Marshall Clement Kurfees
BROTHER M. C. KURFEES' FORTY-FIFTH YEAR
WITH THE HALDEMAN AVENUE CHURCH
BY T. D. WILLIS
On the night of February 4, 1931, the brethren and sisters of the Haldeman Avenue Church, Louisville, Ky., together with many visiting brethren and friends, assembled at the church to render to Brother Kurfees their love, respect, and honor for his long and faithful service to the church and the brotherhood.
J. F. Kurfees, his brother in the flesh and in the Spirit, acted as chairman of the meeting. There were ten short speeches delivered by brethren of the congregation and visiting brethren in his honor. There were many beautiful flowers in evidence, from far and near, tokens of the love and respect and the high esteem in which he is held. The brethren and sisters of the congregation presented him with a bag of gold as an evidence of their love and respect for him and the truth that he has so faithfully preached all these years. Last, but not least, after the service the audience retired to the basement to partake of a bountiful repast served by the sisters of the congregation as an expression of their love for him, his brethren, and the cause of truth.
The speech delivered by T. D. Willis is here given, in part, as follows :
Brethren and friends, I am certainly glad to be present on t his occasion to render to Brother M. C. Kurfees the love, respect, and honor that is due him. When I received notice of this meeting, wife and I were visiting in Florida. In response to the invitation, I said, in part: "I certainly appreciate the invitation to be present and have a place on your program. We shall return to Louisville next week, and will be present at the proposed meeting, if the Lord wills."
I want to give a few of the many reasons why I am glad to be here and render to Brother Kurfees the love and respect that is due him.
In the first place the Scriptures of Divine Truth require us to "honor all men"and to, love the brotherhood;" to "do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith;" to "render honor to whom honor is due, tribute to whom tribute," and "in honor to prefer one another." We are required to honor our leaders, social, civil, and religious. "Fear God. Honor the king."
Paul, in commending Epaphroditus, his fellow laborer, to the church at Philippi, said: "Receive him with gladness; and hold such in reputation." To the Thessalonians he said: "Know them which labor among you, and esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake."To Timothy he said: "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine." To the Hebrews he said: "Remember them who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow."
In view of the teaching of the foregoing Scriptures, who will dare say that it is not right and proper to honor our leaders, especially our religious leaders? · Brother Kurfees is worthy of honor in a threefold sense social, civil, and religious; and in the kingdom of God he is worthy of double honor, not only by the congregation here, but by the brotherhood in general.
I have known Brother Kurfees for over thirty years. That being true, who will dare say that I am not qualified to testify in this case? I first knew him as author and publisher of tracts and books and one of the editors of the Gospel Advocate. I want to mention two publications in this connection. First. the tract entitled "Walking by Faith," which is an "eyesore" to all kinds of digression. It has been published and broadcast by the thousands. Second, a book of near three hundred pages, entitled "Instrumental Music in the Worship," which is a standard work and authority in the brotherhood, and will continue to do so. If you have examined these publications, together with many other publications too numerous to mention in this connection, how dare say you that he is not worthy of the love, respect. and honor by the entire brotherhood for his great ability and his painstaking care in compiling these facts?
As a scholar, logician, propagator and defender of the cause of truth, in my judgment, he has no superior in the brotherhood, and but few equals, if any.
For the past five years I have been intimately associated with him in the Lord's work as a fellow laborer in this city, and the association has been and continues to be pleasant and profitable.
He is a very busy man. His counsel is sought far and near. Solomon said: "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." I have gone to him many times for advice and counsel during the last five or six years. When I am in search of advice and counsel, I do not need to pass the Hotel Watterson.
Brother Kurfees is not only an inspiration to the church here at Haldeman Avenue and the brethren in the city of Louisville, but to the brethren at large. Because of the facts briefly stated and many others that cannot be stated in the time allotted me, I am here to cooperate in rendering the love, respect, and honor that is justly due him.
May the good Lord lengthen out his days on earth that he may continue to be an inspiration, not only to the church and the brethren in Louisville, but to the brotherhood at large.
In closing, I want to commend the brethren at Haldeman Avenue for their unselfish devotion to truth and their hearty fellowship in sounding out the word. "Glory, honor, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile." May the blessings of God rest upon you all.
