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Collection 492 - Rev. William A. Drury. T3 Transcript.

This is a complete and accurate transcript of the tape of the oral history interview of Rev. William A. Drury (CN 492, T3) 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 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. 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. Readers should remember that this is a transcript of spoken English, which follows a different rhythm and rule than written English.

. . . Three dots indicate an interruption or break in the train of though within the sentence on the part of the speaker.

. . . . Four dots indicate what the transcriber believes to be the end of a incomplete sentence.

( ) Words in parentheses are asides made by the speaker.

[ ] Words in brackets are comments by the transcriber.

This transcription was made by Robert Shuster and Matthew Drobnick and completed in December 1997.

Collection 492, T3. Interview of William A. Drury by Robert Shuster, December 17, 1993.

SHUSTER: This is an interview with Reverend William A. Drury by Robert Shuster for the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College. This interview took place in Reverend Drury's home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on December 17th, 1993, at 1 PM. Reverend Drury, last time we talked about your experiences during the war and your return home. When did you meet your wife?

DRURY: I met my wife...rather unusual really, that. I had a date with an Italian girl who lived right across the street in Elmont, Long Island. I was living in Elmont with my parents. And I went over to pick her up to go up that night, and lo and behold she was painting the kitchen with her father, a big Italian family. And she said, "Go get your overalls on. We're going to paint the kitchen." I said, "YOU'RE going to paint the kitchen. God Bless you. Good Bye." And so I went home. I was rather annoyed. And my mother...my mother said, "Your sister and her boyfriend are going roller skating. Why don't you go with them?" And I said, "They don't want me, a third wheel." Well, I went upstairs to sulk and I heard my sister's voice and she said, "Why don't you go roller...?" So I went roller skating and ran literally...literally ran into Dorothy.

SHUSTER: On the way?

DRURY: She was an excellent skater and I was mediocre at best. And I came zooming along and I hit her and she hit me and we fell to the floor and that was the beginning of a short-lived courtship. When I say short-lived, that I married her about ten days later.

SHUSTER: Hmmm.

DRURY: And didn't know the Lord. Unsaved, unregenerate Irish guy from New York, my wife was backslidden, raised in a conservative Presbyterian...the old Scotch United Presbyterian Church. She attended there, and that was the beginning of that...that romance. And then I...I went to this little Protestant church on Long Island, really Bob, for no other reason [than] to heckle the pastor.

SHUSTER: And this was her church? This was Dorothy's church?

DRURY: This was the church where she attended. Her father was a very stern man, not much of a conversationalist, but a loving, caring man. You would not know it to talk to him or being in a room because he made very little conversation and he sort of grumbled and muttered. But I began going to this Protestant church for no other reason [than] to heckle the pastor [Stewart J. Rankin], who I thought was a wimp, really. I thought he was a do-nothing, you know? And unfortunately for him, on Sunday night he and his wife would come over to my mother-in-law's house for goodies. We...we had a late snack. And he came over and I was loaded for bear. I tried to crucify this guy.

SHUSTER: Why did you feel so strongly about it?

DRURY: Well, just...just the...I had been steeped in Catholicism. I...I knew something about Catholicism, you know, and I thought everything he said was...was wrong. I didn't have any proof. I had never opened a Bible in my life. Never opened the Bible! You tell that to most Evangelical Christians, that there's a whole world out there, a whole world out there that doesn't know John 3:16.... Glibly, pastor after pastor after pastor says, "Everybody knows John 3:16." Everybody doesn't know John 3:16. My whole family, there was nine of us, I'm sure none of them knew John 3:16. But I went over there one night...my wife stayed home and I went over there and just for something to do. (We didn't have television and our radio didn't work too well and we were dirt poor. I...if there was a minimum wage, and I guess there was, I was working for that.) And I went over there and he preached on Acts 9, the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. And I sat halfway back.... I could take you...I could take you to that church (I don't think it's functioning; I think it's a little library now)...but I could take you to that church and point out whereabouts I sat. And I heard him talk about this Saul of Tarsus, this murderer, this religious zealot, and how he meets Jesus Christ on the Damascus Turnpike, and the whole scene, the whole scenario, how he came to know Christ and how he said, "Lord, what will you have me to do?" And those words a few hours later meant something to me, and he also said that he [Saul] was the chief of sinners and that really rang a bell. And I thought, "No way, Jóse! I'm the chief of sinners, I'm the guy who...." The whole nine yards. I don't know whether I shared last time how I hit skid row in New Orleans, but I had done it all. I had done it all. "Fellow, I don't know what you're talking about but I'm the chief of sinners." No invitation was given. We talk much about the work of the Holy Spirit. As I look back I didn't know any of the semantics, the phraseology, the cliches. And I realize that it was the Holy Spirit of God dealing with Bill Drury, convicting and chastising, reproving, rebuking. Walked out of the church. I could walk from the church to my home a few blocks away. And for the first time in my life - a very proud, vulgar G.I. home from the wars, now a civilian with a chip on my shoulder - I walked through the streets of Elmont, Long Island, and I felt unclean, unclean.

SHUSTER: Hmmm.

DRURY: I mean I just felt like I had lived in a cesspool for twenty-three-and-a-half years. And I cleaned cesspools on...on Long Island so I know something about that. And I went home and we lived in the rear-end of a little, tiny...tiny bungalow. We had a kitchen, we had a bedroom and we had an enclosed porch. And her grandmother lived in the front of the bungalow. My wife said to me, "Dear, would you like to have some coffee, tea?" I said, "I don't want anything." I said, "Leave me alone. Get off my case. Go to bed." I was sick, Bob. I was spiritually sick. I was churning like Christian in Pilgrim's Progress [Seventeenth century Christian allegory by John Bunyan]. She went to bed and I went out in this little enclosed porch. And we had a couch on it and I fell on my knees. And I knew the memorized prayers that I had memorized, that I had learned by rote, they weren't about to cut it. And I simply said to God, "I...I...I don't know how to talk to you. I don't know how anybody can talk to somebody like...." [laughs] And I muttered for seven hours, from eleven o'clock at night till six o'clock in the morning. And I had to go to work in New York City the next morning. And I went around the room and I said, "Whatever you did for that guy in the book, the Bible, whatever you did for him, I want you to do for me, okay? I don't have any of the smarts that he had, but I want you to...I know personally that you are my God and that you can come in to my life." I didn't know how to talk.... How does somebody who had never talked to God one-on-one talk to God? And I said, "Listen, as you know, and I probably don't have to tell you, that I stutter real badly. I stutter real bad. And I don't think you can do it because Dale Carnegie couldn't do it, and speech therapists, speech tutors in school...." I said, "But if you free this tongue, if you free this tongue, I'll use it for your honor and your glory for the rest of my life." And He did exactly that. He freed the tongue.

