Table Of Contents
Biographical Sketch On The Life Of W.A. Bradfield
1973 Lectureship Dedication Page
1972 Gospel Advocate Front Page
W.A. Bradfield: A Great Man Fallen, Gardner
W.A. Bradfield: 1910-1972, Cottrell & McGill
My Brother, Luther Bradfield
W.A. Bradfield, Blessed Are The Dead, Van Dyke
W.A. Bradfield: Love For His Family, Speight
W.A. Bradfield: One Of His Last Gospel Meetings, James
W.A. Bradfield As An Editor And Author, Woodson
W.A. Bradfield As A Writer Of Tracts, Wright
W.A. Bradfield As A Preacher, Woods
W.A. Bradfield As An Educator, Thomas
The Christian Citizen, W.A. Bradfield, Whittle
W.A. Bradfield As A Promoter, Collins
W.A. Bradfield: His Special Sermons, Oldham
W.A. Bradfield: A Friend, Wallace
W.A. Bradfield As Alumni Director, Hall
The W.A. Bradfield Memorial Fund, Gardner
I Missed A Fishing Trip, W.A. Bradfield
Grave Location And Pictures
Contributed by Tom L. Childers 12.27.2014
Biographical Sketch On The Life of W.A. Bradfield
Willie Albert Bradfield was born in Wildersville, Tennessee, December 27, 1910. He was baptized by J.R. Stockard in 1926. He married Hazel Wallace September 16, 1934. They had one daughter, Linda Kay Bradfield Speight. He began preaching in Wildersville, Tennessee in 1939. He attended Freed-Hardeman College, and received his B.S. Degree at Memphis State. He received the MA at George Peabody College. He preached at several churches in West Tennessee including Parsons from 1945-1947; White Bluff, Tennessee from 1947-1949; Fulton, Kentucky from 1950 to 1956; and Nance Church in Alamo, Tennessee. He also served churches at Oak Groves, Kentucky and Holladay, Tennessee. As an alumnus of Freed-Hardeman, he edited an alumni paper called Freed-Hardeman Alumnograms. He published 25 gospel tracts, producing 6 million copies, by Laycook Printing Co. In 1964 he produced his book, Bradfield's Sermon Outlines, and reprinted it in 1966. W.A. contributed articles to brotherhood journals such as Gospel Advocate. He also served as principal of an elementary and high school for ten years.
W.A. Bradfield was best known for his preaching skills. Wherever he preached in Gospel Meetings there were many responses. He had a presence in his person and voice that commanded attention to the things he taught. It was generally known that in his meetings he would continue preaching as the congregation sang the invitation song. He would walk up and down the aisles looking into the audience for those who might be persuaded to respond to the invitation. His volume was loud, and the response was always impressive. One couple who heard him when they were children said that they were afraid to flinch during the song else he grab them and "help" them down the aisle. He had a tag on the front of his car that simply said "Bradfield's Coming." This became the oft used phrase in advertising his Gospel Meetings.
From his youth, Bradfield loved Freed-Hardeman College (now F-HU). In addition to attending in the late 1930s sitting at the feet of N.B. Hardeman, L.L. Brigance and others, he wanted to help promote the college as part of his life's work. From about 1949 until his death in 1972, Bradfield was on staff at Freed-Hardeman College. He served in many different offices including: Director Of Public Relations; Member of Executive Council; Chairman of Financial Aid Committee; and member of the Lectureship Committee. He will always be remembered for his love for young people, and his commitment to seeing they were educated. Stories of his love for Freed-Hardeman were sometimes connected to his preaching. One of his closest friends, Robert Witt, said that people joked that when extending the invitation he would invite all who wanted to go to heaven to come sit on one side and all who wanted to go to Freed-Hardeman to come and sit on the other side. Today one of the female dormitories on the F-HU campus is named W.A. Bradfield Hall which opened in 1973.
--Most Info For This Sketch Came From Preachers Of Today, Vol. 1,2,3, & 4., Special thanks Extended To Dale Jenkins For Insights Provided From His Research On The Life Of W.A. Bradfield.
From Jesus Christ, The Son
1973 Freed-Hardeman College Lectures,
Lectureship Book Dedication To W.A. Bradfield
Brother Bradfield was a valiant soldier of the cross. Not just an ordinary soldier, but one of God's generals, one of his mighty generals, and he has fallen in battle. A prince of a man, a prince loved and known by thousands of people throughout our nation. Any way you look at, it, Brother Bradfield was a great man; great in size, great in a booming voice, great in an outgoing personality, friendly to everyone.
W. A. Bradfield was a great preacher. He preached for a number of congregations on a regular basis, but his greatest fame came as an evangelist. He was recognized as one of the leading preachers among us. His popularity as an evangelist is attested by the fact that he engaged in many gospel meetings, and he had a number scheduled in the years ahead.
Under the sound of his voice, over 10,000 people responded to the gospel call in a public way. But we add to that tens of thousands, no doubt, who made a deep resolution in their hearts that they would live better and closer to God. Brother Bradfield was a great preacher. He loved to preach, not just a matter of "liking" to preach, but he loved to preach, and he wanted other men to preach. He was a great preacher also because he loved the truth and knew the truth. Many people thought of him as "the great persuader." And he was all of that, but he was a preacher that included substance in his sermons. He filled them with the Bible message. Not only did he love to preach and love the truth, but he also had a deep love for souls. And he had that special talent of exhortation. He had the power to touch the hearts of those who were lost. Brother Bradfield's voice was heard in hundreds of pulpits throughout the land. The church is stronger today because of this faithful, sound, gospel preacher.
Brother Bradfield was also a great educator. He first made his mark in public education. But his greatest mark was in private education here at Freed-Hardeman College for the past twenty-three years. He gave a full measure of service at Freed-Hardeman College.
He thought of himself as a "traveling salesman" for Freed-Hardeman College. He traveled thousands of miles to encourage students to come, and to help them work out their plans to come.
Because of his faithful service and dedication, the Alumni Board unanimously declared that Brother Bradfield receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award of 1971, and this was presented to him at Homecoming last November. This was a most deserving tribute.
Brother Bradfield served as Lectureship Director last year. He passed away March 4, 1972. It is most fitting that we honor his memory and work at Freed-Hardeman College by hereby dedicating this volume to the late W. A. Bradfield-Servant of God, well done!
W.A. Bradfield: A Great Man Fallen
(Below is a portion of the funeral sermon delivered on March 6, 1972 in the church auditorium in Henderson, Tennessee.)
"Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel." (2 Sam. 3: 38.) These words are the words of David when he lamented the passing of Abner. I think that these words appropriately describe W. A. Bradfield. A prince and a great man has fallen this day in spiritual Israel. I think of Brother Bradfield as a valiant soldier of the cross. Not just an ordinary soldier, but one of God's generals, one of his mighty generals, and he has fallen in battle. A prince of a man, a prince loved and known by thousands of people throughout our nation. Any way you look at it, Brother Bradfield was a great man; great in size, great in a booming voice, great in an outgoing personality, friendly to everyone.
I would like to think specifically about three things that made him great. W. A. Bradfield was a great preacher. He preached for a number of congregations on a regular basis, but his greatest fame came as an evangelist. He was recognized as one of the leading preachers among us. His popularity as an evangelist is attested by the fact that he engaged in many gospel meetings, and he had a number scheduled in the years ahead.
