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This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of [Stanley Roy Kline (CN 477, T1) in the Archives of the Billy Graham Center. No spoken words have been omitted, except for any non-English phrases which could not be understood by the transcribers. Foreign terms which are not commonly understood appear in italics. In very few cases words were too unclear to be distinguished. If the transcriber was not completely sure of having gotten what the speaker said, "[?]" was inserted after the word or phrase in question. If the speech was inaudible or indistinguishable, "[unclear]" was inserted. Grunts and verbal hesitations such as "ah" or "um" were usually omitted. The transcribers have not attempted to phonetically replicate English dialects but have instead entered the standard English word the speaker was expressing.
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... Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of thought within the sentence on the part of the speaker.
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This transcript was made by Ruth Estell, Arnila Santoso, and Wayne D. Weber and was completed in July 2002.
Collection 477, T1. Interview of Stanley Roy Kline by Paul A. Ericksen, January 18, 1993.
ERICKSEN: This is an oral history interview with Stanley Roy Kline, by Paul A. Ericksen for the Archives of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. This interview took place at 9:30am on January 18, 1993 at the Africa Inland Mission retirement center in Clairmont, Florida. Well, Reverend Kline, I'd like to [pauses] start. Talk a little bit about your youth before we talk in a lot more detail about your work on the mission field. Can you tell me when and where you were born?
KLINE: I was born in...on October 20, 1911, in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I lived in the north part of Philadelphia and I have a mother who was living and a father and one sister. That was the total of our family, and we lived in an area where...it was a place where my parents, after they were married, moved there. So we lived in that area, the day I was born in 1911, till I was at least almost twenty-one years of age in the same house, the same place. As far as growing up, I went through the ordinary school system of the elementary school, and in those days, from an elementary school you went to a grammar school, and at grammar school, that was the end, at that time, of my education. I was born and raised in a home where my father was a plumber and a carpenter by trade. We lived in a house that went from one street through to the other street. So my father owned two properties that made us have two backyards. And my father had a stable and he had horses and buggies and sleigh and all that goes with the...in those days. Of course in those days, that was before even electricity came in...
KLINE: ...and so we had the stables and my father did mostly plumbing. He was an excellent plumber, but he probably was in the wrong side of the business, because my father was a saloon plumber. He did a lot of plumbing for what was called the saloons in those days. And so we...he went on his work during the holiday season, vacation for me, I would travel with my father. I could tell you the inside and outside of a saloon, down in the basement or wherever. And so I went as a...as a boy traveling with him, and I always enjoyed it. As far as being a saloon plumber and being in that kind of work, I can say that I never saw my father drunk ever. It was always known that most times, bartenders and people who work, never drank. They may have sold it, but they never drank, and my father although he was friendly with a lot of bar tenders, and a lot of people, I never saw my father drunk in all my life. And so we grew up in a neighborhood like that. I had a father that was very strong on his points of working and not going to school. He always liked to tell me that, "When I was eleven years old, I had to get out and work." And so he was strong onto it, when I was sixteen that, that should end my education, and that I should start working. So in that I was always ready to listen to what my father and mother said. As far as religion goes, we had no religion in our home whatsoever. My mother came from what we call the Frankfort Kensington area and she may have gone to a Lutheran church from what I heard her say at one time, but she had no ideas about anything, as far as religion. My father I never heard of ever said anything except maybe swearing in the name of God. But, you know, our area, we had a lot of churches. Within...within less than a mile from our home we had all kinds of churches. The nearest church was just at the corner which was the old style Presbyterian church called the Covenanters. The Covenanters were the presbyterians that only had the Psalms sang [sic] in the church. They didn't...they didn't have an ordained pastor and they also had no music in the church, but they had the best in my growing up days, they had the best dramatic club, they had the best gymnasium, and they had the best jazz orchestra in the neighborhood. [Ericksen laughs] jazz which I had gotten acquainted with in those days at that place. And also in the area we had a Baptist church and a Presbyterian church were back to back right next to each other. We had a Methodist church, we had a Moravian church, we had a Brethren church, we had a Catholic church, we had a Salvation Army, we had Episcopal, we had all the churches you can name were in the area but as far as I know, I didn't know of any that really preached the gospel. In my days our connection with the Covenanter church was a very sad one with my mother because my mother, I guess, felt that when we were children, that we should have gone to some Sunday school, and in this she had visit...they had a visitor that came to visit different homes and one morning she found the woman coming to the house on one side of me, one side...on the other side of our home, and she stopped them, and (visitor), and she asked, that, "I have two children, that I'd like for them to go to your Sunday School because it's close by", and the woman answered and told my mother, "We can't have your children in our Sunday School because your husband's in the liquor business." And my mother was very mad and slammed the door, and that was the end of that, and so we never went to any Sunday school or church after that. When we were in our teens, my sister went for a while to the Methodist church and...
ERICKSEN: Was your sister older or younger than you?