SHUSTER: You mention that it was just like Pilgrim in Pilgrim's Progress. Pilgrim, of course, was afraid of destruction. Is that what you were afraid of?

DRURY: Well, yes. I...I knew...I wasn't afraid. I knew the life that I lived I was going to destroy myself. But I told God that if he freed the tongue I would use it for his honor and his glory. And I don't claim to be a mystic or anything like that, but when I got off my knees I knew that I had met God. I...I...I knew that...you know, for fear of sounding charismatic, you know [chuckles]...I just knew that I was cleansed, I was forgiven, that somehow, some way (I was a high school dropout, as I shared I believe, I didn't go to high school)...that somehow, someway, if it was cleaning out, you know, cesspools with my bare hands, I was going to serve God. Whatever I was going to do, I was going to serve God. And my wife got up and made coffee and I said, "Do you have one of those books called the Bible?" [I] said, "Is that too easy to read?" She wasn't much help. She said, "No, it isn't to easy to read." So, fortunately...fortunately, I got into the New Testament. I looked at the Old Testament and I said, "Forget that!" you know. "I don't know how anyone could possibly understand that." And I worked New York City at 2 West, Forty Fifth street which is right up in Times Square and I had to take a bus from Elmont over to the end of the subway, 169th street and Jamaica Avenue, where, probably within a year I was preaching the gospel, on that corner. But I read that....

SHUSTER: What was your job in New York City?

DRURY: Diebold. Diebold, which today might be the largest safe and vault company. They make themselves safes and vaults around the world. And they had bought out a company called Flowfilm [?] which is having...which had hard times, financial problems and reversals. But it was in the fifties, the early fifties. Everybody in every major city was afraid of the bomb, the atom bomb, "We're gonna drop the bomb, gonna drop the bomb, gonna drop the bomb." And so they bought out Flowfilm which was a microfilm company, and microfilm with Diebold was in its virgin state and one of the men who cared enough about me at this little Protestant church that I...that I.... [He] was one of their best safe crackers. When...when...when a vault wouldn't open at a bank or something like that they would send Bill Warheim [sp.?]. And he told me because, oh, I was doing a lot of picayune little things in the first few months of my marriage. I worked on a farm, I slung hash, I was a short order cook. Just nitpicky little things, craving somehow to latch onto something that, if I was going to make it and serve God, you know? [chuckles] So he said, "Why don't you make applications...I'll get you an application Diebold." So he did. So I worked in a dark room and, say what you will, God was at work, you know, [chuckles] with this klutz from the very beginning. I worked in a darkroom just processing film.

SHUSTER: Microfilm?

DRURY: Microfilm. Microfilm. We had...had machines and you put the roll on and it would go in and out the tubes and process the film. A knock came on the door one day and said, "Drury, they've got a problem with a bank up in the Bronx." That's in the Bronx and everywhere else it was lily white, other than Harlem. So they said, "I want you to go up there and look at it." And I said, "I don't know anything about..." stuttering and stammering, "I don't know anything about....." He said, "You're a mechanic," gave me this little bag like a doctor's bag and I was on the subway, thinking, "What in the world am I going to do when I get up there?" And I knew how the cameras worked, I knew the switches. And I walked in there and I was by myself with the camera and I looked at this one switch and I flipped the switch and somebody had tripped this switch accidentally. [Shuster laughs] And, man, all of a sudden, you know, I was a hero. And I came back and the boss....

SHUSTER: Did you tell them what you did or did you just let them think that?

DRURY: No, I said, "Its fixed," you know. I gave the service order to the guy who signed it. I think we were charging the customers back then about eighty...about eight dollars an hour and I got probably five or four, five dollars. Today when we call somebody for our machines it's sixty to seventy five dollars an hour. But I came back there and he said, "Hey, listen. They called up before you left and they think you're some kind of a genius. You are a mechanic! I don't want you in a darkroom. I want...." So I faked it, Bob, I faked it. [Shuster laughs] I...the cameras were run by three power packs and I always had extra power packs in my car (if I could use my car) and it was one power pack that went down moreso than the other two and I stuck that in my bag. And I faked it and worked out well. I...I had several accounts. A big account I had was Chase Bank which is now Chase Manhattan and I was downtown at...near...it's on Church Street, the bank office, the main bank office is on Church Street. And Broad and Wall Street was right down the block, the heart of the financial district. And I...because my office...my office was now in Chase Bank, I had a little...a little glass enclosure, one of these Micky Mouse glass enclosures, and a desk and a telephone. But, inasmuch as...I don't know why, I had VIP [Very Important Person] status that I could go over to the officer dining room from Chase. But you had to go out of the building and cross over Broad and Wall Street and then Broadway. I guess it was Broadway. You just walked over a block and turned left. I could take you there but I'm not sure of the street [names]. And I was crossing Broad and Wall Street and I heard a guy on the corner shouting, "You must be born again! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved! For God so loved the world...." And I was with some of the men in the bank, grey flannel individuals and I said, "You guys go ahead. I'm gonna listen." "Nah," they said, "He's a communist." You know, "These corners are loaded with communists." It just shows you the unsaved, unregenerate mind, you know? And I didn't know what he was talking about but I listened. John J. Gallo, John J. Gallo....

SHUSTER: And this was after you had come to know the Lord?

DRURY: Yes. Yeah. Shortly after, shortly after. This all happened very, very rapidly. And John J. Gallo had three businesses downtown and at twelve o'clock, he was out there from twelve, twelve to one thirty, and no microphone - you could not use a public address system. People say to me today, "Drury, where did you get such a big mouth?" Shouting on corners of New York City, you know, without a P.A. [electronic public address] system. And I listened and I thought, "Dear God in heaven, I hope that isn't what I accepted, you know, just a short while ago. But it sounds like the same things the guy said in the Protestant church, the same kind of words." And I went up and I said, "My name is B.B..B.Bi..Bill..," and John J. Gallo, well dressed guy, he was my Billy Graham. Well, he became my Billy Graham. He put his arm around me and...and...and I said, "I'm...I'm...I...I...I'm...." And he said, "Let's go get a drink." And I thought, "Man, that's what I need." [They both laugh] Because just a short time before I was drinking every kind of rotgut, you know?

SHUSTER: Why did you think, "I hope that's not what I accepted?"

