Published by Sword of the Lord ()
For the first generation of the twentieth century, the name of Billy Sunday was synonymous with mass evangelism for most Americans. His tabernacles with their trademark sawdust trails meant that revival had come to town and sin was being exposed and railed against. Estimates of converts from his meetings range as high as a million. As a young, major-league baseball player, Billy Sunday was saved at the famous Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. He was a premier based-stealing threat on the champion team, but God called him from stealing bases to “stealing” hearts, from winning championships to wining souls. A main feature of Billy Sunday’s preaching was condemnation of sin, as seen in this well-known quote:
“Listen, I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist, I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head, and I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old, fistless, footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to glory and it goes home to perdition." As hated as he was by the targets of his fiery denunciation of sin, he was fervently loved by the many he brought to Christ. He was undoubtedly one of the most notable characters of the early 1900s. His story is fascinating reading, but it is as a lesson to the lukewarm church of today about what God can do when a redeemed sinner gives himself wholly to the work of winning souls.