Billy Graham Center

Interview with Vincent Leroy Crossett - Collection 288

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Vincent Leroy Crossett

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

List of Audio Tapes in This Collection (Location Records)


Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3

Transcript 4

Transcript 5

Transcript 6

Transcript 7

Brief Description.
Four interviews in which Crossett describes his education at Wheaton and Westminster Seminary, missionary work with China Inland Mission/Overseas Missionary Fellowship in China and Taiwan, and pastoral work in a local church in Hawaii. Interviews were recorded in November 1984, February 1985, and April and May 1986.

Collection 288 [December 1, 2008]
Crossett, Vincent Leroy (Rev.); 1907-1999
Interviews; 1984-1986

7 Audio Tapes


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Vincent Leroy Crossett was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, on April 9, 1907. His parents, Samuel Raymond and Anna J. Stoutenbrug Crossett, were farmers. Crossett was the second of seven children in the family. He was converted when he was eight years old. The family moved several times while Crossett was growing up in order for his father to continue his farming: in 1917 to Florida; in 1921 to Wyanet, Illinois, where he completed his high school education in 1925.

Crossett entered Wheaton College in 1926 and graduated in 1930 with a B.A. degree in elementary education. His employment while a Wheaton student included working as a janitor and summer pastoring in a Congregational church in Alto Pass, Illinois. Crossett immediately continued his education in the newly formed Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, from which he graduated in 1933 with a Th.B. degree in theology. By the end of that same year (1933), he was ordained by a nondenominational reformed church and accepted into the China Inland Mission (CIM).

Following his initial language training in early 1934, Crossett was stationed at Huoshan, Anhui Province. A year later (1935), he married Margaret Elliott, who had served in China with CIM since 1929. Throughout his missionary career in China, his primary work involved church planting and training of new converts to assume leadership of their own churches. Following their marriage in 1935, the Crossetts were stationed in Zhengyangguang, Anhui, also working in nearby Huoqiu and the surrounding countryside. They later transferred their residence to Huoqiu to continue their work in the area, which was hindered by the presence of Japanese troops. In 1939, the Crossetts went to the United States for their first furlough. Returning to China in 1941, they were again stationed in Zhengyangguang. In 1944, Mrs. Crossett fled to western China with her daughters due to intensified Japanese fighting in Anhui; Rev. Crossett remained in Anhui to oversee CIM work there, but fled from the province himself later in 1944. The Crossetts were reunited in 1946, and were then stationed at Lu Xian, Sichuan Province. With the end of World War II, they returned to Anhui Province to be stationed in Fuyang, and then in Zhengyangguang. Due to Communist control of the area, their service there was shortlived. Upon leaving Zhengyangguang in 1947, they took their furlough.

During their furlough, the Crossetts lived in Wheaton, Illinois, while Rev. Crossett worked on a masters degree in Christian education at the Wheaton College Graduate School. Due to civil war conditions in China and the needs of their daughters, the Crossetts resigned from the China Inland Mission in 1948, and accepted a pastorate in Honolulu. Pastoring in the course of a church division, Crossett assisted in forming a new nondenominational church, where he served until 1961.

Having seen the completion of their daughters' college educations, the Crossetts reapplied in 1961 to the mission, by then renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship (OMF). Prior to leaving, Crossett was ordained by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The Crossetts were sent to Taiwan and stationed at OMF's mission home in Tainan. From 1961 to 1963, Crossett worked as the mission's local secretary, which included administrative and financial duties; he also worked part-time in community churches. In 1963, the Crossetts were assigned to teach at the Yu Shan Theological Institute, a school for a Taiwanese tribal people located in Hualien. With a furlough in 1965, the Crossetts continued teaching at the Institute until their 1970 furlough. Upon returning to Taiwan in 1971, Crossett prepared audio cassette Bible lessons for use by the tribal groups in Taiwan.

The Crossetts retired from OMF in 1973 when Mrs. Crossett suffered a heart attack. Rev. Crossett continued his evangelism, church planting and Bible teaching ministry in the United States. He first returned to the small community church in Alto Pass, Illinois, where he had worked summers as a Wheaton College student. While there, he was instrumental in the formation of the interdenominational Alto Pass Christian Fellowship. In 1975, the Crossetts moved to Wyanet, Illinois. While participating in the town's Congregational church, he coordinated a religious beliefs survey of the community in anticipation of evangelistic outreach there. Also in 1975, Crossett was asked to serve as the area evangelist for the Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod. In 1977 he was appointed a part-time evangelist for the Midwest Presbytery of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), which led to his preaching and leading a Bible study for an emerging congregation in Decatur, Illinois. Simultaneously, the Crossett's served as volunteer OMF regional representatives. In 1979, Crossett was appointed the OPC Midwest Presbytery's missionary-at-large. In 1986, the Crossetts moved to OMF's retirement home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they continued to reside in 1988.