DRURY: Because he was on a corner talking about whatever he was talking about, if in fact it was the same thing, you know. And I thought, "Man I don't want something like kooks standing on the corner shouting about it," you know? [Shuster laughs] So we went up to Nenix [?]. Nenix [?] was before Burger King or MacDonald's. I think the only place they ever had Nenix [?] was there in New York City. And we went up there and I finally explained to him and he reached in his pocket (that was before plastic money, Bob)...he reached in his pocket, took out this roll of bills, and I'd never seen a fifty dollar bill in my life, at least I don't think I did. And I saw that money, and here I had been a con-artist and a gambler and I thought, "This is no kook," you know. "This guy's got a good thing going!" [Both laugh] I didn't know he had three businesses down downtown then. He had a jewelry store, an employment agency and a...whatever, sold all kinds of appliances. So I got to know the guy and man, I was thrilled. I...I went home and I told Dorothy, "Man, I met this millionaire," [he laughs] and "Boy, I'm gonna go with him." So the next day I brown bagged it, where I could have had a nice, hot meal over at the VIP Chase dining room. I put my brown...my peanut butter sandwich in a brown bag and I went back to the street meeting. The second day that I met this man (this is gospel truth) and I wanted to hear more now of what he was talking about. He got through preaching and he said, "I have another brother here who would like to give a word of testimony." [Shuster laughs] And I said, "Great, I'm, going to meet one of his brothers." I didn't know the language. You see the people that live in that choice...that cloister Evangelical church and know all of the semantics, you know, they don't believe, you know...they don't believe that...that somebody can not know what "brother" means and "testimony." And I thought, "Boy, I'm gonna find out what a testimony is, too." He said, "I've got a brother who's going to give a word of testimony." He said, "Bill Drudy, Druly, would you come out here and tell these people what Jesus...." And I thought, "Jes..Jes...Je..," and if I could have found a manhole cover, I would have lifted up that thing and jumped in the sewer and pulled the lid down. He said, "Bill, come out here." And there's...this is a big guy, maybe 6'1", 6'2", well dressed, gentleman of gentlemen... And I have no idea what I said. I just...nervous energy, call it what you will....

SHUSTER: Did you stutter?

DRURY: They say I didn't. They say.... But I didn't know and I was going like a trip hammer [a very heavy piece of equipment that is rapidly lifted and dropped by a crane], evidently, this whole thing.... So we got through. I went back to the bank and Frank...Frank.... (I can't think of what his name was, a devout Roman Catholic guy. He had sisters who were nuns, you know. He went to mass every day before he came to work.) He came over to the glass enclosure and knocked on the door and got my attention. He said, you know, "Can I come in?" and I said, "Yeah". He said, "Do you have a twin brother?" I said, "No I don't." He said, "You better believe you do. Everybody has somebody that looks like them." He says, "A guy out on the corner, a maniac, screaming and yelling about hell, [Shuster laughs] and he didn't want to go to hell..," [{Drury laughs] and he went on and on and on. I said, "Frank, did he have a tie like this on?" He said, "No, I don't think anybody...he was gathering people because more and more people said, 'Come, listen to this guy scream and yell.'" He said, "But that guy looked..," he said, "You ought to go out there," he said. "That guy really looks like you." And I said, "I've got news for you, Frank," I said, you know, without stuttering the way I did stutter. I stammered, I said, "That...that...that was me." He said, "No." He said, "What happened to the stuttering bit?" I said, "I think...I think I left it out on the corner." So...but a British guy...a British guy who I saw out in California, a real soul-winner, he's retired, he goes out every day recording how many people that he shares Jesus Christ [with]. A very loving, caring guys, he still has a very British accent, Jim Bocking. Jim got saved about the same time I did and on Saturdays...on Saturday we would have some eggs together, whatever, his place or my place, and walk over to the Presbyterian church. I got the key from my father-in-law who was clerk of session, and we went over and we talked to one another, preached. And I have to confess, and if you see Billy you can tell him, that as long as I imitated somebody I was all right. If I took on John Wayne or Jimmy Stuart or Walter Brennan...today I still impersonate these guys. But I took on Billy Graham. I took on Billy Graham and I walked around that little platform there about the size of a postage stamp, you know, and enunciated and tried to say all of the things that Billy said the way he said them. And before long...before long I was preaching at Broad and Wall Street everyday, maybe only five or ten minutes, but five days a week I was at Broad and Wall Street. Thursday night we were in Brooklyn at Fulton Street. This was...John J. Gallo had a big, beautiful van. He didn't have it downtown but he would go over to Brooklyn, had this beau...big van, beautiful type of thing. And he would set up a platform. He had a little platform and couple of stairs that went up there, and that was Thursday night. Friday night I was in Jamaica, Long Island...Jamaica, Long Island, and the guy who headed up that street meeting has been a Ph.D. or D.D. at Trinity Seminary...and I can't think of his name, it may come to me....

SHUSTER: Woodbridge?

DRURY: No, they...they call him...I'll try to think of it but he was in charge of that meeting. And so Friday night we were in Jamaica. I don't know if you've ever been in Jamaica, Long Island or not. Jamaica...Jamaica...the stores are on Jamaica Avenue. The elevator [the elevated train] runs over the stores, that's the end of the line, 169th street. So we thought that was a good place, you know, people coming off, people going on. They had to go by us to get to the "L", to get to the end of the "L". Wee problem was again, still, no...no P.A. system. You had to have an American flag, and you had to have the approval of the local precinct...local....

SHUSTER: Captain?

DRURY: [Police] Captain. And you would be preaching, Bob, and you'd hear the train coming. The train's gonna...the train is getting closer and closer and you would elevate your voice to the point where you were screaming and the train would stop and you would rupture about twelve eardrums. [Shuster laughs] That was.... Wednesday night, Wednesday night in the summer I talked our pastor, Stewart J. Rankin [sp?], into moving our prayer meeting to a street corner. And some of those precious died-in-the-wool United Presbyterians no more wanted to go to a street meeting for prayer meeting.... [chuckles] But we had our prayer in Hampstead, Long Island, and then shared Jesus Christ and probably...we probably exposed more people to the gospel of Jesus Christ on that one night than in a month of this little, closed, separated, sanctified church. I guess that was it. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then a little later on I...I...I became the outdoor evangelist.

SHUSTER: Okay. Back up for a second. When you first came to know God and you began preaching on the street corners, how did your wife and your family and friends react?