Under the sound of his voice, over 10,000 people responded to the gospel call in a public way. But we add to that tens of thousands, no doubt, who made a deep resolution in their hearts that they would live better and closer to God. Brother Bradfield was a great preacher, and why was he so great? I believe that there are some three or four reasons that made him a great preacher. He loved to preach, not just a matter of "liking" to preach, but he loved to preach, and he wanted other men to preach. He was a great preacher also because he loved the truth and knew the truth. Many people thought of him as "the great persuader." And he was all of that, but he was a preacher that included substance in his sermons. He filled them with the Bible message. Not only did he love to preach and love the truth, but he also had a deep love for souls. And he had that special talent of exhortation. I think of him as we see a man described in the New Testament, Barnabas by name (Acts 4:36), as "the son of exhortation." He had the power to touch the hearts of those who were lost. I think also that his effectiveness came in that he was a personal worker, a master in personal work. Brother Bradfield's voice was heard in hundreds of pulpits throughout the land. The church is stronger today because of this faithful, sound, gospel preacher.
Brother Bradfield was also a great educator. He first made his mark in public education. He was a teacher and an administrator in public schools for eleven years, and wherever he was, those schools made progress and improvement. But his greatest mark was in private education here at Freed-Hardeman College for the past twenty-three years. He gave a full measure of service at Freed-Hardeman College. He was one of the key men in every step of progress that has been made since he has been here.
He thought of himself as a "traveling salesman" for Freed-Hardeman College. He traveled thousands of miles to encourage students to come, and to help them work out their plans to come. I think it is fitting that in this school year that we have a record enrollment. We had 851 students to enroll, which is a 14 percent increase over the past year, and this is a tribute to his work. I am glad that he lived to see this enrollment. I am thankful also that he lived to see us launch the plans for a senior college, because he was deeply interested in our moving to senior college status.
Because of his faithful service and dedication, the Alumni Board unanimously declared that Brother Bradfield receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award of 1971, and this was presented to him at Homecoming last November. This was a most deserving tribute.
But he was also a great family man. He loved Hazel and Linda Kay and the grandchildren and Bill. He was interested in their welfare. He appreciated them. They have stood by him. Hazel has been that faithful helpmeet through the years. He loved his mother and father, sisters and brother, and he appreciated his family heritage.
I have known him as a close and dear friend since 1949. I knew Brother Bradfield as a hard worker. He always gave his best. He accomplished more in his 61 years, many times more, than many people do in a much longer span. I knew Brother Bradfield as one who set goals and accomplished those goals. He had a written schedule of college activities in which he would engage month by month. He was quite methodical. In fact, his very funeral service was outlined in much detail. I knew Brother Bradfield as a good promoter, a good promoter of any good work that came along. He knew how to promote. I knew Brother Bradfield as a man of persistence and a man of action, a capable administrator. He followed through.
I knew Brother Bradfield also as a man who loved children and young people, and he believed in young people. Over and over through the years I have heard him take the part of young people and he would speak in their behalf. Across the land he sang with boys and girls before the services during a gospel meeting.
I knew Brother Bradfield as a man that could make a matter simple. He didn't like what he called "goose gabbling." It knew Brother Bradfield as a man who wanted to do right. When he erred, he sought to make matters right. I was easy for him to admit mistakes. He knew his imperfections. I knew Brother Bradfield as a man of gratitude. He appreciated the favors that were bestowed upon him. And I knew him as a man bubbling over with optimism, a man of hospitality and of great friendliness.
He serves as an example to us to continue our efforts in Christian education. He serves as an example also in preaching the gospel. He wanted the gospel preached in its purity and its simplicity. He was so opposed to liberalism. I think that Brother Bradfield can with the great apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:7,8, say, "I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." When I went to see him at the hospital he said to me, "We'll meet again." I look forward to that glad reunion when we meet again.
E. Claude Gardner, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 257-259
W. A. Bradfield: 1910-1972
Willie A. Bradfield was born into a Christian home at Wildersville, Tennessee, December 27, 1910. He was the eldest child of the late James L. and Dicie Elizabeth Stephens Bradfield. His paternal grandfather, a medical doctor, was one of the charter members of the Christian Chapel congregation, was a faithful elder, and was an avid reader of the Gospel Advocate.
Brother Bradfield grew up and attended elementary school in the fine Christian Chapel community, and then graduated from high school at nearby Clarksburg in 1931. Even as a child, neighbors remember him as a hard worker.
Following high school graduation he attended Freed-Hardeman College two years, then received his B.S. degree from Memphis State in 1937 and the M.A. from Peabody in 1947.
He married Hazel Wallace of Lexington, Tennessee, in 1934.
While he was attending college from 1931 to 1937 he was also teaching school and serving as principal. He taught five years in Henderson County, Tennessee, and did four years of college work in that single six-year period!
In the early forties he worked two years as District Sales Manager for the Standard Coffee Co., of New Orleans, followed by three years of employment as an Aircraft Inspector for the Glenn L. Martin Co. in Baltimore.
Even during this period before he began regular preaching, he helped establish two congregations at Bargerton, Tennessee, and at Essex, Maryland. His zeal for the Lord's work and his love for souls caused him to look for opportunities to reach the lost. In keeping with this concern, he wrote and had printed a little four-page folder outlining the plan of salvation to hand out on the streets of Baltimore. That booklet was to have profound effect upon the course of W A. Bradfield's life.
The Turning Point
Brother Bradfield said concerning it "I verily believe in the providence of God. . . . Some of my friends had planned to go fishing on Chesapeake Bay July 4, 1944. They invited me to go. . . . Instead of fishing that holiday, I stayed at home and wrote the tract, `The Way to Heaven.' "
After a fruitful work at Parsons, Tennessee, he moved to White Bluff, Tennessee, where he served until 1949 as preacher for the church and as principal of the high school.
It was at White Bluff that he received the telephone call that was to determine the course of the last twenty-three years of his life. President N. B. Hardeman was on the line from Henderson, Tennessee, to ask W. A. Bradfield to come to Freed-Hardeman College. He joined the staff in May, 1949.
Usually when people consider the many souls Brother Bradfield led to Christ, they think first of the immediate visible results of his gospel meetings, the four thousand baptisms and seven thousand restorations. Far beyond these, however, are those known only to God, whose lives were changed by his preaching, who privately rededicated their lives to Christ.
There have also been many souls saved through the nearly nine million copies of twenty-six tracts published by the Bradfield Tract Service operated by Mrs. Bradfield.
Moreover, there are the thousands of students who attended Freed-Hardeman College during the twenty-three years he directed student recruitment, who went out better equipped to save the lost. Brother Bradfield never minimized the importance of that part of his life's work.
Brother Bradfield drove a million miles to preach and to sell Christian education. His last counsel to us reflected this two-fold concern: "Keep on preaching the gospel," he said, "and keep the school going."
"Simplicity Is the Word"
Great gospel meetings with many responses was the rule. It was not uncommon for him to have more than a hundred responses in a week's meeting. He was indeed a wonderful exhorter, but his sermons were also Scripture-filled teaching messages. His preaching was plain. As he said, "Simplicity is the word."
His book, Bradfield's Sermon Outlines, now in its third edition, is dedicated "to my faithful wife who has stayed alone a great deal to keep the home fires burning for me to carry on my work. . . . To my daughter, Linda Kay Bradfield Speight. . . . To my grandsons, Bill Speight, Jr. and Sean, in whom we have such great hope. . . and to their father, Bill Speight, Sr., who is a faithful gospel preacher. . . ."
