This is a complete and accurate transcript of the first oral history interview of Theodore Michael
Flowers (Collection 431, T4) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words
which were recorded is omitted. In a very few cases, the transcribers could not understand what
was said, in which case "[unclear]' was inserted. Also, grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah"
or "um" were usually omitted. Readers of this transcript should remember that this is a transcript
of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and even rule than written English.
. . . Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence of
. . . . Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of an incomplete sentence.
( ) Word in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.
[ ] Words in brackets are comments made by the transcriber.
This transcript was completed by Wayne D. Weber and Paul A. Ericksen in September 1998.
Collection 431, T4. Interview of T. Michael Flowers by Paul Ericksen on January 20, 1995.
Continued from T3.
FLOWERS: And I said, "Paul, there's something upon my heart I think I need to share with
you." And when I told him what I told you just now, he says, "Brother Mike, why don't you do
it?" Ahhhh. [laughs] So I said, "Okay, Paul, I write to the fellows we talked . . . with whom we
talked about this." And I did. And a brother by the name of Reuben Conner (he has urban
ministry in Dallas now, I think) . . . and I said to Reuben, "Well, we finally decided to have a
time of prayer and fasting and we'd like if you . . . to know if you're free," and I gave him two
dates, you know. And he wrote back saying, "If I come it would be a great sacrifice." Now I
have a very bad habit. I do not respond to letters until I have time to think about it and pray
about it. But that same day I read it I got a piece of paper and I said, "Dear Brother Conner, if
coming to the prayer and fasting is not going to cost you anything, please don't come." [Ericksen
laughs] He was there. Now there's a man right in this city by name of Conley, Herman Conley?
He was with us at Community [Bible Chapel]. He was preparing to build a church that would
seat a thousand. And he said he was within three or four years of retirement and he wasn't about
to give up that for anything. John Moore lived in Detroit, Michigan, and John says, "Michael,"
(he . . . he was in my wedding, you know.) He says, "Michael," he says, "we have more people
in one corner of Detroit than all the South." [laughs] was how [?] he exaggerated it. He said,
"Why should I come there?" But the amazing thing is, Paul, [pauses] all of them came. Paul
Zimmerman, a German-Jew from Tennessee, he came. [unclear name] came. They all came.
Now if you were to call Conley on the phone right now he will tell you that his ministry took . . .
well, [unclear] he had to decide give . . . give up what . . . do what he said he wasn't going to do.
He gave up his . . . his post. John Moore and his [?] folks sent him to Africa and that was it.
And he will tell you that time of prayer and fasting made a difference. John McNeil was . . . was
the dean of men at Carver [Carver Bible Institute]. He said to me, he said, "Brother Mike, a
weekend is not long enough. We need to have a whole week of it." And every name I call to
you, of course (John Moore is in heaven now) . . . but all the names I've called, they will say to
you, "Paul, that weekend was the turning point in my ministry." Now we have it every year.
You couldn't get me to go any place the first full week Monday through Friday in June. And Dr.
McGee opened his place to us and says, "Nobody can have this time. It belongs to you." To me,
we feel this is the impact God has made. A man would build his cottage, lovely setting out there
on the lake, that's it. And I can kind of almost multiply that with people who say to us by what
they did, sometimes giving us things saying to express their appreciation for the ministry. I . . . I
think we have made an impact. My boast was not fleshly boast but my boast was, "God if you
allow me to stay in any city longer than five years that city must be a better place when I leave."
Because there must be some fruit and the seeds we plant is going to grow. And we feel that we
have left an impact in Savannah. There are people both black and white, even some of the
ministers I said who are still saying, "Yes, we think Brother Flowers did preach the Word."
ERICKSEN: So it sounds like from what you say the [pauses] the devil's grap . . . grasp was
broken and you were able to work.
FLOWERS: Yes, God came through in a marvelous way and that's why I am content to say to
the fellows right now, "Forget about what you want to do. Find out if that's what God wants you
to do, because if this is what He wants He is going to bring it to pass." I think it was Hud . . .
Hudson Taylor who says, "God's work done in God's way will not lack God's support." Now
people might laugh at it and . . . let me say this to you: [pauses] He can do marvelous things.
And just this morning in my reading we were talking about John 6, [pauses] the man with . . . the
little boy with a . . . with his lunch. One little boy with a boy's lunch. And the author was saying,
"Think of what God has done with one man or one boy. The Moodys and the Spurgeons and
Livingston, what . . . . See, God can do it. But today . . . please take this with a grain of salt, but
I'm . . . I'm truth . . . I'm being serious about it. I think if we stop our competition . . . . We're
too competitive today. "Billy Graham can do that!" No, no, no, you're name is not Billy Graham
and your ministry is not Billy Graham. Forget what Billy Graham is doing. Thank God for him,
pray for him somewhat [?]. "Lord, you made me Michael, crazy Michael that everybody . . . yet
now what can you do for crazy Michael? That's what I want." I'm not concerned with the Tom
Skinners. I thank God for them. My concern is, "Lord, I can only be responsible for what you've
entrusted in me." Now I . . . I must pray for others as members of the body and I don't think we
are doing that. Right now I know some people and . . . some black people and they are always
concerned about John Perkins. I said, "Let me tell you something. John Perkins submitted
himself to the Lord and when the people whipped him and beat him in Mississippi and put a
[unclear] down, he says, 'Lord, help me not to learn to be as bitter as these people.'" I says,
"Now, until your are ready to take that without being bitter you're not going to be a John
Perkins." See, we forget. We don't develop just like . . . . No, we develop through sufferings.
God writes the curriculum and He put . . . [unclear] . . . . But see that's what we forget. We . . .
we want to be somebody else and we don't know why the person is what they are. [laughs] Paul
wasn't just a good man because he had a good education. His suffering and other things was the
molding factors. And we need to emphasize these things. Christianity today amounts to "Well, I
want to be a successful like Ike say, "I want a new car." No forget that kind of junk. That's were
I am. I'm so . . . let's forget that kind of junk. I say, "Lord, you saved me. What do you want me
ERICKSEN: How do you find people in the chapels [pauses] . . . how do they respond to . . . to
FLOWERS: To me? Well, some of it indifference. Some say, "Crazy Michael." But there are
those . . . . Listen, it's the same thing we see, same response we get from Mars Hill [Acts
17:16ff]. Some believe, some put it off, and some say, "We'll hear you again." Procras . . .
procrastination right? But . . . but there were some belief and they followed him. I think that is
always the effect of the proclamation of the gospel. Some are going to believe, some are going to
mock, some are going to say, "Hey, next time." But some are going to believe. And . . . and
there are people in the chapel here right now who are saying, "Well, it's obvious that if God used
this fool to do what he has done He must have spoken to him." [Ericksen laughs] No, that's . . .