DRURY: My wife was not too thrilled. She went to one street meeting with me and then she didn't go back. She was from a very stable home and that's not what you do. You don't go on street corners, and especially I didn't have the credentials, I didn't have the credits, I didn't have anything. And, "Who is he?" you know, "Who is he to go out and tell people how to live for God? He doesn't have any friends, never got through high school..," you know. And really, the only one...the only one that was in my corner was Stewart J. Rankin [sp.?] and I saw him the other day. He's got Parkinson's disease now, you know. But he was encouraging. He was a minister's minister. He knew how to minister to people. You don't find that today. You find pulpeteers but you don't find ministers, ministers of the gospel, people who minister to people. So he...he...he encouraged me. And I, you know...I fouled up on the street corners. I had the wrong verses and the wrong mouths of people in the Bible. And it wasn't...I don't know how much longer it was after the street period that I said to Stuart J. Rankin, "How do you get some Bible training? Is there any way I can get trained in the Bible?" And he said, "You're gonna have to get a diploma." I said, "I don't want to go back to school. I can't go back to school. I've got a wife, you know." And I took a GED [General Equivalency Test, which certifies that the one who passes it possesses the knowledge equivalent to that certified by a high diploma] that was at CCNY [City College of New York] or NYU [New York University] that I finally took the thing, and miracle of God, I...I passed it. Probably got [a score of ] seventy, I think. And then Stuart J. Rankin went with me to National Bible Institute [NBI]. Dr. Young [possibly Edward Joseph Young?] was there, who was known to be the great Hebrew scholar, Dr. J. Oliver Buswell [Jr.] was...Buswell was systematic theology. They ran...it was an incredible school, an incredible testimony, like so many Bible schools across America, moved out of the mission field. They had an incredible witness. They were 340 West Fifty Fifth Street. You could walk from there down to Times Square and share Christ. Eighth Avenue, Ninth Avenue, Broadway, whatever. But they accepted me, they accepted me with reservations, and I became the maverick...I became the maverick on campus. I guess some of those kids were seventeen years of age and I was probably twenty-four then, by the time that I got in there.

SHUSTER: Were you the only veteran there?

DRURY: That I know of, yeah. That...yeah, as I think back...and I know.... But there were, you know, loving...and they were mission-minded young adults at that school which you didn't find. I could name the schools that you would know and I preached at them across the country, and we talk about accreditation, accreditation, accreditation. Everything has to be accredited. But these kids are not really accredited spiritually with a mind set...with a mind set. The students that I knew (and it wasn't a very big school) really had a mind set to serve God. And you had to learn what it was that you needed to know to serve God. A guy by the name of Al Kelly. Al Kelly.... Some idiot told me that, "You've gotta take Greek, gotta take Greek." Bob, I didn't know a verb from an adverb from a dangling participle. And this guy...first year I took Greek.

SHUSTER: And that was taught by Al Kelly?

DRURY: No, that was taught by....

SHUSTER: Oh, I just thought that's why you brought him up.

DRURY: No. Al Kelly...Al Kelly, who was a football player in high school, went to NBI and we had coal furnaces. He worked down there stoking those coal furnaces and reviewing his Greek and Hebrew and Ancient Semitic History....

SHUSTER: So he was another student there with you?

DRURY: Yes, he was an older...older...but a very loving, caring [person]. He wanted to know how he could street preach. I brought him several...and he backed up every time. Big guy, big guy. Six foot-six, about two hundred eighty pounds. But from the day I met Al Kelly, he wanted to go to Alaska. He knew, you know, singleness of heart and mind and purpose. He knew he wanted to go to Alaska. Went to Alaska with his family and he drowned up there. And I preached up in Alaska and they got a big picture of Al Kelly. But he was an asset to me and there were other guys.

SHUSTER: In what way?

DRURY: Loving, caring, knowing that...that I was two steps lower than a moron [Shuster chuckles], and helping me and telling me, you know. And the guy who ran the bookstore was also a student and he helped me. And then, oh, [pauses] I don't know if it was Jim Buswell.... Jim Buswell, who was Dr. Buswell's son who went on to Wheaton. He was the Buswell...his big thing, I guess, was anthropology.

SHUSTER: Right, right.

DRURY: And he [pauses]...no, it wasn't him. He...he...we actually lived on the same floor at the school. Buswell, and Jamie Buswell was the son, I don't know whether you know who Jamie is, one of the world's great violinists today. I...I heard him in concert over at Biblical Seminary a while back. Dr. Fetler [sp.?],Daniel Fetler [sp.?]. He was purged by Carl McIntire [leader of Protestant Fundamentalists in the Presbyterian church in the 1930s and 40s], but Dr. Daniel Fetler was a very loving, caring guy. But...but somebody labeled him as a liberal or modernist, which he was not. Of course, I didn't know a fundamentalist, you know, from a liberal. But he taught great. A lot of these guys were part-time piece-meal. It was right after the war, it was catch as catch can and I found out what men of God were all about. And Dr. Fetler [sp.?], one night, and I was...(I worked during the daytime, I went to school nights, I went to school Saturday)...and he asked somebody to parse the verb and then he walked the guy through the verb, you know. And I saw what was going on. He called on somebody else, same verb, same tense, same aorist whatever. And he walked into the verb and then he put another verb on the...and I could see that was the same as the other verb and all I had to do was is to repeat what they...but I didn't have any idea what, why, how.

SHUSTER: Uh-huh.

DRURY:. He said, "Mr. Drury," he said, "would you parse this verb?" I said, "No I will not." He said, "What's your problem?" I said, "I'm not the problem, you're the problem." I said, "You're the problem." He said, "Am I really?" he said. "How would you like to see me after class?" Then my Irish came up. I said, "I would be delighted." And I thought, "God, you know, we just ended the whole thing. It's the end of my formal education right here?" And I went up to Daniel Fetler and he said, "Where did I lose you?" I said, "How about with the alphabet?" I said, "I guess nobody ever told you but I never graduated high school." He said, "You can't be serious. What are you doing in this class?" "Somebody told me to take Greek and I thought that's what you needed to know God and to know more about Him, so...." "Ah, you poor guy," he said. "How would it be if I tutored you?" I said, "If you did what?" I said, "What does that do?" [Shuster chuckles] He said, "That's somebody personally teaching you." I said, "Listen, I've got all the money that I own and...." Now the G.I. bill [law that authorized the government to pay for the higher education of veterans] did pay but every other nickel and dime on books or things they didn't pay for. I said, "I am broke. I am scraping bottom. Sometimes I don't eat so my wife can eat." He said, "I will tutor you. We'll meet, you tell me the time and we'll try to work it out." He said, "Give me a couple of choices and I will meet with you in the book racks," what they call "the book racks." And that guy did...that guy did. And boy, I went back that night and I thought, "Boy, that's what God's all about. That's what God's all about."

SHUSTER: You mean because he was willing to do that with you?

DRURY: Oh yeah, yeah, sure. That this guy who I thought was gonna...that he would see that I would get expelled for being nasty to him in the classroom. And the way that I said it, he said, "I'll see you after class," and I said something, "You bet you will," you know, something like that. [Shuster chuckles] And...and there was silence and when the kids left the classroom, you know, you heard a pin drop. [chuckles] "Well, that Drury...." Well, he did. He tutored me and I had two years of Greek and I...I...I think I learned half a dozen words and probably John 1:1, a few other things. But I was enjoying life. I was enjoying life, I was enjoying serving the Lord and then....

SHUSTER: Let us back up for a second, how did your family react to you becoming a Christian? Or did they...?