KLINE: My sister was two years older than myself, and she went to Methodist church and I remember she'd been going to Sunday school. She asked me if I would go. I went three or four times but I didn't like it too much, so I stopped going, but maybe if I had gone on, maybe I might of heard something, I'm not sure, but in that time, when I was growing up, as I said, grammar school was over and I started to work. And my first job, when I was sixteen at that time, was to I did some work on soldering. The company that I applied for, I found it in the newspaper, and I went to take this job and they were...they made parts for a telegraph company, and so we did soldering. I worked there for almost a year and...but I didn't like it. I had a scar for a long time on my forehead where I leaned over when I dropped my solder once, and my head went right against the soldering iron, but it disappeared [laughs] in time. It wasn't as serious as I thought. When I was working there I gradually felt that that wasn't the place for me and so then I started looking around for another job, and I thought then that I would like a job more in an office type. I felt that I belonged more in that type, than I did in what I was doing. And so I remember telling my father and he said, "Well, you better be sure you're going to get another job." And so I looked in the paper again and I found this other job which was in the medical publishing company, W.B. Saunders Medical Publishers. And they were looking for an office boy and so I decided to go down and see. This was downtown in Philadelphia and I went there and I worked there for a time. I had a trial period of a month to see how I worked out and after a month they agreed that I could have the job. And so I entered the W.B. Saunders Medical Publishing Company and I was an office boy and I worked myself a lot.
ERICKSEN: Now what, what year did you start there?
KLINE: I started there in 1927, in 1927 I started at the...at the medical publishing company and when I was there I began to realize that I should go back to school. And so I started going back to make up my credits for high school. I went to Northeast High School because I lived in North Philadelphia, I got some credits there, and then I went to a Brown Prep School which also was preparatory work to get your high school credits for college work. And after that my work in the office was going well, but I felt I needed some extra work, so I went to Pierce Business College after that. And I took courses in accounting and business law and various subjects of that type. As far as the office goes, I worked in the office and I worked during that time I was there is a time when I started being interested in the things of the Lord.
ERICKSEN: How did, how did that come about, I mean how was your interest stimulated?
KLINE: Well, in...in the time of 1930s, which was a very bad time for everybody. My father who was a plumber of course, then Prohibition came in which was about 19...I would say 1927-28, in that area, my father was out of plumbing and carried out his carpenter work. He was very upset about it because he always said (which even turned out to be true) "That in the saloon at least the ladies would have the ladies part to have their drinks but not at the bar," but he predicted even then that if you get rid of the saloons you'd have worse, and it was worse because then we went into taprooms and bars and so forth, as you know, even up to today. But my father decided then...as we moved on in our stable, from the stable time to cars, my father turned his stable into a garage, and then he carried on the garage. And he rented spaces to other people that had their cars in the neighborhood, didn't...didn't park their cars in those days on the street, they parked them in the garage. And so he carried on that business and did carpenter work on the side. And it was during that time that I found that my father was investing his money with another man, and we lost our home in Philadelphia. We had a summer home in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and my parents moved up there. So I had to find a place to live because I work in town. And my best friend was the son of the sexton, or the custodian they call it now, in this Covenanter church. His father was the sexton, lived next door, I went there to live with him. And then (that would've been from 1928-29) and then in 1932, in 1932 at that time is when Percy Crawford, who was well known in Philadelphia, who was an evangelist, came to start work there. He had been at Westminister Seminary and he started what they call the Young People's Church of the Air. And so I went to live with him, with my friends, and when I was there I had met other young people. I heard about the Young People's Church of the Air and then also...we lived near Germanton Avenue and in Germanton Avenue there was a...at Leehigh, there was a group of young people always had a street meeting. And so one Saturday night I went to the street meeting and I, I listened but I, when somebody approached me I...I cut...sort of lied about it, when they asked me if I was a Christian I said, "Yes," and I got away quick. But I found that probably the people then that day prayed and I went back the next Saturday night, and it was through that group of young people that I had heard more of the gospel. I didn't stay again, but I came back. And at that time my father had deep depression. My father had moved to Langhorne, my father wasn't working and things were difficult, and I used to go back and forth on weekends to see them. So this one Saturday night when I came back and Sunday I just had no peace about things and so I...I didn't know how to pray really and so I asked the Lord to show me...give to me what those young people had at the street meeting. And so then I left there and I went back to street meeting the following Saturday and told them what happened to me. And some young people dealt with me and showed me the Word [Bible]. Then I thought the first thing I should do was go to church. So I decided to go back to this Covenanter church because my friend went there. And I went and told the pastor, his name was Dr. Wilson, and he said, when I tried to tell him what I thought, that the Lord was dealing with me. He told me that I had sort of an emotional strain and that I shouldn't deal [dwell] on these things and that it would bother my mind and so forth but I should attend church. When I was standing there talking to him, I noticed there was another man who was standing a distance away but could hear everything and so when the Pastor Dr. Wilson left, this man approached me and he said to me, "I heard some of your conversation, I was wondering if I could help you." And that man he sat me down and he opened the Bible and he read to me about salvation and things and he said, "I'd like to hear about what you have to say." And so I told him about what I thought the Lord was dealing with me about. And so he said, "Well, I'll tell you, you come here Wednesday night, and I'll bring you some books, and some magazines to read." And so I went back Wednesday night, and this man's name was Mr. Samuel Boggs. And I found out later that he was a man that had rug mills in Kensington and he was a member of that...an elder in that church. I also found out that he was a person that represented the Gideons in...at that time. And so I went back Wednesday night and he was the one that gave me the first literature that I ever read, Sunday School Times, Evangelical Christian, and a few other magazines and books and he told me to be sure I have a good Bible to read, which I did have, and also that I should learn how to pray more and to contact other Christians. And all the while I was talking to him the pastor was standing there and he came back and he said to me, after Mr. Boggs had left...because I lived next door I was always the last one around church, and my friend. And he said, "You know that...you shouldn't listen to everything that man...what did he give you?" And when I showed him what he gave to me he said, "You know he's a little bit fanatical, he belongs to our church, he's on my board," but he said, "he's a little bit fanatical." And I said to him I said, "Well, whatever he did whatever he said was a big help to me." And so then after that I stayed with my friend for a while and I started going to the Young People's Church of the Air with Percy Crawford. And when I didn't go, I would listen on this radio that my friend had and then he also said that he thought I was getting fanatical. And that he reminded me that this was their home and their radio and I had no right to listen to this in his home. And the close...we were close friends but we found that separation came very quickly. Then just about that time I had gone back to work and I met a girl who worked there. She was an older woman and she was at that time going to the Philadelphia School of the Bible. And she had asked me because I was facing things of decisions that I had to make. I had always heard later through a...a...a Bible teacher that nobody should tell you what to do with your life or how to lead your life or how the Lord would take care of things that were offensive but the Lord would show you. And I was a person who always went to dances and I always played cards and I used to play cards at noontime but that was kind of...I felt I couldn't do that anymore. And so then this word got around the office that I wasn't playing cards anymore. So this woman she said to me, "Why aren't you playing cards anymore?" And I told her and she said, "I thought there was a change in your life." She said, "You know I'm a Christian, and I go to Bible school." And she said, "You know you had mentioned, I heard about it, you were interested in Percy Crawford." Somebody must have told her this, and so she said, "I... I feel that that's good thing to do. And if you work here on West Washington Square and his place is right around the corner and he's going to have Bible studies on Tuesdays and Thursdays at night for working people from five thirty to seven. And she said, "I think that would be very good for you to help you grow." And I was glad because this was, this was in 1932 a part of 1933.
