This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Theodore
Michael Flowers (Collection 431, T5) 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
. . . 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 January 1999.
Collection 431, T5. Interview of T. Michael Flowers by Paul Ericksen on January 20, 1995.
Continued from T4.
ERICKSEN: How does that compare with the practices of white Brethren assemblies?
FLOWERS: They are strong on that unless some of them of them are very . . . there are a couple
. . . a couple . . .a couple of liberal group now . . . the liberal group going around and I understand
the women actually take part, but I don't know for sure. I've heard it and I don't judge anybody
on hearsay, because my contention is the elders are responsible for the government of the
meeting, not me. I'm just a visitor. I don't get into assembly matters. Now, if I'm asked a
question I will tell you what I believe or what I think the Scripture says or what we do. But that's
no law to say you must do it because that's not my thing. I [pauses] . . . I am concerned about
what we call traveling preachers and most of them are trying to feather their own nest. Let me
give you a typical example. We had a brother here from one of the islands, an excellent minister
of the Word. There's no joke about it. That man has a grip on the Word and I think God is using
him. And he was in the Bahamas. I met him there. We were having meetings meetings and he
was there. And then I invited him to come to Savannah and then when I came here I invited him
to come here. And he got up in one of the meetings on Sunday morning and he says, "Call the
name and I'm not going to call the name." He says, "[unclear]." And nobody knew what he was
talking about. I was the only one. I was the only one who was aware of what he was saying. But
he called the brother's name in the Bahamas, two of them. And so when he got home I said to
him, "Now, the people you're talking about, ain't nobody knows them. [pauses] And I'm the only
one knows the situation. I'd appreciate it if you would go on ministering the Word [laughs] and
leave the brothers' business in the Bahamas. They can take care of it, or if they don't . . . if they
don't, the Lord will. But what you hear somebody told you and that person who told you could
be biased so be careful what you say." Now here is what happens. Let's say you belong to an
assembly and I belong to an assembly and [unclear]. So I know that you are against certain
things. And I come to yours and I say, "Yah, yah, yah." And so I ingratiate myself with the
assembly and I put that [unclear]. See, that's wrong, that's wicked [pauses] and that's how a lot of
things happen. And that brother . . . that brother right now is almost . . . well, I think he's banned
from speaking in the assemblies in the Bahamas.
ERICKSEN: 'Cause of things he said here?
FLOWERS: Of course . . . no, not yet. Oh no, no.
ERICKSEN: Things he said there?
FLOWERS: But keep staying there. And . . . and, you see, they like to play politics. He'll come
to you and says, "Do you know Brother Flowers? Brother Flowers went to preach for the
Presbyterian [church] last year." [unclear] I'm sent to preach to the lost. I am a member of the
body [of Christ] so anytime the body asks me to speak and I have the privilege to open the Word,
I will go no matter what they call themselves. Again, that's me. Now I'm not saying that's the
rule here. That's me. 'Cause I cannot find anyplace in the Scriptures where I am barred from
opening and declaring the whole counsel of God. And that what's I have with . . . I don't like
that. I don't like the idea of coming and saying, "Brother, have you heard of Paul? Do you
know? [whispers inaudibly]." No, I'm not saying that if Paul does something everybody knows
about it or maybe a letter was sent out from his assembly: we shouldn't pray for him or that, but
just to go around dropping this and dropping that I'm not so sure I can buy into that. So you'll
have to forgive me. [laughs]
ERICKSEN: Now we talked about the United Bible Conference, the United Missionary
Conference. Tell me about the Southern Gospel Mission Association.
FLOWERS: Alright. They are the group of men that God allowed me to ask and get together to establish . . . to me the whole thrust of it is to see established in every major city of the Southeast a community of saints. I call it a community of saints. And they have been helpful in helping us to raising some money to do it. They keep the books. They keep us straight from the legal perspective. They give us advice. And I said, "They have come for far now they're having a . . . a seminar and they were inviting some of the leaders to come in and [unclear]." But they have done the best they could based on their knowledge of things. We haven't always agreed because I was wanting to push more.
I was of the opinion we should do more in some areas because I was saying to them in the early .
. . when we started, "Gentlemen, you're a choice group of men." The majority were white. There
were two blacks [unclear]. "You're a choice group of men. There's been a great neglect among
the black population." In that time we were not colored then; we were black. I don't know what
we are now. Maybe we're polka dot next. [laughs] But anyway, [laughs] there's a great need in
the black community. We have been neglected when it comes to biblical Christianity. I said,
"Now, most of you have . . . from your churches sent people all across Africa and to the West
Indies but right on your doorstep there are millions without the knowledge of the Word. Now
what I would like you to do, I would like you to see this as a special project God has entrusted to
you. We need workers. We need counselors. We need your input. We need your business
acumen. We . . . I . . . at least I don't too much about business. I . . . I . . . I don't know too much
about administration. But we need you men because you are businessmen. We need your input
and we want you to help us but here's what I will do. As the executive director I will work
myself to the bones to get the assemblies going by teaching and evangelism, that sort of thing. I
want you to do the rest." I don't think they bought into it. [clears throat] And I think . . . not . . .
not fully, I don't want to accuse them. I don't think they bought into it fully. And again you
should know where I'm coming from now, your see. These men for the most part in those days
for the most part they were all men from the assemblies. And some assemblies' policies is tight
and rigid. And if I were to write a letter just telling you about the work, someone says, "You're
begging, you're begging, you're begging!" Well, I didn't see it that was because I wasn't begging.
I mean, I'm only saying. And so I think there was a lot of feet dragging. Now if you live long
enough you're going to see a lot of changes. Some of them are beginning to think that we should
change our strategy. It may come up next weekend in [pauses] . . . when we go to this conference
and the [?] seminar, I don't know. But even though they didn't buy into everything, and I don't
expect them to buy into everything, I . . . I think . . . [pauses] . . . I think they've done a fairly
good job based on their environment. Tom Skinner told us years ago, "A man's environment
makes or breaks him." And most of these folks came from a exclusive sort of background. And
as I said I didn't argue but I put it before them. And I did press the point with [clears throat] the
[heathen [?] [laughs] but I'm saying, "I'm only telling you what I think the Lord is saying to me."
Now after I've said it, "Since we are working together and there's accountability we will find
what the . . . what you're going to send," that sort of thing. But I think they've done a good job
because as I said the man who is responsible for the money, period, he always would say to them,
"You know we're here to help Michael."
ERICKSEN: So it sound like it's kind of like a board of advisors or is that . . . ?
FLOWERS: Yes, they don't . . . they have nothing to do with . . . with the . . . with the work of
the testa . . . the testimonies. They only help us put them into place and help us get men. You
know, we . . . we talk about things. Then they give us advice and counsel if we need it. And they
keep the money. You send the money and they have qualified men. One of the fellows, he's . . .
he's now in fellowship here but he works . . . he's a big men in one of the banks here, but he
keeps the books. He knows how to do it, you see. He keeps the books. Another brother . . .
fellow signs the checks so everything is on the level. So we're grateful for that. And I thank God
for their kind of sternness and . . . you know. I . . . I . . . I like that. I appreciate that, because
what we don't want to do . . . we don't want to have any scandal. As I told them I said, "B.M.