that's and I . . . I said, "You have my permission to call me Crazy Michael." But I said, "Listen to
this. If you want to be considered wise as far as the world is concerned you'd better be sure
you're going to do what's right. Because let me tell you this," I says, "if Abraham had waited and
listened to the world he'd never leave Ur." I'm sure if Abraham had consulted the psychologists
they would have said to him, "You give up your son, you'll be child abuse or murder." And let
me tell you something, when you look at the Scriptures and when you see what God has done
through these men, say Paul, you must be crazy to believe God if you're going to prosper. I
mean, you see where . . . you see where I'm coming from? I mean Abraham . . . and then
Abraham got the knife, God said, "Okay. Well, now I know." I mean, I feel God is doing the
same to us. But you cannot take that to the Supreme Court and expect them to rule favorably on
it. You're crazy. So you've got to be crazy. And I think Paul was right when he says, "A fool for
Christ." [1 Corinthians 4:10] Now, you must be able to laugh at yourself. Now, some people
can't laugh at themself. Some people take themselves too seriously. I mean, I can go in to
[unclear] people, I says, "Well, what you've expect from an idiot?" [laughs] Now, I mean I'm not
going to play on that but, I mean, dare I [unclear] with you. "What an idiot. What a fool you
are." And . . . and God knows that. I mean, people . . . people don't believe God has a sense of
humor, but if God didn't have a sense of humor, boy, I . . . I tell you, we'd be in a bad way. So I
am grateful. Let . . . let me tell you, I am grateful for the support. When I say the support now,
we're thinking in terms of . . . last year was our twenty-fifth anniversary. The things the people .
. . they gave us a trip to Alaska, a cruise to Alaska. We never asked for anything. 'Cause, of
course, I wouldn't even know how to ask for it. But, I mean, they did it. And . . . and some of
the things they gave us. And I have to sit back and say, "God [pauses], any use trying to compare
You . . . You're incomparable," right? But what has moved them . . . they've done? And nobody
had any campaign, nobody had any crusade. [unclear] For instance, in twenty-five years I've
paid my fees, and the lady said to me, "After twenty-five years if we can't let you go to the
[unclear phrase]." I said, "I don't want anybody to get any funny ideas." She said, "Look, I am
writing this," and on and on. "Okay sweetheart, up to you." We appreciate that. Now we may
not always express it as well as we ought, but we appreciate that and we say God has done it.
And the principle of the work and honor: "Them that honor Me I will honor." [II Samuel 2:30]
But now, not [unclear]. That's not the point. You're not other people.
ERICKSEN: At the same time that you were developing chapels during your time in Savannah,
were there also chapels of white congregations . . .
ERICKSEN: . . . that were . . .
ERICKSEN: . . . white chapels?
ERICKSEN: And were they . . . ?
FLOWERS: The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. [Ericksen laughs] I mean, [clears
throat] some of . . . now again, it's difficult to understand this and I trust people who hear this
will understand. Policies were policies sort of said [?]. For instance I was told when I came
South that it was illegal for black and white children to be under the same roof in school. So
that's what they told me at the church. Now I said to them, "Hey man, that's all right for the
school but this is the church. This is the body of Christ." "And I don't think any government can
tell you that people from the same family can't meet together. But," I said, "if that's the way you
want it, it's okay." Now here is the disturbing thing and to me we lose credibility. For instance
now I'm from the Bahamas, right? The chapel was on fortieth street and I lived on forty-first
street. I can walk from my house to the chapel with any pace in less than ten minutes. Do you
know I couldn't go there and remember the Lord. Now our great thing is the weekly
remembrance supper. Oh man, you call it a time of worship, we . . . we . . . we . . . we go for
that. But I couldn't go. And these fellows, one of them . . . and I say "These fellows . . ," one of
them went to one of the islands and he came back and was telling me what great times he had.
But I'm too dumb to see the inconsistency there so I just listened, because, you see, my
contention is I'm not trying to impress you, I'm not trying to correct you. If you want it to be that
way okay. But . . . but he come in here, "What a good time we had." And I said afterwards . . . I
said, you know . . . I said, "Isn't it amazing. He's talking about the good time they had, but now
what happen if those fellows came here?" And bless your heart some did come. But they said,
"We couldn't [unclear]." See, and I'm saying to them, "This is why some people become bitter . .
FLOWERS: . . . and some people [unclear] of the gospel [unclear]. I says, "No, no, no. Don't
blame God. We are responsible." Because we talk about being members of the body, we talk
about what he . . . Paul says in Ephesians, how God acknowledged that there was a middle wall
of partition. [Ephesians 2:14ff] Right? And God through the cross break it down and weld the
two warring factors into one body so making peace. One man now, but you're making it two.
But no, I never march against them. No, that's not my problem. And they . . . the day came when
they wanted to sell their building and came and asked me if I'd like to buy it. I says, "Sir, how
much you want for it?" And the outrageous price he quoted me you wouldn't believe me it. But
unfortunately I didn't need it because we'd already bought some property. But you see . . . you
see, you sit back and I'm . . . I'm telling you this (and again I'm not telling you this to start World
War III), but I'm telling you this to see how sometime people who preach the gospel, (I'm talking
about the truths they hold), forget that the truths they hold are holding them. You see, because he
was making kinds of invidious distinction in the body simply because I'm black. They were
white. But God loves me and I . . . I was content. Now I couldn't do anything because God says,
"Michael I still love you." And I rest there. I rest my case. But they . . . they were, they . . .
again you must be honest. There were individuals in that fellowship who treated me with the
utmost kindness. There was a man in particular. I didn't have a car and he drove me to the
prison weekly. Never said a thing about "Give me something for gas." But he did something
once that really startled me. He said to me . . . he said, "What are you doing?" . . . like "I'm
giving you a ride and what are you doing during the week?" And he put his hand in his pocket
and instead of giving me the money in my hand he put it down. And he said, "Well, take that
[unclear, laughs]." But I said, "Lord is that's the way You choose to send it, [unclear]. See, now
some people get . . . . No, no, no. "Okay, Lord. I'll take it, I'll take it. All dead [unclear] and I
belong to you. [laughs] So these have been Gods ways of . . . of squeezing out of you all that . . .
. "Uh, okay, okay Lord, I'll take it.
ERICKSEN: What about white participation in the chapels that you helped start? Was there
much of that?
FLOWERS: We . . . as I said, there were individuals, so we did . . . . What I said . . . I said, "We
are going to be the pace setters." If there were gifted men who could get over the area of their
racism (they were coming [unclear]) "You people." I mean, that's the kind we didn't want.