DRURY: Well, my brother, what...the one I met at Moody, the John T. Drury who wanted to be a psychologist, he did a lot of different things. He was a pastor, he had a circuit of churches out west in Pennsylvania.... But he had already become a Christian. But they didn't consider him a Christian. They considered him a turncoat and they said the same thing to me, "When you die you will call a priest to you bed," for the last rites.

SHUSTER: How did your brother come to know the Lord?

DRURY: John? How did he come to know the Lord? I think his wife took him to a little chapel in Inwood, Long Island. A real...if that place sat eighty people it was a lot of people because I went there right after I got saved. I went there once when I was still in uniform and I thought he was a kook, he was a weirdo, it was a cult. And then after I got saved I went back and gave my testimony. But that was in Elmont, Long Island, and the guy who...he went, he didn't accept Christ, he thought it was weird, too, because he had been an altar boy, and he was a brain in his own right. He latched onto a truck driver who was going to that church and the guy really impressed him that here was a guy that was trying to live for God and was a family man and who was not ashamed of the gospel and shared Jesus Christ in a loving way. So that's how he came to know the Lord. And he was a high school drop-out and he went to night school. Now, how long it took him.... I got through the GED in about I don't know how many hours, but he went to night school and then he went off to Moody Bible Institute. And I shared with you how I met him at Moody and he dealt with me. And then he went off to Grace Seminary [in Winona Lake, Indiana] and he still didn't have his undergraduate degree. Then he got his undergraduate degree and pastored churches in Patton, Pennsylvania, and then western Pennsylvania below Pittsburgh and then took a church in Richmond, Virginia, down below...Ettirck, Ettrick, Virginia, right outside of Richmond. And he decided to get a B.S. in psychology, and he did. And then he got a masters. And I don't think he ever did get his doctorate, but he was working on it, I know he was working on his doctorate. So that's how he came to know the Lord. And he was elated. He was absolutely elated and thrilled and blessed when he found out that I was at NBI. And he couldn't believe it because I was not only a renegade, but I was the black sheep of the family. Because anything there was to do wrong, I had done it. I was a gambler, I...I could go on and on with all the things, get drunk on weekends and laying in my own vomit, some horrible things, pretty horrible and rotten things when you look back.

SHUSTER: What about your parents...or your mother?

DRURY: My father...my father died about the time I got saved. I...I really don't know how close it was but I was...I was really just about married and it's all kind of vague. He was fifty...fifty-four years of age, had a blood clot (and they died of blood clots back in those days) and I remember him in a hospital room. I didn't think he was going to die and the only thing I remember my father saying to me before he died, "You always take care of your mother and your wife," and my...my name was "Babe." I don't know whether...I...I told you that about my nickname. It was Babe. "Babe, you take care of your mother and your wife," and the next thing I knew that night or the next day, they...they said Pop had died, and I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it. You know, we didn't have a close, buddy-buddy relationship, but still, I...I thought he was, you know, a little deity. You know, he was Pop and he called the shots and one thing and another. But...but my mother thought it was nice that I wasn't doing the things that I did, you know. I even lost some of her money at the race track and I had conned her into some money and she listened to me. [laughs] You have to know my mother. She told me what she thought. [Shuster chuckles] But she thought it was nice. She wasn't too sympathetic that I was leaving the Catholic church although she was not gung-ho on the Catholic church by any stretch of the human imagination. But when the elder Roman Catholic relatives would come down on her because of my conversion and I left the Roman Catholic Church, she would tear into them, you know [Shuster chuckles], "Babe...Babe is a better man than he ever was and if you were half as good as Babe, doing the things that he does. At least he tries to tell people about God, and nobody else that I know tries to tell people about God." And she would get all over them. So it was a mixed, mixed bag of worms. My brothers, my Roman Catholic brothers and sisters really tried to avoid me because I.... And they tried to avoid John, too...that we were fanatics, we were heretics. There is a papal bull [a bull is type of papal degree]...there is a papal bull that says if somebody deliberately (of sound mind) leaves the Roman Catholic Church and tries to proselytize other Roman Catholics, death to the heretic, death to the heretic and they [those who kill the heretic] are forgiven. And I don't think that papal bull has ever been rescinded. And, you know, I don't know, five, six, seven, eight hundred years ago somebody wrote that down in the law and that's still.... So God blessed and I was on my way. As I said, I did this street preaching, but being a novice...being a novice and never having read the Bible and never.... Nobody ever said you have to memorize parts of the Bible, but we...we used to have street meetings Forty-seventh and Broadway....

SHUSTER: "We" being John J. Gallo, Jim Bocking and you?

DRURY: What?

SHUSTER: You said "we." Who was "we"?

DRURY: Oh. "We" was a...was a group led by a guy by the name of Bill Kendeman [sp.?]. How in the world did I ever remember that name? Bill Kendeman [sp.?] was a guy from NBI but he was a street person and he organized the street meetings and I worked with him. And it's interesting. The guys...the guys...I can't tell you where they all went, but the guys I had fellowship with in the street, every one of them wound up in full-time Christian ministry. Where a lot of guys, you know, didn't want to get involved, they wanted to do their own thing. New York City, Manhattan.... That might be one of the reasons why they moved out because on every side there was temptation, down to Forty-second Street. Even then, you know, the prostitutes worked...walked Forty-second Street. But we had meetings at Forty-seventh and Broadway on Saturday night. They started at ten o'clock at night. We started at ten o'clock at night because Manhattan never sleeps on the weekend, you know. If it's four o'clock in the morning they're coming out of the pubs and bars and whatever, the theaters. And I was preaching one time and I didn't realize that one of the professors who went on to Covenant College (and he really thought that I shouldn't be at NBI, you know, because I was a little bit below the....) and he came to the street meeting. I didn't know it. He was standing on the...on the...on the periphery of the street. And we had enough problems. With...once we got a decent crowd (I'd say thirty, forty, fifty people is a good-sized crowd on a street corner) and finally we attracted a crowd, the police who walked around Manhattan on horses would walk up on the curb and [laughs] break up the meeting, you know. So we had our problems.

SHUSTER: They didn't like a crowd that big...

DRURY: No, they....

SHUSTER: ...or they didn't like what you were doing?

DRURY: No, sometimes the crowd would spill over into the gutter and they would come around to see who the guy was talking, you know? You tried to keep your back to the...to the gutter, at least that was the rule of thumb, so nobody would get behind you. Whether that was real or fantasy or whatever but that...that's what we did. But I got through preaching...and you only preached for four, five, six minutes, not three point sermons. I'll tell you more about that in a minute. But I stepped back in the crowd and this guy came up. "Brother Drury, could I see you for a minute?" And I thought, "There's this professor." He didn't particularly care for me and I didn't like him because in one class he said, "I have to confess that the family that I have, I never had to work a day in my life." And man, that just set me off. [Shuster chuckles] And he said, "I went on to college and seminary and my wife paid my way through." And I thought, "You wimp!" you know. [they laugh] But lo and behold, he was at the street meeting and he put his arm around me and he said, "Mr. Drury, you said the apostle Paul said, 'You must be born again.'" I said, "Yeah, I'm sure I said...I say that at most of the meetings." "Do you really?" I said, "Yes, I do." He said, "What if I told you the apostle Paul never said that." I said, "I'd probably say you were a liar." He said, "I am not a liar, Mr Drury. The apostle Paul did not say that." I said, "Who did?" He said, "Jesus said it in John 3." I said, "Is that in the Bible?" [they laugh] He said, "Yes." (you know, I was probably a freshman). He said, "Yes, that is in the Bible." I said, "Then who cares who said it?" I said, "Do you think that Jesus cares because I said 'Paul'?" [they laugh] Oh mercy!

