LAWTON CHURCH OF GOD, LAWTON OKLAHOMA

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Chapter 13

 

 

A REAL TEXAN—BUD ROBINSON

 

 

Rev. Bud Robinson, truly one of the pioneers of holiness in Texas, was born and reared a pioneer, inured to the hardships that always came to the life of a pioneer holiness preacher. It seems that God had specially raised up a few men to stand in the front of the battle in the early days of the movement in the South. While all the guns of the Enemy were trained on them they did not flinch nor run. One of these men was Rev. Bud Robinson, who was born in a log cabin with a dirt floor in the Cumberland Mountains, in White County, Tennessee. This one-room cabin with its dirt floor and mud chimney was the birthplace and home in childhood days of what was to be one of the greatest preachers in the holiness movement. He was born January 27, 1860, afterward moved to Texas, and became an all-around tough among the Texas cowboys, but on August 11, 1880, while attending a campmeeting at Bluff Springs, in Ellis County, Texas, conducted by Rev. A. G. Walkup, a Methodist pastor, he was gloriously converted.

He had worked for a Universalist until he was full of Universalist doctrine, but old-time conviction knocked all of that out of him and he ran to the altar screaming. At the time he had a pistol in one pocket and a deck of cards in another. He was dressed in a blue hickory shirt and dirty overalls, and was sitting by a redheaded dancing girl when conviction struck him. He said that the pistol felt to him to be as big as a mule, and the deck of cards like a bale of cotton while he was praying. As he prayed his whole life passed in panoramic view before him, and every sin of the past looked at him, but at midnight the glory struck him, and the next thing that he knew he was walking the benches, telling the boys what God had done for his poor soul.

As soon as the meeting broke up he ran out to a brush pile and threw away the old pistol, and went to the camp and put the cards into the campfire, and crawled under the wagon and laid his head on a stump and pulled his big hat over his face and tried to go to sleep, but sleep was gone. He lay there and laughed and cried and looked at the stars that seemed to rejoice with him, and there under the wagon with his head on that stump God called him to preach.

The next morning he went to the testimony meeting at 9 o’clock and heard others tell what God had done for them, and the first thing he knew he was up trying to do the same thing, but he never did get to tell it. The glory struck him afresh and he shouted and jumped, and when he came to himself he was climbing one of the posts that supported the arbor, shouting at the top of his voice.

The next day he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and was baptized, and remained in that church until expelled for preaching the second blessing.

He was now twenty years old and could neither read nor write and had never attended a school a day in his life, nor had he ever attended a Sunday school, and seldom went to preaching. He began at once to attend a Sunday school and his teacher, a young lady, gave him a copy of the New Testament. He soon spelled out the Sermon on the Mount, and often read big print books by moonlight.

He now could no longer gamble, so he hired to a man to dig mesquite roots at 50 cents a day, while he lived on corn bread and sorghum molasses. At dinner time he would lean his back against a stump while he ate his frugal meal and read two or three chapters in his Testament.

Soon the call to preach settled down on him until he felt that he would die if he did not preach, so he bought some 5-cent calico and his mother made him a Sunday shirt, and he bought a 25-cent straw hat, a $10 pony, and $2 saddle, and a bridle with rope reins. This, with a pair of old saddle bags, with his Testament and a “Prayer and Praise” song book in it formed his equipment. He mounted his pony and went out to preach. The first year God gave him three hundred conversions. The first four years of his ministry he received $16 for his services.

He stuttered until he could not tell people where he was going, but he could stop stuttering long enough to tell a sinner the way to God. Some of his best friends tried to stop him from trying to preach, but he went on. A steward in his church told him, “For God’s sake, don’t try to preach. You stutter so bad and you haven’t got much sense, and it will bring reproach on the church.” Bud went on preaching anyway. He met another friend whom he told of the call to preach; and he told him that he had better teach Sunday school, and lead prayermeetings, and not try to preach.

Finally, he met an old local preacher who told him to go on and he would pray for him; and that he would recommend him for license to preach to the quarterly conference, which was to meet in two weeks. That afternoon he recommended Bud to the church for license to preach and the whole church voted for him. Two weeks later he went to the quarterly conference and was examined by the presiding elder on grammar, church doctrine, and law. He could not answer a single question, but somehow the whole conference felt that God had called him. The presiding elder twisted his mustache and pushed back his hair and asked Bud to step out until the conference could discuss his case. He said that boy could not preach, and never would try, but he was little and iIgnorant and that it would do no harm to license him to exhort, so the license to exhort was granted.

The presiding elder told him that he must keep a record of all the sermons that he preached, every prayermeeting held, every house that he prayed in, and the number of people that were converted and bring the report back to the next quarterly conference and read it. When the next quarterly conference rolled around he had preached fifty times, held twenty-seven prayermeetings, prayed in ninety-seven homes, and had seen ninety people converted. He could not read the report for stuttering, so the preacher had to read it for him, but he broke down and began to cry and shout, until the whole conference was in tears. He preached two years as an exhorter, and then his district conference gave him license to preach.

He went one time twenty miles to a schoolhouse to hold a meeting and after preaching that night and one asked him to go home with them, so he staked out his pony on the grass, and slept on the school benches that night, and when the first man who came to meeting next morning said, “Well, Brother Bud, you got here early this morning,” Bud said, “Yes, I got here yesterday.” He said, “Well, where did you stay last night?” Bud told him that he stayed there all night. This settled conviction on that man and he got saved that day.