ERICKSEN: So is 19...I'm trying, I'm thinking to get a date on the year....
KLINE: The day I accepted the Lord was June 11, 1932.
ERICKSEN: Okay. So she told you about these Bible studies.
KLINE: She told me about the Bible studies and I started going and I met a lot of friends there, different people, and Percy Crawford always taught evangelism. And then he would always invite a different period of time, two or three weeks sometimes one month or three weeks, he'd invite different pastors and people to speak about different subjects. He would invite...for instance, we had Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, we had Dr. Merrill T. MacPherson, we had Pastor Feeley. Dr. Barnhouse with Tenth Presbyterian Church, Dr. MacPherson with Central Broad...Central North Broad Street Presbyterian Church, Reverend Feeley was from Grace Chapel outside of Philadelphia...
ERICKSEN: Is that F-E-E-L...
KLINE: Pardon me?
ERICKSEN: ...how does he...Feeley how's that spelled?
KLINE: F double E-L-E-Y I think.
KLINE: And then we had George Smyser, who was from a Fellowship Church, Dr. George Smyser, we had Professor Wooly from Westminster Seminary, and we had O. [Orson] R. Palmer who was the pastor of the Berachah Church where I had heard the gospel through their young people. We had George Palmer who had came from Haddon Heights Baptist Church in New Jersey. He would invite different speakers to come and share different classes and different things from the scripture. Of all these different ones I felt that I could no longer go to that church where I went where I was living. And...and after I was ordered out of this friend's house I had to find a place to live and at that time I had found a man who was a congregational pastor and his wife had a new rescue mission work down at Seventh and Race which is near Franklin Square just where your cross from Philadelphia to Camden, New Jersey. They started a mission work and when I heard about that, I went there to find if I could help there and also if I could live there. And they were very glad to have me come. And so I went there and lived there for a period of time. When my parents lived up at Langhorne it was when my friend asked me to leave. And so of all the pastors that came and shared with the Bible studies that Percy Crawford had the one man that appealed to me mostly was Dr. Merrill T. MacPherson. And he was the pastor of Central North...Central North Broad Street Presbyterian Church at Broad and Green which is near the Philadelphia School of the Bible. It's near Spring Garden Street.
ERICKSEN: Now what was it about MacPherson that appealed to you more than the others?
KLINE: I would say that he appealed to me because he, his explanations of the Bible was very clear. He would speak mostly on the Christian life, your, your growing in the Lord and he did a lot of studies on, on Corinthians at that time, which I found looked very good for me. And so then when I moved to this rescue mission which was at Seventh and Race (I worked at Seventh and Locus and that's the reason I chose it because I could walk to work) and then I went there to these meetings with Percy Crawford for a whole year. At that time Percy Crawford was interested in starting a Bible conference, which is called Pinebrook Bible Conference., which he started in 1933. And so in those days we never did really make a lot of money but I made up my mind that I would try to go to this Bible conference, at least one week, if I had a vacation, which I did. So in that period of time then at the rescue mission, I was there for about eight months. Then my father also lost his property in Langhorne through the debts that he owed, when he started because his garage he had turned in...before he lost his business had turned into what we call a [unclear] wash laundry. He had gone into that business with another man and that's why we lost our money, our home, and finally our summer home at that time. So they told me that they had to lose their...leave their property so then I had to find a place for them to live. So I found a...I had found the Lord which lead me in a way that I could take care of my parents and also, that I could be near, probably to go to Bible school later. And so I looked for a place and this woman who worked in, in the office said, "That there's probably...you could find apartments near the Philadelphia School of the Bible," and I felt if I could find it somewhere near there, then I would be near the Bible school, I would be near the church at Broad and Green, I could walk to work through from that area as well, and I could have a place for my parents. And so I took time off then and I found a place on Spring Garden Street, at 1700 Spring Garden, and then, we were only supposed to be there for about six months and then I had to find another place. So I moved to 19th and Spring Garden and I found another apartment, and my mother and father moved back with me at that time. And so I gave up my place at the rescue mission although I went back and [unclear] the meetings.
