Home > Church History > Billy Sunday (1862-1935)

Billy Sunday (1862-1935)

Billy-Sunday-188x300by Tom Nettles

Billy Sunday died on November 6, 1935, a week after preaching against his doctor’s advice. The text for his final sermon was, “What must I do to be saved?” Billy Sunday carried himself with consummate confidence, embracing the demeanor of a successful and well-dressed business man. When he got into the pulpit, however, none of the detachment, undisturbed sophistication, and aplomb of his dapper impression remained, but he took on the persona of a jealous lion, pacing, glaring, growling, and daring any creature to seek to cross him in the territory that was his. His podium and pulpit were his war zone. He could sound tender, savage, imploring, demanding, sympathetic or outraged. In the early twentieth-century, he provided American observers an interesting, and sometimes compelling, figure of the zealous evangelist, the American patriot, the social moralist, and the flashy entertainer.

When some criticized his absolutism and sensationalism, Sunday responded, “If God should ask you sisters and preachers in an audible voice, ‘Are you willing that I should promote a revival by using any methods or means or individual language……….




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  1. March 30, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Wow a rare film of Billy Sunday, never seen it before what he preached like before

    • April 1, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Yet, Billy Sunday preached ‘another gospel.’

      • April 1, 2016 at 11:49 am

        Wow this is news to me. With his rhetorics and people often following big personalities, there’s always that danger people listen more for the show than what’s biblical and true.

      • April 2, 2016 at 4:36 am

        Exactly. Most do not study their Bibles to see if the things being preached from the pulpit are true. On the other hand, many in the pulpit are fundamentalists and haven’t examined their Bibles to see if what others are preaching is true. They believe that those in every branch of Christendom, who hold to the basic fundamentals of Christianity, are preaching the true gospel. They will include the Roman Catholic Church. In other words, they look at Rome and say, “Well they believe in the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, his resurrection, etc…, and so Rome is also preaching the true gospel.” Yet, these fundamentalists have not closely examined the doctrines within the Roman Catholic Church. If they had examined their doctrines, they would see that Rome denies justification by faith alone. This makes Rome an apostate church. Therefore these fundamentalists hold to an ecumenical view whereby they invite Roman Catholics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so forth to speak at their meetings. They return the favor by doing the same, namely: speaking at their meetings. The result is a mixture of all kinds of heretical beliefs about God, Christ, scripture, salvation, etc…, and all for the sake of: “Can’t we all just get along.’

      • April 2, 2016 at 4:49 am

        Had to deal with that very issue tonight on RCC with another believer from another church, just several hours ago. I see what you are saying. Good night!

      • April 3, 2016 at 5:39 am

        Good night brother.

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