Brother Bradfield, in his last tract entitled, "Why Must All Men Die?" defined death as a "departure . . . separation . . . release . . . rest . . . sleep . . . going home." He died Saturday morning, March 4, 1972, at about 3:25, with the courage and full assurance of the faith he had so fervently preached. He died at his home, as he had wished it, surrounded by his beloved family.
Just a few minutes before death he quoted the words of the Lord, "My grace is sufficient for thee." (2 Cor. 12:9.) Then he asked for a prayer, to which he said amen, the last word he spoke on earth. Then his brother, Luther, standing beside his bed, said to him, "As I've told you so many times before, Willie, you are a wonderful brother." How many thousands of his brothers and sisters in Christ, whose lives he touched, whose families he united in Christ, whose souls were saved through his preaching, who loved him dearly, can say the same!
-Danny F. Cottrell and James R. McGill, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, page 259
W. A. Bradfield was a wonderful brother. It is only natural for one to love and think highly of his brother, but I consider my brother as someone special. As youngsters we enjoyed togetherness in so many ways. We grew up almost like twins, although he was a little older. In youth we played together, hunted together, worked on the farm together, went to elementary and high school together and to college, part of the time, together. We were baptized by J. R. Stockard on the same day in Sulphur Fork Creek near where we grew up. We attended Bible study and worshiped together.
We took the State of Tennessee Teachers Examination at the same time. We both passed. We taught school together. My first year of teaching was with him at Moore's Hill School in Henderson County, Tennessee. He was principal and taught the upper grades and was coach of the county championship basketball team. I taught the lower grades.
I have always respected him as a brother. He has always been a hard worker at whatever the task. He has been an influence and inspiration to me.
With determination and enthusiastic effort, which have been so characteristic of all his endeavors, he did not let the many disadvantages of his youth discourage him. He recognized early the need for an education. During his high school years he lived away from home. School buses were not provided in those days. During his first year of high school his mode of transportation was a mule. He came home most every weekend, making the round-trip of 30 or 35 miles.
In high school he was active in debates, literary societies, and he was a class leader. When he had a speech to prepare for a class, he would go out to the woods and let the trees and stumps serve as the audience. One cannot estimate the influence of former teachers upon his life, as well as other friends, relatives and associates, many of whom have gone on before.
Working his way through college, most of the work was completed while he was teaching, making it necessary for him to attend many short sessions during the fall, spring, and summer. He completed four years of college work in six calendar years while teaching. On numerous occasions he and I walked about two miles to get to our car, which was left on the gravel road for the winter, and then drove about 40 miles to attend a 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning class at Freed-Hardeman College.
While attending Memphis State College during his early college years and before he started preaching, he converted and baptized his dormitory roommate. This same man, Brother Kennedy from Scotts Hill, Tennessee, reminded me of that event at the funeral home in Henderson after my brother's death.
My brother has been called home to rest from his earthly labors at the young age of 61 years. We have been very close over the years, although because of our respective locations and the nature of our work we have been widely separated by distance.
In my opinion, my brother, W. A. Bradfield, ranked among the top in power of persuasion and radiating enthusiasm. Early in life he developed the attributes of optimism and enthusiasm. His influence through his warm personality, his gospel tracts, his pulpit preaching, and personal work have brought thousands to Christ. His sense of values, friendliness, winning ways, and the strength of his convictions have won friends, influenced people, and caused multitudes to feel the impact of his influence. His work with young people has pointed the way for many to become gospel preachers, and thousands of others to lead useful, happy, successful, and righteous lives.
The last time I had the privilege to hear my brother preach was on his 60th birthday. The place was the congregation at Christian Chapel amid the scenes of our childhood. Our sisters and most of our families were present. I directed the song service.
In June, 1971, he came to Carbondale, Illinois and performed our daughter's wedding ceremony. He was not well then. Soon thereafter he entered a hospital for tests.
My brother devoted many years to Christian education and preaching the gospel. He enjoyed his work and gave to it every ounce of energy he could muster. Long after his footprints have been washed from the sands of time, the fruits of his labor will live on.
One of my brother's favorite expressions was "Pleasant and worthwhile experiences today will bring happy memories tomorrow." I shall remember my brother for his good life of service and for the warm brotherly love which characterized the years we spent together upon the earth.
In countless, gentle,
He lived a sermon all his days,
Believing in folks he knew
And making friends his lifetime through.
Enjoying life, its works and fun,
He sought the best in everyone.
Living his faith from day to day
He sowed good seed along the way.
death has set his spirit free
In fields of immortality
To claim a task of greater worth
Than any he had known on earth.
-Luther E. Bradfield, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 260-261
W. A. Bradfield: Blessed Are the Dead
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write." And I know of no one who appreciated more the written word of God than did W. A. Bradfield, your friend, my friend, your devoted husband, your beloved father and grandfather, and brother. The world today stands in need of the written word of God being read and proclaimed. Thank God for the word of God. Thank God for faithful proclaimers of the word of God. Thank God for the life and work of W. A. Bradfield.
Now this message from heaven. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." This is a sad occasion, as has been mentioned, from one point of view. It is a glorious, a blessed occasion when we read this message from heaven which says, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." And if I have ever been impressed with a person dying in the Lord, as far as my sense of appreciation is concerned, we have before us the body of one who died in the Lord. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit." And again I say, I know of no one who appreciated more what the Spirit said than did W. A. Bradfield. And what did the Spirit say? "They may rest from their labors." Thank God for the labors of W. A. Bradfield down through the years in the vineyard of our Lord. It was my privilege to become acquainted with W. A. Bradfleld years and years and years ago, to be a close observer of his activities and his work. Work, labor, toil! "They may rest from their labors." Isn't this wonderful? After all the hardships, the trials, and the tribulations, and all the labor, God's word, a message from heaven, says "They that die in the Lord may rest from their labors." But that's not the end of this message.
"And their works do follow them." This is not the end of the life of W. A. Bradfield. His works, though he be resting from his labors, shall follow him. God bless his memory. And may this memory bear fruit to the honor and glory of God to the salvation of souls, because of the reminder of the gospel that he preached, and to the good of those that knew him as brothers and sisters in Christ. Hazel, God bless you. Linda Kay, God bless you. All of you, my friends and loved ones of W. A. Bradfield, God bless us all. And may this the passing of our beloved brother make heaven more meaningful to us, we pray in Christ's name. Amen.
-Joe Cooke Van Dyke, Sr., Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 261-262
W. A. Bradfield: Love for His Family
The miles were often long and laced with the dark of night as a noble man would turn his face to a task most imperative for him and crucial for the thousands who would hearken to the message of deliverance from his lips. Arriving at the destination, his immediate attention and energies were directed toward the effective presentation of the unsearchable riches of the gospel of Christ. The big man . . . the big voice . . . the big message . . . all radiated a common factor-LOVE! Many will remember W. A. Bradfield for his love for God, love for the gospel, and love for the sinners. Those who knew him best and loved him deepest will remember him for this love, too, but they will remember another love of W. A. Bradfield, a special love that was shared by a precious few.