-Gospel Advocate, February 19, 1931, page 197
Biographical Sketch On The Life Of M.C. Kurfees
In the passing of Brother Kurfees, the church at Haldeman Avenue, Louisville, Ky., has lost an able preacher of the gospel; the cause of Christianity, one of its most able defenders; and the brotherhood at large, a beloved brother in Christ. It seems that the old brethren are passing away rapidly. Brother Kurfees had "fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith;" hence there was awaiting him "the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge," had reserved for him.
Marshall Clement Kurfees was born on January 31, 1856, near Mocksville, N. C. He was reared on the farm and trained in all of the difficult tasks incident to farm work. His people were members of the Methodist Church and gave him such training as was common at that time in that section of the State. Young Kurfees, when but a lad of thirteen summers, became anxious to be a Christian. He knew nothing of the Bible, and no one suggested to him that he study the Bible. He sought religion after the fashion of that day. He went to the "mourners' bench" with all the earnestness of his soul and tried with all the strength of his might to " get religion." He wept bitterly and prayed fervently over his condition, but he found no satisfaction. Again he tried to "get religion" in 1871, when he was fifteen years of age, and again he tried with all the earnestness of his soul to "feel a change," but no change came. Finally he resolved to join the Methodist Church and live the best he could.
A few weeks after he had joined the Methodist Church he heard the gospel preached by a pioneer preacher, G. W. Neely. This was the first man he ever heard preach who used the Bible in teaching the people what God would have them do to be saved. This impressed young Kurfees very much, and he decided that he would read the Bible. He began earnestly reading the New Testament, and continued his reading until he had read it through.
The next preacher of the gospel that he heard was the lamented W. L. Butler. He was greatly impressed with the clearness of the plan of salvation as presented by Brother Butler, and on July 24, 1872, he was baptized by Brother Butler into Christ Jesus. Since he had become old enough to give any attention to religion, he had desired to be a preacher; so, on the day that he was baptized, he resolved to preach the gospel. His desire to preach grew until it became a determination. Brother Kurfees had small advantages for an education in that section of the State. He knew that he should have a better education if he should preach the gospel; so he determined to prepare himself better for the great work of proclaiming the gospel. He was too poor to attend college, but he studied at home and took advantage of the opportunities afforded him in the schools near him. He knew that his father was unable to send him to school. Two years after he had become a Christian his father left the Methodist Church, as did his mother. His father and mother were anxious for him to go to college, but were not able financially to send him. His father made him the proposition to release him from home duties and obligations and let him go and make his own way through college. Brother Kurfees at that time was happy, because he knew that the determination which he had would enable him to get the necessary education. It was his desire to attend Bethany College in West Virginia, but through the influence of W. L. Butler he went to Lexington, Ky., to the Kentucky State College, now Transylvania College and the College of the Bible. He did not have the money for transportation, but traveled on foot much of the distance from his home to Lexington. He entered the college in September, 1874. He was graduated in 1881 with the first honors of his class. He worked his way through college. This took him longer than had he had the money to pay his expenses.
The year after he entered college he began preaching. The same year he began to teach in the public schools in Kentucky. He would teach part of the time and preach and then go to college. He was a successful preacher from the beginning. He was a diligent student and mastered whatever subject or course he undertook. He was never satisfied to leave a subject until he had all the information concerning it that it was possible for him to obtain. He not only trained himself in thoroughness, but also in accuracy in stating facts and correctness in expressing himself. He had a logical turn of mind and thought systematically and logically. His sermons were models in diction, logic, and Scripture. He did much evangelistic work in Kentucky, Illinois, and North Carolina. He established many churches and baptized hundreds of people while doing general evangelistic work. He preached much in those days in destitute fields and met all kinds of opposition. He was brought into discussions and held debates with preachers of the different denominations in those States. He held debates with Quakers, Lutherans, Mormons, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Baptists. In all of these discussions he maintained his high standard of Christian deportment.