Nottage told me years ago," he says, 'Michael, I want to be like Daniel.'" The man says, "We
will find nothing against this Daniel except that he serve his God." [paraphrase of Daniel 6:5]
[laughs] And that has been my kind of . . . you know. No matter what you do, call me cra . . ,
"yeah, but he served his God." [laughs] So that's the way I want it to . . . to be. "He served his
God." And so I . . . I . . . I . . . I . . . I keep telling them . . . I give them "A", you know, for their
in . . . interest, but I give them a duck ["D"] for their performance. Now, I could tell . . . we . . .
we are friends. We say, you know . . . as friends, you know, friend we say that. And that's why I
do about the Evangelical community. I said, "You have proclaimed that Word and I can't do
otherwise, and say, 'Right on.'" But when it comes to your performance, you know even in a
ballpark. I mean that now. I mean that. And you can . . . you can spread it ab . . . abroad for me:
our performance is poor! And I think it's because of our theology. Someone has come up with
the [pauses] social gospel and whoever said that should be hung . . . hanged 'cause the Gospel
does have social implications. And if you keep things in proper balance you can't get around it.
Even Jesus Christ appealed to His works. He says, "Believe me for the works." [paraphrase of
John 14:11] Well, we have taken that to mean, [shouts] "Get 'em saved brother! Save the soul!"
"Hey, man. I'm more than a soul! I'm a personality!" Is that biblical? A personality. It's not
wrong to find out if I'm going to sleep outside in all this cold weather. I mean, don't you think
God cares for His servants? I think so and we've missed that, brother. We've missed that. And
so you "Save the soul, brother! Save the soul, brother." Yes, thank God for that. But after the
soul is saved, now they must be taught how to live, how to handle what God has entrusted to
them, how to relate to other people, how to be bridge builders, divine bridge builders. I don't
think that's wrong, brother, and we haven't done that. We have done more criticizing than trying
to encourage them to live nobly and godly. I've been praying for years, "God, I want you to raise
up godly, gifted, generous, gracious men. I need all of them." We just don't need gracious men
who are not godly. We don't need godly men who are not generous, you know, like that [?] We
want all of them. The four Gs. I believe in that. So I . . . I think we need to . . . to pull up our
socks on some in these areas. But don't fight about it. In other words, let me put it . . . let's say
you were one of the elders here. I think you should say to the leaders every now and then, "Bro
[Brother], how are we doing with the poor around us? How are we doing with the people in
Japan with the quake? Have we prayed for them? Have we put our nickels in?" You see, you
know, if you look in my checkbook I do more that support Billy Graham and I thank God I do. I
do more than . . . than . . . than support the [pauses] . . . the SGMA and I thank God that I do.
[pauses] What . . . what are people who for collect for cancer? I think we should support them.
People that are doing research. And . . . now, I know other people don't think . . . but I don't
think God will give me a bad mark for supporting these. I mean, I don't. But some people think
[unclear]. And again you can only . . . you must realize your limitations and once you've said it,
leave them there, leave them alone.
ERICKSEN: [pauses] You've been down here in the Southeast for forty years now.
FLOWERS: It will be on the twenty-fifth of February.
ERICKSEN: How . . . how have things changed? How has the . . . ?
FLOWERS: Incredible. You . . . you just can't believe it. It's out of this world. You know,
when we first came, as I said, some of the Christians were nice, very nice. But it's the assemblies
as a whole because the city . . . the law said you couldn't do it. But, you know, we have found in
the midst of all that there were still some people who were outstanding. [clears throat] When I
came South . . . I am not sure of this, but I doubt they had people, black people working in the
banks like sweeping or . . . I doubt it. But, you know, you can't go into any office now, bank or
otherwise, that you don't find black people in almost every one of . . . and in . . . not just
sweeping out the office, in high positions. It's incredible. I . . . I really think the South should be
given some kind of recognition because in some instances the South has done better than the
North. Let me tell you what I mean. My wife and Bill Pannell's wife, who is now . . . Bill is at
Fuller [Theological Seminary] and that's Hazel's sister-in-law. Hazel, okay. And that's . . .
ERICKSEN: Hazel is . . . .
FLOWERS: . . . Beverly's sister-in-law.
ERICKSEN: Yeah, okay.
FLOWERS: And that's Bill's sister Beverly [Yates]. And they tell me the true story of how they
used to go to a place in Detroit and there's no sign, so they go in and sit down and eat and they
come . . . so they . . . people all around them and they never saw them. Whereas in the South
there was says "white" and nothing else . . . I mean, you know. So, to me that's being honest.
But, I mean, "If you [?] don't want you here, we don't want you." Now, of course, that's not
available. Now, I'm not saying the South is heaven. I mean, forgive me, you know. I'm not
trying to imply that. But I think it . . . in all honesty, it's time that somebody say to the
Southerners, "You've done a good job and you surpassed," you know. There . . . there are some
still pocket of hypocrisy in the North that we have in it . . . I mean, you wouldn't know it because
there are no signs, but they . . . they treat you with utmost contempt. But then again, from my
percep . . . from my particular viewpoint they're just people. Okay? So again you . . . you
shouldn't loose your cool about that. They're only people. But talking about the changes in the
South. I am proud to be a Southerner.
ERICKSEN: Have . . . how have your . . . you talked about how you didn't have to deal with
segregation in the Bahamas.
FLOWERS: Not the way they deal with here. I mean, there's always . . . .
ERICKSEN: Yeah, yeah. Some.
FLOWERS: . . . maybe quite as . . .
ERICKSEN: How does . . . ?
FLOWERS: . . . blatant segregation. [laughs]
ERICKSEN: Yeah. How did you have to deal with it when you got here?
FLOWERS: Well, as I said, I didn't deal with it. I let it . . . I left it alone.
ERICKSEN: Oh, I see.
FLOWERS: In the sense that if I saw a sign that says, white fountain, black or colored, I went to
the colored fountain and drank. I didn't bother. I didn't deal with it. You . . . you understand
what I'm saying?
ERICKSEN: Yeah, I do.
FLOWERS: I . . . I . . . I was not . . .
ERICKSEN: You weren't pressing the issue.
FLOWERS: I'm . . . I'm . . . I'm . . . my idea is if you don't want, okay. You provide water. I'll
drink this water. It's the same water. I'll drink it. I mean, it's just different fountain. So [clears
throat] the way I dealt with the situation is: What is your missions? Why are you here? Just to
change that, there's nothing wrong to having it changed or your mission is to tell somebody in a
simple, sympathetic way that God loved them and God would like to do a new thing for them.
And my philosophy is once a man is saved then he gets a lift. [pauses] New nature, right? New
family relation. All things new. [2 Corinthians 5:17] And that should enable him to come to
grips with undesirable things. That's how we grow. So I'm not saying it's right. I'm . . . I'm not,
you know, commending it. But I say I need to learn to live with that. And so by so doing I can
speak freely. I can always feel free to speak because it's . . . it's not something I cannot [unclear].