SHUSTER: What did he say?

DRURY: He said, "Bill, you're never going to be a preacher. You're never going to be this and that! You better get your facts straight," and "Don't embarrass the school. Don't embarrass the school." So, lo and behold, I spoke...years later I spoke at Covenant College and he...his wife, his wife is remarried and she is down here at Quarryville Home [a retirement home in Pennsylvania] and she calls me again and again and sends five dollars or ten dollars she wants to send [for Teen Haven]. She has to call...call and tell me first, "Brother Bill, this is so and so." [Shuster laughs] But he heard I was coming to Covenant and I was speaking in chapel, and he asked whoever lined me up if I could speak to his classes. And you should have heard the plaudits and the whole thing, you know. And I sat there and I thought, "This is the same guy [laughs] who said, "You're never going to amount to a hill of beans.'" But my company...my company, Diebold, on a Friday night...on a Friday night...they call me in, it might have been a quarter of five, it was late, late in the afternoon and I left work at about five o'clock. And they call me into the office and they said, "Drury, you're gonna be in Philadelphia on Monday." Now mind you I was wrapping up my second year at NBI. And somehow they sent paperwork and I got two years in at NBI and got a certificate saying that he's got so many credits and so on and so forth.

SHUSTER: Now what years did you go to NBI?

DRURY: I (and again I'm guessing, I'm the world's worst on time and date)...I would think it either had to be the fall.... I got married in '48. Either the fall of '49 or the fall of '50.

SHUSTER: And you were there two years?

DRURY: Two years. And they said, "Monday you're gonna be in Philadelphia," and I thought they were talking about a job because I...I had traveled outside of the city, I had gone up to...oh, up to Bear Mountain. We...Chase had a vault up there and so I had run hither and everywhere. Matter of fact, I went down to Wilmington, Delaware...down to Wilmington, Delaware, because my second son...was born in...when I was...it's kind of involved. I stayed at E.I. DuPont Hotel and then you had to take a ferry to go over to the southern end of New Jersey.

SHUSTER: Cape May?

DRURY: Down in that area.

SHUSTER: Cape May.

DRURY: In that general area. And they had what they called a deep-water plant, a big DuPont plant. And I was working on a processing machine, the thing, you know, that I talked to you about before, and a guy came in and said, "There's a phone call from New York." And this guy, Neal, who was a practical joker said, "Hey Drury, guess what? You're a father...." I said, "I know." We had two sons back-to-back, I mean like a year and a day apart. And he said, "You're a father!" I said, "I know I'm a father, Neal. I'm busy, I'm up to my...." [Shuster laughs] I said, "What are you talking about?" He said, "Your wife gave birth to a...to a boy last night." I said, "There's no way. She isn't due for six weeks." [Shuster laughs] He said, "Well, you got a call here at the office to find you and tell ya." And that was David, David my second boy. So when they said, "Go to the city of Philadelphia," I thought it was just a short-term thing. And I said, "How long am I gonna be there?" He said, "If you behave yourself, you know, I guess forever." I said, "You can't do that." I said, "I'm in school. I...I...." Because we had classes...right after the war you could take classes every night of the week. I said "You can't do that." And they said, "Well, yeah, they need somebody down there, the guy up and quit, head of the service department." I said, "You're not serious." They said, "Yeah, I'm serious." So, I went back to the school and talked to some of the people who lived on campus, lived in this big row of houses on Fifty-fifth Street and told them, "I will not be here...here on Monday night. I don't have any control...." I talked to Jim Buswell and some of these other people. And when I went down to Philadelphia, I stayed at the Robert Morris Hotel. I had to find a place to live down there. But Robert Morris was right across the way from Diebold office and I thought that was kind of nice. I was still at an early age where I could be...and this was the old Main Line [Main Line in Philadelphia means "upper class"] hotel, you know, with the linen table cloths and the linen napkins, and I had a room there. And so I...I...I had to find a place to live.

SHUSTER: So that was the end of your time at NBI?

DRURY: That was it. And then I enrolled at Temple University. Nobody told me about PCB, Philadelphia College or Bible Institute, whatever they.... And I enrolled at Temple University. And the guy behind me, who is now the vice-president of our board, the guy behind me was, you know, looking at my crosses, whatever and he said, "Are yo a pre-theo student?" I said, "Yeah, I'm a pre-theo student." That's when they still had a seminary at Temple, that was before....

SHUSTER: Temple was still a private school, too, then? Or was it?

DRURY: I don't think so. I don't know, really. I could be....

SHUSTER: I mean they probably wouldn't have a...if it was a public school, they probably wouldn't have a seminary, would they?

DRURY: They...yeah, oh yeah, sure, because they still had...years later they still had the guy from Australia, what was his name, Babbage?

SHUSTER: Uh-huh. Stuart Babbage.

DRURY: Babbage became head of it and then it became Gordon-Conwell and they merged. This was Conwell's School of Theology at Temple. Now I don't know about the separation or what, but it was Conwell's School of Theology and they merged with Gordon and became Gordon.... [Gordon-Conwell Seminary in Wenham, Massachusetts] But at any rate, I...I went to Temple, trying to get my undergraduate smarts, and I didn't hit it off at all with those prof.... These were not the same professors...ungodly...and it's another world when you come from this little, separated, sanctified, fundamental Bible institute in Manhattan to this thing. So I went round and round and I never did complete the...the work at Temple. I no sooner got into Philadelphia and again I got involved...I got involved with the CBMC [Christian Businessmen's Committee], I got involved in street preaching in Philadelphia, you know. I was in the...some people heard about this "bad dude who got saved" and so you were sought after for your testimony. You got tired of hearing your own voice after a while, given the same.... And I did that, you know, for CBMC.

SHUSTER: Let me just ask you a couple more questions about NBI. You mentioned [J.] Oliver Buswell there was one of your professors there and you knew him....

DRURY: He was the president.

SHUSTER: He was the president, right. How would you describe him? What kind of person was he?