ERICKSEN: Now what were you...what were...what were...actually were you doing at the rescue mission, tell me what that was like?
KLINE: At the rescue mission when I first moved there it was new and he had gospel meetings every night and they also served an evening meal, and they also had sleeping. They could take care of at least thirty to forty men. Right on the corner it was a big four story building. And so then I had my little corner...of first that I had it was like in a dormitory style. I had to be very careful. I found out what bed bugs and a few things like that were later. But I whenever I was there, when I was just at the Bible studies I'd be there every night and they had meetings, gospel meetings every night, and people, the men would come to hear the gospel and men would accept the Lord and I've seen many wonderful conversions in the rescue mission work when I was there. And also then they would get a hot meal and then they would register the men that would come there and stayed there. So I began helping in witnessing to the people, I would give my testimony, I would read the scriptures sometimes, I did personal work. As I was growing with Percy Crawford's evangelism I could see many of these doors opening for me that I could be used of the Lord in this way too. And I remember Percy Crawford said, "In evangelism as you witness, one of the hardest places to witness is in your own home." And I had that much concern because it might have been the hardest and I had my father and I had my mother and I had my sister, who didn't know the Lord. And so I would have to do something about that too. And he also brought out that, you know sometimes we hear that we want some big work to do but the Lord has some small work to do as well and I felt that starting to witness for the Lord this way. Also in the office I had found out that there were other people there who wanted to know about the Lord. And I had some friends that came to the Lord in the office where we work and also friends of mine that I had known around during those days that I had witnessed to. And so I stayed at the mission then for that period of time until I had to move with my father and mother. And then Percy Crawford...in 1933 I went to the Bible conference and it was through the Bible conference in 1933 that I dedicated my life to the Lord for full term service, with Albert Hughes who was then a man who was connected with a the Sudan Interior Mission, on their board, he was also a speaker, on missions and a Bible teacher.
ERICKSEN: How's that spelled? Albert Hughes?
KLINE: Albert Hughes. H-U-G-H-E-S.
KLINE: And we also had another man there at the same time, which [unclear] his name was Captain Reginald Wallace, he was from England, he was a speaker there. We had an evangelist that sang, there were there speakers, a man named Harry Vom Bruch, now I didn't know much about it but Albert Hughes was the one that stood out most as far as I remember, but of course Percy Crawford then, always managed, he was the head of the conference and he always spoke on evangelism and for young people. It was in the conference of those days that I first came in contact with, Marge...Jack Wyrtzen. I know Jack Wyrtzen in my early days too but Marge was there and she was sent by her mother and she had accepted the Lord during that time too in 1933. And so knowing the Lord through those different things I dedicated my life to the Lord. Then I left the Bible studies that Percy Crawford had and in 1933 I started at the Philadelphia School for the Bible. I couldn't go to day school because I had to take care of my father and mother and so I enrolled for evening school. I went four years to the Philadelphia School of the Bible for evening
school. That would be from 1933 to 1937.
ERICKSEN: I'm curious when you committed yourself to full time service what did you envision that being? Was it missionary work or being an evangelist here?
KLINE: I [pauses] I think if I [pauses] would say anything I would say more to missions work because Albert Hughes spoke mostly referencing to missions, about being witnessing for the Lord and he used verses of Acts 1:8, you know, starting at Jerusalem and then going further on. And I had felt that my, my witness for the Lord would be something like that but I had no idea if I would be a missionary or not, at that time or whether I...I didn't ever thought I'd be a preacher, and I never thought I was qualified to be a preacher, I didn't ever think I was qualified even to go to the mission field because I had heard everybody had such high standards. Of course in those days the standards weren't as high as they are today. But I still felt that I was not material [microphone rubs against Kline's hand] for any of this work but the Lord of course had His own way of taking me. I may have had my hand over this thing, I don't know....
ERICKSEN: I think it'll...
KLINE: I had my hand like that.
ERICKSEN: I think it'll be alright. I think we're okay. [Kline laughs] Percy Crawford, tell me what he was like?
KLINE: Percy Crawford [pauses] I would say he was a...I had heard that he was a graduate of BIOLA [Bible Institute of Los Angeles], I think he went to Wheaton [College] too if I remember, but I would say he was the first youth person as far as I know the east in the Pennsylvania area where we had a lot of churches, a lot of good Bible teachers and all, that he, he was interested in young people and I would say he was, he was full of energy, he loved people, he...he was a humble man, he had a...a quartet when I first met him. He, I think, he was just about ready to be married I don't know if he was married in '32 or '33, '32 I guess or something in there. He...he was full of life, he was interested but he was serious about what he spoke about and he was, I would say, he was a good evangelist and he would go anywhere and preach the gospel. He was a good radio preacher [pauses] he...he...he was just good in everything that he did as far as I saw in those days and I only...I knew him, is by seeing him there, and he would always take time to answer your questions, he would always be interested in what you were doing, no matter how many people would ask him questions or do anything. When he had the conference, I think, he...he was practically good in everything that he did and organizing. Through the years, I would say that it may be that after he was married for a while and Pinebrook went on I had found out that after I had got to know Jack Wyrtzen and others that he was a person that may have been...that he did everything himself, where he could have shared it with other people. Now he...he was a person that did good work but he would do everything. When he was at Pinebrook he'd preach, he'd lay the cement, he'd do everything, and that may have been one thing that may have been lacked in the later part of his ministry, but I would say that a good many young people if they're in the Lord's work today first hear the gospel or were interested in the work of the Lord through his testimony and his ministry because I think he was one of the first person that I would know that would reached down to young people.