No, no, no. It doesn't bother me. You know what I mean? Good. [pauses] I don't do it. So I . .
. I . . . today I . . . I . . . I . . . I sometimes say to the folks here . . . (I mean, in . . . in a little group
of [unclear] you know) . . . I said, "I think, you know, we need to pray for the church and the
Evangelical community, 'cause we're included." But I say, "No, we are letting God down." Our
behavior is so much unlike His and He so wants us to be like His Son . . .
FLOWERS: . . . that He sent the Holy Spirit to take up permanent residences in us. Now bless
your heart, if God has any sense at all and sent His Son to live in me permanently and don't
expect for you to do better, He must be a stupid God. And you know I mean to say God is stupid,
'cause the Bible says, "He is the only wise God." [I Timothy 1: 17] Now something is wrong
[laughs], you see, so our behavior is so unlike His. Tell me, Paul. Where would Jesus find His
equal on earth?
ERICKSEN: Of course . . . .
FLOWERS: The White House? No. And yet He came and He said to a [pauses] tax collector
. . . . Now, I understand the tax collector were about the lowest folks you could find in
Jerusalem. They couldn't belong to the synagogue. And yet Jesus said, "Come on down. I want
to have lunch at your house." [paraphrase of Luke 19: 5] Of course, that's preachers' liberty but
you know, you understand [Ericksen laughs], but anyway preachers liberty. He said, "Come on
now, boy. Let's have lunch," you would say. I mean, now, can you imagine that? The pure
Jesus, the holy Jesus, the eternal Son of God came to that rascal, that dirty, filthy, money
grabbing . . . "Come down. I'll eat [unclear] . . . ." Can you imagine that? And God never said,
"Go on boy. Go on boy. Go ahead and do it." And then He [?] is saying, "You see what I've
done? You do that. You do what you see me do." [pauses] "God, I can't." Well, that's why
grace is sufficient. [pauses] See, you . . . you see what I'm saying, Paul? See what I'm saying . .
. God is saying to me, "Now, Michael, if I'm showing you these things nobody will believe you,
but you tell them." You . . . you . . . you know why He did that? You know . . . you know . . .
you know what He did to me one day? I was reading through Ezekiel [pauses, unidentified
sound] and I suppose Ezekiel was having a problem and Ezekiel says, "But God." God says,
"Ezekiel they don't listen to me. Why should they listen to you?" [laughs] I said, "Lord!" I said,
"Lord, I thank you." [laughs] I'm dead serious. I said, "Lord." God says, "Ezekiel, they don't
listen to me." [unclear sentence] Now, we must not take that too far in the sense that we will
just quit, stop. I mean, the thing is, here's what God says, "Ezekiel, do you know they don't listen
to me but yet my love still flowed toward them. I still love them. I still love them to give my
Son to die for them and I'm still going to send my Holy Sp . . . . But Ezekiel, if you don't do what
I tell you to do, I can't judge these people." Now, that's were I stop. "God, if I don't live on that
nobler plain and higher level than the pagans around me [pauses], how are you going to judge
them? How's my light shining that they may see my good works and glorify my Father which is
in heaven. God what's wrong with us?" And God says, "They will know that there has been a
prophet among them when you do what I want you to do." [paraphrase of Ezekiel 2:5, 33:33]
Now these things bother me in the sense that I see my shortcomings, I see other Christian's
shortcomings and I have to say, "But Lord, you are really wonderful. You are a gracious God."
Because you know, Paul, we don't tolerate that kind of thing in our society. But the great God,
the eternal God, the Father of mercies says, "Well, I'll let my Son show you." Now how, Paul,
are you going to respond to somebody who has not experienced that grace? How are we going to
get the politician to believe when we are outdoing the politician in their own thing, in their own
way? I think we have to approach it differently and we have to show them respect because
Romans 13. Okay? But at the same time we take our stand and we say like Peter . . . remember
what Peter said? Peter says, [speaks slowly] "We will obey God rather than man." [Acts 5:29]
"We're going to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar." [Mark 12:17] Well, let me tell you
this. If Caesar's dictum is in conflict with God, "Caesar, you can forget it." [laughs] That's what
the three Hebrew boys said [alluding to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego's reply in Daniel 3:18
to Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar's order that all citizens bow to a gold image he had erected],
didn't they? You know. "We are not careful to answer you. If our God chooses He can deliver
us, but that's not the point. We aren't about to bow. Well, if He delivers us, it's all right. He
can. But if He doesn't, we just want you to know: You're the king. We aren't about to bow.
The fiery furnace? Not frightened about that. Our God is bigger." [paraphrase of Daniel 3: 16-18] Now, you want to laugh? Laugh at it. [bumps microphone] But here's . . . here's my secret
[?] for it. They . . . they got a good time laughing. I said, "Listen. You know, I'm glad God
must have a sense of humor, because here was the King Nebuchadnezzar says, 'I would like to
know who is that god that can deliver you out of my hand.' [paraphrase of Daniel 3: 15] And . . .
and God didn't say anything. No, God says, 'Boys, stand your ground.' [laughs] And he [the
king] says, 'Hey man, didn't we throw three men in the furnace? Well, but I . . . I . . . I . . . I see
fo . . . four aha . . . aha . . . aha and the fourth is like s . . . s . . . s . . . son of god.' [paraphrase of
Daniel 3: 24-25] And he came to the edge of the furnace," [pauses] and I said . . . say to the
people, "You know, I'm glad he did speak because I believe God would have had them standing
until now just to show you he can keep folks in the fiery furnace. [laughs] [unclear] get the
preacher's joke. But . . . I mean, there they are in the fiery furnace, Paul.
FLOWERS: I mean, no, no, no, no, no. They're not running here. They're . . . they're protected.
Paul, that has to be power isn't it? That has to be unusual power and presence, right? And he
says, "Not even the smell of fire was on them." [Daniel 3: 27] I still believe God wants to do
something great but He doesn't find . . . doesn't have the Hebrew boys. Okay? He doesn't have
the Elijahs. He needs some Elijahs.
ERICKSEN: You . . . you used the phrase earlier about iron sharpening iron. Who do you like
to get with to have your iron sharpened?
FLOWERS: Well, I use to get with the fellows Ronnie and Ice. We use to meet every Monday.
But we don't meet right now because of the fellows' business and other things. But as I say, all
the fellows that work with us I like to spend some time with them every now and then. Marcell
Lieburn [?] in Columbia. He is a graduate of one of the Bible colleges in Florida. And he puts
out this thing we call [pauses] . . . (I'm going to give . . .. . . I'll send you some if I don't . . . you
don't . . . and) . . . what do we call? . . . Perspective. He put it out our Perspective. And Marcell
is a solid thinker [pauses] solid . . . solid. Curtis Jenkins, a fellow who is speaking for us on
Sunday, he is from Valdosta [Georgia]. That's where another assembly up in Valdosta. He is
kind of crazy, but [laughs] he is a delightful sort of fellow, you know, and he . . . he . . . he . . .
he's . . . he's very personalable. And Ronnie Hart, he is a businessman, but he is crazy like me.
