Dr. Matt Norvel Young II
Biographical Sketch On The Life Of M. Norvel Young
Matt Norvel Young was born in Nashville, Tennessee October 5, 1915. He was married to Helen Elizabeth Mattox on August 31, 1939. To their union were born four children: Emily Mattox Lemley, Matt Norvel III, Marilyn Morrow Stewart and Sara Helen Jackson.
He was educated at David Lipscomb University, then a two-year college. He finished Lipscomb and headed to Abilene, Texas to study at Abilene Christian University. He received his B.A. degree from there in 1936. He returned to Nashville and entered Vanderbilt University where he completed his M.A. in 1937. That year he traveled to abroad to Palestine for study, and extended his study tour around the world. By 1942 he had received his Ph.D. from Peabody College at Vanderbilt. In 1949 he made another study tour abroad. This trip took him to Europe, Egypt and again to Palestine. Nearly twenty years later he received the LL.D. from California College of Medicine, 1960. He also attended Columbia University and the University of Southern California.
Young Matt put his Lord on in baptism at the hands of Dr. Hall Laurie Calhoun in 1927. Within five years he began preaching the gospel at the South Harpeth church in the Nashville area. Through the years he served a number of churches. He served the York Blvd. congregation in Los Angeles, California in 1938. Then from 1939 to 1940 he served the church in Van Nuys, California. Moving back east to further his education, he preached for the Belmont congregation in Nashville in 1940, and then for the Granny White congregation from 1941 to 1944. He and his family moved to Lubbock, Texas in 1944 where he preached for the Broadway congregation from 1944 to 1957. While in Lubbock he conducted weekly broadcasts on local radio stations KCBD and KSEL. Beginning in the 1950s he travelled extensively in evangelistic work. His travels took him overseas as well. He lectured in Frankfurt, Germany in 1949 and in 1956. He lectured in Tokyo, Japan in 1959. He preached the gospel behind the Iron Curtain in the former U.S.S.R. in 1961. He also assisted in a Bible campaign in London, England in 1963.
M. Norvel Young was known and respected through the years of the 20th century for so many different contributions. He wrote for brotherhood publications such as the Gospel Advocate, the Firm Foundation, the Christian Chronicle, the Minister's Monthly, the Gospel Light, the Christian Worker, 20th Century Christian, and Power For Today. The latter two he co-found; 20th Century Christian in 1938; and Power For Today in 1950. He also served as editor of these magazines: 20th Century Christian from 1945 to 1970; and Power For Today from 1950 to 1970. He also edited Germany For Christ for over ten years, a journal for strengthening the churches in Germany.
Another of the great blessings Young bestowed upon the Lord's church was his amazing strategies at preserving precious information for churches of Christ. Beginning in the early 1950s he, along with long time friend Batsell Barrett Baxter and others, set out to chronicle and continually update the then, present day group of preachers that worked among the churches of Christ throughout the world. The results of this effort appeared in a number of subsequent volumes called Preachers of Today. The first book entitled, Preachers of Today: A Book of Brief Biographical Sketches and Pictures of Living Gospel Preachers appeared in 1952 being edited by The Christian Press, Nashville, Tennessee. Other volumes appeared as follows: Preachers of Today Vol. II, released in 1959; Vol. III in 1964; Vol. IV in 1970; and finally Vol. V in 1982. Other books written by Young included: History of Christian Colleges, released by Old Paths Book Club in 1949; co-author of The Church is Building, by Gospel Advocate in 1956; and Sermons, Great Preachers of Today, by Biblical Press in 1963. He also served as co-editor of the Great Preachers of Today series. These volumes have proved invaluable to researchers and students of the Restoration Movement since their releases. Much information for this website is provided through information recorded in these volumes. For generations to come these works will be the hallmark records of much of what was done in the Lord's church during the 20th century. For that reason alone, Brother Young's offerings to restoration history is of countless value.
Yet the contributions of M. Norvel Young were not only to be found in his writings. His work in the field of education set him apart from most in his day. He was a student of the Bible. But he also taught it. In the early years he taught for David Lipscomb High School in Nashville, Tennessee. Then from 1938 to 1941 he taught at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. In 1952 he assisted in the founding of the Lubbock Bible Chair of Texas Tech University. The following year he was a founder of Lubbock Children's Home in Lubbock, Texas. Then in 1956, he assisted in the founding of Lubbock Christian College. In later years he helped to found Pepperdine University campus in Heidelberg, Germany. He also served on the Advisory boards of both Abilene Christian University and Lubbock Christian University. Additionally, he served for a number of years on the Board of Trustees of Abilene Christian University.
