History of the Restoration Movement

Alfred Cecil Behel



Al was born on July 14, 1943, in Colbert County, Alabama, to Ossie Cecil (Howard) Behel and Thomas Lowell Behel. He and his eight siblings grew up on a farm in Colbert County, Alabama. Al cherished his childhood memories growing up in a close, Christian family. Even though they did not have much materially, they were taught to love the Lord, and from an early age, he desired to become a minister of the gospel. He preached his first sermon at age 17 at Hawk Pride Church of Christ and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Bible through Freed-Hardeman College and David Lipscomb College.

He was preceded in death by his parents, T. Lowell Behel, Sr., and Ossie Behel. He had four brothers, O'Neal Behel, Gene Behel, Gilbert Behel, and Thomas Lowell "Buddy" Behel, and four sisters: Rachel McCollum, Helen Sanderson, Elizabeth Ann Warpula, and Nadean Martin.

The most important thing in Al's life by far after his love for his Lord was his family. He is survived by his wife, the former Linda Lane Cox; his children, Kimberly Klingerman (Timothy) and Kevin Behel (Kris); grandchildren Caleb Klingerman (Michelle), Matthew Klingerman (Miranda), Ethan Klingerman (Emma), Marcus Behel, Duncan Behel (Monica), Ian Behel, and Caitlin Behel; great-grandchildren Amy, Aiden, Liam, and Aerial.

In 1965, Al moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, to direct the Christian Student Center on the University of Tennessee campus while completing his master's degree in counseling at UT. He also worked with the Laurel Church of Christ for 18 years, first as associate minister and then transitioning into the role of the pulpit minister in 1971. Additionally, he directed the Churches of Christ Exhibits at Knoxville's 1982 World's Fair and the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans and was responsible for follow-up efforts that led many to Christ.

Beginning in 1983, he conducted a full-time private counseling practice. During that time, he served for 11 years as the executive director of East Tennessee Christian Services, a child-care and adoption agency, and continued to be invited to preach and speak for special occasions throughout the country. From 1992 until the time of his death, he co-owned Suburban Counseling Center with his wife, Linda. During that time, he extended his counseling work to the Livingston Clinic in Livingston, TN, as a medical psychotherapist. He frequently served as an expert consultant to attorneys in cases involving children, being earnestly dedicated to their protection and welfare. An attorney who found out about his passing made this statement: "He was a force to be reckoned with, kind, authentic, and presented himself with a balanced humility and strength that made him compelling on the stand and no doubt in life as well." The word most often used after his passing to describe him was "kind." Al was a great influence for the Lord in a variety of situations, and he felt blessed to be able to work as part of a team providing crisis counseling immediately following the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center disaster.

For the last 25 years of his life, Al Behel was the minister at the Great Smoky Mountains Church of Christ in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and was known for his dedication to his work. His sermons were used as an outreach in multiple states and countries, especially during the pandemic. He spoke at churches and Christian universities around the country and was the author of numerous articles in Christian publications. Throughout all his work, Al was dedicated to maintaining the foundations and beliefs of the Restoration Movement.

Al passed to his eternal home on April 7, 2022, and was buried in Knoxville, TN, at the Edgewood Cemetery on Gleason Road in West Knoxville. At his specific request, his tombstone displays the inscription: "to be continued. . .because he said, "I am not finished when this life is over. That's when the real reason for my existence becomes an eternal reality."

-Linda Behel, 03.2024

Al & Linda Behel

Words From A Friend

In the years I worked beside Al Behel it was always clear that he loved others with the love of the Lord. He not only preached that we should love our brother, but was respectful, friendly and concerned about what was happening in the lives of those around him. He was quick to encourage and was skillful in admonishing without damaging relationships. Al knew his congregation well and wasted no time in going to a member when they needed a friend and minister who knew and loved them.

Al was a man of the Bible and skilled in imparting the Word from the pulpit and in the classroom. He was deeply involved in mission efforts at home and abroad, especially the work in China. Al was the primary catalyst for the church’s exhibit at the 1982 World’s Fair. He worked tirelessly in the preparation stages, training of personnel and was there on a daily basis seeing that as many people as possible were being reached with the Gospel of Christ. Following the 1982 World’s Fair, he served as a consultant to the church’s exhibit at the Louisiana World’s Fair in 1984.

There is no way to know how many souls have been led to the Savior through Al’s ministry. The Lord knows, and that is sufficient.

Herb Byrd

Note: Linda Behel was happy to submit these words from Al's long time co-worker and friend, Herb Byrd, 05.20.2024

Read More Here

Sermons of Al Behel

Directions To Grave

The directions to the grave are from I-40 to Knoxville: take the Walker Springs Exit 379 and turn right (or left if coming from the east). Cross Kingston Pike (Hwy.11) and onto Gallagher View Road. The cemetery is Edgewood Cemetery, 229 Gallagher View Road. The entrance is just past the church parking lot, and the grave is on the right just up a rise close to some trees.

GPS Location
35°55'10.5"N 84°03'34.9"W

AL - July 14, 1843 - April 7, 2022
Linda - March 15, 1943 -

"To Be Continued...."

While speaking to a church in Alabama several years ago I told the congregation that I wanted my epitaph to read, "To Be Continued . . ." Some time later a lady in that church asked my sister to tell me that she had "borrowed" my epitaph for her husband's headstone.

I think that is what life is like. Once a human life begins it never ends. Death cannot destroy it. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, "death is swallowed up in victory" (I Corinthians 15). The apostle Paul said that death is the last enemy to be destroyed by Jesus. His resurrection assures our resurrection. His death ensures our life.

Everyone dies. It is an inescapable appointment which if followed by a Judgment in which all our earthly actions are evaluated against God's will for us (Hebrews 9:27; 1 Corinthians 5:12). Death doesn't stop our existence or our consciousness. We remain aware of our identity, our life choices, and our destiny.

The fact that our lives never end is both exciting and troubling. For those whose hope is in the resurrected Christ, eternity is a glorious and exciting reality. But, for those whose life choices are limited to the present life, eternity offers nothing but a fearful darkness.

The concept of eternity is hard to grasp since we measure everything in time increments. Everything we know has a beginning and an end. Still, among our strongest desires is the desire to live forever. We fight illness and death. We try to prolong the inevitable, because we resist giving up our conscious existence.

The good news of the gospel of Jesus is that we don't have to give up. We don't stop with the grave. Death is but a door into a larger, never-ending world whose "splendor" is beyond comparison. The beauty of this world pales when laid beside the glory of heaven. There we experience a beauty we did not create, a health that cannot fail, and a life that will never end.

I want my epitaph to read, "To Be Continued . . ." because I am not finished when this life is over. That's when the real reason for my existence becomes an eternal reality.

Copyright 2003, Al Behel

Webpage produced, 03.20.2024
Photos added on 05.21.2024
Courtesy Of Scott Harp

Special Recognition: Many thanks to Linda Behel, the widowed wife of Al Behel, and her children for their efforts in researching the data, and most capably composing most of the information you see on this page. It was my personal pleasure to visit the grave of Al Behel on April 22, 2024 while speaking on the lectureship held at Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies in Knoxville. I took a few photos of the grave, two perspective photos of the grave location added above.


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