Brother Kurfees was a ready writer and wielded a trenchant pen in written discussions. For many years he was a contributor to the Gospel Advocate, and finally became one of the editors of the Advocate in 1908 and continued until 1924-sixteen years. During this time he covered a wide range of subjects and taught with clearness and force the Bible on all subjects which he handled. In addition to his editorial work, he wrote many pamphlets and a few books. He compiled "Questions Answered by Lipscomb and Sewell," which was published in 1921. This imposed upon him a great task in reading the writings of these brethren for more than forty years. He was the author of "Instrumental Music in the Worship," which was published in 1911. This book was a scholarly discussion of the use of the Greek verb "psallo." In this book he examined the use of this Greek verb philologically and historically. The advocates of the use of instrumental music in worship had made the claim that `'psallo" in the New Testament authorized the use of the instrument in worship. Brother Kurfees in a very logical way refuted all of the arguments that had been made in favor of the use of the instrument in worship, and also showed that the New Testament use of "psallo" did not authorize the use of instrumental music in worship. He made the very potent argument that if the use of mechanical instruments is included in the New Testament use of "psallo," then no one could do what the Holy Spirit commands by using "psallo," except by using mechanical instruments of music in Christian worship. The advocates of the use of instrumental music have never answered this argument, and, indeed, cannot answer it. Brother Kurfees used this argument with such terrific force that it has caused all of the scholars who favor the use of the instrument in worship to abandon the arguments formerly made on the New Testament use of "psallo." Brother Kurfees did a great piece of work when he wrote this book. Brother Kurfees began preaching for the Campbell Street church of Christ in Louisville, Ky., February 3, 1886. He continued with this church until the end of his earthly life, February 17, 1931. The brethren and sisters and friends of Haldeman Avenue Church, which was the successor to the old Campbell Street Church, came together to pay their respect and honor to Brother Kurfees for his long and faithful service with the church. He had been with the church there a little more than forty-five years, nearly one-half of a century. No man living had been with a church of Christ so long as that. His long work with this church bears sufficient evidence of the talent and Christian service of Brother Kurfees. He labored with a large and intelligent membership, and his more than forty-five years' labors with the church showed the esteem which the church had for him. No man of small caliber or meager literary attainment and scant knowledge of the Bible could remain with a church so long. No man whose life was not in harmony with the spirit and teachings of our Lord would have been kept so long at one place.
Brother Kurfees was a cultured, refined, Christian gentleman. He had high regard for honor and would not stoop to anything low or mean. He was a type of Christian manhood that adorns the doctrine of our Lord. His good wife preceded him fifteen years. Brother Kurfees left no children. He will be missed, but we rejoice in the victory which he has won.
-From Biographical Sketches Of Gospel Preachers, H. Leo Boles, Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, Tennessee, 1932, pages 430-434
Gospel Advocate Coverage Of The Sudden Death Of M.C. Kurfees
Gospel Advocate, March 5, 1931, page 261
THE PASSING OF M. C. KURFEES. BY F. B. SRYGLEY. Brother M. C. Kurfees died suddenly in his room at the Watterson Hotel, in Louisville, Ky., February 17, 1931. Brother Kurfees was born seventy-five years ago, on a farm near Mocksville, N. C. He was from a large family, but all have passed over the river of death now, except four brothers.
Brother Kurfees was a positive character with strong convictions. He believed the Bible, not only in a general way, but he believed it word for word. He literally made it the rule of his conduct. He did not measure his life as a whole by the word of God, but he measured each act of his life by it. He was a painstaking, careful student of the Bible, and perhaps knew it, from the standpoint of a student, better than almost any other man.
He was a scholar, as well as a student. He was a most accurate scholar, because he was willing to pay the price for accuracy. He would give any means at his command to be accurate.
He was a great logician. It was natural with him to be logical. But he not only had naturally a logical mind, but he knew logic as it is taught in books on the subject. His proofs were logical, and his arrangement of his written and spoken material was also logical. Some one said of him that he was "painfully logical." It might have been painful to others, especially to an opponent, but not to him. He delighted in it, because he lived in it. An illogical argument grated upon his nerves like discord on the ear of a musician. He was thought by many to be severe both in his arguments and in his statements of facts, but he was not severe from his standpoint. He lived up to his logic and to his ideas of life as nearly as any one I have ever known.