A few brief words spoken at the beginning of a sermon; a few slides conspicuously included in the now famous "scenes of the Freed-Hardeman campus;" the phone calls, post-cards, and letters for the loved ones from every city . . . these bespoke the warmth felt by this great man for the five people who comprised his immediate family. Each moment shared by this family will be re-counted in the years to come by us who survive.
To attempt to pen words and phrases which accurately convey this love for his family approaches an impossible task. Many have found equal difficulty in describing this greatest of emotions. Which words of our language have enough expression of depth, yet enough clarity to express love, especially his kind of love, with simplicity? The following is my attempt to meet this task.
His abiding love was exemplified in the hope he had for each member of the family. Most of us readily understand the aspirations a father feels for a daughter, a husband for a wife, a grandfather for his grandsons, and this hope W. A. Bradfield held for each of us. But this was not the hope that really expressed his deepest love. Rather it was his hope that we would all be united again in the eternal bliss of heaven, continuing to enjoy in the very presence of God the happiness begun on this earth. He encouraged each of us through his example (and teaching) to put the kingdom of heaven first. In this he proved he loved his family deeply.
The love of which I speak was also expressed by a degree of pride. The efforts of his tireless wife gave him the assured comforts of home. He was ever proud of her diligence as a homemaker, a companion, and an energetic worker by his side. The pride that "Peepaw" felt for my sons was known by all everywhere he went. What joy he derived from their company and energy! The pride felt for his beloved daughter could be observed in the twinkle of his eyes and his oft repeated expression to her: "You are great!" He believed in the people he loved.
This undying love was expressed by his interest, concern, and awareness for our family. Though hundreds of miles separated us often, he was never far away. Not only could he be reached in a matter of moments, but he strived to keep in touch, awaiting the times of communication with child-like eagerness. He felt a distinct responsibility for each member of his family. In spite of his somewhat "gruff" exterior, he was kind and gentle. He was available for counsel, and he made time to listen to important matters.
In the ten years of our growing relationship of respect and love, he was never "my wife's father." No, "Poppa" gave of himself to make our relationship that of father and son: ever productive, never sterile. He shared the excitement (and the sorrows) of my professional development. I am blessed to have been a recipient of his love.
In the Revelation, John records: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." W. A. Bradfield now rests from a labor that would have perhaps killed many of us long ago. His works follow in the memory of our brethren. His love reigns in his family's heart. He will be an abiding presence as Bill, Daddy, Peepaw, and Pop, the big man with the big heart, sharing himself in love.
- Bill W. Speight, Sr., Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 262
W. A. Bradfield: One of His Last Gospel Meetings
Among the last gospel meetings that Brother Bradfield conducted was one at Paris, Tennessee. He had been in the hospital in Jackson, Tennessee with what was reported as a heart condition a few weeks earlier. In fact, I was concerned that he would not be able to be with us. He sent me word that he was planning big on the meeting and for us to start advertising and with the help of the Lord he would be here and do his very best.
I had never worked with Brother Bradfield in such an effort even though I had known him for about a quarter of a century. In visiting other places where he was doing the preaching I had heard him preach several times. However, I didn't really know what to expect of him for an entire week until he came to Paris.
Ordinarily, Brother Bradfield wanted to conduct a class for young people before each service. Many conversions came from that class and other types of personal work. Because of his health he asked that we not plan these activities for him. He was required to rest some each day and this he did at home. In the evening he would have someone from Henderson drive him to Paris in time for the evening meal. At that time he had to be very careful about his diet. After services he would ride home in the back seat of the car in order to rest as much as possible. All of this will indicate his burning desire to preach the gospel as long as he possibly could.
Brother Bradfield was known as a hard working preacher. I mean by that, he preached hard, he worked at the job. He believed that the whole gospel needed to be preached now. We talked about this before the meeting began and I suggested that it might be wise for him to exert himself less, at least until he regained his strength. He agreed and I'm sure exerted himself less than he ordinarily did. However, this did not detract from his preaching.
Because of his phenomenal success in meeting work, some of us who have been less successful may have had a tendency to criticize and say that it was all emotionalism. Brother Bradfield did appeal to the emotions but not the emotions only. I never heard any man preach the gospel more plainly and simply than did he. He appealed to the intellect and the will as well as the emotions. Such sermons as "Great Scenes At The Judgement" and "The Rich Man And Lazarus" will not soon be forgotten. He had faith in his preaching; he expected people to respond. Several nights he asked me to clear the front benches to accommodate those who would come forward. And they came forward.
Eighty-one precious souls responded to the Lord's invitation. Twenty-seven desired to be baptized. Fifty-two confessed wrongs and the others came to be identified with the Paris congregation. Some of those who responded were people with whom I had worked for months or years and had not been able to move. Brother Bradfield did us much and lasting good. We are still feeling the effects and reaping the benefits of his great preaching.
- B. B. James, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 262,263
W. A. Bradfield As an Editor and Author
W. A. Bradfield was not a prolific writer. He was, instead, a man who spoke frequently and who was busy with many concerns other than writing. However, his writing displayed several of the characteristics which were his very nature as a person.
Influences Reflected in His Writing
W. A. Bradfield's mother-in-law said, at the time of his marriage to Hazel Wallace, "There is a man who will someday make his living with his tongue." This prophecy was most certainly fulfilled in a very successful life. Into this success various influences were gathered.
His school teaching experience led to the practice of simplifying his thoughts and using words and ideas easy to understand. His salesmanship, honed to razor sharpness in the "depression" years, taught him the necessity to believe in his "product," knock on doors with a purpose, make a convincing speech, get to the point, and close the discussion with a decision by the other person. His attendance at church services, Bible study, debates and other religious activities filled his heart with a love of the Bible, a knowledge of the great principles of the gospel, and a genuine love for the souls of men.
Such influences served to prepare him for a ministry of speaking, promoting, and writing. The same principles which were present in and contributing to his life as a person and his early career as a salesman were reflected in his preaching and writing. Thus he knew what he wanted to do, went to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible, did not mince words, pressed the point of his effort, and called for a response from his hearers.
Authorship and Editorship
W. A. Bradfield served as editor of the Freed-Hardeman Alumnograms from January, 1949 to December, 1971. He was the author and editor of twenty-five tracts. He prepared some five hundred sermon outlines in his "suitcase worth a million dollars." He published a book of sermon outlines, first edition of fifty-two sermons in 1964 and second edition of sixty sermons in 1966. In 1971-72 he edited the Freed-Hardeman College Lectureship Book. From these written works the principles of his work as an editor and author may be gleaned.
A. Objective. Each sermon, article, tract, or other written work had a clear objective Bradfield intended to reach by means of the effort. With the objective clearly in mind, the various parts of the finished work were selected, shaped, and revised with a clear appraisal of their respective worth in reaching the goal in view. The hearer could not fail to know what Bradfield wanted him to believe, obey, and become when the sermon or article ended.
B. Titles. Titles were selected with an eye to their appeal and "catchiness," the writer wanting to gain interest and attention by each word. The titles were short and always to the point, three or four words being the usual number, "Christ and the church," "Five Great Questions," "From Paradise to Paradise", with only one sermon having nine words, "Why I Am a Member of the Church of Christ." Seven of the sixty, in the second edition of sermons, were questions, the others were clearly and simply designed to tell what was to be discussed, "Four Types of Sinners," "A Prayer Meeting in Hell," "The Providence of God," etc.