DRURY: Oh, gracious, godly man. Godly man. And I was gonna tell you this before when we came to the street meeting. I sat in chapel and he would get up with his Greek New Testament, you know, and then he would get into the Hebrew, you know, and, oh my, I was spellbound. I didn't have any idea what he was talking about, Bob, but...

SHUSTER: [Jovially] Speaking in tongues.

DRURY: ...I thought. "That's got to be God incarnate," you know. And so, I went up to him one time and he knew of me, only that I was the maverick. I don't know. I didn't want to be the maverick. I was just who I was, you know, the street kid that got saved. And I said, "Dr. Buswell, we have a street meeting every Saturday night. Now I don't know what time you go to bed but we can put you on first, you know. If you would come and speak at our street meeting, I know that Bill Kendeman [sp.?] and some of the other guys would really appreciate that." You would have to know Buswell. He was from the Main Line, you know, the aristocracy, yet very precious, loving caring, godly man. He said, "Mr. Drury, could I see you in my office?" I thought, "Oh, here we go again. I don't know what I did but I did something wrong, you know." Of course...the guy I was trying to think of before was Leonard Pitcher [sp.?]. Leonard Pitcher[sp.?] was the guy who nailed me at the street meeting and then he....

SHUSTER: Oh, went over to Covenant.

DRURY: Yeah, Dr...Dr. Leonard Pitcher. So I went into his office, closed the door and said to his secretary, "I'm not taking any calls. I'll be a few minutes." I thought, "Man. You are in big trouble." [Shuster laughs] He said, "Mr. Drury, I know what you fellows are doing out there and I admire you and Mr Kendeman [sp.?] and" another guy...what was the guy?

SHUSTER: Bocking? Jim Bocking?

DRURY: No, no, no, no, no. The guy who was the authority on cults. He became the authority on cults...Walter Martin. He became the authority, wrote books, and he died early on. But he said, "I admire...when I go out and speak at other schools and seminaries, I tell them about what our boys are doing out on the corner, wonderful things, thrilling things. Now regardless of how I say this, you are not going to understand it." And I thought, "Doctor, spit it out. There's no...." And he said, "If there's anything that J. Oliver Buswell knows, he knows that he is not a street preacher." Now, I couldn't accept it then, but years later I could see the Dr., Reverend Dr. J Oliver Buswell parsing a verb on a street corner, you know. And he said, "Please accept my apologies and ask the other young men to...to forgive me." And so he didn't do that. But I had... he died down here at the Quarryville nursing home, and if I can get way ahead of myself, I knew he was down here, I went in there again and again, Bob, and he was in coma. He was in and out of coma and I was never there at the right time until, finally, I went down and they said, "He's alert and he's having visitors." So I went in and the only one who was there, it was Mrs. Buswell at the foot of the bed, knitting or doing something. And I said, "Dr. Buswell, I'm not going to take an awful lot of your time, but I just want you to know that I went to National Bible Institute when you were the president and I was privileged and thrilled and elated to be there." And he, "What's your name?" I said, "Bill Drury." "Bill Drury?" he said. "Is it Bill Drury on the radio?" I said, "Yeah, that's me. There's only one." "Are you really? You're doing that thing with the...with the...with the children and gangsters and stuff like that, don't you?" I said, "Well, [laughs] they're not gangsters. They're poor kids." And back then it was gangs and that sort of thing. And he said, "Mama, Mama, this is one of ours. This is one of ours, Mama. He went to our..," just like a big kid, Pennsylvania Dutchman, whatever. And I prayed with him, I prayed with Dr. J. Oliver Buswell and that made my day. That made my day. And he's holding my hand with both of his hands, you know? Next week he died and all of the Buswells were in town here: John and Jim and Jamie and the whole gang. And they met down here at Willow Valley and I met them. But the following week, the following week he was in the presence of Jesus.

SHUSTER: Dr. Buswell mentioned he wasn't a street preacher. What did it take to be a street preacher? What were the...what made a good street preacher?

DRURY: Guts, courage, a desire...knowing full well, knowing full well that that's where the unchurched, the unsaved, the.... Something that you don't hear about any more is compassion. Meaningful compassion. I don't know what church you go to, I don't know what your circle of friends are, you know, but meaningful compassion. And being, perhaps, able to identify with...with...you don't...you didn't have then the street people that...there's thirteen thousand in Philadelphia, I don't know how many in the five boroughs of New York, just street people. But...and when I got saved...when I got saved, Bob, I just look back and say, "I must have been paranoid," you know? Because I wouldn't even go to the top of the Empire State Building because I knew all these people out there, these people you were going to look down on from the top of the Empire State Building like ants, and I wanted to scream, I wanted to scream, "Jesus saves sinners. He saved me. I was a klutz, I was a clown, a foul mouth and all of that." I think the primary prerequisite is to have a passion for souls. Wanting to see people saved, wanting to see them cleansed, forgiven, restored. A guy that went on to become a commander in the United States Navy and then he went on (I won't name the name the name of the organization because maybe he doesn't even tell where he got saved), but he went on to head up a big Christian organization that...that you are familiar with, and came to me at some kind of a big luncheon, it might of been even 1961, you know, when Billy came to...came to Philly. But anyhow, this guy came up to me, (and at that time he was a commander in the United States Navy. [He] got out, retired, and then became the head of this Christian organization) and he said to me, "You don't know me, Drury, but I can't forget a face like yours on a street corner of 169th Street and Jamaica Avenue." And I said, "Tell me about it." He said...I think he said he was an ensign. That's where you start in the Navy. And he said, "I was a kid, young man." He said, "And you were screaming and yelling, you know, "Repent! Believe the Gospel! You must be born again! You're going to a sinner's hell!'" And on the street corner, you know, you can tell it like it is, you know. You didn't have to use all of the fancy phraseologies and the liturgical pulpit, whatever. And he said, "I raised my hand when you said, 'Is there anybody here, anybody here that really wants to come to Jesus and turn from the crud, the filth, the dirt, the garbage, the sin in their life.'" He said, "I never talked to you but I said, 'Lord Jesus, come into my heart. I need you in the Navy.'" And he went on and on and on. But this guy, Jim Bocking that you talk about. He went out on the west coast and I visited there last year and he is retired; still very British, but a real soul-winner from the word go.

SHUSTER: What was the typical street meeting like? How did you grab people? What did you do with them once you grabbed them?