Brother Kurfees was a generous man, and he could never have been happy in the belief that others had done more for him than he was willing to do for them. He wanted to bear his part, and more than his part, in every undertaking. He loved his friends, but still he would criticize them, often severely, because he believed that real love demanded correction. One who does not try to correct a friend is not seeking his good, and, therefore, does not truly love him.
For forty and five years Brother Kurfees preached for the same people, and he never wavered in his devotion to them. He preached the word without addition or subtraction. He did less speculating on what the Bible means than almost any other man. He preached what God said rather than what he thought he meant. He preached on Sunday morning and evening before he left us on Tuesday. He truly died with the armor on. There were no long, lingering days of suffering, but he went quickly-no doubt, just as he wished to go. His mind and body were active up to the last, and God placed his hand upon him and called him up higher, and he quickly left us. He has gone to meet his wife and his many friends in that better world. The church where he labored so long will miss him, and many other congregations all over the country will miss him. I feel that I have sustained a personal loss, for he was my dear friend, devoted and true. I rarely, if ever, thought of Louisville without thinking of him. He not only loved me, but he loved my children and was always interested in them. We will all miss him. There are so many good and great men leaving us that I cannot but fear for the safety of the cause of primitive Christianity. He was a perfect gentleman, a great scholar, and a humble, faithful Christian. Heaven has been made dearer to me by his entrance there.
The funeral was preached at the Haldeman Avenue church of Christ, in Louisville, beginning at 3 P.M., Thursday, February 19. All the arrangements for the funeral had been made by his brothers. In some respect s it was the strangest funeral service I have ever attended. There was no singing at all. The reason for this was given to me by one of his brothers. He said the leader of the songs of the church would be so affected that he could not lead. Years ago, when I preached for this congregation, Brother J. F. Kurfees led the singing, and this may have been the reason for dispensing with the singing. These brothers said there were many preachers present that would like to say something and that they would like to hear them, but they felt that the time was limited and they' could not call on them all. The stand was covered with., flowers, and so was the space in front of the stand; but there was a long bench placed in front of the stand with space enough left on it for Brother N. B. Hardeman to sit on one end and Brother T. Q. Martin on the other, while I sat on the end of the bench near the family. At the request of his brothers, I read a few passages of the word of God and made a few remarks about Brother Kurfees and led the prayer. Both Brother Martin and Brother Hardeman made beautiful speeches on a beautiful life, and after the friends had looked into his face for the last time we took his body to Cave Hill Cemetery and laid it by the side of the body of the wife of his youth. There were many floral designs, some of which came from his immediate friends and brethren in Louisville, and others from his brethren in the surrounding country; but others came from members of the denominations, some from the Catholics, and some from the Jews. These were not given because he had ever seemingly indorsed these men religiously, but because they admired him for his convictions and also admired him as a gentleman in his treatment of others. After a feeling and appropriate benediction spoken by his friend and brother, C. A. Taylor, we left his mortal remains in a bank of flowers and returned to meditate on the goodness of God in giving to us and to the world a life like that of M. C. Kurfees.
-F.B. Srygley, Gospel Advocate, March 5, 1931, pages 260, 280
MARSHALL CLEMENT KURFEES.
BY T. Q. MARTIN.
On Tuesday, February 17, 1931, at 3:30 P.M., the useful life of this godly man came suddenly to a close, in his room in the Hotel Henry Watterson, Louisville, Ky., where he had made his home for the past ten years.
He was born in Mocksville, N. C., seventy-five years ago, and while yet a young man he went to Lexington, Ky., to attend the College of the Bible, from which college he was graduated in June, 1881. In 1882 he preached for the congregation at Grassy Springs, near Frankfort, Ky.; evangelized from 1882 to 1886, and from 1886 to the day of his death he labored for and with the Campbell Street (now Haldeman Avenue) congregation in Louisville. The very fact of his having remained with one congregation forty-five years-a congregation, too, that has ever been loyal to the word of God-is in itself a story of a great life. This record may have a parallel among preachers and congregations of the past century, but I know not of such a case.
The funeral service was conducted from the Haldeman Avenue meetinghouse at 3 P.M. on Thursday, February 19, by the writer, assisted by Brother F. B. Srygley, of Nashville, Tenn., and Brother N. B. Hardeman, of Henderson, Tenn. Both the large auditorium and the balcony were filled with attentive listeners, and many were standing on the inside of the house and about the door.