No, not as crazy but [laughs] and . . . and these are the fellows we meet and we talk some times.
And [pauses] we . . . we like to sit and talk. Before, as I said, B.M. Nottage was one with the
stimulating factor. He used to, you know . . . but now we have . . . God has raised up people
around us. We . . . we meet sometime with a fellow named Rich Berry and all these fellows.
And . . . and because there are so high on the academic level I just like to sit, but I don't say
anything because they're my masters. I just sit and listen. But when they go wrong, I say, "Hey
now, [unclear]. Please explain," [laughs] you see. But these fellows God has raised them up and
that's why I feel so good about some of the fellows God has raised up. They're up there. They've
finished their schooling. They're walking with the Lord and they need help and comfort.
ERICKSEN: So are these kind of young guys that you're mentoring now?
FLOWERS: Younger, younger, younger.
FLOWERS: Some of them we train . . . we train them in what I'm talking about, how to deal and
get along with people. They got their training in par [watch alarm beeps the hour] . . . in the
seminaries, but I . . . see, my goal was to have a building on this lot, a resource center, where we
can train people. I call it the finishing school. And when the black people who have gone to
Wheaton [College] and gone on to [William Jennings] Bryan [College in Dayton, Tennessee] and
gone on to . . . then to come back here and we teach them what we call "niggerology." [laughs] I
hope we rub that off. [laughs] We teach them how to communicate to our people and . . . and
that's important. Sometime they . . . when they come back from school they are so heavy, they
are shooting down over the people heads. And they need to be brought back. Not . . . not . . . not
give up what they've learned but to take what they've learned and make it available to our people.
And God is doing that, He's doing that. And I be . . . I'm hoping that this seminar will be the
beginning. The chairman talked to me. He said, "Brother Mike," he says, "I hope we can have it
every year." I said, "Well, you know, my time is limited here, so . . . but wherever and whenever
I can, I'd like to be there."
ERICKSEN: Are you finding young men that you can be a B.M. Nottage to?
FLOWERS: I'm trying to. Every night we have . . . every Wednesday night rather we have five
of them right in here. And we are doing what we call Design for Discipleship. They belong to
this assembly. And every now and then I go to one of the assembly on a Saturday and we have
times together where we share these things and I . . . we . . . we . . . we have what we call a
mentoring program. It's not functioning now they way we started off with it, but we . . . we kind
know it's important.
ERICKSEN: How do you prepare to preach? How do you get ready?
FLOWERS: That's [pauses] the question. No, that's the answer you must give me. Basically, I
used to do a lot of reading. And I have some good men like the fellow from Moody [Moody
Bible Institute] wrote a book, How to Prepare Sermons. But I'm learning that while they can
give you good advice and ground rules . . . I . . . I think we must still remember we are
individuals and God speaks to us differently. I don't think Peter and Paul were the same. I don't
think James and Peter were the same [unclear]. So what . . . what I do [clears throat] I . . . I like
to . . . for instance right now I'm . . . I'm going to tell you what I'm doing. I'm going through
Thessalonians. I'm asking God to help me to get up in the morning about five so I can read
through the book of Thessalonians and then have my quiet time. I've been reading Scripture
Union since 1942. I don't know if you know Scripture Union but ever since 1942 [unclear],
okay. And I still think what I'm doing is what you call the [pauses] anyhow the . . . the highest
group of . . . . And I . . . I would read First Thessalonians every morning. And the idea is I
happen to know the background because we did it before, but I'm reading it as if I've never heard
it before. And I read it maybe in one of the new versions, the Phillip[s] or something of that
kind. And I love the Phillip[s] because it seems to be so personal. Okay. And I keep marking
and putting certain things and waiting [bumps something in the background] for the Spirit to
deposit certain things in my mind as I read it and I jot them down. For . . . for instance I see in
First Thessalonians a good example of what church planting should be like. I see the model Paul
is leaving there for us. He goes to a synagogue and preaches the word for three Sabbaths [claps
his hands], got to leave because of pressure, so he goes away. But he doesn't quit. He still prays
for them. See, that's what I'm talking about, learning the importance of prayer. Water [claps
hands] the seed with prayer. Okay. So as I read I make little notes and I put [?] a note there and I
put them on my desk then and that kind of thing. And then I observe certain things, I mean a
phrase. And then one day, I got stuck with a blast or a bombshell like a verse in chapter two and
verse thirteen: "But when they received the Word of God they received it not as the word of men
but as the living Word of God." And, brother, that explodes. Now, I get to work. What was . . .
what . . . if I'm going to preach on this, what's my aim? What do you want to bring before the
people? What is it you think you need because you're pioneering and, you know . . . . And I said
before them, "The characteristic of a man like the Apostle Paul is character." He said, "We were
gentle among you. [II Thess. 2:7] We would take our eyes and give it to you so we were
gracious," [Gal. 4:15] you know, and all these things. I think I had about three G's. He says,
"We were without guile . . ." And . . . and these things I put before them. And I'm . . . but I'm . .
. in my own mind I'm turning them over. How can I do this? Have you been doing it? Is this
something to shoot for? and that kind of thing. And then allow it to gel. So perhaps after I've
gone through the book a number of times as we . . . one of these days I sit down . . . I . . . I may
get an idea and I gather these things together and put [raps table] together and say, "Okay. I'll
share this with them." But it . . . it may take months before it . . . it's . . . comes through. See,
right now I am thinking about some things I'd like to talk about when I go to Africa. But it may
never . . . . See, now the disturbing thing about all this, there are sometime you prepare to the hilt
and you get to the place to preach and nothing would come! It's the driest thing you've ever seen
in the Scripture. It's like when I read Genesis 28 now, it's so dry if I just do that it may catch fire,
you know. [Ericksen laughs] And I say, "Lord, I thank you." Because again, you see, maybe the
Lord is doing that because He doesn't want me to worship that and yet He want me to come back
to it often, I believe. And every now and then I remind Him. But it . . . it . . . it doesn't seem to
have that vibrancy at that point. But I . . . that's how I prepare. I prepare waiting, taking time.
And now I did evangelistic messages slightly different. I . . . I used to like to find out where the
people are, get to know something about the people, and ask God to give me some word. But
basically my evangelistic messages were all the same, different text but who we are, what God
has done, what God desire for us, why He's doing it, and how you can enter into it. I mean,
basically those: what, when, why and that kind of thing. It's the same . . . I'm . . . but, you know,
it . . . it . . . it . . . it . . . I . . . I approach it differently in the sense if I cannot find the what or the
why or the . . . I don't kill myself. I just wait until the Lord reveals it to me how I can get by an
illustration maybe or by some other path . . . Scripture. And I like to get my references or
illustrations from the Bible as much as I can. I'm . . . I don't mean that telling human stories are
not good, but I like to anchor everything. And that's why the fellow last week was saying at the
Presbyterian conference, "That's what I call biblical preaching!" [laughs] And I say, "I don't
care." I don't care. I . . . I go for that. I like that. I want to do that because I feel since He's the
only wise God, only the things [thumps table] that directly [thumps table] come out of here
[thumping on Bible?] . . . . And when you have a new problem you can go right back here.