C. Contents. The sermon book reflects the general thrust of all of his writing. He sought for simplicity, practicality, and effectiveness. Each sermon had an appropriate Bible text. Three or four major points were made, sometimes five. These were supported by Bible verses, appropriate illustrations, and statistics. Each supporting element was chosen with a view to achieving the purpose. Illustrations centered on people, were appropriate to the point, and often reflected a bit of humor or pathos. An effective illustration would be used again and again. Seldom did a sermon involve more than one page in the book. Most preached sermons were of the thirty to forty minute variety.
D. Style. Sentences were usually short, with questions frequently used as a means of focusing attention. The nouns were forceful and clear, the verbs were chosen wisely, and the adjectives were few and not "flowery." The point was quickly reached with little time for "wasted space and goose gabbling." Revision was thorough and the polish was applied until the right tone was achieved. Every word was just as Bradfield thought (and he had thought) it ought to be.
W. A. Bradfield was, in the finest sense of the words, a plain, simple, sincere and effective preacher, school man, and family man, in that order, so his wife stated. He had little patience with carelessness in doing one's job, had an objective for each day, and worked long and hard at every task he accepted. If a mountain and he met, the mountain would be gotten over, around, or through, or else it would be moved and that today if possible and tomorrow for sure. Whether as a preacher, school man, or writer, he was just himself. He wanted to succeed, persisted to the end, and made a unique contribution to the cause of Christ in his generation.
-William Woodson, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 263,264
W. A. Bradfield As A Writer of Tracts
In the Gospel Advocate of April 28, 1966, pages 260-61, is an article by W. A. Bradfield entitled, "I Missed a Fishing Trip," which tells how he got into the tract writing business. In addition to what the article tells, Sister Bradfield has related to this writer that the incident occurred while they were living in Baltimore, Maryland, and he was working in an aircraft factory, about which time he was beginning to do some preaching.
Some friends had planned to go fishing the Fourth of July, 1944, in Chesapeake Bay, and had invited him to go along. But his wife was very much afraid of the danger involved, and dissuaded him. He stayed at home and wrote a tract, "The Way to Heaven." It was an instant success and the Bradfield tract service was begun. From that day till this, over one-half million copies of that tract alone have been printed. It has circled the globe many times, and has been instrumental in leading many to the truth of the gospel.
One person thus converted was the wife of a friend in Parsons, Tennessee. As a result, the church in Parsons drafted him to preach for it, his first regular preaching work, which changed the direction of his life and gave preaching an emphasis he had not planned. But with his preaching and school work (at Freed-Hardeman College since 1949) he continued to write and publish tracts, with over eight million printed to date.
The complete inventory includes the following twenty-five titles: The Way to Heaven; The Divine Challenge; The Christian Life; The New Testament Church; Which Church Did Christ Build? (by John T. Hinds); The Gospel of Christ; Which Law Is Binding?; The World's Greatest Question; Personal Evangelism; The Judgment Day; Why Must All Men Die?; Marriage and Divorce; God and Man (by W. Claude Hall); What Does God Say? (by his son-in-law, Bill Speight, Sr.); God's Way of Salvation; Modern Divine Healing; God's Remedy for Sin; What Is the Church of Christ?; The Work of the Holy Spirit; Is the Bible True?; Instrumental Music in Worship; The Sin Against the Holy Spirit; Salvation by Works (by Charles Rickman); Sprinkling, Pouring, or Immersion? (by Bill Speight, Sr.); and When Is Christ Coming?
As indicated, five of the above tracts were written by others. The rest were authored by Brother Bradfield himself. His last was "Why Must All Men Die?" written just over two years ago. All of them are four pages, splendidly structured and supplied with abundant Scripture references. They are clear, concise, convincing, convenient in size and in length of discussion, and inexpensively priced. They make ideal tools for personal work, and have proved exceedingly effective.
Among unique results may be mentioned the following: A man in Dallas, Texas, picked "The Way to Heaven" out of a gutter, studied it, obeyed the gospel, and wrote the Bradfields to tell about it. Another person, a lady, found a copy of that same tract wrapped with a pound of bacon she had purchased; she likewise studied it, and became a member of the church of the Lord.
One department store owner has purchased thousands of the Bradfield tracts and placed a copy with each item or each package sold. There are dentists and medical doctors who purchase them and keep them in their offices. And over forty concerns buy them wholesale-for resale. They have gone to many foreign countries, to the British Isles, Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia, as well as throughout much of North America. Even different denominations have purchased them to study in classes.
For years Sister Bradfield has taken care of the tract business. Their advertising has read: "Order from: BRADFIELD TRACT SERVICE, c/o Mrs. W. A. Bradfield, Henderson, Tennessee 38340." This has included the sale of a convenient wood rack for fifteen tracts. It has likewise included the sale of Brad field's Sermon Outlines, a multi-purpose book actually, fifteen thousand copies of which have been printed-a book owned, published, and likewise sold by the Gospel Advocate Company. It is Sister Bradfield's intention to continue this service indefinitely, and thus make it possible for her husband, though dead, yet to speak and to preach the gospel around the world.
We salute this noble woman in her effort to carry on this part of the work of her esteemed husband and able and faithful preacher of the gospel of Christ. We likewise pay tribute to his memory and thank God that he became a preacher of the gospel and a writer and publisher of gospel tracts. Thank God that Sister Bradfield dissuaded him from an adventure that could have cost him his life, and that as a result he began his successful work as a writer of tracts, which in turn led to a tremendous career in the kingdom of God exclusively. Thank God that he "missed a fishing trip"!
- Cecil N. Wright, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 264
W. A. Bradfield As a Preacher
W. A. Bradfield, my beloved brother in the Lord and life-long friend, was a man of many talents. Few indeed have I known who could do so many things so well. Providence was especially lavish in its bestowal of blessings upon this great and good man; and he was richly endowed with talents both native and acquired enabling him to accomplish vastly more in an abridged life span than most men who are privileged to live out their allotted threescore and ten.
Great though he was as an educator, a writer, a promoter and a counsellor, it was as a preacher that he found greatest satisfaction and accomplished his most enduring work. Here, especially, his dynamic personality exhibited itself, and the powerful and irresistible appeals to judgment-bound souls to flee the wrath to come, which he sounded out from the great lakes to the gulf and from ocean to ocean, will greatly increase the population of heaven.
He was possessed of boundless energy, limitless enthusiasm and the determination to succeed in everything he did no matter how difficult the task before him. He was never idle; and, the word fail he excluded, as a useless word, from his vocabulary. Usually, in the gospel meetings which he conducted, he actually did more work in the interest of the meeting, than the rest of the congregation; and, in consequence, his meetings were usually well attended, interest and enthusiasm were high, and the response great.
His love for the Lord, and his great concern for the souls of men motivated him throughout life. Before he became a full-time preacher, and while engaged in teaching school and other secular work, he had established two congregations; and more than 10,000 precious souls were induced to respond to his appeals as he later preached the gospel throughout the land.
Not infrequently, a hundred or more people would respond to the gospel call during his meetings.
His powerful and effective appeals resulted from a number of factors. He was an exceedingly forceful and pointed preacher. He preached, not only with his voice, but with his head, his eyes, his arms; he was not a mere conversationalist; he pounded the pulpit for emphasis when the occasion required it. His vibrant personality made itself felt in the hearts of his hearers and stirred them to respond to his impassioned appeals. He was an effective speaker.