ERICKSEN: Was there any certain aspect of evangelism that he tended to emphasize? What were the things he really hammered on?
KLINE: Well, he was...no, he was interested in lost souls no matter where they were. I mean I've seen him on the street corner, I've seen him in the park areas, I've seen him go to rescue missions, I've seen him on radio work. I would say he was interested in the lost, I wouldn't say that he was a person that was for building up a person for the things of the Lord. Now I think his Bible conferences helped in that and his invitation to different preachers and evangelists or missionaries to come to his place, was the ministry that he did not do that was carried on by others which also helped, of course. But I would think that he was always interested in lost souls. I remember him saying one time in his radio broadcast from the early days like that, people didn't give a lot of money to things, and he used to say about his broadcast was run by people, young people who would send in fifty cents to a dollar, and the radio work would continue. I remember there were certain people that he said one time, they were well known people, one was a writer, and another was a coal man in Philadelphia who said if he would mention their work then he would send in a contribution and he said he never agreed to that. He said, "I didn't feel that my broadcast was run by somebody who wanted to advertise their books or advertise their coal." He said, "They could keep their money." He said, "That the...."" He felt the Lord only honored those who would give it. [unclear] as unto the Lord, not to advertise themselves. He was strong on those kinds of points as well I think that he wanted it to be the Lord's work.
ERICKSEN: Now, it sound like a lot of these were kind of big group sessions like at the Bible study, how many would be....?
KLINE: At the Bible study, I would say we had...I have a picture of...with...that I have here with...that I brought to show you. I would say we had 150 maybe, we met in an old run down...it wasn't run down, but it was empty for years...an old Presbyterian church at Seventh and Spruce. That's the same place where he had his...his Young People's Church of the Air on Sunday. It was a big auditorium with a balcony on it. It was not the main church, it was what they used to have in the old days a big Sunday school auditorium which was patterned after the Wanamaker's Church [Bethany Collegiate Presbyterian Church, which grew out of a Sunday school started by businessman John Wanamaker in South Philadelphia in 1858] which was also Presbyterian. It was in down another part of Philadelphia. I had heard that the big church that faced Washington Square, which was right catacorner where I worked, was closed for years because they said they would never open the church because it would spoil the dign...dignity of the church because of the big preacher that used to be there years ago. And I remember Percy one time getting permission from the Presbytery (because he wasn't an ordained Presbyterian minister) that he would like to have meetings from the big pillars of the porch of that church over the park, and he did it for a while but also the Presbytery found that spoiled the dignity of the church for him to hold meetings for a bunch of bums that may come to a park. And that was discontinued for a time. So he was mostly interested in...in...in people who never heard the gospel, no matter where they were, or training people that they could go out and witness for the Lord.
ERICKSEN: Now you had...there were these large Bible studies...were there...was there time when he just sat down with individuals? Sat down with you and would talk things through?
KLINE: No, I wouldn't say there wasn't much time at night time like that, because we, we were all working people and that would be 5:30-7:00. I remember we used to be a break and he'd offer coffee and sandwiches or just a...if you didn't drink coffee you could have a glass of water. And at that time I had never drank coffee in my life until I went to this Bible study because I never liked coffee. And so...but the church was not the kind of the place that was kept up to date with warmth for the winter time and so we...I learned to drink coffee there. And he used to have to have a break with coffee and sandwiches and everybody had about, you know, fifteen, twenty minutes off or something like that.
ERICKSEN: Now what...you mentioned that the speakers that Crawford was bringing in would talk on all different subjects. Were there any of those that stand out for you? I mean you mentioned MacPherson as being the one preacher....
KLINE: Well, I would say they were all good men, I mean as far as that goes. In fact all those churches of all those speakers even today are outstanding churches. I mean Dr. Barnhouse's church has always been outstanding, Dr. MacPherson's church has been, Grace Chapel has been a great missionary church they come from Folkmont [Fairmount?], Pennsylvania that is right outside of Philadelphia. He was a...Pastor Feeley was a...as I understand was a Christian businessman before he started the church or before...how it started I don't remember, but he was a car salesman and the Lord dealt with him and he went into the ministry. George Schmizer in the Fellowship Church, he was also a Bible teacher in the other school. We had two Bible schools in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia School of the Bible and the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania. Why there were two I don't know that, but George Schmizer also taught at the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania. And I think they were just outstanding men that were good Bible teachers and good pastors that he invited that he knew well but most of these were also invited to speak at the beginning of his conference when he started Pinebrook Bible Conference. He would place them for a week because the conference was always starts at the end of June or beginning of July 'til Labor Day in September. And those conferences started in 1933 and they continued for many years.
ERICKSEN: Now what were the relationships like among these Presbyterians and non-Presbyterians in light of, you know, what was going on in the Presbyterian church at the time.