[thumps table] You may forget the story but you can say, "Good. Didn't he say that was in . . . in
[pauses] Hezekiah." Yeah. [Ericksen laughs] But there's no Hezekiah in the book, but I mean . .
. you know . . . [laughs] the point is if . . . if you . . . if you told him where it was they could go
back . . .
FLOWERS: . . . and find it. So . . . .
ERICKSEN: Are there certain passages that you feel more drawn to or you'll find yourself using
. . .
ERICKSEN: . . . more often when you preach . . .
ERICKSEN: . . . evangelistic sermons?
FLOWERS: Yes, yes.
ERICKSEN: Which ones are they?
FLOWERS: Who is Jesus? I feel unless we really get to know who He is we're not going to get
very far. Who is this Jesus? I mean actually who is He? Is He just a man? Is He just a teacher?
I mean, is . . . is He really very God of very God? Is He . . . is . . . is . . . is this really the . . . you
see . . . and . . . and some of us don't, because we think of him as being just a miracle worker.
No. He's more than that. He's more than that. I mean, who is He? And I like to think of
[pauses] His . . . His preexistence and I think of His existence as postexistences because
sometime we forget who He is and where He is now. He is seated at the right hand of the
Majesty in the heaven. Right? And He's going to be there until everything comes to conclusion.
Then He's going to turn the kingdom back to God and God's going to be all in all. But who is
He? He's still there working. He's still there interceding for us. And I feel we don't know too
much about Jesus. I'm going to tell you something [bumps something in the background] so we .
. . we can have one great disagreement before we go. [Ericksen laughs] Do you know that we
have given up on the Jesus of the Gospels? We are so into the epistles, the Pauline epistles, I
mean, and I'm not against . . . that's not my point. But if we would sometime begin to read in the
Gospel we will see a Jesus we never perhaps thought about. Let . . . let me remind you of two. I
think we must talk . . . let me remind you of two. It all concerns women and you know that it
was not the thing to do in those days to talk to and associate with women.
FLOWERS: And you see Jesus Christ deliberately and willfully associate . . . now, I don't mean
anything bad but associating with these women. Right?
FLOWERS: [clears throat] You remember the woman who was caught in the very act of
adultery. Good. One person commits adultery. That's marvelous. [laughs] But . . . but . . . but
He . . . He didn't any big fuss about it. He . . . He simply went about it in, you know . . . . "Well,
[pauses] any of you without sin or who have not committed the same sin cast the first stone."
[paraphrase of John 8: 7] [unclear] go. Now, He wasn't justifying the woman. See, I mean, I'd
like to make . . . but . . . but you see He was dealing with His own creation. And He has placed a
great value on human being and human beings are redeemable. We look at certain people say
"[imitates a sound of wariness]." No, no, no. They're redeemable. And so He says, "You go.
Don't sin." [paraphrase of John 8: 11] Was there a ha . . . any harsh words? No. You know the
woman at the well? In eternity past I suppose that was planned. He plunked himself down and
waited for her to come. He took the initiative. And I keep telling the folks, "Now, I wouldn't
like for my wife to know I talked to a woman like this never mind asking a favor. [laughs]
Okay? But I mean, do you . . . [unclear] . . . do you see what I'm saying? There He is. He knows
that woman better that she knows herself. But he's . . . came across and He says, "May I have a
drink?" [John 4: 7ff] "Me for a drink. You're a Jew." "I know but . . . but may I have a drink?"
And He went on to tell her, "Hey, well, if you drink of this water . . . ." Forget that the . . . the
part of leaving Him because that's not important. But you see, "If . . . if you drink of this water
you're going to thirst, but I can give you water." Said it to her again, yeah. "If I give you water,
you'll never need to come back and to draw here." "Sir, give me this water." Now He had her
exactly where He wanted her. But He did that by asking just a few gentle questions. Right? So
He said to her, "The water is available but how about calling your husband." "I don't have a
husband." "You're right. You don't have one. The one you're going to bed with now, that's not
your husband, but you had five beside." "Sir, who is you?" [laughs] [pauses] And do you know
what Jesus did, brother Paul? Jesus was so gracious that He revealed Himself to an outcast
Samaritan prostitute. And He said to that woman what He never said to many of His own
people, "I am the Messiah." A Scotsman said it like this, "She left the water, took no . . . she left
the water pot and took the well with her." And she said to the folks, "Y'all come." That gave
Jesus the opportunity to spend two nights in an American [Samaritan?] ghetto. And you know
what they said afterward? "Now we believe, not because of the woman. [speaks deliberately and
slowly] We have heard Him ourselves." Now, Paul, if that was Michael I says, "You dirty old
woman. I gave you this and now [unclear]." No, no, no, no. See, we . . . we got to get those
things out of our mind. That's not what the new man will do. The new man wants to exalt Jesus.
Okay? And Jesus wants to be known. That's why He says, "You go preach the Gospel. Go and
tell them the good news. And I have all authority. You go." [paraphrase of Luke 9:1-2, 6] And
when we go we must be saying, "God, [pauses] if I don't do anything right ever, tonight I want to
do it right." And I'm asking God, "God, enable me to speak to unsaved people that they feel a
fool is they turn aside from Jesus Christ." That's all. Make you feel like you're a fool and they
are fools, boy. [laughs] I want you to make them they're fools is I don't close them with His
offer of mercy.
ERICKSEN: Have there . . . and . . . can you give instances where, I mean, that's happen?
FLOWERS: Well, people are getting saved, I mean. [laughs]
ERICKSEN: Well, yeah . . . yeah, I know. I'm just thinking if there any that stand out in your
mind as examples of . . . .
FLOWERS: Yes, I . . . I can think of one or two. But just . . . just the little girl [pauses] two,
three weeks ago. We were teaching about Jesus and I . . . I kind of almost . . . almost ended up
like that because of simpler and that sort of thing. A little bit slower too because my wife was
sitting here and she [Ericksen laughs] . . . and when I speak fast you know she . . . she said . . . I
says, "Honey, I was speaking in tongues." [laughs] Anyway . . . but [clears throat] I . . . I kind of
made the same kind of conclusion. I said, "Now tonight we have the opportunity to demonstrate
our love to Jesus, to give visible expression of how much we appreciate Him." I says, "Is there
anyone else you would like to be in charge of your life, controlling it and . . . rather than Jesus?"