Because while I may take it, other people are never going to take that nonsense. [laughs] So right
now I show my brochures black and white. As a matter of fact, we have it as a policy: if we can
we'd like to have two speakers every year for two consecutive years and one must be white and
one must be black. Now if we can't have them okay, but we'd like . . . because we want to
represent the body of Christ. But we're not saying that they . . . . No, see we want to do it
because we're going to be the pace setters and we want to do that which will glorify God. So we
. . . we have people . . . as a matter of fact on the twenty-ninth of this month the brother coming
from California, he is white and he is going to speak here on this Sunday morning. Last . . . last
Tuesday night we had a white missionary. See, people they are members of His body. We're
naked together. There is that inseparable union we have with our head. Amen? We are going to
be the bride of Christ. I mean . . .
FLOWERS: . . . that is if your [pauses] . . . your . . . your teaching will kind of . . . you know,
some people don't believe in it, but I mean . . . you understand what I'm talking about? So I don't
allow that thing to upset me. I'm so glad that He made a choice of me. That's my great thing. He
makes . . . I mean, I . . . I said to the folks, "I [pauses] . . . I . . . I spoke to you on Sunday morn . .
. morning." I sat there. "Do you realize that He could have chosen the Kennedys?" [pauses]
"Couldn't He? And the Wal-Marts and the Paul-Marts?" But He comes right back in the back of
no . . . from nowhere on Andros [Island], at the age of seventeen brought a man from about three
to four hundred miles to present me with the challenge of the gospel. And in all my . . . I was
steeped in Anglicanism, the Spirit of God opened my eyes to see the truth. You cannot escape if
you neglect God's great salvation. Hey [pauses], what [pauses] . . . brother, what . . . what have
we to lose? We'll follow the Lord. That's my thinking. Don't worry about that fellow. They're
not going to get away with it . . . anything, are they? Not on your life. Well, I can leave it. I can
wait for the judgment seat of Christ.
ERICKSEN: When you . . . when you got started in Savannah how long aft . . . after having your
Bible studies how soon after that were you having morning services and breaking of bread
FLOWERS: Well, that didn't come until the chapel was built.
FLOWERS: So we actually . . . we came to Savannah . . . I came in 1955. My wife came in
1956 and we had the chapel in Beaufort in 1959 dedicated. But the chapel was not built until '68
in Savannah and we dedicated it in '69, so we didn't have the service there. But, you see, what
gave us the push in Savannah, after the Bible classes we've had in . . . in the city, the Tom
Skinner Crusade . . . . That's what I mean. The . . . the people from the crusade . . . .
ERICKSEN: So that tended to . . . that solidified things.
FLOWERS: Yes, that's . . . that brought the things together. I mean, that's the timing, God's
timing, you see. And then interest was high. Another thing was amazing. As soon as the tent
was down, in a few months we started building. We had no chicken suppers nor anything
because God raised up some men [pauses], you know, white men who . . . one in particular. He .
. . he actually s . . . believed that God sent me there and he was . . . I said he was my man that
God used to supply us with the necessary . . . . That's why I got permission from him the second
day of this month after all these years and I've been asking over and over again, "Would you let .
. . would you mind . . . do you mind if I name the resource center in your honor?" And he said,
"No." But on the second of this month 1955 [1995?] he says, "Michael, if you want to you . . .
you have my permission." Boy, I could have jumped through the ceiling because everything you
see around here here in Savannah, his money is [unclear] his prayers. And I . . . I really felt so
good that he has given permission now to do that.
ERICKSEN: And what was his name?
FLOWERS: C. . . . well, I don't know if you want me to say but I'll say it. C. P. Brown, Claude
Brown. He had a trucking business. Very . . . very much of a gentleman and he has been
[pauses] God's purse to us. Very . . . very generous.
ERICKSEN: How did you get into the radio broadcast [unclear]? How did that open up?
FLOWERS: The radio broadcasts opened up because of my conviction that on the radio in our
area there was no preaching and most of the people didn't listen to some of the white broadcasts.
Most of them didn't. And there was a station that would . . . WGIV, they would take broadcasts.
All the wanted was the pay, all they wanted was the money. They wasn't concerned about the
quality and the contents. [laughs] So we on like that, because here my idea was to use the
broadcast the way the British used the RAF [Royal Air Force] in World War II. The radio was
. . . was supposed to be my bombs raining down on the cities. So after preaching, say, maybe
five or six years and hearing from a few people I would make contact with them and find out
now if the foot soldiers could come along and have a crusade. And what we did . . . I still
maintained contact with the Bahamas. So the assemblies from the Bahamas would send some of
their people over here so we can visit in the community and, you know . . . . The . . . the people
here are working, but the people who come from home and because it was vacation time they
give their vacation time in helping, so it's a lot of people help. In 1967 when Tom [Skinner] we
had forty-five people, twenty-five from the Bahamas and twenty from the United States [pauses]
to help us. Had them living in motels and hotels and this gentleman, Claude Brown, and others,
they helped us to get cars to transport them and my wife cooked for them for twenty-seven days
[Ericksen laughs]. And the crusade finished on Saturday and she had to go to school on Monday.
Talk about praising the Lord. How did it happen? Wonderful. And today she still able to walk
and talk and laugh. God has been good to us and we are grateful. But that's how we . . . we got
started. As soon as the crusade was over we had the class. The church, of course, did take time
to build, but I mean we were teaching again and this time we were teaching, telling the people
what we believed, what we practiced, and what we would like to see become a reality when we
had our first service. So when the service . . . when the church was dedicated (and again the
folks came from the Bahamas and came from all over in celebration of what God has done). God
did give favor with some of the people and they came. And Tom Skinner was there for the
ERICKSEN: And how many chapels were there in Savannah?
FLOWERS: There was only one other chapel besides ours. That's the white chapel that's next to
me. And, but . . . but by the time Beau . . . Berean was built in Savannah we had Beaufort and
FLOWERS: You know, there were . . . there were two there. Now I told you now we . . . we
have seven. This was the seventh and we are working on number eight.
ERICKSEN: The one we're sitting in at the moment.
FLOWERS: The seventh, this one.
ERICKSEN: Got it. And the eighth is in Marietta.
FLOWERS: Will . . . will be if the Lord gives favor. Since we went in Marietta November 3rd
one girl made a profession of faith about two, three weeks ago. And a strange girl came in last
night from one of the friends. We're praying that God would reach them. Step by step we're
resting on His faithfulness.
ERICKSEN: Now from what you said before it sounds like you have these prayer and fasting . . .
FLOWERS: Every year.
ERICKSEN: . . . every year.
FLOWERS: The first full week in June.
ERICKSEN: And how much . . . I'm curious how much prayer and fasting plays a part in sort of
the life of the chapel, not just, you know . . . .