KLINE: Well, as far as the Presbyterian Church you see (when I was saved in 1932 and then I started the Bible school in 1933) there was no, hardly any differences that I ever noticed up until about 1935, 1936. And I remember that in 1932 the latter part when I first started going to Percy Crawford's, when I became a member of the Central North Broad Street Presbyterian Church and this was a church that I understand was a heavily endowed Presbyterian church that was on Broad Street, which was the main street going north and south. It was a heavily endowed church. Everything was paid, paid choir paid everything. I couldn't understand some of the people there because Dr. MacPherson was so good in his Bible teaching that I learned later that he accepted the ministry to build up this church. We had a good Sunday school when I started going there. I met a girl who was at the Philadelphia School of the Bible who was a...she had polio since she was three years old, she...she used crutches all her life, and her name was Dorothy Moore and she had a big Sunday school class of boys and there were different people that I met in the church that I felt were interested in the same stuff that I was interested in. I had met other young people who were just saved in that church and it was a church that was building up. And so I...I feel that there was a ministry there that was growing. It wasn't until the time of 1935, 1936 that in the Presbyterian situation I remember Dr. MacPherson was saying because we supported Pearl Buck at that time. Pearl Buck was a missionary from the Presbyterian Board in China, and our church was, I think, one of the big supporters of Pearl Buck. And when she wrote from China saying that she no longer believed in the virgin birth and she made a statement of different things like that on the resurrection, and I remember Dr. MacPherson said that he felt, he told the people, he told us and the church that he did not feel that a church like ours could support a missionary like that.
ERICKSEN: So it sounds like that was maybe the beginning of the end of Dr. MacPherson's time at the Presbyterian church.
KLINE: Well, I would say that when word came out about Pearl Buck, it was also a time when there was a group...he found out, there was a group of...of other preachers, maybe not just in Philadelphia area but around that agreed with her and they, I think, I don't know the whole story because I did get involved with some of it but there was a statement that came out...they called I think they called the Auburn Affirmationists. They decided that they think the same thing that Pearl Buck believed. That there were missionaries and there were also pastors who accepted the view. And I remember there were several. Dr. McCallum who was, I think...he was the Second Presbyterian Church on Walden Street. There was another, Dr. Macky, I think, from another Presbyterian. There were several preachers who signed this statement. And when he refused to give his money to Pearl Buck any longer to the presbytery, the presbytery said he had to do this, said it was a rule of the presbytery. Dr. MacPherson...I never knew much about him until later but he...he himself was [a] very strong Evangelical, he was a graduate of Moody [Bible Institute of Chicago], I think about 1920, 1921. He went to that seminary that's in Chicago area, I forget the name of it but he always said, "I went there when it was a good seminary, it's not now, it's probably very liberal," but it was in that area of Illinois, he went there. And I think he had several churches in New Jersey and New York area before he came to Philadelphia. And so when this was brought out I was a member at that time, my wife also, the girl that I married was also a member of the same church. And he said that he told the people that he had to tell them this because he felt he could not agree with this any longer. And so he said the presbytery said that he would have to continue. And he said he was praying about it and asked us to pray with him. And that was a Sunday and he had the plan that he always carried on during the week, including Wednesday. He always spent Wednesday in...in the...in the church study and did visitation. He also was a radio preacher. When he came there he told them that he would like to have the radio, and they were interested to build up the church so he was also a radio preacher with WIP, as I remember the station at that time. But on this Wednesday...he had a plan every Wednesday to stay in the church, visit and be around, and then he would go out to eat supper at Litten's [?] Restaurant. And then he would come back for prayer meeting and his wife would come down later to prayer meeting and go home with him. When he came back on that Wednesday, he found the presbytery had come there and changed the locks on the church so he couldn't get in. So he was locked out of his church. And we were there. I was there that very Wednesday. We had a very fine couple that lived next door to the church in a great big house, who was the sexton of that church and his wife, who were very...I always found them very fine people. They would...when Dr. MacPherson found he was locked out of the church he went there and of course the sexton said that he knew about it because the presbytery came and he was the one who was to open the church, and he couldn't get it open either. And so they were very fine people, and they just moved all the furniture (they had a big living room in that house). They moved everything they could think of moving and got as many places to sit, and we had our prayer meeting in the sexton's house next door. Their name was Mr. and Mrs. Gibbler. [?] And we had our prayer meeting, and he had found out that the presbytery had sent another man for prayer meeting that night and of course all the people that came and found that Dr. MacPherson wasn't there...the sexton, he was outside telling all the people where the prayer meeting was going to be held. And so we all went in there and had our prayer meeting. You....Dr. MacPherson was a man who was a good leader, too. He...he understood things. He...he was very good at everything he did. He was a good singer. And he was a good business person. And I understand from the things that I read and the things that I heard that immediately the next morning he went down to see WIP. They weren't so keen on changing the contract from the church to him, but after they saw the newspapers the next morning, that this preacher was locked out of his church, they agreed to do it or there was somebody on the board of the radio station that agreed to change it and put it under his name. Then he had...the same day on Thursday, he had to look for a place to meet. And so (because at that time I think we had a membership of about four to five hundred) and so he found the Masonic temple around the corner on Spring Garden Street and he went to see them. Of course he knew what he would have to face when he went there because it was a place that had lots of drinking, lots of big-time things on Saturday. And he was told that he could use it as long as he wanted to, in the auditorium, but if he used other rooms for Sunday school, he might run into the smell of beer and things like that, because they had things. And he said, "Well, I think we could put up with that for a while but," he said, "I need some place to start my worship service." I think from what I understand and what I read, too, that immediately he called Dr. [J. Vernon] McGee, who was then the pastor of the Church of the Open Door in California. And he kind of asked him, "You know, I need something. Do you have something of your kind of a church that I....can you send me something on a constitution or a by-laws can you give me any kind