I here reproduce, as nearly as I can, what I tried to say upon the occasion of the funeral:
Were I to attempt, on this occasion, to preach what is commonly called a funeral sermon, for a text my hungry heart would seize the words of the Psalmist: "Help, Jehovah; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men." A godly man has fallen on Zion's battlefield, and the church has lost a great servant. But I shall not attempt to preach a sermon, but shall speak out of the fullness of my heart of M. C. Kurfees, as a man and as a preacher, as I have intimately known him for almost forty years.
As a man, he was prompt to meet his obligations to his fellow man, as much so as any human being whom I have . ever known. He was the soul of promptness in meeting an engagement, in fulfilling a promise. We have had appointments to meet at many different times and on different occasions, and he was never one minute late. I have often said that if he was ever late in meeting an engagement, it was due to some circumstance over which he had no control.
Some years ago, while I was living at St. Marys W. Va. I came to Louisville to assist him in a meeting. ' I wrote him that I would come on a certain train. He wrote me: "I will meet you at the railroad station." The train from Parkersburg was three hours late, and I missed connection in Cincinnati. Immediately upon reaching Cincinnati, I telegraphed him: "Missed connection here. Will come on next train." But the next train was due in Louisville at ten minutes after two o'clock in the morning. Of course, I expected no one to meet me at that hour. There were conveyances to the hotels at all hours of the night. But he had written, "I will meet you at the station," and there he stood waiting for me when the train arrived, and by his side stood his faithful friend, Henry Kraft.
He was a polished gentleman, never formal, always easily approached, yet typical in courtesy. He was genteel without stiffness, congenial, jovial without a semblance of rudeness.
He was a princely host. I was often in his home in the lifetime of his beloved wife, who before her marriage was Miss Sally Eddy, a gentle, refined, cultured, Christian woman. A visitor would breathe the very atmosphere of hospitality in that home. After the death of his beloved wife on March 9, 1911, he had lived in hotels, first the famous old Galt House, and afterwards the Hotel Henry Watterson. He entertained scores of friends at these hotels, and his guests there were impressed by his boundless hospitality.
He loved his kindred. He was a member of a family of eleven children, five of whom remained on the earth until Tuesday afternoon, February 17, when the family circle was broken for the seventh time. The surviving members of the family are: J. F. and M. M. Kurfees, Louisville, Ky.; J. W., Winston-Salem, N. C.; and J. Lee, Mocksville, N. C.
When the two brothers from North Carolina reached the home of their brother J . F ., of Louisville, where lay the silent form of the beloved M. C., I was reminded of a scene not far from my Kentucky home. Although years have passed since I had recalled to memory that scene, it came vividly to my mind on that occasion. A hill had been cleared of all its timber, save five gigantic chestnut trees which stood upon its summit. One night a storm came and laid low one of these beautiful trees. Next morning, when the storm had subsided and the sun was shining in his beauty, the four trees stood as if they were silent sentinels, guarding and weeping over the prostrate form of their fallen comrade. When I saw the four brothers standing together by the coffin and weeping as if they were children again, I thought of that cluster of trees, four standing and one fallen to the earth.
M. C. Kurfees, as a friend, was loyal and true; but he was more loyal to principle than to the person of any man. Sometimes we weak human beings seem to think, "My friend should be for me, right or wrong." But that is not true friendship. Brother Kurfees would reprove, rebuke, criticize the dearest friend he had on earth, if he believed that friend was in the wrong. I am sure I had not a more faithful and true friend than was he. I believe he loved few men more than he loved me, and yet he has criticized me, I thought, sometimes to the point of severity. He always prefaced his criticism with these words: "My brother, I mean it in love and for your good." I believe it was in love; I know it was for my good. I have profited by it, and shall ever cherish the memory of him.
To sum it all up, he was a Christian. I believe that if I ever knew a man who would yield his life for the cause of Christ, Marshall Clement Kurfees was that man.