The Crossetts had two daughters, Virginia and Margaret, born in 1937 and 1939 respectively. Mr. Crossett died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Marc 10, 1999.

Scope and Content

The interviews with Crossett were conducted by Paul A. Ericksen in Wheaton, Illinois, on November 16, 1984; February 15, 1985; April 7, 1986; and May 30, 1986. The approximate time periods of events covered in the interviews are as follows: T1, 1910-1930; T2, 1925-1933; T3, 1933-1935; T4, 1936-1945; T5, 1936-1947; T6, 1936-1961; T7, 1934-1978.

Time elapsed in minutes and seconds is noted in the margin to the left of the topics discussed. The index is keyed to a cassette copy of the interview, not the reel-to-reel original.

T1 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape.
01:05 Introduction to interview (November 16, 1984).
01:35 Childhood on farm in Grand Island, Nebraska.
04:00 Family life, relationships and discipline.
08:00 Family move in 1917; farming in Florida; return to Wyanet, Illinois, in 1921 to continue farming.
11:50 Transportation getting to school.
12:45 Recollections of school.
14:15 Conversion when eight; influences on spiritual growth.
17:10 Influence of pastor on call to ministry.
17:55 Decision to attend Wheaton College; application procedures.
21:05 Employment while at Wheaton: cafeteria, janitor in Williston Hall.
25:50 Living arrangements while a student.
26:50 Wheaton's academic atmosphere; limited involvement in extra-curricular activities; practical jokes; Dr. Darien A. Straw and Dr. Oliver Buswell and other outstanding faculty.
33:55 Faculty who influenced Crossett: Dr. Straw and Dr. Buswell.
36:20 Characteristics observed in Dr. Buswell; transition following death of Charles Blanchard; relationship to students.
41:55 Wheaton's spiritual environment; control of student behavior high.
43:25 End of side 1.

Tape T1 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of side 2.
00:05 Overlap from side 1.
04:00 Continuation of discussion about Wheaton College regulations on behavior.
04:55 Bible studies and prayer meetings; dispensationalism.
08:00 Ministry by students; Crossett's participated in evangelistic teamsto Elgin and St. Charles.
11:05 City of Wheaton; students housed in community homes; transportation lines between Elgin and Chicago.
14:10 Churches attended while a student; beginnings of College Church.
17:00 Missions emphasis at Wheaton.
17:50 Pastor's influence on Crossett's educational choices.
18:55 Impact of Fundamentalist/Modernist debate on Wheaton.
20:20 End of tape.

Tape T2 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape.
01:20 Continuation of discussion on Fundamentalist/Modernist debate.
03:05 Pastor's recommendation of Westminster Seminary; Presbyterianism.
06:50 Preaching experiences during summers while a student.
10:10 Students at Westminster.
10:45 Memories of J. Greshem Machen as a professor and person.
15:40 Absence of regulations on behavior at Westminster; principle of Christian liberty; seminary housing.
18:40 Variety of theological positions held by Westminster students; late night theological discussions and predominant Calvinism.
21:00 Recollections of Carl McIntire; separatism and legalism.
23:35 Recollections of Cornelius Van Til.
24:30 Machen's emphasis on the authority of the Bible; departure from northern Presbyterian Church; formation of the Independent Board of Foreign Missions; development of Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and subsequent divisions.
30:00 History of Crossett's ordination by and participation in several churches.
35:10 Crossett's theological thinking formed at Wheaton and soldified at Westminster; dispensationalism.
40:15 End of interview.

Tape T3 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape.
01:15 Beginning of interview (February 15, 1985).
01:55 Ordination day after graduation from Westminster; entered mission home following day; impact of China Inland Mission (CIM) policy on debts before leaving for mission field; departure in December 1933.
04:25 Process of application to CIM.
06:10 CIM missionary home was in Philadelphia.
07:50 CIM's thorough acceptance process: health, Christian experience and leadership, doctrine.
15:45 Candidate school for orientation and mutual acquaintance between candidate and mission.
19:00 Interview with CIM Council; acceptance by mission.
20:50 Members of Council; recollections of Isaac Page.
23:25 Mission's rejection of individuals on health and commitment grounds; examples of casualties due to stress.
29:00 Travel by ship to China; typhoon; other passengers.
33:20 Orientation to CIM in China upon arrival in Shanghai; memories of Dixon Hoste; adapting to Chinese food and chopsticks.
35:25 Impressions of Shanghai; bus and rickshaw transportation.
36:35 CIM headquarters; cooperation with other missions; services provided by the headquarters.
39:05 Designations to stations.
40:40 Assignment to Anhui Province; impact of engagement on desire to be stationed in Tibet.
41:50 Attraction of difficult and inaccessible work in Tibet; also interested in Afghanistan.
43:20 End of tape.