FLOWERS: We feel . . . we feel it has had a distinct impact on the individuals but they have
influenced others and so it's like a kind of a, you know . . . it's . . . it's a ex . . . exploding sort of
thing. [pauses] It's . . . it's . . . we feel the whole community had profited. We have not done any
study as to what's happened but we do know that there are people, especially the second time . . .
we had our first . . . for the weekend that was not so, you know . . . . But the second time when
we had our [pauses] week, full week there were some people who were concerned . And their
concern was that we're going to get sick, we don't know what will happen and because of that
many of them prayed. [laughs] So, I mean, even in that God worked. Tthat's what I'm saying,
you know. And I . . . I feel that sometime we need to stop and think of what God is doing.
Because they were ignorant about . . . I'm ignorant about fasting, because some people hold
fasting as a doctrine. I don't. I feel that a man should think in terms of a need and I was just
working on God. I see a need and Your Word says, "This kind will only go out by prayer and
fasting." [Matt. 17:21] Now what helped the situation . . . I don't remember the year right now,
but I think it wasn't long after that I was introduced to Bill Gothard. You may have heard that
name. And when he started talking about fasting it clicked. And he said that he believed that
people in this type of work should fast at least once a week. (Not . . . this is not what you call
absolute fast for three days in a row.) But anyway [pauses], I thought of that. And we'd been
practicing that and some people laugh at us, but do you know I heard recently that a man of the
stature of Bill Bright and some other Evangelicals were fasting (was this sometime last fall or
sometime?) and that quite a few hundred of them there. So we are not the scorn or off-scoring
anymore but we're keeping quiet in the sense that I am saying, "Sycamore, get some more."
[laughs] 'Cause I still tell . . . I tell you this: I still feel (and I did a series of messages on Bob
Jones University radio station when . . . when they were in the area) . . . . I could be so mistaken
by I feel deeply that prayer is still the most potent power God has left us but we are not ready to
use it. I have on a shelf on all the books on prayer there and I look at them sometimes and I say,
"Now how many of those men who have written those books believe what they are talking
about?" And I still believe the Lord means what He says. He says, "You ask and it shall be
given, seek and ye shall find." [Matt. 7:7, Luke 11:9] I mean, after all He is honorable isn't He?
I mean is He going to deceive me? Will He do it willfully, knowingly? I don't think so. When I
say to my son, "I want you to do this." I . . . I mean that and I think . . . now I . . . I'm not saying
that we must just sit down and so forth, no. I think we need to go and talk to people, but I think
as we leaders [?] say that I thinks the Bible says, "God opened Lydia's heart." [Acts 16:14] [tape
recorder stopped and restarted]
ERICKSEN: Okay, you were saying God opened Lydia's heart.
FLOWERS: Opened . . . opened Lydia's heart. And we are told He gave Joseph favor in Egypt
and obviously did the same for Daniel in Babylon. Now we . . . [something bumps microphone]
we do believe that [pauses., something bumps microphone] Hebrews thirteen and eight is still
pertinent, right? He's the same God yesterday, and today, and forever. The same person, the
same power, He has the same purpose. He wants us to inform Him, not that He doesn't know,
but if He'll ask us to do, ask. My spiritual father, W.H. Farrington, used to say it like this: "Put
the word ask in an acrostic and what do you get? A is for ask, S is for seek, K is for knock."
Ask . . . ask. Well James says you have not because you don't [pauses] ask. And . . . and I . . . I
believe that, Paul . . . I believe God is waiting to do things for the church such as the world has
never seen. But the point is we are thinking of our (now again I'm not against it) . . . but we are
thinking our P.R. person. I'm . . . I'm not against it. Please don't misunderstand me. But let me
tell you something. We have seen God work in ways that if we tell you you're going to laugh at
me. So you . . . but laugh. The . . . the thing is God can. Oh, I just made reference of a boy's
lunch feeding about fifty or twenty thousand people. What is Jesus trying to teach His disciples?
You're dealing with Me. Whatever you have I can take it and I can multiply it out of all
proportion. After all I brought this illimitable universe into being by My word. I don't even need
the boy's lunch if I want to but I've just chosen this. So if we give it to the Lord He can multiply.
ERICKSEN: How . . . what have you seen in the chapels in terms of the . . . the members
becoming being real prayers instead of just doing . . . playing praying.
FLOWERS: Well, that's difficult to . . . to say because we hear them pray only every Tuesday
night. But let me tell you what has happened. Our ladies have a monthly prayer meeting and by
the way that is tonight from nine until six in the morning, the ladies. And I understand that these
are praying ladies. I mean, they know how to lay hold of the throne of God. Now the men were
a bit slow. Something wrong with us men but [laughs] they were a bit slow. But they have
initiated it and now we have had our first all night prayer meeting. So . . . and I . . . I think all of
this is because we emphasize not about . . . not . . . not of all proportion but we emphasize the
supreme importance of prayer. And I keep saying to them, "Brethren let's give priority to prayer,
especially to of us who are going about it full-time. Remember what says in Acts? Not that we
can't serve tables, but there are many men who can serve the tables. We will give ourselves unto
prayer and the ministry of the Word." [Acts 6:4] And I think that's the order. Now I think we
have inverted that. We have said we'll give ourselves to the ministry of the Word and then, well,
if anything [unclear] we'll think about it. And I think that's not the way to go about it. Are you,
are you . . . I know you're are conscious buddy, but do you see the significance Jesus attached to
prayer? And men are always to argue or pray which is it? We prefer to argue than prayer but
it says "Men are always to pray and not faint. [Luke 18:1] And I believe back . . . back again to
this political situation . . . I believe that part of our problem is that we are fainting because we're
not praying. I wonder (and this actually happened) . . . but I wonder if any of the Lord's people
have ever had the experience like a building shaking. Now, laugh. I give you a change to laugh
because it's crazy. But let me tell you something and I can call some names to verify this. Before
I went to Canada, Ed Allen and I had the largest crusade in the Bahamas ever. And one night at
an all night prayer meeting [pauses], (don't look so serious) [Ericksen laughs] the building . . . the
building actually shook.
FLOWERS: Now don't . . . I'm a carpenter. I know a building. But what happened, it is similar,
you know, with . . . and we don't try [unclear] . . . . But I said to myself . . . let me tell you
something, that was Saturday night. On Sunday night at the opening crusade when Ed Allen
gave the invitation after preaching a powerful message, I mean, it seemed as if everybody was
shaken. Now [unclear], it wasn't as if . . . seemed as if, because the Spirit of Lord was so
evidently present, I mean [unclear] in control of the situation. People came from all over to say,
"I will." To repeat Romans 1:16, the gospel is the power, the dynamite of God." That's another
thing I've never seen again. Only once . . . once in a lifetime perhaps. But if I wasn't there you . .
