History of the Restoration Movement

Charles Wendell Winkler


The Life Of Wendell Winkler

Charles Wendell Winkler was born January 10, 1931. He was the second son born to Merlin Paul and Lucille Ruby Fultz Winkler. He and his older brother, Paul, Jr. were raised in the home of a gospel preacher. Wendell was baptized by his father, and grew up with a passion for preaching. He preached his first sermon at thirteen years of age. He married the former Betty Sue Hargrove, daughter of one of the elders in the congregation at Port Arthur on September 1, 1949. Born to their union were three sons, Dan, born in 1952, Mike, in 1955, and Tim, in 1960.
Preparation for the ministry took young Wendell to Montgomery, Alabama to study at Faulkner University, then Montgomery Bible College. Later he attended Lamar College of Technology in Beaumont, Texas.
He began preaching in Port Arthur, but his first full-time work was for the Oak Grove church of Christ in Quinton, Alabama. He was there from 1949-1950. In 1950 he went to Sour Lake, Texas and spent the next two years with the church there. Then from 1952-1954 he worked with the church in Rayville, Louisiana. The family moved to Neosho, Missouri and were there for the next six years. In 1959 he debated A.L. McKinney, on the topic of "The Inspiration of the Bible." In 1960 he began preaching for the Airline Drive church in Bossier City, Louisiana. In 1962 another move took the family to Houston, Texas where he preached for the MacGreagor Park congregation. He then took the preaching position for the Glen Garden church in Fort Worth in 1964. He served the church there for 12 years. In 1966 he began instructing in the Brown Trail School of Preaching at Hurst, Texas. While at Glen Garden he was awarded bulletin of the year in 1968 by 20th Century Christian Publications. Finally he was invited to take the preaching position at the Brown Trail congregation in 1976. Three years later he took the position of director of the school of preaching, a work he continued for the next three years.
At the end of the 1982 school year, Winkler announced his intention of resigning to enter full-time meeting work. Almost immediately he was thrust into the forefront of leadership among churches of Christ. He began appearing on college lectureships on a regular basis. He preached in meetings and in other lecture programs all over the country. Reports appeared in the Gospel Advocate from time to time through the 1980s of his continuous efforts where in the course of a few meetings, sometimes over one hundred responses were being reported.
In 1985 the board of Trustees of Alabama Christian College in Montgomery, Alabama announced the forming of Faulkner University. With it they intended five different colleges would either start or merge to come under the umbrella of the new university. One of the five schools was the intention of planting a College of Biblical Studies. To develop the program, the trustees announced the appointment of Wendell Winkler as the new dean of the Alabama Christian College Bible Department. It was to be his work to plan and help bring into place the new School of Biblical Studies. So the family moved from their Texas home to live in their new home state of Alabama, a state where he would live the remainder of his life.

Wendell Winkler was a wonderful illustrator and tremendous writer. He wrote a series of Bible Study materials under the series: Sound Doctrine For Everyday Living. Some of the titles in this series were Heart Diseases And Their Cure, Studying Sin Seriously, and The Church Everybody Is Talking About. While directing the annual lectures at Brown Trail, two volumes he edited stand out as the best selling and most distributed volumes of the history of the school under the titles, "Difficult Texts of the Old Testament Explained," and "Difficult Texts of the New Testament Explained." Both are still in print as of this writing. He personally wrote eleven volumes. Articles written by him appeared in most all brotherhood papers including: Spiritual Sword, Gospel Advocate, Firm Foundation, World Evangelist, Gospel Light, 20th Century Christian, Christian Worker, Words Of Truth and others.
For the next nine years Wendell Winkler trained young men and women in the study of the Bible. He continued through those years to be involved in meeting work and appearing on numerous lectureships each year. At the end of the 1994 school year he officially retired from full time work. He and his Betty moved from Montgomery to make their home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama where their son Tim lives. They began attending the Northport congregation, where brother Winkler taught a weekly Bible class.
During his last years at Faulkner University brother Winkler came to find that he was suffering with cancer in one of his kidneys. It was removed. Within a couple years more surgery was needed. Upon retirement from Faulkner, the Winklers moved to Tuscaloosa, gave their youngest son, Dr. Tim Winkler, the ability to oversee his cancer treatments. After a series of treatments, doctors determined the cancer to be in remission.

For the next few years, Brother Winkler continued appearing on lectureships and teaching in special program. He reduced some of his gospel meeting work, but was always ready for an opportunity to preach.
In 2005 the cancer returned, and as so often is the case, it took its toll on the life of this man of God. Finally on Sunday, October 23, 2005 the life of Charles Wendell Winkler slipped away into eternity. The funeral took place at the Northport church building the following Tuesday. Burial followed at Memory Hill Gardens in Tuscaloosa. He was survived by Betty, his wife of fifty-six years; his three sons, Dan, Mike and Tim; eight grandchildren; eleven great-grandchildren; and his older brother Paul of Fort Worth, Texas.
Thus ended the life of a great man of God, who for sixty-one of his seventy-four years preached the gospel of Christ. He was the son of a preacher, the father of two preachers, Dan and Mike, and the grandfather of at least one preacher, Dan's son, Matthew. Others in the family have and do preach occasionally. He was a preacher's preacher. He trained preachers and church leaders. He was a university professor and an evangelist in high demand throughout the nation. His departure was a hard thing for all who knew and loved him.
Upon a granite bench near his grave are the words, "A Friend Of Preachers."