[speaks quietly] "No." So I took time with her to show her from the Gospel where it is. She
[unclear phrase]. I remember one fellow in particular. [clears throat] We were talking about the
text in John . . . in Matthew sixteen, "Who do men say I am?" [Matthew 16:13ff] And you know
what the others said in Jeremiah? No, no, no, no, no. I'm not interested . . . . Now who do you
. . . you say that I am?" And one fellow in the meeting said to me, "Reverend Flowers, I feel I
must tell you [pauses] from the way you worded your question I feel having heard I can say I
know who Jesus Christ is. Not just a bread winner. Not just a brave [?] king. [pauses] He is
God's Son. I've received Him into my heart. He is my Savior and now I want to do as you've
been saying, make sure that He is Lord of my total personality." I can give [clears throat] . . . I
was just speaking recently, last . . . last week and . . . and these were white people. There was . . .
a lady . . . a lady came to me and she said . . . it was supposed to be men's meeting, but I four or
five of these. She says, "Listen, I've heard about you, but I want to thank God for the simplicity
in which you lifted Jesus to my gaze. I love Him but you made me want to love Him more."
And that has been the common expression last . . . just last week in Toccoa, Georgia. Now that's
my heart's burden.
ERICKSEN: Yeah, I can tell.
FLOWERS: When I . . .
ERICKSEN: I can tell.
FLOWERS: When I . . . when I finish . . . I don't want to know Michael but I want you to say,
"Who did you say He was?" Jesus. [laughs] Now is there anybody, you see . . . who is He?
What do you think about this Jesus. Who is He? And [claps hands] that's . . . that's what I'm
living for, Paul. If you remember sometime pray for me. The fool only got a few more years to
live, [laughs] but I would like for those few years to be fruitful. As a matter of fact that's part of
my goal for 1995, that God would help me to get back to the place where I was years ago and
spend more time in prayer for my family, for the church, and for the work worldwide. Now
we've always . . . we . . . we . . . we have cards in our home and after each meal we pull one of
the card we pray for [unclear]. We've always done that. But you say . . . say about . . . say about
ten years ago, man, I tell you, I used to p . . . p . . . p . . . p . . . pray. But do you know something?
Some dangers we face, you ain't got two pennies in your pockets and you're going here and there
and you don't take time to hear what God has to say. But the Lord has been gracious and He's . . .
. We walk every morning. We . . . we didn't go this morning because of the time and we had to
get to the doctor, but we . . . we . . . I try to get up at five and I . . . years ago I came to the
conclusion . . . I says, "Mom, before we go walking we need to have our quiet time." Five in the
morning we're up. And I want to spend that time talking to the Lord about Michael, about my
own need, about how I am going relate to the people I'm going to meet today. "I don't want to
dishonor you, Lord, but You know it's so easy I can do it and now help me. I don't want to
dishonor you." And I think I'm going to get back to that place because my schedule of such now
I'm going . . . I'm taking Mondays off, except Monday night, of course. I have a Bible class
Monday night. But Monday as a whole we are going to . . . and Friday, today, the day we fast
and pray. And . . . but as I said we're not bound to it like you coming down here. Go ahead. We
do . . . . But . . . but you . . . you pray for us 'cause we . . . I want to see a breakthrough. Now
God has been good. Right now . . . we had this place almost packed [unclear] yesterday . . .
Sunday morning and the last few Sundays. See, God is bringing people here but we don't want to
see them walking out without saying, "Let me say and do it today."
FLOWERS: You see. Now what I've been doing for a long time, I've been challenging the
Christian. And the Lord said to me sometime in December, "I think they're getting your
message." The folks who come in now are unsaved and so the brother said to me, one of the
elders, he said, "Brother Flowers," he said, "what you did this morning I think you should do
every time you preach." I kind of pull . . . tried to pull the net in. You see. Because I . . . I keep
saying to them, "Basically, I am on the bandwagon of getting the Christian from dead center into
orbit with the Lord." But He's saying, "Yes, but there's some people still in there." He says,
"Pull the net in." So I'm going to give the invitation to the unsaved as well.
ERICKSEN: So you get to practice your two gifts of evangelist and . . .
ERICKSEN: . . . exhortation.
FLOWERS: Yes, yes. Or trouble making, whichever. [laughs]
ERICKSEN: A third gift. [Flowers continues to laugh] You mentioned . . . you made reference
to your family and one of the things that I was wondering about was what role your wife played
in your ministry.
FLOWERS: My wife is my secretary. My wife is my financier. She supported me in the ministry. I told you she . . . she, you know, she made me mad by saying . . . but the amazing thing about it: she doesn't know how to handle money as I can. I mean, if I make a penny I'll save twenty cents. [laughs] But she would give it to some [unclear]. Well, I mean, I'll give it too but basically my first concern is as a steward. I must be accountable and that sort of thing, you know. But my wife supported my in my ministry. That's why we have the kind of track record of never begging anybody for anything. Because she told me, "If you go anyplace and the people don't have any money call home. We'll send you the . . . ." So she's being out of this world when it comes . . . generous, I mean, super. Of course, she's a school teacher. She's my ace critic and I can't get out of there for criticizing me. And I keep telling her, "Honey, [Ericksen laughs] honey, you missed the boat. You have done that before we were married. [laughs]. But . . . but basically . . . .
Brother Paul, let me tell you something about my wife. Now I'm being serious and, of course, if
you . . . you met her she'd laugh, but the point is my wife has the gift of hospitality. You know, I
could take you home right now, Paul, and says, "Mom, we've got a visitor. We're going eat . . .
what do you have for dinner?" And she never complains, because the more people she have the
merrier. Now she . . . she . . . this fellow . . . she . . . she . . . I mean, who was there . . . you met
here . . .
ERIC KSEN: Mr. Blair?
FLOWERS: . . . she . . . she . . . she makes biscuits for them and they're just crazy for her
biscuits, you know, and she's like that. She . . . she does that. And [pauses] anywhere, anywhere.
I mean, we have . . . in fact you can come to our house and see our guest book. The people who
come there sign this stayed with us. And we . . . right now in . . . in February we are going to
Mississippi. A fellow by the name of Charles Thomas, he stayed with us in Savannah [clears
throat] after he finished serving in the Army, and he use to drive the bus for the [pauses] day care
center. And Charles said to me about three weeks ago when he came by to see us, he said,
"Brother Mike, I observed you in Savannah and out of my observation here's what we're doing.
My wife is a M.D. and we have a clinic. We have started a church, and we started a school and
our graduates are in demand. And we want you to be the first to kick off a series of meetings for
us in January." I says, "Charles, I can't because I'm booked up." But he said, "Well, let me get
home and call Dr. Farrell the next earliest date even if only for the weekend." So I'm going down
there the first weekend in February. But you see, we . . . we . . . she never complained. She
never . . . she never complained. That's her thing. And as I said she's kind of crazy like me.
That makes me mad. So she has been that support. Now, she used to [pauses] teach the . . . she .