. you told me what I'm telling you I say, "Come on, man, tell that to [unclear]." But I'm not . . . I
won't . . . I'm not pulling your leg. I'm going to tell you when I'm pulling your leg. And I . . . and
you ask the people who know me well. I keep saying to them, "I am not prepared to say what
God wouldn't do if He can find some people to wholly trust Him." I don't know what He would
do. See I don't know. It may not be His design for this dispensation, but let me tell you
something: we've got a powerful God. By His Word everything came into being. The storm,
peace, be quiet, calm. [Mark 4:35ff] I was caught in several hurricanes, storms in the Bahamas.
And brother, they just don't die down like that. They just kept on for three or four days. As a
matter of fact, my sister was killed (that followed me) in a hurricane. The roof of our house was
blown off and landed about maybe five, six miles from the house. Big, strong men lifted up,
dashed against walls and the power in the wind. He said, "Quiet, peace, be still." Now I don't
know what God has in store for this dispensation, but since I am as my wife says retarded, I think
you can put it this way: we still don't know what He will do because we aren't ready to trust
Him. There are certain reservations we have because we are so sophisticated [pauses, Ericksen
laughs]. I think so. Our . . . our plans, and I've . . . nothing wrong with planning. Thank God we
have learned that we can plan. But once we have laid our plans, then if God doesn't come along
the path that we have chosen, we forget Him. I don't think that's right. I think we need to come
and says, "God, right now we're . . . we're in trouble in America. God look at our young people,
look at the crime, look at the infidelity, look at the broken . . . God." And don't you . . . don't
quote me 2 Corinthians [Chronicles] 7:14 because we're not doing it. "If my people which are
called by my . . . . We're not going to humble ourselves so forget it. Don't go any further. Now
that's where I stand. If you're not going to humble yourself forget the rest of it. And that's why
I'm trying to say to the men, "Look, we're going down there in June and if nobody gets anything
from the Lord, let's be sure God burdens us with something. And we can talk to our God and see
what He will do. Let's see what He will do." And I believe that on the basis of our prayer and
fasting we have these testimonies established with the minimum fuss as to how to fool people,
but no, just communicating the Word and watching God work. I believe God is able. To Him
who is able to exceeding abundantly above all. [Eph. 3:20] And if your imagination is crazy and
wild like mine, boy, I tell you. [laughs] Yeah. Okay, let . . . let's stop wandering, now. Let . . .
let's get back to facts, because, I mean . . . .
ERICKSEN: Well, maybe we should take a real quick break.
FLOWERS: Okay, up to you.
ERICKSEN: We've . . . we've gone an hour and a half already and we can at least take a few
minutes and let you rest and then we'll come back.
FLOWERS: Yes. Okay.
ERICKSEN: I noticed, too, looking at your chronology that in addition to the [pauses] . . . the
late 60s were an important time because that was when the Skinner Crusade was . . .
ERICKSEN: . . . that's when you started doing the radio broadcasts . . .
ERICKSEN: . . . and you also started the United Bible Conference.
FLOWERS: Just celebrated twenty-five years last week.
FLOWERS: Last year. That's why I would say I wish I had one of those magazines here to let
ERICKSEN: What . . . tell me about the beginning of that.
FLOWERS: Very small. John . . . I have the brochures h . . . didn't I give you one of the
brochures of those? I have . . . I can give you one of them . . . brochures.
ERICKSEN: Yeah, I'd like that.
FLOWERS: And we began with just the people . . . we invited people from Charleston. There
was a black assembly in Charleston. And we invited the Dennises to come and we invited some
friends who came from as far away as Washington, Aubrey Wilson. We worked together and he
came down to be with us. The first two speakers . . . and we . . . we had it at Berean Bible
Chapel. And we did that maybe for three or four years. And then we had one in Augusta
because I use to go to Augusta for Bible study and radio broadcasts on Thursdays. And we had
people from all around. And then it began to pick up. Now the background for the conference
came out of my visit to England, because I learned while I was in England the importance of
gathering the people together for good, solid Bible teaching. Now, of course, we were
pioneering. That's . . . I always called it pioneering. We were pioneering here. And so I said to
the men, "For the first maybe ten years we are [pauses] not accustomed biblical preaching so let's
have biblical preaching." But after the tenth year and . . . and the assemblies were going, they
should have developed some thirst and desire for the Word, now let's do some teaching. Because
I firmly believe that we can't make it on just preaching. I believe we must have good, solid,
in-depth Bible teaching. And so let's do that and we did. And we had some great outstanding
teachers like John Phillips and Kevin Dyer and all these men, William Banks. They came and
they were . . . they teach . . . they're still teaching the Word to us. I remember the first series on
teaching we had Tom Skinner doing the book of Ephesians for us. And after . . . after about
maybe the sixth, maybe the fifth or the sixth year, I think, we discovered that there were only a
few people helping in the kitchen. And the ladies were doing the cooking. They'd miss most of
the meetings so we decided to go to a hotel. Now among the Brethren that was a no-no.
[Ericksen laughs] I tell you. But again since we're pioneering I said, "Hey, we're here to just
pioneer, be pace setters." And we went to a place called Savannah Inn and let me tell you that
was a beautiful place, a country club and the people were very nice to us. They said, "We have
never . . . ." and they wished they had all the people having conference there were as well
behaved as we were, no drinking, no this, none . . . and they were glad to have us. But, of course,
the price started going up and we had to move around. So we went to several places. We went
to Toccoa Falls [in Toccoa, Georgia]. We went to Lake Junalaska [North Carolina]. We've been to several
other places, but we've been all around and God has blessed. Last year we had six hundred and
fifty [pauses] people.
ERICKSEN: And for how long of a time period is . . . ?
FLOWERS: Just the weekend. Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday we finish. We use to go
on until Sunday at three but now we finish after lunch to give people time to get back. And the
reason we do that is because the people who come from New York, they would have Monday off
and they could take their time and drive back without . . . as a holiday. But the people in the
South it's not a holiday so we have to be at work on that day. But that's how it began and how it
spread and right now the brochures we got . . . I don't even have one here. [pauses] We . . . the
brochures are out for our conference. They're a bit late late and we're hoping to have a good time
again. This year we're going to be at [pauses] (what's the fellow . . . ?) New Heritage. That's
where Jim Baker use to be, New Heritage. But we are making . . . we're doing well [pauses]
crowd wise. [laughs]
ERICKSEN: And [pauses] how have they changed over the years other than the location? Has
there been other changes that have taken place?