Was he without fault? No, nor are any of us. He never claimed to be free from faults, nor do I make any such claim for him. He was highly sensitive, and this elicited criticism from both friend and foe. Some of the world's greatest men have been highly sensitive. The golden-mouthed Moses E. Lard was almost supersensitive. Brother Kurfees was sometimes seemingly intolerant toward an opponent. I believe I knew him as well as any man ever knew him, and I believe that seeming intolerance was born of a love of candor and moral uprightness. In the estimation of those who knew him best and loved him most, his virtues overshadowed his faults as the mountain overshadows the little hills at its base.
As a preacher, he was logical, systematic, scholarly. His was a profound, logical, analytical mind. I never listened to or read after a man who excelled him in choosing the very word to express the precise shade of meaning intended.
But greater still was his loyalty to .the word of God. I am sure that neither native ability, profound scholarship, nor logical acumen, alone, or all of these together, makes a great preacher in the sight of God. These, with a clean, consecrated life, and reverence for Goel and his word, constitute an outstanding preacher in any age, and such was our departed brother. "Thus saith the Lord" was his motto through his long and. eventful ministry. No man could induce him, even in private conversation, to speculate upon anything contained in the old Book.
And now there comes to my mind the hero's valedictory, Paul's farewell to Timothy: "Preach the word. . . . I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."
If I could ask him today, "What message shall I deliver from you to the preachers who are present?" could he speak from over there, I am sure he would say: "Bid them preach the word:" Could I ask him, "What message shall I deliver to the congregation that you have served so long and so faithfully?" I am sure he would say: "Exhort them to dwell together in love and harmony, always satisfied with 'what is written.' "
He always preached the word. He has fought the good fight. Often the battle was fierce. He had enemies. No man with strong and positive convictions and the courage to stand by them-and he had such convictions and such courage-can live in this world without having enemies. He kept the faith. Never did he waver for the sake of place or earthly reward. He has finished the course and has won the crown. There is a crown for us, if we are faithful to the end, and n1ay God help us so to be.
-T.Q. Martin, Gospel Advocate, March 5, 1931, page 262
REMARKS OF N. B. HARDEMAN AT THE FUNERAL OF M. C. KURFEES.
In trying to speak a word at this service of our brother, M. C. Kurfees, I fear that I may detract from the splendid eulogy delivered by Brother Martin. He has summed up those elements and characteristics that belong to, perhaps, the greatest scholar of the church of Christ during the last several years.
The cause of this funeral is the fact that death is abroad in our land. For such a state of affairs we are not directly responsible, but we are suffering a consequence occasioned by the sin of the first pair: in Paradise. We have been born outside the gates and do not have the right to eat of that tree of life and perpetuate our existence. Death is, therefore, universal and unconditional to all mankind. "As in Adam all die." If this were the end of matters darkness would indeed prevail over the earth and hope would be forever abandoned. I thank God that there came a second Adam in behalf of fallen humanity, and through him all who pass into the confines of the tomb will come forth, some unto the resurrection of life and others unto the resurrection of condemnation. This is likewise universal and unconditional. The greatest privilege ever granted man is that of his becoming a Christian. Our hopes for eternity rest upon our acceptance of the gospel of Christ and upon our living "soberly, righteously, and godly" in this present world.
While yet a young man back in his native State of North Carolina, Brother Kurfees knew that the end would sometime come. He, therefore, decided to become a child of God, and there resolved to consecrate his life to the most splendid service possible. Seventy and five years he lived upon this earth, and, without warning, the end came suddenly. What he has written, he has written. I would have you think for just a moment of that decision made by him.
1. The Bible, and the Bible alone, became his rule of faith and practice. He adopted the statement of Thomas Campbell, wh0 said: " Where the Bible speaks, we speak; and where the Bible is silent, we are silent." He believed that revealed things belong to man, and that the unrevealed things belong to God. These principles were his guiding star through life.
2. He became a member of the church of the New Testament and never allied himself with any other religious organization.
3. He believed and obeyed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. No man ever tried to follow more closely the teaching of the Bible in Christian life and worship than did Brother Kurfees.
These are the principal planks that entered into his platform, and upon these he launched his campaign for eternity. If, indeed, he lived faithful to the end, there is not a shadow of doubt regarding his security in the boundless beyond he has entered.