. . she played the piano for us but she [pauses] . . . and she had a children's choir. She is the
school teacher but she doesn't teach the Scriptures. A few times she has spoken to the ladies but
she doesn't teach the Scriptures. But [pauses] she goes with me every Tues . . . every Thursday at
the place and she support me in every and any way. I think when we get to heaven we're going to
realize some of the sacrifices she made. You know she was a school teacher but instead of
spending her money buying new dresses she wore dresses from the box, you know . . . you know
what I'm talking about. But people send us clothes, you know. Now our daughter won't let her
do that now but she didn't know anything about . . . . But . . . but it's true. And my son and my
daughter, they're both generous with what God has entrusted to them. My daughter, of course, is
more . . . she's like me. You wouldn't know this. You know, [coughs] I could sit in here with
you all day, Paul, and if you don't talk I won't talk to you. But if you get her started, you know,
you're sorry. [laughs] But now my wife . . . my wife and my son they're outgoing. You got to
talk to them because they ask you questions [unclear]. You know. And . . . and it's amazing
how we are like that. My wife, my son, bolt of the same cloth. My daughter and I. Oh, don't get
us started, but you . . . you'll be sorry. [laughs] And so I thank God for my family. My wife
supported me. Now my family supported me. As a matter of fact I say sometime . . . I say to
Sharon sometime, "Sharon, you know we have enough." We have clothes (because I'm an old
man now. I can wear one suit for ten years), you know. [laughs] But they're very kind to us,
very kind to us, very kind and I thank God for them.
ERICKSEN: What was . . . what's it been like . . . what was it like raising a family while you
have this very active ministry and you're . . .
FLOWERS: Yes [clears throat].
ERICKSEN: . . . you're traveling and . . . ?
FLOWERS: Yes. Well, again I want to thank God for bringing into my life a man by the name
of Bill Gothard. When I first started (now there wasn't any conflict) . . . but when I first started
we were so eager to get into the Word: John Moore and Michael Flowers and all we . . . you
know, we wanted . . . but Bill Gothard put things in perspective for us, taught us that God must
be first, then the family, then the ministry. Now, [clears throat] I didn't see my son play as many
times as I wanted to . . . would like to. But I don't regret it, because I kind of feel in some areas
we're taking the family too far. Now . . . I'm a meddler now, but I want you to listen.
ERICKSEN: Well, I've heard other people say that.
FLOWERS: No, I'm . . . I'm sure of this. You see, some people got the impression that if . . . if
it was a Tuesday night and you have to go to [unclear] no, no, no. I'm not going that far. No, no,
no, no, no, no. No. If we don't be careful we can . . . we're going to take a good thing and foul it
up. The family is important to God but the family is not as important to God as most people
think. God is first and I mean first without any close second. And we'd [claps hands] better
begin to believe that. You know, I maintain that I would like (and if I'd met Bill [Gothard]
earlier) . . . I would perhaps spent more time with him [Flowers' son?] in teaching them . . . I
mean in . . . in going to games. But listen we had the rule in our house every Friday night was
family night. Now we could ill afford it but we took them out to eat, the family. Not . . . not . . .
not . . . but someplace. Now, we didn't . . . I say to folks today, "Buy them a hamburg." Well,
we didn't do it because my wife is a fast food person. [laughs] But we've taken them out to eat
on Friday night. They travel with us during the summer so they had kind of a broad outlook.
You know what I mean? And we had games in the house. We use to play all kind of games,
wholesome games. We took time with them to point out the importance of the Scripture. On
Sunday in the Sunday school they were given a memory Bible text for memorizing and they had
until Wednesday morning to memorize that. Otherwise there's no breakfast. [Ericksen laughs]
And . . . and they did . . . did it. They came through every time. So we were glad that the Word
was implanted. Now, I've learned since that that it's possible to get the Word implanted and yet
the Word doesn't do any good, you know. But . . . so, the Lord will forgive us for that. But we
. . . we insisted that, "Thy Word have I hid in my heart." [Psalm 119: 11] And we sometime
overdid it, you know? But we did that and see what our kids saw us doing. We had the cards
here. We read [pauses] just a short portion or we had a devotional time. And again, no long
period. But one name came out and so they knew that we were interested in people. See, what
they hear in church they saw first in the home. We didn't pray long, "God [pauses], the children
go to school today. We commend them to you. Help them to remember what they've been
taught, put you first, show respect to their teachers, and since you've given them a mind help
them to develop it. And then, whoever the person is, we don't know who they are . . ." Now,
some of the people we knew. Like we knew . . . we heard that someone was sick, [rustling
sound], pray for them and somebody . . . that kind of . . . . [unidentified sound] But [they] finish
going to school, come back evening time, the same thing. So we weren't saying to them, "Do
this," and we won't do it. We gave them every month an allowance. Now we were poor people
[pauses], but we gave them allowance. And we said to them, "Out of this allowance you put
something in the plate." We're not going to tell them what. We just . . . "something." And my
son and daughter are both doing it now. I thank God for them. But you see, [clear throat] today I
hear people saying, "I have to do . . . ." And I am saying, "Brother, I want you to love the Lord.
I want you to love your family. But be careful that the family don't become an idol." And I'm
afraid in some instances the family is misplacing God. We are going to build families. You can
do that without God, you know. See, that's . . . that's the fear I have and I'm praying that it
doesn't pan out. But the trend seems to be . . . . See, I see "What everybody do we do." No, no,
no. You don't do what everybody do. You do what the Lord asks you to do. And if you love the
Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all the strength
[Deuteronomy 6:5], the Lord will help you to appreciate your family. And we can't even save
our family. So it's possible to give all our time to the family and God says, "Well, you know,
I've been here trying to get your attention and your affection but you say, 'Well, I have to
[unclear] my family.' Okay, hurt [?] yourself." Now I hope it never happens, but I see the
FLOWERS: And you have to be very careful, like I said, because [clears throat] I made mention
to you one . . . and one, but I said, "No, no, no, no, no. I'm not God. I'm only saying it could
happen. So let's be careful. I'm just trying to throw this thing in so you don't go . . . kind of get
top heavy. You know what I mean? [laughs] It's just possible to . . . to leave God out
ERICKSEN: Have there been times in your ministry when you felt your integrity to be under
threat . . . under attack, or threatened?
FLOWERS: I . . . I suppose I can say yes to that but again that never bothered me. I . . . I think
. . . think it's . . . it's . . . it's . . . some people feel it's under attack now. But the way I have dealt
with that is this (and I've dealt with it openly). I've said, "Lord, you've been good to call me and
I don't know everything, but whoever you are pleased to raise up to carry on, I'm making room
for them. I'm gone tomorrow. If You . . . God, if You can't get along without me, You're in
trouble." I mean I . . . I . . . that's one of the things I think the fellows [?] will have to admit. I
never try to maintain any "I must do it, I must do it." And because I knew that fellows to do it
better than I could, always made room for them. I don't think I'll be charged for that in heaven.
I may be but I don't . . . . I mean, that's my honest opinion. And I think most of the fellows I
work with will say, "Well, no, he doesn't know the sun is shining." 'Cause I told them . . . I said,
"When it comes to administration, [pauses] just get the best man. When it comes to division, I
. . . I . . . I know some of the things . . . I . . . I . . . I'm telling you God gave them to me. Because
years after I hear other people with them. And that's what [unclear]. "Now, I don't know how to
work it out, but you folks know how, and believe me, if you're ready I'm saying whoever God
raises up, sick 'em."
ERICKSEN: Let's see. What . . . what . . . what else? You mentioned the resource center. This
land that we're sitting on at the moment is where the resource center was going to be.