FLOWERS: Well, the only different . . . I . . . I think we have changed in only one aspect. I
[pauses] . . . I think my [pauses] missionary vision has broadened, in the sense that we did
support mission and we are supporting missions, but [pauses] I am suggesting that we take an
offering on Sundays for missions. So I think in this respect it has changed. Instead of just the
missionary efforts here we are thinking of missions abroad, and that may be primarily because we
have a lady from our assembly who is in Kenya. And my wife and I spent seven weeks there
with them . . . with her. And . . . so we had taken an offering to help the mission . . .
missionaries. Furthermore we have met some people in other missions that we know. One is
from a church right here in Atlanta; we know the leader very well and we are helping to support
him. So that the mission program has broadened, so we have what we call . . . we have a United
Bible Conference . . . United Missionary Conference . . .
ERICKSEN: I was going to ask you about that next.
FLOWERS: . . . third weekend in September.
FLOWERS: And that is to keep the balance. We just don't want to be here. We want to get over
there. And that's doing alright. Now we're still holding that. It will be held here or Community
or maybe in Savannah this year. But that's . . . that's for the people . . . let's put it . . . put it of of
the denomination. The . . . the Brethren will kill you for saying that but you understand what I
mean. [laughs] It's for the people here. Of course, it's the people, period, but it's the leaders in
the assembly that we expect to come and help. Now the speakers can come from any place so
long as they are godly men and they don't hold to any outrageous doctrine and that sort of thing.
But . . . the . . . the . . . see the conference is meeting a need as I said. See in England I saw this.
The English people have conferences. I mean . . . of course, I see a danger in it too, you see,
because people only live from conference to conference.
ERICKSEN: That's true.
FLOWERS: That's not good enough. But the . . . the good part of it is if you can have a
conference, an annual conference, right? then maybe there are times you can have a little
mini-conference or something or . . . or a gathering together. Because I believe . . . I believe we
do not have enough social activities in the . . . among the saints. Now that may be a bad way of
saying it or a bad term but I believe we are social beings and I believe every once in a while we
need to meet in a room like this [unclear] and say, "Hey, man, let's have a cup of tea, let's have a
cup of coffee and talk and laugh and pray and find out where we are." I . . . I think that's how
iron sharpens iron. And I . . . I keep telling the folks, "Broaden your prospective." I mean, if . . .
if you . . . let's say you came from Timbuktu at the conference. Don't sit with the people of
Timbuktu. go and talk to someone from Alaska, go and talk to someone from Finland. You
know what I mean? Broaden your prospective. Right now for the missionary conference I'm
saying to the folks, "Every third . . . ." (In . . . in community it's every third Wednesday, here
every third Tuesday we have missionary meeting. Read the letters from the missionary, we have
prayer and then someone ministers on the significance of missions. Okay? Now [clears throat],
because we have someone in Kenya, I said to the superintendent . . . superintendent of the
Sunday school, "Make sure that every class has something about missions. Write to Sister James
our representative over there and say to her, "Look, we have about ten kids age ten or age twelve.
Can you tie us in with someone over there the children you're teaching and so that they can start
corresponding." Have you any idea what that can do in enlightening of the minds of people in
both areas? Now when I came up, and I heard somebody talking about missionary or mission, I
thought they were talking about some boy with a kind of big helmet and, you know, and that sort
of thing. No. I want them to know the people. I want to know what they are doing and they will
know about us. And who knows through that medium of correspondence somebody may want to
go over there, some may want to come here. And in the black churches as a whole . . . in the
black churches as a whole we need to have mission in it's proper place of priority. Someone said,
"Mission is not God's afterthought . . . forethought . . . afterwards the forethought." And for the
most part most of us, when you talk about missions, we think in terms of what you call the poor
offering and put a penny in the plate, that kind of thing. Giving need to be stressed, sacrificial
giving. Now we don't beg for money. That's our policy. We believe, and I believe as strongly,
that God's people should support God's enterprise. I don't believe in going to the devil ['s] kids
and say, "Hey, my God is so poor He doesn't even have enough to give me . . . give me." I don't
.. . I don't believe in that at all. And don't tell me it can't work. I've been pioneering it'll be
twenty . . . it'll be forty years on the twenty-fifth of next month. Forty years since we came to
Savannah. We haven't gone hungry, we haven't died, we haven't begged. We don't . . . we talk
about money. Now I don't mean we don't teach about money. That's not what I'm saying. I'm
saying I don't think "Here we've got [?] money." No, we don't do that. So if you came here on
Sunday morning, an eleven o'clock service no collection plate would be passed. We take up that
offering at the breaking of bread [communion service] where the Christians meet. That's the way
we feel it should be. God's work should be supported by God's people. And if we recognize that
every good and all the things come from God, then we should give Him back His portion. But
the . . . the missionary work must come first. We must . . . now I don't mean you just talk about
missionary and don't talk with people around you. But, I mean, from the prospective of the black
churches and the black assemblies here we need to give, I mean, first consideration to the
mission program. I am all for that and that's why I going to Africa again in March of this year.
I'm speaking at their conference.
ERICKSEN: Why did you move to Atlanta?
FLOWERS: I moved to Atlanta because John died in 1978, the fellow who came from Detroit to
FLOWERS: John . . .
FLOWERS: . . . Moore. Yes he came from Atlanta . . . from Detroit to help me. He was one of
the men who took part in my wedding. We were close friends. And the men said to me . . . I was
preparing to go to Jacksonville. From Savannah we were going to Jacksonville. And they said,
"No." He said, "John is dead and the leaders here are new and there is a man here who looks like
he want to make some trouble." And I said, "Well, I don't know if I can stop him." [both laugh]
"If my presence there would kind of stop him I'll come up." So I started coming up every
Saturday. So what it did it give me a chance to build the leaders, to talk to them, to teach them
what . . . . Now when I say teach, you understand I mean teach from the point of [unclear]
because teaching is not my thing but what we believe, you see. Anyway that's how I got here. I
. . . I starting coming from 1978 and I didn't move here permanently until 1982, because I didn't
have the wherewithall to get the house, or to put it in the proper setting, I think, God didn't see fit
to open the way until 1982. So that's when I came after a crusade in Columbia, South Carolina.
FLOWERS: That's why [?] I got here. But again you remember God called me in Atlanta and I
always believed that sometime later God was going to bring me back but I didn't know how. So
He brought me back by taking John home and the men said, "Well, we need you here."
ERICKSEN: What differences have you seen between working with the chapels here and
working on the coast?
FLOWERS: As I said we . . . we have more of almost everything. We have better . . . we have
men who are qualified academically here.