His greatest contributions to education came when he accepted the presidency of Pepperdine University, in Malibu, California in 1957. This was a position he served faithfully until 1971. During the years of his tenure as president, the college increased its student body from 950 students to over 9,500. Pepperdine also received University status during the last years of his administration. When Bill Banowsky was named president of Pepperdine in 1970, Young became Chancellor, still later serving as Chancellor Emeritus. He worked the last days of his life promoting the work at Pepperdine.
On February 17, 1998 Matt Norvel Young, II left his residence on the Pepperdine Campus in Malibu, California to be with the Lord. His body was laid to rest in the beautiful hills lying just a few miles north of Los Angeles.
In March, 2008 it was the extreme pleasure and privilege of this editor to make a brief visit to Southern California. It was upon the completion of a near three week trip to strengthen the Lord's church on the small island of Tarawa, Kiribati. My day in L.A. was fast and busy as I sought to visit the graves of several gospel preachers of yesteryear. It was late in the evening when I finally arrived at the Forest Lawn Cemetery, just off Ventura Freeway. Sketchy information as to the location of the grave caused me to look around until the darkness overtook me. I had to stay overnight anyway, so I returned the following morning to try again. Finally with a little help from a cemetery employee, I found Brother Young's grave in one of the most beautiful sections of the cemetery. The pictures are below.
It was also a pleasure to have had the opportunity on a couple of occasions to have telephone conversations with Brother Young's widowed wife, Helen. She, now in her eighties, is still in good health, continuing the promotion of the things that were near and dear to both she and her dear husband. In our conversation, she expressed how much she missed him, and how that though he has been gone for over ten years, not a day goes by that she does not think of him and the help he gave her each day of their lives together. I will always appreciate those brief and very special visits with her. My special appreciation is extended to her in helping me locate the final resting place of the dearly departed love of her life.
Only eternity will know the amount of good that has been provided through the years by the life and work of Dr. Matt Norvel Young. When one thinks of the thousands of sermons he preached, the thousands of articles he wrote, and the tens of thousands of students he influenced, one cannot but appreciate the greatness of the man. It is with great pleasure that we present this webpage as a memorial to his life.
Sources: Preachers of Today, Volumes 1-5; and Phone Conversations with family.
Directions To The Grave Of M. Norvel Young
M. Norvel Young is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park off Ventura Highway in northern Los Angeles, California. The cemetery is in one of the most beautiful settings in Southern California. Not far from Warner Brothers Studios, the cemetery is located on Forest Hills Road. North of Downtown LA take the I-5 to the Ventura Highway connector Exit 144B and head west. The second exit will be the Forest Lawn exit. At the exit turn left. Go under the bridge and turn right at the light. You will pass a large cemetery on the left. This is not Forest Lawn. Continue on and you will see Forest Lawn on the left. The visitation hours there are between 8am and 6pm, 5pm during the winter. When entering the cemetery head straight into the park and proceed to the rear of the cemetery. There will be a big church building straight ahead, called the Old North Church. To the right will be a large area dedicated to the patriots who settled America. Behind is a center called the Hall of Liberty. In the front of the "plaza" is a section called the Court Of Liberty. In this section is the location of the grave of M. Norvel Young. Park between the church and the Court of Liberty. Head toward the large statue of George Washington. At the statue head right on the sidewalk toward the east. Go down the sidewalk and look for a statue against the wall on the left. From the sidewalk, when standing directly in front of the statue, behind you will be the Old North church. Just turn around and look down. Young's grave is just behind you next to the sidewalk. Use GPS below for actual location of grave.
Court Of Liberty - Lot 1460 Sp.1
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
6300 Forest Lawn Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90068
"The Future Is As Bright As The Promises Of God"
M. Norvel Young
October 15, 1915 - February 17, 1998
Beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather And Friend
As an educator, he laid the foundation for Pepperdine University.
As preacher and publisher he lift the vision of Churches of Christ.
As a Christian, he called us to accept the grace he had received.
As a man, he acted justly, loved mercy, and walked humbly with his God.
"I have become absolutely convinced that neither death
nor life, neither what happens today nor what may
happen tomorrow, nor anything else in God's whole world
has any power to separate us from the love of
God in Christ Jesus our Lord!"