of help? I have to organize something, if I'm no longer going to be in the Presbyterian church. I don't know how that was all contacted or what came out of that. But on Sunday morning, I think we had over a thousand people come to the service that Sunday. People couldn't get in the building, even, because it was in the newspaper about this man being locked out and so forth. And he gave a tremendous message. There were even souls saved that Sunday morning. And he explained this all to the people. I don't know what ever happened in the old church...I think they sent a pastor. I had later heard they had about twenty-three people show up in this big church. As far as young people...we were young, of course, in those days. We only lost one young person, and her father was a ruling elder. And she was an outstanding Christian, the daughter was an outstanding Christian. She had been...she had been going to the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania, but she was kind of threatened by her father and mother, I think it was her step-mother, saying that if she left with all the other young people, they would disown her. And Betty Walker, I never saw a girl that was sad, sadder than her, after that time. Because it seemed that she wanted to go, but she was afraid of her parents in taking that stand. Some of us didn't have to face that, of course, that was something she had to face. And so we, of course, started our young people's group, Sunday school was formed, church service, and at the first place he said he would like to know from the members what we should call our church. And so everybody thought of different Bible names, and this and that, but most people thought it should be called the Church of the Open Door, because we were...he was locked out of the church where he came from. And so it was decided then, it would be called the Church of the Open Door. He said that....I don't remember if he was dismissed from the presbytery, I can't remember that. But I think in time, if he wasn't dismissed, he resigned from the Presbyterian church because he became....he said that he would never go into another Presbyterian church again that held those ideas. I think this happened a little bit before Dr. McIntire (you've heard of Carl McIntire) and others formed another church. And I think they wanted Dr. MacPherson to go with them, but he said, "Now that I'm out I'm going to stay out, I'm not going to go in any other group." And I think he was very wise in that, from the history that I've heard of that group, according to another group and so forth. I think you'll remember, I also remember, that there was a group with Dr. [J. Gresham] Mashen who left Princeton, years ago, with another man (I can't remember the other man, an older man), and they formed the Westminster Seminary, long before that. And then Westminster...of course, some of them left and formed another seminary, called Faith Seminary. And McIntire seemed to grow into different Presbyterian groups, but Dr. MacPherson never felt he could do it. He was a member, I think he was president for a while, of what they called the Independent Board of Presbyterian Missions, which I think later became another group after that. But he was, I think, the president of that group for a while. And we had a couple that came, I know the wife came from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. I was trying to think of their name, I have it down somewhere. But anyhow, they were the first couple and they came into our church from Westminster Presbyterian Church. And they were the first missionaries that went with the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions to South America, at that time. Oh, the name was Hitchcock and they were supported by our church as the first missionaries that went out, but they were not members of our church. And I think he was a member of the Independent Board of Presbyterian Foreign Missions for quite a while, until he decided that he was no longer a Presbyterian that...he felt that because he was out that he should not be there. And so, but he had wonderful fellowship when he formed a new church. E. Skyler English, who might be known to some people, was a member of our church. Philip Howard of the Sunday School Times was also on our board that was formed at the very beginning days. And there were other men, businessmen, Laura Bellbar's [?] father who was a doctor, I think, he became a board member at that time. There were a few Presbyterians that left. We had quite a few from Westminster Presbyterian Church that came...that became members. Of course all of us, my wife, and myself, and others, we all became charter members of the new church, the Church of the Open Door. And that was in 1936, and my wife was the first missionary from our church that went out in September 1937 with the African Inland Mission, the same mission that we're connected with now. She was the first missionary that went out from that church. And the...the church grew, missions grew, the desire for the Lord's work just grew in leaps and bounds after that.
ERICKSEN: You mentioned Philip Howard. Did you meet him? What was he like?
KLINE: I never had much of an association with Philip Howard. I only knew of the Sunday School Times, I always read the Sunday School Times. I was always interested in things. I think, as far as their home life, they lived, I think, in Merchantsville, New Jersey. The lived in New Jersey area, most of the time. I'm not sure if they ever went with McIntire, or not, I don't know much about them, only what I could read in papers. I know he had children, I knew he had interest in Christian work and so forth. But I think Dr. MacPherson at that time, there were like-minded Presbyterians who were interested to help in the formation of the church, but I don't think they, they did not continue as members there after a while. I think they belonged to other groups, and some of them may have gone with Dr. MacIntire, I'm not sure of that.
ERICKSEN: One thing that I forgot to ask you when you were talking about Percy Crawford, was his radio show. What...what was it like when you would go to where it was broadcast?
KLINE: He was a...his broadcast was always...he always had a quartet, and he always had testimonies of Christians. He gave a very good message. I would say he was (what do you call it) extemporaneous. He was a person that could just speak out and he knows...knew the Bible well. He used very little notes when he ever spoke. He was powerful in his speaking, but in a humble way. I would say his program was mostly made up of that. I think it probably was only a half hour in the beginning, maybe went to an hour after that. But he was...he was excellent as far as his messages go. And there were always people saved, either in his rallies, or in his conference, or his evangelistic meetings. He was invited to hold meetings in different places. I remember in our church, Central North Broad Street Church, we had him have a series of meetings at our church. And he was, he was always very good. He used to travel with a quartet. He was a busy man, all week long and all, almost every Sunday. And of course when he had his radio broadcast, it was always live from that church where he met with the young people at the same time. That was generally at five o'clock on Sunday evening. He always felt he would not interfere with other people's young people's or church services or things like that. He was very considerate and very helpful to a lot of people.
ERICKSEN: Now, who were some of the other radio personalities that you would listen to on religious radio?
KLINE: I would say, that in those days, Dr. [Donald Grey] Barnhouse was a good Bible teacher. I would say he was an excellent Bible teacher.