He was an exhorter in the true and biblical sense of the word. His powers of persuasion were exceptional. But, they were not of the emotional type, nor did he exhort simply or solely for the sake of producing responses. His appeals were to judgment-bound people and resulted from his love for their souls. When he pictured so vividly, as he was often wont to do, the searing flames of hell, it was to urge people to avoid that terrible place; and when he described the glories of heaven it was to induce his hearers to claim the blessings thereof for themselves through obedience to the gospel.
But, beyond all, he was loyal to the "old paths"; he subscribed, without reservation, to the fundamental principles of the Restoration movement; and he had neither sympathy nor patience for the disposition to compromise with error. Time and time again, when this writer, in the open forums of the Freed-Hardeman Lectures, was battling for some fundamental principle of truth, the strong, clear voice of W. A. Bradfield was heard in defense thereof. He was neither afraid, nor ashamed, to speak up in support of the truth, and it was this characteristic, more than any other, which endeared this wonderful man to me.
Not the least, by far, of the rich blessings which led to his success as a preacher of the gospel, was his faithful, dedicated and Christian wife, Hazel Wallace Bradfield, whose love for the Lord and for his cause was fully equal to her distinguished husband, and whose encouragement and support never wavered or weakened, despite the exceedingly great personal sacrifices involved.
His voice has been silenced, and his armor of righteousness, which he wore so honorably and proudly has been stacked, and he has gone to claim the glorious crown which awaits him. But, his work, as a preacher, is very far from finished; like ancient Abel, though dead, he yet speaks, and the influence of this godly man will be felt in the lives of multitudes of people yet unborn. How immeasurably poorer this world would be if W. A. Bradfield had not lived!
- Guy N. Woods, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 264,265
W. A. Bradfield As an Educator
W. A. Bradfield's career as an educator included teaching and administration at the elementary, secondary, and college levels. He approached every assignment with carefully drawn plans, enthusiasm, and energy, which made his efforts repeatedly successful.
While Bradfield recalled his work as a public school teacher and principal with satisfaction, his real commitment was to Christian education. The evangelistic fervor with which he taught, recruited for the Mid-South Youth Camp and Freed-Hardeman College, and promoted the Annual Bible Lectureship reflected his belief in the possibility of making a difference between individuals which would in turn have a positive impact on the church and the world.
W. A. Bradfield taught Marriage and the Family with the same conviction that souls were at stake which he brought to his course in Personal Evangelism. Effective Christian education in the home and in the congregation were responsibilities he emphasized wherever he went. He insisted to prospective campers and students and to their parents that young people would benefit "both for time and eternity" and that an affirmative decision to attend could affect significantly their life and destiny.
Bradfield returned to his alma mater in May of 1949 as promotional director and executive secretary of the Alumni Association, after having earned degrees at Memphis State and at George Peabody College for Teachers. He founded and edited the Alumnograms, the college's monthly news publication recently renamed FHC News and Report. His title was changed to Director of Public Relations and he was made a member of the Executive Council of the college.
Over the years, Bradfield's demonstrated ability to organize and to promote, handling both overall planning and necessary detail, was employed in promoting the Mid-South Youth Camp and in directing the Annual Bible Lectureship, and he was made Director of Financial Aid. He accepted and discharged every responsibility with efficiency and dispatch. Others' ideas and projects were promoted with the same enthusiasm as his own. While he frequently had to wait upon others, they rarely had to wait upon him for action or recommendations. His staff was carefully trained to carry on when his work took him out of town, and he left behind detailed month by month plans for recruitment and promotional activities.
In discussions of costs, financial aid, admissions, and retention, the student was always foremost among Bradfield's concerns. He believed in the open door and worked to remove or reduce every possible objection or barrier to educational opportunity and success. He was interested in enrolling the disadvantaged and ethnically different student, American or foreign, and he took a personal interest in those discouraged and considering withdrawal from school.
The enthusiasm, booming voice, leadership, and drive of W. A. Bradfield are missed. No one could fill his many roles with comparable results. His work is being divided among capable men in whom he had confidence, along lines he had anticipated upon his retirement. Freed-Hardeman College is and will be a stronger institution because of W. A. Bradfield, the educator.
-David Thomas, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 265-266
The Christian Citizen-W. A. Bradfield
Few people have driven a car more miles year after year than W. A. Bradfield. He was a man on the move. Throughout the past thirty years, at all hours and in all kinds of weather, he plodded the interstates, highways, gravel roads and pathways in search of souls, students, and coffee buyers. Yet, in all of this, I have never known this man to have received a citation for breaking the laws of the land. Once in Jackson, Tennessee he made a left turn in violation of a road sign and was stopped by a policeman. I have never witnessed such penitence and submission, and by the time Brother Bradfield had finished, the officer concluded by saying, "Drive on but please be careful in the future." "Be subject to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as sent by him for vengeance on evil-doers and for praise to them that do well." (1 Pet. 2: 13-14.) Someone else in the car was charting the course for Brother Bradfield, but this was never mentioned. Brother Bradfield was ready to pay the penalty without complaining. He was that kind of a citizen. "Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, withstandeth the ordinance of God: and they that withstand shall receive to themselves judgment. For rulers are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. And wouldest thou have no fear of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same." (Rom. 13: 1-3.)
W. A. Bradfield was a concerned citizen. He believed in and promoted actively our democratic form of government. He was a republican, yet he placed greater emphasis on the man than the party. He voted in elections at all levels of government. He came to know the candidates. He talked the issues of the day. He was a political conservative. He was not silent concerning men he supported for public office, because he attached a great importance between the man and the office. He did not mind anyone knowing where he stood on the issues or knowing whom he supported. He was very aggressive as a citizen relating to men who represented the citizenry in a public trust.
W. A. Bradfield was a member of Civitan International, a civic club which actively promotes good citizenship. The purposes of this club and ideals of Christian character would merge into a solid citizenry for any community. The motto of Civitan International is: "Builders of a good citizenship." I have heard him lead the pledge of allegiance to the United States flag many times, and when he led it one could hear him and could know that he believed what he said. He was voted "Civitan of the Year" in 1967 for outstanding service rendered to the club and the community. In 1970 he was voted a life-time membership in the Henderson Civitan Club. He was a frequent speaker at civic clubs in various locations. The Benton, Kentucky Kiwanis club awarded him a certificate of appreciation after an appearance with them.
W. A. Bradfield was a property owner in the community. He owned a residence in Henderson, and a farm not far from Henderson. He enjoyed getting out on the farm to hunt rabbits and squirrel.
He was generous in support of worthwhile community projects. He was very active in getting a girl scout troop and a boy scout troop established in Chester County. He supported these efforts with his time and money.
W.A. Bradfield was an outstanding citizen in Chester County, Tennessee, but of even greater importance, he was a citizen extraordinary in the kingdom of God.
- J. Walker Whittle, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, page 266
W. A. Bradfield As a Promoter
On February 22, 1972 after I had spoken at both chapels at Freed-Hardeman College, I walked down the steps from the auditorium and stood in the lobby momentarily. I read this notation on an office door, "W. A. Bradfield, Director of Public Relations."
The man who occupied that office in such an excellent way had natural talents in promotion. When he believed in the cause, there were few people who could equal W. A. Bradfield's ability in selling the cause to people and in securing an audience to hear about the cause.