-Scott Harp, Web Editor, www.TheRestorationMovement.com

Personal Recollections

The design of this website is for the purpose of connecting people back into the lives of those who have gone on to their reward, those who made a personal or even remote impact on their lives. People like Wendell Winkler should never be forgotten for so many reasons. As with every gospel preacher of yesteryear, he influenced people on a personal level. Keeping his memory alive hopefully will encourage those he blessed to continue the course that leads to eternal life. Hence, what I am about to say is meant only to reflect on what brother Winkler meant to your web editor. He and his family have impacted others in their own special way.

It was my distinct pleasure to have known Wendell Winkler personally. I never had him as a college professor, but those I know who have sat at his feet are some of the most knowledgeable and powerful preachers in the brotherhood to this day. While I was preaching in Haleyville, Alabama in the early to mid 1990s, Brother Winkler came and preached a gospel meeting for us at the South Haleyville congregation, June, 1993. Having been in the mission field for so many years just prior to coming to Haleyville, I had heard of him, but had never heard him preach. Upon hearing him speak, I was quickly impressed that he was not one who needed a microphone. He had great volume. But, the content that came from his mouth over the next few days and nights was what struck me most, for in it was some of the finest lessons from the Bible I had ever heard. The depth of this man and the Biblical exegesis was inspiring. I am so thankful that I had that opportunity to spend some personal time with him, and to learn first-hand of his great value to the kingdom of heaven.

I very quickly became an avid fan of this preacher. I looked forward to hearing him at Faulkner and at Freed-Hardeman during the annual lecture programs. During the F-HU lectures, his classes were some of the best attended. He continued in the tradition of Tom Holland (who had taught these in the 70s & 80s) in handling the Preacher's classes. He consistently could give more sermon outlines in fifty minutes than my hand could write down. He was nothing short of phenominal.

It was around this time that I came to meet Wendell and Betty's eldest son, Dan. He was preaching then for the Beltline church of Christ in Decatur, Alabama. For some time Winfred Clark operated a preacher training school in various locations in North Alabama, much like the one that Gus Nichols ran for so many years in Jasper. It was my privilege to attend the sessions on Thursday nights at Winfield. James Wyers, the preacher there, organized the local program, and different preachers came from week to week to teach the class. Dan came down at least once per month. Like his father, Dan proved to be an equally excellent teacher of preachers. I never left his classes without learning something I could use in my personal teaching. Dan and I have crossed paths a number of times over the years. Two of my children, Richard and Brooke, took classes he taught while they were students at Freed-Hardeman University, and he was one of their favorite teachers. It has been my pleasure to work with Dan in gospel meetings that he has preached here in Georgia where I have ministered for many years. It is always a joy to me and Jenny to fellowship with him.

And lest I forget, as if I could . . . an unexpected pleasure was afforded me in January, 2010. In addition to locating the final resting place of Brother Winkler, I had just come from spending about a week in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. One day my dear friend Jeff Jenkins and I, went and had breakfast with two of our preacher heroes, Hardeman Nichols and George Bailey. We spent a lot of time with these men that morning, and ended up going back to where George and his wife live in an adult community facility nearby. As we were there around lunchtime, Brother Bailey asked us to stay for lunch to be guest of he and his wife. If I was not already just overwhelmed at the experience, I was further blessed to have another couple come and join us at our table for lunch that day, none other than Paul and Mary Lou Winkler, Wendell's older brother. I felt as I would had I been having lunch with the apostles! It was truly a day I will never forget. As it was the last day of our trip, we began making our way back to Atlanta late that afternoon. After a spend-the-night along the way, we stopped in Tuscaloosa to locate the grave, the pictures of which you can see below.

-Scott Harp, Web Editor, www.TheRestorationMovement.com

Gospel Advocate Obituary

Charles Wendell Winkler, 74, died Oct. 23.

Winkler preached for the churches of Christ for 61 years. He was known internationally as a “preacher’s preacher,” an author, a trainer of preachers, a college professor and a traveling evangelist.

Winkler is survived by his wife of 56 years, Betty Winkler; a brother, Paul Winkler of Fort Worth, Texas; three sons, Dan Winkler of Huntingdon, Tenn., Mike Winkler of Huntsville, Ala., and Tim Winkler of Tuscaloosa; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

The funeral was at the Northport Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 25. Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Gospel Advocate, December, 2005, page 40.

Obituaries: 'Preacher's Preacher' Winkler dies at 74

Traveling evangelist, author, educator and "preacher's preacher."  Charles Wendell Winkler died Oct. 23, 2005, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, after a long battle with cancer. Born in Port Arthur, Texas on January 10, 1931, Winkler spent 61 of his 74 years behind the pulpit, ministering for churches in four states. 