KLINE: Dr. Barnhouse. And he had a radio broadcast, which I listened to. We had a morning daily broadcast in Philadelphia from George Palmer from Haddon Heights Baptist Church. He was the one who started the Morning Cheer broadcast, they used to call it in the morning. He also had a bookstore. He had one of the first serviceman centers in Philadelphia. He had an excellent work through the years. He's also the one who started the Morning Cheer Camps and Bible Conferences down in Maryland, which still continue. I think his son is the...is the director of that now. We had another man, which was very good in the morning, Russell Taylor Smith. We had a lot of broadcasts. Berachah Church had a broadcast. Berachah young people, although I was saved through Berachah, I never felt led to go there. I think it was because it was...it was in an area that I couldn't have access to at that time. I always liked Berachah. I thought a lot of Berachah. And our group of young people, they used to have a young people's broadcast with anywhere of two to three hundred from ten to eleven on a Sunday night. And they used to bring young people from our church...we used to get on the subway and go to their church from ten to eleven. It was a growing...they had a large group. They also became a well-known missionary church, Berachah Church. And they're still going strong, as far as I know. So we....Philadelphia was blessed by a lot of good churches, a lot of good preachers, and I would say it was one of the strong evangelical centers. I always heard that on the mission field, that the areas that always provided the best evangelical groups, was the Philadelphia area, the Chicago area, and the Los Angeles area, which also had the centers for the big Bible schools. You had BIOLA in California, you had Moody in Wheaton in that area, and you had in the Philadelphia area two Bible institutes. So I think that's quite true that it's provided with a good evangelical sense. Our pastor, Dr. MacPherson, was the head of the Philadelphia fundamentalist organization for years, which drew in pastors from all denominations. Now, I would say in myself, I think that Dr. MacPherson, never, after he came out, he...he mentioned a lot about the situation in the Presbyterian Church. But as I remember, when we were growing that we asked him to kind of get off the subject, which he did very gratefully. And the church just grew along with all the rest of the churches. But in all my contexts, there was not that strong of denominationalism brought up again or in groups. And I think that's one thing that appealed to me when I came to the African Inland Mission, even while I knew the organization in the Philadelphia area at the very beginning, all the way through that nobody spoke about which denomination was the best denomination or which was this, that. And Dr. MacPherson had it in his...in his new church that he would baptize by immersion or sprinkling, whichever the person would prefer. But most people, I found later, were always immersed. I don't know why, but I think...that was...became one of the things. It was carried out in the church. But even when he was in the Presbyterian Church, if there were people who wanted to be, he would take them either to Grace Chapel, Reverend Beeley's church, or Berachah Church to have them immersed if they wanted to be immersed. But he never pushed them at all.
ERICKSEN: Now did you keep in contact with Percy Crawford after you began at the Bible Institute? And then later...
KLINE: Well, I...as I said, when I was saved, I worked...I worked then as a Christian I continued my work in the publishing company. I...I was a member of the editorial department until 1939. I finished Bible School and then I became interested in going out to the field, but I continued in my work in the office. I...I had contact with a lot of doctors. I did a lot of contact with doctors, whether manuscripts and arrangement of their...of their photographs in their manuscripts, and also as we went from manuscript into plate-proof and galleys, all the way up along the line I had to contact them for corrections. I did proofreading, I...I made indexes of medical books. And so I was going forward in that part of the editorial work from 1927 to 1949, I mean 1939, till 1939. And then it was in 1938-39 that I became interested in the African Inland Mission. I received a lot of my desires to go to be a missionary from our own pastor, who pushed missions very strongly. Dr. MacPherson was a good missionary speaker himself with missions. And also from Percy Crawford. Also when I started going to the Philadelphia School of the Bible, we had missionary speakers and it was at that time that I thought I would be interested in going to the mission field. But I still had that...that I had to take care of my father and my mother. My father was in a deep depression for at least four years. He never worked. He just couldn't work, he just...he was like sort of in a daze most of the time. And so we lived in that area, we moved four times from one apartment to another. One apartment we had to move because when winter came, the bed bugs came out of the walls, sort of, [laughs] out of the plaster, and we had to move. And then, I think after a period of time, in 1939, my father said to me, "You know, there's a house, that I...when I go to the store, there's a house on 19th street. And that they're looking for somebody to take care of the house." And he said, "And I think I can do that." That's the first time I heard my father say that he thought he could do something. And I said, "Well, do you feel you can take care of the house like that?" And he said, "Yes." And so he said, "I would want you to go with me and see the company." It was one of those companies that people had used years ago where they had a big house, and they had a big yard of their work, it was a plumbing supply company. And the office was on the other side. They owned, like sort of a whole half a block, but they lived there years ago. And the family moved out of the house, probably to the suburbs or some place. And this house, they wanted to make into an apartment house, and they were looking for somebody to take care of it. And of course up until all this time I was paying the rent where we were going and I was doing all that. So they questioned us very strongly on it, and I didn't mention anything about my father because I didn't want him to feel that I was keeping him from, but I wondered if he could do it. And...but he answered all the questions very clearly. And they said, "Where do you live now?" And I said...we had lived on Mt. Vernon Street then, and my father...we lived on the second floor and that woman had him do several things for them. And I could see my father coming out of this sort of [unclear], and that was one of my prayer requests because I said I could never go to the mission field as long as my father was in that condition. And so...then...he was accepted for that and we moved to 639, and that was almost 19th and Fairmount, that's above Spring Garden Street. And it was a three-story house, and we could have the whole first floor for ourselves and just rent the second and third floor. And before long they were....both apartments were rented. In fact, the third floor was occupied by a Sunday school boy of mine that I had in Sunday school, whose father was looking for a place to move, and it was just a father and a son. And they rented the top floor.
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