A few of many examples are mentioned below:
1. He was director of the 1972 Freed-Hardeman Lectures. It was by far the best attended lectureship in the history of the school. As I sat in the gymnasium for the 3:30 Open Forum on Thursday afternoon of lecture week and beheld the approximately two-thousand present, I realized that this was perhaps one of the largest audiences ever to attend an afternoon session of any lectureship.
2. In early September of 1971, the last year that Brother Bradfield led in the recruitment program of Freed-Hardeman College there was a 14 percent increase in the size of the student body. Many efforts were made but he coordinated these efforts. This increase was noted at a time when many private colleges were dropping in enrollment.
3. The Appreciation Dinner for brother and sister Gus Nichols, Jasper, Alabama, remains a climax in the lives of these two great Christians. It was the late W. A. Bradfield who arranged for this dinner and promoted it. The attendance was large, the program was excellent, and it was an experience in building the faith of the ones present.
4. In recent years, the Thursday evening lectureship attendance at Freed-Hardeman College became known as the largest night attendance of the lectureship. In most schools the attendance customarily goes down on Thursday night but not with a W. A. Bradfield as the promoter. He had a way of encouraging people to come by the busload, and it was his aim to fill the gym to over-flowing. He knew how to do it and worked with the many friends he had over the country. These friends cooperated with him because they believed in the cause as he did.
Faith and Enthusiasm
Were the Keys
W. A. Bradfield was a man who believed that congregations could still have effective gospel meetings. He knew how to build to that last night that the meeting might end on a high note. He believed that the gospel was God's power to save and that people needed to hear it, and he knew how to promote a gospel meeting for the largest attendance on the last night. He was enthusiastic about preaching the gospel and people responded when he called upon them to help secure a crowd. Hundreds of sinners responded each year when he offered the Lord's invitation.
No person has recruited as many students for Freed-Hardeman College in the past twenty-five years as the man who is the subject of this special issue of the Gospel Advocate. He believed in Christian education, he believed in Freed-Hardeman College, and the alumni and friends of Freed-Hardeman worked with him in securing the student body. He made his contacts and whether it was a high school day program, a homecoming, an alumni dinner, or some other special event at Henderson, Tennessee, he new the people he could depend upon to bring the crowd.
It seems that so few people in public relations have the ability to really promote good causes in the right way. The late W. A. Bradfield was a leader in this field. When he believed in a cause, he let other people know it and he made them want to do something about it.
When this man stepped into a room, the other people knew it because he had a radiating personality. He was not ashamed to let people know where he stood, and he as glad to promote a good cause. He did not have to be pushed because he was a pusher of others. This is promotion in its best sense.
- Willard Collins, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 266-267
W. A. Bradfield: His Special Sermons
Even though W. A. Bradfield grew up in a Christian home and attended Freed-Hardeman, a Christian college, he did not set out in life to become a preacher. In fact, he was 35 years old before he began preaching on a regular basis. Then, it was at the invitation and insistence of his brethren that he started preaching.
Brother Bradfield's tract ministry began before his regular preaching ministry. His first tract, "The Way to Heaven," was written in 1944. This tract has been changed very little since that time. For some years, W. A. Bradfield was better known as a writer of tracts than as a gospel evangelist.
Because of the encouragement of brethren, the success of his tracts, and above all, his compassion for lost souls, W. A. Bradfield turned down a high paying job as a salesman with a coffee company to begin preaching regularly. His wife supported and encouraged him in this decision, saying that the important thing was his happiness in whatever he did. He realized he had gotten a late start in life in preaching the gospel and wanted to do everything he could to make up for it.
For several years after he started he would practice on his wife and daughter. Though Linda Kay was quite young at that time, she knew the sermon about as well as her father when the time came for it to be delivered.
For the first two years of regular preaching Brother Bradfield was at Parsons, Tennessee, two Sundays a month and Scotts Hill, Tennessee, the other two Sundays. It was during this period that I first met him, while I was a student in Freed-Hardeman College. From there he went to White Bluff, Tennessee, where he was not only the preacher but also principal of a sixteen-teacher school. During the two school years at White Bluff the school went from a rating of F to A and the church from 45 to 135 members. From White Bluff he came to Freed-Hardeman College and continued to preach every Sunday at such places as Oak Grove church near Fulton, Kentucky; Nance church near Alamo, Tennessee, Coble, Tennessee and others.
The influence of W. A. Bradfield continued to grow. His association with Freed-Hardeman College as well as the wide distribution of his tracts eventually brought him into great demand for gospel meetings. For these meetings he prepared special sermons that will be remembered as long as the name, W. A. Bradfield, is known.
It would be hard to decide whether W. A. Bradfield was better known for his tracts, for his promotion of Freed-Hardeman College, or for his Special Sermons. Likely, in some areas it would be one and in other areas another. He was most effective in each of these roles.
All of Brother Bradfield's sermons are outlined on index cards. In each case there is an introduction, a discussion, and a conclusion. Orderliness was one of his greatest characteristics.
These special sermons started with an idea. This idea may have come as he recognized a need in his travels. The idea was then thought through. The next step was putting it on paper. He rewrote very little. Many of his sermons and tracts were hardly changed through the years.
Why were his Special Sermons so effective? Obviously, there must be several reasons. Some of these are:
1) The love he came to have for preaching. He was never happier than when he was preaching and seeing people respond. His major concern after the heart attack a few months before his death was that he might not be able to continue to preach. It was a great relief to him to be able to hold a few more meetings and see that he could be as effective as he had ever been.
2) Not only did he love to preach but he loved the souls of men. This makes a great combination.
3) Bradfield had the ability to keep it simple. He was modest and thought of himself as possessing little ability. The truth is, it takes one of great ability ity to keep it simple.
4) His sermons were filled with Scripture. The Word of God was speaking and not just W. A. Bradfield.
5) There was a powerful emotional appeal. He seemed to be conscious of trying to maintain the proper balance between the teaching and the exhortation.
6) His sincerity was evident. He was not trying to preach like someone else. He was simply trying to be the very best that W. A. Bradfield could be.
Some of the special sermons of Brother Bradfield that were favorites of his and came to be favorites of many others were: Repent or Perish, Scenes at the Judgment, Dangers Facing the Church, A Prayer Meeting in Hell, From Paradise to Paradise, Things That Hinder, Consequences of Sin, Tricks of the Devil, Problems of Young People and Parents, World Evangelism, Advantages of a Christian Education, Marriage and the Home.
W. A. Bradfield will live on and on through the memory of these Special Sermons and the influence they have produced in the lives of thousands. May the Lord raise up others who will come to be as effective.
- Reeder Oldham, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, page 267, 268
W. A. Bradfield: A Friend
The word "friend" stirs many thoughts. What does it mean? Emerson said, "A true friend is somebody who can make us do what we can." Clarendon said, "A friend hath the skill and observation of the best physician; the diligence and vigilance of the best nurse; and the tenderness and the patience of the best mother."
Brother Bradfield was a man in whom one could completely trust. He knew the best and the worst in his associates and loved us in spite of all our faults. He would speak the honest truth to us while others would flatter us. He would kindly give counsel and reproof in the day of conceit but like the "best mother" he would with "patience" and "tenderness" comfort and encourage in the time of "difficulty and sorrow." He will be missed in the work at Freed-Hardeman College and in his evangelistic work. However, his death leaves a great void in the hearts of all of us who worked so closely with him for many years. He was one to whom one could "speak as a man speaketh to his friend." (Ex. 33: 11.) He was indeed "a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Prov. 18: 24.)
