross, you've gone too far. Look for "Holder - Sayers" on a stone, and it is up behind it two or three rows.
1903 Charles Holder Business Card
from the Molloy Family Archives - 05.16.2016
To Life Is
To Die Is
Apr. 30, 1891
Oct. 11, 1961 Charles
July 7, 1873
April 26, 1961