Tape T3 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:10 Overlap from side 1.
03:35 Council's decision on Crossett assignment; Mrs. Crossett's work considered a priority; began work in Hoqiu, Anhui Province.
07:30 Language learning at CIM school in Anqing and at first assignment; station; description of course.
11:00 CIM policies for status as Junior and senior missionary status: based on experience and field needs.
13:35 Learning Anhui dialect of Mandarin.
15:05 Crossett's relationship to his senior missionaries, one of which was his wife.
17:30 Imminent danger of Communists and preparation for immediate departure.
19:40 Recollections of senior missionary, Eldon Whipple.
22:15 First assignment in: continue language study, accompany Whipple, tract distribution; working close to Communist-held area; other subsequent stations.
26:55 Engagement to Mrs. Crossett regulated by CIM policies; limited contact prior to marriage.
29:30 Wedding plans and ceremony; honeymoon.
33:20 End of tape.

Tape T4 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape.
01:10 Mission policy regarding length of service needed prior to marriage; history of Zhengyangguang's previous CIM missionary, Henry Ferguson; transition into work.
07:00 Description of the Huoqiu street chapel; description of outreach.
09:15 Seasonal rotating between market days in rural towns for literature distribution and preaching.
12:00 Baptism of trained converts.
13:00 Origins of church; financial independence and indigenous leadership.
16:15 Missionaries' aid to refugees; impact on church's ministry.
18:20 Branch outreach centers (outstations).
20:35 Communion practices using homemade bread and boiled raisins.
23:10 Geographical groupings of Baptist and Presbyterian missionaries; impact on baptism practices.
30:00 End of interview.

Tape T5 - side 1
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:45 Introduction to interview (April 7, 1986).
01:25 Urban and rural work; seasonal literature distribution and preaching during market times.
04:45 Most enjoyable aspects of work;
05:40 Evangelistic meetings; use of posters and Chinese to explain them.
07:25 Discipleship program for men in conjunction with evangelistic services.
09:30 Daytime preaching to rural people; evening preaching to city dwellers; attitudes between two groups toward each other.
11:45 Discipleship period concluded with baptism; practices.
14:00 Indigenous church leadership established; expansion to five branch churches Chinese efforts.
19:00 Inductive Bible studies.
20:50 Transition from old to new missionary; stationed in pairs to counteract loneliness.
23:00 Advantage to work of having children.
24:40 First furlough; culture shock upon returning to the US; supporting churches' reception.
27:10 Changes in Zhengyangguang; impact of Japanese presence and war; predecessors' activity.
30:40 Herbert Kane: ministry in Anhui and escape across war lines; pocket of missionaries continuing to work.
34:15 Sending family out of war area; difficulty for children of separation from parents.
35:55 John Birch; difficulty getting transportation to evacuate; difficulty of reuniting with Mrs. Crossett.
42:00 Restationed in Lu Xian, Sichuan; comparison with work in Anhui; description of ministry; contact with Chinese soldiers in training.
44:10 End of tape.

Tape T5 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:10 Overlap from side 1.
04:30 Comparison between life in Lu Xian and Huoqiu; largely urban ministry.
06:15 Restationed in Fuyang, Anhui to reestablish work; return to Zheng yangguang; reestabishing church life.
10:55 1947 furlough; departure followed by Communists taking the area.
12:00 CIM decision to withdraw workers; missionaries' sentiments about the Communists' plans; Crossetts' daughters primary consideration in leaving the mission.
15:30 Impact of war experience on children; missionaries' sentiments about the future of CIM in China and expansion of mission into other Southeast Asian countries.
18:05 Appreciation for Chinese food, courtesy and loyalty.
20:15 Chinese as theologians and philosophers.
21:30 End of tape.

Tape T6 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:40 Divisions in Chinese churches caused by Watchman Nee and Little Flock.
02:25 Strengths of Chinese churches; suffering brought purification.
05:00 Limited contact with missionaries from other boards.
07:05 Contact with Catholic missionaries workers only in relief work.
09:15 Regret at not emphasizing language learning and focusing on leadership training.
10:55 Reasons for resignation from mission in 1948.
12:15 Pastorate in Hawaii; congregational history including church divisions; establishment of new church; congregation's composition: Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiian; attitudes toward Japanese.
19:25 Changes observed in Wheaton College; grad school faculty.
21:55 Studying in Christian Education program.
23:20 Advantage of holding degrees for work in Taiwan.
24:00 Mrs. Crossett's activities while living in Wheaton.
25:30 China experiences advantageous for pastorate in Hawaii; developments in congregation's history; obstacles faced by congregation; aspects of church life.
29:55 Problem resulting from conflict between Japanese youth and their parents; conversion of Japanese woman.
33:20 Hawaiian church named after king's feathered cape.
34:10 End of interview.