I became acquainted with Brother Kurfees, personally, in 1924. I had seen him only at one other time until I came to this church (Haldeman Avenue) last spring for a meeting. During that time my home was with him at the Watterson Hotel. I have held numbers of meetings in various parts of our land and have been associated with a great number of brethren and preachers. I have found none more congenial, more helpful, and more pleasant than was Brother Kurfees. I loved him because of his worth and merit and his ability and willingness to defend the cause of Christ, regardless of consequences.
He has written quite a bit for our religious papers. His book on "Instrumental Music in the Worship" is a masterpiece and evidences the great care, the skill, and the accuracy possessed by its writer. His little tract on "Walking by Faith" has, perhaps, done more good in helping pe0ple see the truth of God regarding the worship than any other tract ever penned by uninspired man.
While much has been said regarding his virtues, I would not have you think that he was, in my judgment, without fault. I really believe that Brother Kurfees was supersensitive, somewhat intolerant, and, many times, undiplomatic. He lived on a high plane and was quite exacting of his fellows, but, be it said that he demanded of no man anything which was not equally demanded of himself.
This large audience assembled to pay the last tribute of respect speaks a superior eulogy, and this beautiful floral offering, coming as it does from Christians, Protestants, Catholics, and Jews, evidences the high esteem in which he was held as a man among men.
In closing, I believe that Brother Kurfees would indorse the fine sentiment expressed by Tennyson in that wonderful poem, "Crossing the Bar:"
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar
When I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face,
When I have crossed the bar.
Finally may I say:
Servant of God, well done!
Thy glorious warfare's past,
The battle's fought, the race is won,
And thou art crowned at last.
-Gospel Advocate, March 5, 1931, page 263
A GENTLEMAN AND A CHRISTIAN.
The news of the death of Brother M. C. Kurfees caused me to pause and count the number of outstanding preachers, preachers who were ·contented to be Christians only, who have passed on within the past few years. Their places cannot be filled. No man can take the place or do the work of another man in the kingdom of God.
It was my good fortune to· be associated with Brother Kurfees while assisting the congregation in Louisville, Ky., for which he preached for so many years. For a number of years I corresponded with him. He was the most courtly man I have ever known. As a host, it seems to me, he was as near perfection as is possible in a human being. His ideals were formed by close association with Christ and the inspired men through the revelation they made. His righteous indignation would quickly kindle when he saw one dissemble. His love for the truth was such a dominating factor in his life that he hated, as does the Lord, false doctrine, and granted it no quarters. M. C. Kurfees, in my estimation, was every whit a man-a Christian gentleman. I know of no higher compliment to pay a man touching his character than to say he was a Christian. His likes and dislikes were pronounced, and such is true with all strong men. His writings in teaching the truth are outstanding contributions to the literature of the church of Christ. Knowing him as I did by personal association, private correspondence, and through his public writings, I am constrained to say:
"He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again."
In his going I have lost from earth a friend, and the cause has lost a fearless and loyal defender of the truth.
-Gospel Advocate, March 5, 1931, page 263
Signature of M.C. Kurfees
Courtesy of Terry J. Gardner, 3.2010
Directions To The Grave Of M.C. Kurfees
Marshall Clement Kurfees is buried in the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky. The cemetery is located at 791 Baxter Ave. (Hwy. 31). From I-64 take Exit 8 and turn left (west) go to next traffic light (should be Hwy ALT-60) Should see the cemetery on the right. However you will need to enter the cemetery from the Hwy. 31-E (Baxter Ave.) entrance. Do this by staying on ALT-60 until you turn right on Hwy. 31-E (Baxter Ave.) (North) then entrance should be up on right. When you enter the cemetery you will take the first left. Section "B" should be on your left and section "E" should be on your right. Follow road around to the first intersection and turn left. Now "B" should be on your left and "C" should be on your right. Go to the next road and turn right. "C" should be on your right and "D" should be on your left. Stop the car and begin looking for the Kurfees grave. M.C. Kurfee is buried in Section D, # 30 For more info, click on Cave Hill website below.
While At Cave Hill Be Sure To Visit The graves of several other gospel preachers. Bing Map Of Other Preachers Buried Here
N38° 14.787' x W85° 43.300'
or D.d. 38.24645,-85.721667
Grave Facing West
Accuracy to 22ft.
Cave Hill Cemetery
731 Baxter Ave.
Louisville, Kentucky 40204