FLOWERS: We have more of the finances available economically, you see. So, I mean, from
that point of . . . and I think [pauses] coming t . . . here in Atlanta we have a variety of people
from different backgrounds, so that has helped. Whereas on the coast they were just the local
people. But you have people in Atlanta here, from Timbuktu, from Fong Fong Fu [?] and all
around you know. [laughs] So that has helped, that has helped. Of course, as I said with the
West Indians sometimes it's caused a little friction but that again made allowance for us to grow
and that was good . . . good enough for us. Good . . . that's good for us. We . . . we have a saying
in the Bahamas: "There is one in every assembly." God has somebody here, you know, to just . .
. to keep you on your knees. [laughs] And we say, "There's one in every assembly." [laughs] So,
I mean, it's the little pin pricks that drives us to our knees sometimes and God says, "I engineered
that." "Oh, yes. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord."
ERICKSEN: You made reference sometime early in our . . . when we were on the first tape of
this session to church discipline and excommunication. How often does that happen would you
FLOWERS: The first one we had was in Beaufort and they'd like to kill me. [pauses] The . . .
the thing is we . . . we didn't have the proof we should have based on what the Scripture says,
"Two or three witnesses." [2 Corinthians 13:1] But, brother, every way was [unclear] [laughs]
and so we had to kind of compromise it and say to the lady, "Now here's what we are going to do.
We do not have all the evidence that we would like to have biblically speaking, but if you were to
say to this group of men here honestly that you are not guilty and you will take responsibility for
this . . . that this assembly will . . . the punishment this assembly will only go because we allow
you to . . . to go on." We will at least say "Okay, function," because we really had no grounds of
saying . . . you know, but everything pointed to that. But again we had to be reminded that
human wisdom we're limited and we don't want to unnecessarily do things that God would say,
"Well, if you'd waited perhaps I'd have revealed it to you." But let me tell you it's a wrenching
sort of thing. It . . . it . . . it . . . it was. Now we've only had [pauses] one in Beaufort. We did
have a bad one there because I think I told you before the . . . the leader who was there, well
qualified fellow, but he had family problem and we had to sit him down and that's just about over
now. Everything is all right. And we . . . I think we did have one in Savannah, where there was a
case of infidel . . . no, it wasn't that. It was a case of [pauses] . . . it was of fornication. But the
people repented and that's about what? This is twelve . . . must going to be fourteen, fifteen years
ERICKSEN: Now what . . . what . . .
FLOWERS: But they've all been restored.
ERICKSEN: . . . what . . . what is the time frame and what form does the repentance take and
. . .
FLOWERS: The . . . the time frame . . .
ERICKSEN: Can you talk about that?
FLOWERS: It . . . it has to do with the attitude of the people we're dealing, whether there is
arrogance, where there is rebellion and that kind of thing or there is a humble acknowledgment
offered and that sort of thing. [clears throat] Now when there . . . when all things have been
going well and everybody said, "Well, I did it and blah, blah, blah," we thought ninety days
would be plenty of time. Give them an opportunity to sit back and to see if they will continue to
come in and not function as they did before. But we . . . we leave them on their own to . . . to
function and then after the brethren have been observing they say, "Well, we think the brother or
the sister has shown signs of repentance." Because like Paul says, "Don't let them on . . . go on
because it would be bad for them." [paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 2:7?] Now some peo . . .
ERICKSEN: So there . . . .
FLOWERS: . . . some people say . . . now we have . . . we have . . . when we had to do, we said
ninety days. Some people say from thirty to ninety days. I . . . I have no . . . my idea would be
let's suppose the fellow is really arrogant, let's suppose he's rude. Well, I think we need to sit and
talk with him some more and some more and some more and as he shows, then we'll work with
him. But some people they say, "Well, yes we . . . we . . . I did do that. I . . . I was overtaken in
the fault [?] and . . . ." And then I keep reminding the brothers what Paul says, "Ye [clears
throat] . . . ye who are spiritual . . . ." [Galatians 6:1] I think he's saying not all of us are not
spiritual. [laughs] So let's be careful how we handle the brother because we must treat the
brother the way we would want to be treated. And, you know, we keep emphasizing . . . now
we're not saying that we pass over it. We're not saying that we close our eyes to it, because God
hates sin. But God has given us provision to deal with the sin. So the framework could be from
thirty to ninety days.
ERICKSEN: And can they participate in . . . they can take the Lord's Supper.
FLOWERS: Not while they're under the discipline.
ERICKSEN: Can they come to a service?
FLOWERS: Oh yeah, they come to all the meetings. Let's say the breaking of bread. They
wouldn't participate until it was all over.
FLOWERS: See that's how we . . . the people will know what's happening.
FLOWERS: I don't . . . I don't . . . we [rustles paper] can't play with it like that.
ERICKSEN: Yeah. And then [?] they . . . .
FLOWERS: Now . . . now some people . . . some people have . . . have gone so far to say, like
say they . . . they would . . . they'd give out a hymn, you know, like somebody says, "Given us a
number . . . give . . ." just in the kind of, you know. But I . . . I don't . . . I don't do that sort of
thing. I . . . I think in the general meeting where we meet to remember the Lord and that kind of
thing. I . . . that's where I would draw it. Now that's . . . that's only personal, you know. There
could be difference of opinion among the leaders. But my personal thing is: they're members of
the body. They're showing signs of repentance and they're working at it. "Hey, don't treat him
as if he's a barbarian or that kind of thing." But . . . .
ERICKSEN: Have there . . . have there been cases where the person hasn't responded and they
have had to stay out?
FLOWERS: Yes. There . . . there is one. The one where the fellow [pauses] . . . and his was an
easy case. It's just simply . . . how can I call it? Arrogance? I . . . I . . . I think he [pauses] . . . he
has adopted the kind of philosophy, "I may be wro . . . I may be right but I'm never wrong," some
of that kind of thing, you know. And . . . now he did have a comprehensive grasp of Scripture,
but my point was "If you don't know the meaning of authority, then, my boy, you can't rule."
Cause we were thinking of him in terms of leadership. You know what I mean? And . . . and . . .
and . . . and this is something, Paul, that I . . . I feel strongly about. They taught me when I went
to school that no man can properly command who has never learned to obey. And if someone in
the church is brought before the elders and he refuses to listen to them, personally I don't take too
kindly to that. I don't take too kindly to that. So he [pauses] . . . he . . . he goes . . . well, I
shouldn't call [unclear], but he . . . he's left the group altogether. But [pauses] I don't . . . I don't
feel bad about it because we treated him as a gentleman. We . . . we never . . . we're not [pauses]
unkindly to him. We were har . . . we're not harsh, but we were intent that there must be this
adherence to Scripture. And people would make trouble just for the sake of making trouble. I
think they need to be elsewhere, because if . . . if he . . . if he had changed his tune we'd . . . we'd
work with him. But he wouldn't.
ERICKSEN: Now is church discipline something that would be uncommon (this may be making
a generalization) . . . but uncommon in most black churches?