He spoke at gospel meetings in at least 26 states and was a veteran of campaigns and preacher training seminars. In 1959 he debated A.L. McKinney on the topic of "The Inspiration of the Bible." He authored a series of books titled Sound Doctrine for Everyday Living. Volumes in the series included Studying Sin Seriously, The Church Everybody is Asking About, and Heart Diseases and Their Cure.

Winkler served as director of the Brown Trail School of Preaching, Fort Worth, Texas, and chairman of the Bible department at Faulkner University, Montgomery, Alabama.

His funeral service was conducted at the Northpoint church, Tuscaloosa. 

Most importantly, he will be remembered as a preacher's friend, family members said.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Betty; three sons, Dan Winkler, Mike Winkler and Dr. Tim Winkler; eight grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and a brother, Paul Winkler.

-The Christian Chronicle, November 2005 - http://www.christianchronicle.org/article135~Obituaries:_'Preacher's_preacher'_Winkler_dies_at_74

Charles Wendell Winkler (1931-2005)

Fifteen years ago, Wendell Winkler was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma. The doctors said he would lived five years. Brother Winkler diedat about 2:00 in the morning of this past Sunday. His funeral was conducted in the building of the Northport church of Christ where he often taught Bible classes, even as late as just three weeks ago. The memorial service was conducted by his sons, Dr. Tim Winker of Tuscaloosa, Mike Winker of the Madison church of Christ in Madison, Alabama, and Dan Winkler of the Huntingdon church in Huntingdon, Tennessee. Dan and Mike are both great gospel preachers in their own right who rendered, along with their brother, an excellent tribute to their faither under difficult circumstances.

Brother Winkler is survived by his wife of fifty-six years, Betty Winkler, his three sons, eight grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and his brother, Paul Winkler of Fort Worth, Texas.

He preached for sixty-one years and trained others to preach in the fashion of Paul's words to Timothy: "What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). The obituary recorded in the The Christian Courier says in part, "He was also known internationally as a 'preacher's preacher,' a trainer of preachers, a college professor and a travelling evangelist. But, most importantly, he is loved and will be remembered as a preacher's friend."

Literally hundreds of gospel preachers have been trained, encouraged, and helped by brother Winkler. He directed the Brown Trail School of Preaching in Fort Worth, Texas, where he also taught "Homiletics," (the design and delivery of sermons) and "A Preacher's Life and Work." This was after many years of located preaching work. From Fort Worth, he went to Montgomery, Alabama, to head the Bible Department of Faulkner University. Again, he trained scores of men to preach. Many of them valiantly fill pulpits today. In addition to these good works, the "preacher's preacher" worked with others in the "Polishing The Pulpit" series and lecture series. Brother Winkler was a mento and friend to many. Adam Faughn wrote, "For brother Winkler we are so thankful to God. Now may we attempt to carry on his legacy so that we can see hm again-in a perfect body-one day." (adlefaughn.myblogsite.com).

He will be greatly missed by all who were taught by him, encouraged by him, and loved by him, but we would not call him back even if we could. May his powerful influence for good live on.

-Andy Kizer, Family Newsletter, 9th Avenue Church of Christ, Haleyville, Alabama, Vol. 37, Number 44, October 30, 2005, p.1

Obituary In Tuscaloosa News

Charles Wendell Winkler, age 74, of Tuscaloosa, placed his hand into that of an angel and passed from this life on Sunday, October 23, 2005. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Betty Winkler; three sons, Dan Winkler of Huntingdon, Tenn., Mike Winkler of Huntsville, Ala., and Dr. Tim Winkler of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; eight grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren; and one brother, Paul Winkler of Fort Worth, Texas. As a long time minister of the church of Christ, Mr. Winkler preached 61 of his 74 years. He was also known internationally as a "preacher's preacher," a trainer of preachers, an author of many volumes, a college professor and a traveling evangelist. But, most importantly, he is loved and will be remembered as a preacher's friend.

His funeral service was conducted at the Northport Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Tuesday, October 25, at 2 p.m. Visitation is scheduled for Monday, October 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Northport Church of Christ. Pallbearers will be his grandsons, grandsons-in-law and one of his great grandsons. Magnolia Chapel Funeral Home North is directing.

-Tuscaloosa News, 24 Oct. 2005.

Directions To The Grave of Wendell Winkler

The last years of Wendell Winkler's life were spent in the area around Tuscaloosa, Alabama. When he died his body was interred in the Memory Hills Gardens, located at 2200 Skyland Blvd. East in Tuscaloosa. Off I-20 take Exit 73. Go south one block and turn left on Skyland Blvd. After about a half mile the cemetery will be on the left. Enter the cemetery and go to the end and turn left. Turn at the second left and follow the road around. You will see a stairwell into the cemetery to the right. Go a little further, and you will see a park bench on the right. It will have Wendell Winkler's name on it. The grave is just behind it. While in the cemetery be sure to drop by and visit the grave of another gospel preacher, Paul D. Murphy.

GPS Location
33°10'15.2"N 87°30'42.8"W
or D.d. 33.170889,-87.511900

Wendell Winkler
A Friend Of Preachers

Charles Wendell
Jan. 10, 1931
Oct. 23, 2005
My Beloved Husband

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