FLOWERS: Part . . . part of it, yes.
ERICKSEN: Is the resource center still going to be here?
FLOWERS: Oh yes.
ERICKSEN: Okay. So . . . .
FLOWERS: I know . . . I know . . . wait awhile. Llet me take that back. That's what we're
FLOWERS: Whatever God's planned.
FLOWERS: But I mean, it's . . . it's in the . . . and as I said it has taken on new meaning because
now I have a name and I think by the time I come back . . . .
ERICKSEN: Those were the gentleman, right . . .
ERICKSEN: . . . that you mentioned? Okay.
FLOWERS: And by the time I come back from Africa I hope the Lord makes clear and plain to
both those, so I may be sending out a letter. See, there are people who are making a small
contribution every month to the resource center. And, [pauses] see, I still want to have a place
where people . . . . For instance, (now this isn't racial but please understand what I'm saying) I
don't think it's a sin for people to have things that they can call their own. If we wanted to have a
concert, there isn't a place in our community where we can have one where the surrounding and
the atmosphere would speak of Christ. I don't think it's wrong to have a place where you can do
that sort of thing. You understand what I'm saying? I don't think it's wrong for us to have a place
where . . . . Let's suppose you want come to town to teach people and you say, "Well, Brother
Flowers has a place there. Why we can't come and use the resource center?" Our people (talking
about the black people now), we have been playing the fool all our lives [pauses] primarily to get
along. The boss comes in, he says, "[unclear sound]" to get along, I mean. [laughs] Our people
are good actors and to me drama is a powerful weapon. And my daughter wrote a play in
Savannah and she conducted it and when she finished there wasn't a dry eye in the place. Now
we have people right here a half of dozen or more of them who can do that and have done it and
they are doing it. I am saying we need a place where we can invite the pagans around and act it
out. More than one of preaching . . . presenting truth. I am saying that with all these graduates
from colleges and some from seminaries around us we should be able to say to somebody, "Can't
you give this fellow two years to learn how to do some counseling?" Why can't we have
counseling right here? I mean, people in church have problems. I don't know a thing about it.
I'd . . . I'd be the bigger problem than . . . Paul, you know? But . . . but why can't we have present
. . . I mean. You . . . you see what I'm trying to say? And don't see anything wrong in wanting to
have that sort of thing. Years ago . . . now . . . now listen to this. Years ago in the . . . in the
1950s and 60s when I was in Savannah, most bookstores wouldn't take a book from a black
author. Well, we were right on the street. I . . . I [pauses] maybe I . . . I don't know how to
imagine it, but any . . . I have the . . . the picture of the . . . the YMCA. [Young Men's Christian
Association] right on the street. What we wanted: a bookstore. Not only black authors, but, I
mean, just because the . . . you know be an outlet. But I wanted to use the place like to come in .
. .YMCA building. You come in and there's a little lunch counter there. We have little tracts
here, little texts . . . walk up the street . . . someone to . . . to talk to you. Upstairs the teenagers,
they'll play table tennis. They'll do other things. Then there's a place for a . . . something to keep
them off the street. Right? Okay. What's wrong with that? Now we couldn't use the building
because I also wanted to have a daycare because there were plenty children around and nobody to
look after them. So why not have a daycare? By reaching the kids through the daycare, you can
maybe reach the parents sometimes. That's a form of evangelism, right? So I wanted to see these
things. But they told us we couldn't have a daycare because the building was sitting on all the
property. You must have playground. So we sold it, put the money in escrow, and when this
place became available we bought it. I did . . . did you . . . you . . . you going to see it now. I
wrote it down again this morning because I want my wife to type it up. C-P-D (that's the fellow's
name) Resource Center, "a ministry to humanity." That's the slogan, a ministry. We're going to
help from the ground up, but the basis is salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now
we're not saying everybody is going to get saved. That's not the point. But that's going to be
what we preach. That's what we stand for: Christ and Him crucified. Some people may never
get saved. That's no problem but we made it possible. We made it available to them. The Lord
Jesus said to His disciples when they all turned away, "Will you also go away too?" [John 6:
67ff] They had the opportunity to, right? "Will you also . . . ?" Peter said, "No. You've got the
words of eternal life." We want to be sure we pass on to them the words of eternal life. That's
what we are living for.
ERICKSEN: I'm going to shift gears real fast. What . . . what would you . . . what can you say
about being on the board of Columbia [Bible College]?
FLOWERS: It was delightful. The Lord taught me a lot of things, but I'm having a hearing
problem. I don't have my hearing aids in today, but that's why I got off. But . . . .
ERICKSEN: 'Cause there was just . . . the deliberations were difficult?
FLOWERS: Sometimes some of the people would . . . would speak very low. And I was the
only black there at that time before Crawford came on and you were kind of [unclear] . . . .
ERICKSEN: Crawford Loritts?
FLOWERS: Crawford Loritts, you see, and he came on afterwards and we were on together.
And . . . but the . . . the . . . the learned . . . things I learned from the board members there and
were very great. There's the fellow from Billy Graham Association. I saw him at [pauses] . . . at
the Billy Graham crusade here. I'm guessing he was then about . . . big fat fellow he . . . he's . . .
he's . . . he's on . . . he's with Billy Graham. He might be at the Cove [Billy Graham Training
Center at the Cove]. I'm not sure. But he . . . he and I were on the board together. And Dr.
[Robertson] McQuilkin. He speaks for us at our conference, especially missionary conference,
because mission is his heartbeat. And when I go to Columbia I usually call him up because you
know his wife is sick. Very good friend, very good friend. He . . . very good friend. I . . . I
really thank God for that. I thank it has been an eye opener and I thank God for asking him to let
me sit under it. And he . . . he didn't . . . he didn't feel too kindly about me leaving, but I said,
"Doc, you have reached out to me. You've been helpful. I don't want you to be blamed for my
failing. If I don't hear, yeah, you know, but I mean . . . I don't." So afterward he says, "Okay
then, but we're very good friends." And I appreciate . . . .
ERICKSEN: Now you said you had learned a lot of things. Can you think of, I mean, something
just to illustrate what the experience was?
FLOWERS: Well, what . . . what I learned from sitting with the men, I . . . I learned how to learn
to listen. I . . . I . . . we had a fellow there [pauses] . . . oh my goodness, it is . . . he was at
Wheaton [College]. He . . . I can't think of his name, but he . . . I mean, knowledgeable man.
And he would open his mouth (he was . . . he was the chairman) . . . he would open his mouth
and everybody would listen to what he has to say. The utmost respect. Now that doesn't mean he
didn't ask question or could disagree with. But I . . . I learned from these men to take the Lord's
work seriously. And the prayer time, the men pouring out their hearts. The . . . the respect they
were showing to Dr. McQuinton and all the . . . Quil . . . Quilton . . . Quilkin . . . McQuilkin and
. . . and . . . and you see there that . . . that absence of jealousy or competitive spirit. And I said,
"Hey, this is it." Great. They all . . . they all came with their own credentials. The fellow from
Christianity Today. How can I forget all these names? But these were the men I had to hobnob
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