FLOWERS: Uncommon. They don't do it at all.
ERICKSEN: Okay. Well, I think that's probably true in white churches, too.
FLOWERS: As a mat . . . see, our assemblies are a stickler for that. As a matter of fact, I think
that sometimes they've gone over board, gone too far. See, I believe in maintaining what I call a
delicate balance. But some people want to disc [?] . . . but I say, "No, no, no, no, no. [unclear]
You can't go beyond the Scriptures." You know what I mean? And I think we get so caught up
and think sometimes we're so uptight the slightest deviation from what I think . . . I say, "Hey,
what's your grounds? I mean, you must have some biblical grounds for your argument." Oh, no,
no. And so I think our . . . our assemblies are noted for that. That's one of the . . . (Can I put this
on tape? Rub if off when you get home.) That's one of the things, I think, our assemblies have
been faulted for. Sometime because they claim to be so conversant with Scripture they become
very argumentative [growls]. And that's the kind of attitude that says to me that's not Christ in
you. You know what Paul says [pauses] in Galatians 2:20? "I have been crucified with Christ.
Nevertheless I live. The life I live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." I says, "Is
that Christ living in you? That anger [pauses], that vicious tongue. Is that Christ?" If it is, God
FLOWERS: And . . . and I . . . I . . . I think, you see . . . and you . . . you . . . you take some of the
. . . some . . . I don't know how [unclear] what history about the Brethren, but some of the things
that have gone on, I mean it's so [unclear]. I . . . I read in one of the magazines recently
somebody said something and I said that can't be true. Now . . . now let me say this. I [pauses]
was in England [pauses] and I met the young man, not talking but he was speaking at the school
and he made mention of where he's from, you know. And I came to this country and then I
become more conversant with him. And some years ago he was in New York and he was
speaking. Of course, Billy Graham was the butt of his . . . . And I says to myself, "I don't believe
it. I simply don't believe it." It's true. And I talked about the s . . . the . . . the . . . the junior from
B.J. [Bob Jones University]. Now we have two people working with us from that school, lovely
people. But do you know they have some of those things in them [unclear, growls]. And I just
see one, "Hey," I said, "that fellow is your brother." [pauses] And I . . . I . . . I . . . I keep
underscoring that among us as assemblies, but I noticed it among the Fundamentalists as well.
They will go off to you and they say kind of things about you. I says, "Hey, you mean to tell me
I'll fell happy if you berate my son?" No, no, no. I mean, now, I . . . I give you the right to say,
"Hey, you did wrong, but hey [unclear, speaks angrily]. But now the next . . . "What are you
going to help him? Is there nothing to do to help him?" "Peter, after you're restore what must
you do? Rub your brother's nose in the dirt? No. Strengthen you brethren." [Luke 22:32] And I
. . . I . . . I sometimes feel that we are missing the boat, we're missing the boat. We are very . . .
missing the boat. But I believe in discipline. I believe if a brother do . . . does wrong . . . I mean,
if a leader does wrong he should be disciplined. See there's no exception. We don't believe in
exalting one fellow above the other. We believe basically the gifts should make room for him.
And whoever does wrong we have to say, "You know, we love you, but we want to please the
Lord. We'd rather have God's approval than yours, but we love you. [pauses] I want . . . I want
your approval if it's going to come in alinement with Gods. But I prefer God than y . . . ."
FLOWERS: That . . . that's the way I . . . we . . . I try to say to them and . . . and we . . . . In
other words, what we do when we meet and talk we say to them, "Now, there are five or six of us
here and every one of us has some contribution to make to this conversation. Now there are
some of you because of your gift you have that analytical ability, you can put things together, so
we're going to leave you to put it together once we've s . . . said all this nonsense [laughs] we
want you to sift through it and put it together." And you'd be surprised what comes out of these
things sometimes because God has commanded. They're right there. And when we finish
blowing off hot air [unclear]. "Did you hear what He said?" "Yeah." Tommy dummy, Tommy
dummy, but now here's Mister [unclear]. And that's my theory. In the body God has given us all
that it takes to make us fruitful and effective and dynamic if we respect each other.
ERICKSEN: You mentioned [pauses] especially when you were on the coast there were a lot
more women and you mentioned the women's prayer group here. I was interviewing Beverly
Yates up in Chicago and she was talking about the women's work up there.
FLOWERS: Yes. Well, they . . . they have . . . they have done . . . well, finish your question.
But they have done an excellent job. Of course, there is still a question mark as to whether
they've gone too far or no. Some people have questions about it. But go ahead.
ERICKSEN: I'm just wondering, you know, how . . . what kind of things the women . . . what
kind of women's activities there are and how you sort of harness that energy and where that's
FLOWERS: Well, we . . . we believe the women can do a whole lot of things. My only
objection is I don't believe God has called women to be pastors. That's where I draw the line.
ERICKSEN: Okay. And so that's where the question would be with . . . .
FLOWERS: I mean . . . in . . . in . . . in . . . in my thinking I draw line with women pastors. Now
[clears throat] I do have a problem in the sense, having said that [pauses] . . . . He . . . here's what
I said. "When we start a women's conference . . . " because women have a good conference and
Beverly maybe has spoken, but here is what happens. [pauses] Where I came from . . . .
(Sometimes we have a tendency to use word loosely) . . . so we said . . . we used to say, "I don't
believe in women preachers." I . . . I stopped saying that long ago. I don't say that. I say, "I don't
believe in women being in the pastoral seat." Because, you see, the Lord showed me very
clearly. Now Barbara Walton, I . . . she would have been [unclear] . . . but she's a godly woman.
She started the woman effort. I came up Atlanta six hours . . . I mean from Savannah six hours
drive before that expressway to teach the class and drive back in her home. And she would never
open her mouth to do any teaching all . . . all the [unclear] because of the [unclear]. Okay. But
then they had the women's conference you talk about preaching. Well, now I had to say, "Hey,
she's preaching. How can I say I don't believe in preaching [unclear]? I said, "Alright." Women
have the right to preach, but I think we're talking about women in the drivers seat as the pastor
ruling the men and that sort of thing. That's were I personally draw the line. But the women here
. . . . For instance, now again, if you go to an assembly you come one of these days women with
their prayer requests, give it. "I'll give you a prayer request." We have a woman missionary in
Kenya, she comes home. Let her make her report, because I feel if the elders give her . . . give
them permission to do it they're going to do it. Now again, not everybody is going to agree with
that, but since I'm crazy Michael [laughs] that's the way I see it. And I learned that by going to a
school in Scotland something like Moody Bible Institute. But when I left the Bahamas [growls]:
"No, no, no. You don't do that boy. Woman open her mouth [Flowers makes hissing shutting
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