Tape T7 - side 1 (Click to link to the transcript of this tape)
00:00 Beginning of tape.
01:05 Introduction to interview (May 30, 1986).
01:25 Prayer with CIM leader Dixon Hoste.
03:00 Impressions of John Birch: evangelistic, military responsibilities during WW2, death; founding and impressions of John Birch Society; meeting with Birch's parents.
08:15 Process of returning to the mission field with Overseas Missionary Fellowship; application and assignment to Taiwan as OMF local secretary.
10:15 Feelings about and description of work as secretary.
12:05 Assignment to work among Tsou tribal people.
13:25 Transfer to Yu Shan Theological Institute; examination process by Institute; prestige of bachelor and masters degrees.
16:35 Need for trained leadership in tribal churches; widespread impact of woman evangelist's ministry; enthusiasm accompanied by absence of leadership.
20:00 Preparation of tribal language tapes to provide Christian instruction; adaptable to theological education by extension; outline of program.
23:10 Institute graduates serving as pastors; absence of financial respon sibility for indigenous churches; widespread manipulation and abuse of tribal Taiwanese.
28:30 Varying level of appreciation by tribal church of the Institute; history of education among tribal Taiwanese; components in program.
31:25 Theological Institute's educational program.
32:20 Inclusion of women in student body.
33:10 Industrialization in export processing zones led to OMF outreach among factory workers, most of whom are tribal people.
34:45 Leadership status of pastor among tribal Christians and general tribal community.
35:50 Strengths of tribal church.
36:40 Openness of young tribal people to Gospel; alcoholism among tribal people.
38:10 Theological debates in Taiwan between liberal and evangelical Chris tians; influence of Taiwanese evangelicals; independence movement among Taiwanese tribal groups.
42:00 Alcohol issue in Taiwanese church.
43:25 End of tape.

Tape T7 - side 2
00:00 Beginning of tape.
00:05 Overlap from side 1.
00:10 Practical ministry experience required of students at Theological Institute.
01:05 Spiritual renewal movement, "prayer mountains," in Taiwan through influence of Korean church; extremes.
03:35 Retirement due to Mrs. Crossett's heart attack.
04:45 Changes in American churches since 1962 experience in Hawaii.
05:40 History of and changes in Hawaiian churches.
08:00 Changes in church in Alto Pass, Illinois; congregation's invitation for Crossett to pastor church.
10:40 Involvement with Alto Pass Christian Fellowship; problems with member stemming from Crossett's mistakenly being identified with the United Presbyterian Church; continued ministry.
16:20 Church planting and evangelism with Reformed Presbyterian Church Evangelical Synod (RPCES); granted permission by Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) to work outside presbytery boundaries.
19:00 Church planting for OPC.
19:45 Comparison between church planting in the US and overseas; impact of Christian pluralism in America; content of message to Chinese Buddhists.
24:15 Religious beliefs survey in anticipation of church planting program in Wyanet, Illinois.
27:05 Responsibilities as OMF regional representative; prayer conferences; scope of coverage.
32:25 Changes in OMF since beginning of missionary career: requirements of workers, financial planning, diversified leadership, size.
34:15 Characterization of prayer and financial supporters; OMF financial policies.
38:30 End of tape.


The materials in this collection were received by the Center in November 1984, February 1985, April and May 1986, from Vincent Crossett.

Accession 84-134, 85-20, 86-32, 86-81
May 17, 1988
Paul A. Ericksen
J. Nasgowitz
J. Watson

January 25, 1990, revised
J. Nasgowitz

Accession 84-134, 85-20, 86-32, 86-81
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

T1 - Interview with Vincent Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on November 16, 1984; reel-to-reel, one side only, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 60 minutes (1 hour).

T2 - Continuation of interview on T1. One side only, approximately 40 minutes.

T3 - Interview with Vincent Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on February 15, 1985; reel-to-reel, one side only, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 80 minutes (1 hour, 20 minutes).

T4 - Continuation of interview on T3. One side only, approximately 30 minutes.

T5 - Interview with Vincent Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on April 7, 1986; reel-to-reel, one side only, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 60 minutes (1 hour).

T6 - Continuation of interview on T5. One side only, approximately 35 minutes.

T7 - Interview with Vincent Crossett by Paul Ericksen. Recorded on May 30, 1986; reel-to-reel, one side only, 3-3/4 i.p.s. Approximately 80 minutes (1 hour, 20 minutes).

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