DRURY: Oh! [Chuckles] We did things, you know, if you talked about it in seminaries today, they'd say, "How crude, how crude!" Manhattan, it doesn't take much to get a crowd in Manhattan, you know. We would stand on a corner, had prayer, walk into a little doorway somewhere and have prayer. Pray, you know, that we wouldn't get shot or killed or whatever [both laugh] and no public address system so we'd go over and we'd look up at a skyscraper and yell, "Don't jump! Don't jump! [Shuster laughs] Whatever you do, DON'T JUMP!" Five minutes, you've got thirty, forty, fifty people and they're saying', "Where, where, where?" And then we would say, you know, "Don't jump into the abyss of hell! Come to God tonight. Come to Jesus Christ. Let me tell you about what Jesus Christ can do for you." Another thing that we did, we took a hat, a fedora hat (wore fedoras back in those days)...took a fedora and put a Bible underneath it on the street corner and then walk around and just look at it, you know, three or four of us walking' around and lookin' at it. This is New York, okay. This is not some rural thing. But people are gullible and they're acceptable and...and you get a few more people and...and..."So what are you lookin' at?" [Chuckles] "That's alive." "What's alive?"

SHUSTER: [Chuckles] And you'd point at the hat?

DRURY: Yeah! Point at the hat. "That's...that's alive. Really is. That's alive." And you'd see people gathering and then someone would go to pick it up and we said, "DON'T TOUCH IT! [Shuster laughs] Get a couple more people, and then finally somebody would whip up the hat and we'd grab the New Testament or the Bible. (Today that would be an awful thing to lay the Bible on the concrete, you know) And, "The living Word of God, it's alive, you know, and the Lord Jesus Christ lives today," and you'd take off and...and go. There was no outlines as such. You took a verse, Bob, and you ran with it. John 1:12, John 3:36, I John 5:11, 12 & 13, but you didn't sermonize. You didn't sermonize...you know, you...you...you just took.... And there is very little of application of the Word of God. You...you...we have sermonizers and we have people who have the "three C's" and "three T's," you know, and all of that. But application.... My own pastor...you know, recently we...we...we're on this kick of a building campaign. I'm so sick and fed up with hearing about a building ca...and...and I said, "Jesus said, `Feed my sheep.'" I said, "Week after week after week, there are hurting, hungry people, somebody on the verge of a divorce, this one just found out a son had leukemia, and Jesus said, `Feed, feed,' and...and...and try to get inside of people with whatever it is that you think and preach and teach and...but we would just take.... But like I say, I was a novice. You know, what did I know about the Bible? What did I know about anything? But God blessed in the midst of my stupidity. I was available, I was available and God blessed, blessed in the midst of my stupidity.

SHUSTER: So you didn't sermonize. You took it and ran with it. But what exactly...what exactly would you say? Would you talk about yourself, or would you...?

DRURY: [Immediately begins giving a sample of a typical street sermon, with some explanatory asides to Shuster] "I want to leave something with you tonight. Listen! Listen! See if you can understand. If you can't understand what I am saying, raise your hand in the crowd. I don't care. Say, 'Hey, I don't understand' [reading] 'For God...'" You'd read the verse, maybe you wouldn't. "Who is God? Look at the stars, the galaxies, the moon. Who do you think made that?" You're on the street corner, in the open. "'For God so loved the w...the whole universe. Jews, Catholics, Protestants." You get a lot of Jewish people in New York. "He loves everybody. 'For God so loved the whole world!'" And you go on and on, phrase upon phrase upon phrase. "'So loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.' He only had one, Jesus, Jesus. You use His name everyday in the streets. The cabbies! The cabbies. You know, when they can't blame anybody else, they blame Jesus Christ. So you know the name." And just take it apart. "You, here, tonight, you can come to know Jesus Christ? How do I know? I did it! I was a dirty, filthy, vulgar, profane, immoral degenerate! A high school dropout. I flunked...flunked everything but lunch and recess! And if God can take a life like this and change it and transform it, He can do it for you! But you have to confess the crud in your life. And you don't want to do that, because you're a pretty nice guy. And there are people out there that do a lot worse things than you do. I've heard that a thousand times. But God loves you. He really does. He wants to save you, He wants to cleanse you, He wants to forgive you. He wants to restore you! Restoration. He's in the restoring business. And He wants to give you peace, which you don't find in Manhattan, midtown Manhattan. There is no peace. Listen to the cars, listen to the cabbies, listen to the foul language. But you can know that peace. How do I know? I've accepted Him. He works for me. He works for me." So, that's about it, really, you know.

SHUSTER: Can you tell when looking at the people who was responding, who wasn't?

DRURY: Oh yeah, yeah. You...the great majority of the people have not heard the gospel, any semblance of the gospel. And you...other people come two, three minutes, and they go. That's why you have to make it...and you have to repeat yourself again and again. You can't have one, two, three points and...you know, you're going. By the time you're going, you might have a...a three times...

SHUSTER: You would have a whole new crowd at the end than at the beginning.

DRURY: ...turnover. You have to...you have to...I've told that to pastors, when I've gone to the Billy Graham Schools of...Schools of Evangelism. One of the questions they ask, "When does Billy begin the invitation?" I think he begins it at the very start of the...when he starts, within a few sentences, within a few sentences you get the message that somehow, before you leave that sanctuary, that ballfield, whichever the case may be, that you're gonna have to make some kind of a decision. You don't know what the decision is, but he gets...gets that message.... And you have to do that in very short order, very short order, that, "Before you leave this you have to decide." You know, "Neutral you cannot be, someday your heart's gonna be...you have to die, everybody on this corner's going to die." I said, "You might be so engrossed with what I say, you step off the curb and say, 'Ah, I don't believe in that heaven and hell', a cab hits you, [claps his hands] you're dead! Everybody on this corner...look at the streets, loaded with people, they're all gonna die. You know that! Maybe last week, last month, maybe yesterday you were at a funeral. So you're gonna die. And the Bible says...the Bible says 'Prepare to meet thy God.' That's an intelligent thing. You got a brain in you head? An ounce of smarts? Intelligence? Whatever? Prepare. How do you prepare? You come to Jesus." And then you'd tell them.... So that's what you'd do, that's what you'd do.

SHUSTER: And then when...after you had finished preaching and some people stay...raised their hand or they stayed to talk with you, what would you say to them? Where would you send them? Where would you go from there?"

DRURY: We...you know, we'd try to get their name and address. And the most difficult thing (and I'm sure this is true...well, I know it's true at the Billy Graham follow-up) is to get these churches that enrolled the year before, to...to go out of their little cloister to follow up people who are not members of their church. People in their own church (at a Billy Graham crusade or any other kind of crusade)...people from the church go (and they go forward for one of many reasons)...the only invitation...the only invitation we gave on the street corner was for salvation. Not dedication, not commitment, not this broad, grandiose type, everybody come, arthritis, halitosis, whatever. But strictly salvation. "You want to accept Jesus Christ, you want to invite Him into your heart. He said, 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock. When any man....' You want to open your heart's door." Get their name and address give them literature that night, some basic, fundamental tract. For years we used Four Things God Wants You to Know. And we would go over those things and sometimes they had to hurry off and we would try to get their name and address. "We don't want you to join anything, but we'll see." Of course, they were from five boroughs....

END OF TAPE


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Wheaton College 2005