Ten years Bud preached and struggled with the old man in his bosom. Dr. W. B. Godbey came to Alvarado, Texas, for a meeting in 1886, where Bud heard holiness preached for the first time. He did not get the blessing then, but the conviction of that meeting never got away from him. Then Rev. B. F. Gassaway became his pastor and preached and lived the same doctrine that Dr. Godbey preached, and it put Bud under such conviction that one day while thinning corn in his own field and praying, he threw down his hoe and the blessing came on him until he thought waves of grace rolled as high as the tassels on the corn. This was June 7, 1890. He thought, of course, everybody would want the blessing that had done so much for him. He talked to a steward in the church and asked him if he did not want the blessing. He told Bud that he had better go mighty slow about that sanctification business, but Bud was not of the kind that would slow up. The preachers who before this would meet him in town and talk to him by the hour, would now cross the street to keep from meeting him, and pass him by and say, “I’ll see you later,” and on they would go.

Soon after this his pastor, Rev. B. F. Gassaway, advised him to go to the Southwestern University, the Methodist school for the Southwest, located at Georgetown, Texas. He entered this school September 12, 1891, and continued there four years. As soon as he entered school he began trying to get the unsaved boys converted, and the young preachers sanctified. This raised a row in the school and war on the second blessing heresy followed and did not abate until Bud was expelled from the church.

He had not been in school long before he was preaching five times a week and from twenty to twenty-five times a month, and often would pray in thirty-five homes in one day. In April he put away his books and went out in the western part of the town and started a meeting for the poor people under some trees, as they had no house to worship in. They had no benches to sit on, nor pulpit on which to lay his Bible, but he stood on the ground and preached while the people sat on the grass. This attracted the attention of the rich people and they came out and sat in their carriages, but Bud told them that if they did not get out and sit on the ground with the poor folks that he would move the meeting out into a field and not allow the carriages to come in at all. After leaving school he traveled with the presiding elder three months, holding meetings under a big gospel tent. In no meeting were there less than 150 people saved. His health broke down and he had to go home. He was soon able to go out in meetings again and things ran at high tide for two years and hundreds of souls were saved and sanctified in every meeting and people shouted and testified to holiness everywhere, until tobacco-chewing and unsanctified preachers felt the sting of awful conviction but persistently refused to walk in the light. Opposition grew until soon a regular war broke out against “this second blessing heresy,” and bishops and rich church members conspired together to stamp out the holiness movement from the church; but it was like fire in dry prairie grass; the more they fought it the more it spread, until great camps sprang up all over Texas. Thousands of people went and camped and preached and shouted holiness and thousands more sought and obtained the blessing. There was a demand for preachers who would preach holiness. This stirred the old tobacco soaks in the church and the popular pastors who fought holiness until a regular war on holiness as a second blessing followed in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and dozens of Methodist preachers were expelled from the church, or compelled to take a location, or to withdraw from the church entirely. Among these were Rev. Bud Robinson, Rev. C. E. Woodson, Rev. Julian Woodson, Rev. E. C. DeJernett, Rev. Dave Burns, Rev. Will Daugherty, Rev. Bob Graham, Rev. W. J. Wilson, Rev. John Appell, Rev. R. L. Averill, Rev. C. M. Keith, Rev. J. W. Lively, Rev. W. R. Manning, Rev. Jim Ragsdale, Rev. H. G. Scuddy, Rev. Ben Hines, Rev. T. L. Adams, Rev. J. H. Elliott, Rev. Will Adams, Rev. H. C. Morrison, and many laymen.

 

CHURCH TRIALS

 

One night while Bud Robinson lived in Georgetown the presiding elder came for him to go with him to see a sick man, and when they had driven out about two miles in the cedar breaks to a place in a rocky cliff, he told Bud that he himself was the sick man and that he had come to the place where he had to get the blessing of sanctification, or go back on God. They got out of the buggy and prayed from 8 o’clock that night until 1:30. He was very prominent in his conference, and to get sanctified meant for him to lose his standing in the conference, and he told Bud that he could not, for he had to educate his children. It was too much for him, he could not bear the reproach, and they returned home, the presiding elder still without the blessing. A few months later the same presiding elder sat as chairman of the Church trial where Bud was being tried for “this second blessing heresy,” and the trial lasted from 8 o’clock in the evening till 1:30 that night, the very same length of time that Bud had prayed for him in the cedar breaks one night before. He told Bud that he would have to give up his conscience on holiness, or give up his standing in the Methodist church. Bud replied that he had but one conscience, and there were many churches in which he might live and keep his conscience, therefore he preferred to keep his conscience if he had to lose the church.

During this trial Rev. J. H. McLean, regent of the Southwestern University, prosecuted the case, and Rev. P. C. Archer defended Bud. Rev. Samuel P. Wright was the presiding elder, and Rev. John R. Nelson was the pastor. The pastor told Bud that he could not hold meetings in Georgetown, while the presiding elder told him that he could not hold meetings out of Georgetown. They said that if they could get Bud and a few others out of the church that they could kill the holiness movement and stop the heresy. At midnight they allowed Bud to testify and this brought the whole conference to tears. At this the pastor said through his tears, “Bud, I don’t want to do this, but they are pushing me.”

At 1:30 o’clock the verdict was brought in, and Rev. Bud Robinson was expelled from the church and ministry. He then united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, where he remained until he met the Pentecostal Nazarene church, where he found himself perfectly at home, where all the preachers preach and testify to holiness. Since then Bud Robinson has preached to more people than all of the preachers who had him on trial, and has seen more people get saved and sanctified than all of the holiness fighting preachers in all of the five Texas conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. He has traveled 600,000 miles, and has preached in all of the great cities in the United States, and to thousands of people at a time in great holiness campmeetings, in almost every state in the Union, and his name is a household word in religious circles everywhere, while some of the preachers who pushed the fight against Bud have gone down in disgrace, and do not now belong to any church. “It is hard to kick against the pricks.”