He who has the gift of making friends as did he is most blessed. It involves the power of appreciating whatever is noble and good in others. These characteristics he possessed in the greatest degree. True friendship is not words but meaning; it is an intelligence above language.
"Like music heard on the
Like pines when the wind passeth by,
Like pearls in the depths of the ocean,
Like stars that enamel the sky,
Like June and the odor of roses,
Like dew and the freshness of morn,
Like sunshine that kisseth the clover,
Like tassels of silk on the corn,
Like mountains that arch the blue heavens,
Like clouds when the sun dippeth low,
Like song birds in the forest,
Like brooks where the sweet waters flow,
Like dreams of Arcadian pleasure,
Like colors that gratefully blend,
Like everything breathing of kindness,
Like these is the love of a friend."
-A. P. Stanley.
- G. K. Wallace, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 269
W. A. Bradfield As Alumni Director
W. A. Bradfield joined the Freed-Hardeman family in 1949 as Director of Promotion. His responsibility was to promote Christian education at Freed-Hardeman College in the best possible fashion.
W. A. Bradfield always maintained a keen interest in the alumni of Freed-Hardeman College. As Director of Promotion, Brother Bradfield saw the need of keeping the college alumni informed about the activities of the alumni as well as progress at the college. He was the founding editor of the F-HC Alumnograms, through which he promoted activities on the campus as well as events involving countless alumni members of the Freed-Hardeman family.
Brother Bradfield's efforts at Freed-Hardeman were crowned with success. Almost immediately, the student body began to grow under his leadership. Homecoming soon became an activity not to be missed. In a relatively short time, Brother Bradfield was promoted to Director of Public Relations at Freed-Hardeman. He served also as Executive Director of the Alumni Association.
He organized, promoted, and attended alumni banquets for F-HC alumni all over the United States. He always had a program of excellent entertainment for these banquets; in the late 1950's F-HC alumni everywhere were thrilled by the Skyrockets Quartet, who so willingly helped Brother Bradfield and the college.
The annual alumni banquets on the Freed-Hardeman campus in May were always important to Brother Bradfield. He worked energetically to make them beneficial to the college. He wanted those in the graduating class to be impressed with the need for strong alumni support.
Brother Bradfield was responsible for the building of a better organized Alumni Association. He promoted the activities of the Alumni Association by working with the Alumni Board of F-HC. Brother Bradfield provided leadership in the Alumni Association without dominating their activities. He was always willing to accept a good suggestion and could capitalize on mistakes. He was always optimistic about the future of the college. For each of the 23 years Brother Bradfield was a member of the Freed-Hardeman family, his efforts with the Alumni Association were rewarded with greater and greater response than the year before.
Brother Bradfield loved Freed-Hardeman College and that for which she stands. He loved the people who attended and supported her. He believed the brighter days for Freed-Hardeman lie vet in the future.
The Alumni Association fittingly honored W. A. Bradfield by presenting him with the "Alumnus of the Year Award" in November, 1971. As Executive Director of the Alumni Association, W. A. Bradfield built a strong and abiding foundation upon which those of us who follow must build. Truly, a great man has fallen from among us. We must bear the standard of excellence that he and others now passed so faithfully bore for the cause of Christian education and Freed-Hardeman College.
- Mrs. Freda Hall (Recording Secretary of the F-HC Alumni Assoc.), Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 269
The W. A. Bradfield Memorial Fund
W. A. Bradfield passed away on March 4, and his funeral was March 6, 1972. Many are sending contributions to the W. A. Bradfield Memorial Fund as an expression of love and appreciation for him and his life's work. We are saddened by his death and the great loss all of us sustain. W. A. Bradfield has touched the lives of many thousands through his teaching, preaching, and good influence. Now is the time for us to express our appreciation for what he meant to us.
Brother Bradfield stated, "Now that the scholarship has been met, I would like for the rest of the funds received to be placed in the W. A. Bradfield Honor Fund which will be used for campus improvement. I am quite anxious to encourage this effort in behalf of young people. I have always had a deep love and interest in our youth and your gift for Christian education will strengthen the work of Freed-Hardeman College to this end."
To appropriately honor W. A. Bradfield, we have begun an effort to raise $50,000 in gifts (including what has already been received in the "Roses" Fund), and the college will name one of the new dormitories now being planned in his memory. It is befitting to name a residence hall for students for him because of his deep love and interest in students for all the years he served as Director of Public Relations of the college.
Let us work on the W. A. Bradfield Memorial Fund and seek to culminate our efforts by May 12 which is the date for the spring Alumni Banquet which had been promoted for so long by W. A. Bradfield. Let's make this banquet the biggest and best. We would like for the commitments to be completed by September 1, 1972.
May we urge you to secure gifts in your area for the W. A. Bradfield Memorial Fund which will benefit young people.
- E. Claude Gardner, President Freed-Hardeman College, Henderson, Tennessee, Gospel Advocate, Vol. CXIV, No. 17, April 27, 1972, pages 270
I Missed a Fishing Trip
W. A. Bradfield
I verily believe in the providence of God. Mordecai said to Esther, "And who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esth. 4: 14.) Joseph said, "And as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Gen. 50: 20.) The apostle Paul declared, "And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose." (Rom. 8: 28.)
Some of my friends had planned to go fishing on Chesapeake Bay July 4, 1944. They invited me to go. My wife did not want me to go; she was afraid of the danger involved. Instead of fishing that holiday, I stayed at home and wrote the tract, "The Way to Heaven." About 1,- 700,000 copies of this tract have been printed to date. It has circled the globe many times. Many have been led to the truth by it. One was a Baptist, the wife of a friend of mine in Parsons, Tennessee.
As a result, the brethren at Parsons drafted me to preach for them. I had gone through college preparing to teach and had been teaching for several years. But the direction of my life suddenly changed. While at Parsons 1 went back to college. Then to White Bluff, Tennessee as a preacher-principal and from there to Freed-Hardeman College in 1949. Since then 1 have held meetings in twenty states. Several thousand have responded to the gospel invitation. Now, I am holding many week-end meetings in addition to the regular schedule.
My wife and I have published nearly seven million copies of twenty-five gospel tracts. I have also published five thousand copies of a book. "Bradfield's Sermon Outlines" with many extra lectures. All but about seven hundred copies were distributed in eighteen months after it came from the press.
God's hand is it all. As far as I can see or know, it all happened because I did not go fishing on Chesapeake Bay July 4, 1944. Some small thing guided by the hand of God may change your life. Of course, we must cooperate with God by doing our part or nothing will happen. Let us keep our eyes open to our opportunities
—Gospel Advocate, April 28, 1966 page 260
Directions To The Grave Of W.A. Bradfield
W.A. Bradfield was buried in the Chester Co. Memory Gardens Cemetery in Henderson, Tennessee. The cemetery is located on Hwy 45 south of Henderson about 2 miles. Enter the cemetery to the west and as you enter the cemetery, the grave is straight ahead of you. Go until the road dead ends into a "T". Straight ahead will be a hearse road that goes up to a statue/flag pole at the back of the cemetery. Walk up the left side of the path and go five or six rows in, and look just to your left. The Bradfield monument is the first on the left in the row. If you get to a electrical pole, you've gone five rows too far. The actual GPS coordinates of the family plot is: 35°24'36.3"N 88°38'27.8"W / or D.d. 35.410078,-88.641056