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E. J. Norman

FROM THE BIOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF PRIMITIVE OR OLD SCHOOL BAPTIST MINISTERS BY DAVID MONTGOMERY AND MARK GREEN: 
ELDER E. (Ethrich) J. NORMAN

 

WRITTEN BY ELDER NORMAN IN“THE NEW MEXICO BAPTIST MONITOR,”FEBRUARY 1961:
I was born to the marriage union of Wilson and Fannie Norman, September 18, 1886, in Bell Co., Texas, near the town of Killeen.

 

In December of 1903 my father moved he family to Runnels County, Texas.Inasmuch as my life has been in the shadows and the pales of the Primitive Baptist Church I shall closely confine this writing to its scenes and experiences.On one cool crispy morning the third Sunday in May, my father, mother, and five little boys cuddled into the old wagon, trotting down the road before sun-up, the distance of twenty-five miles to Old Little Vine Church. By eleven o'clock we drove into the churchyard, covered with wagons, buggies, and surreys. The pulpit had just been occupied by the dignity, solemnity and spiritual essence in the person of old Elder I. N. Lewis. The vale of solemnity dropped the scene of the entire place throughout that long morning. Then the opening of new relationships and acquaintances stamped a lifelong epoch on my heart that is to this good day heaven’s delight to me.

 

In a few weeks or months after this, amidst the pioneering adventures of a new settled country, our neighbor died. Father and mother decided they, with their children, should attend the funeral a graveside service. Nothing possessed my mind or thoughts through the services until they began to sing the song to view the body. It was the song containing the words "I'm going home to die no more." To my childish mind those words were coming out of that casket. It is so vivid

and fresh to my mind to this good day. As I walked to view that body, placing both hands on it, I paused! Heaven with all its splendor and glory to a barefoot boy, said in tones that I could understand, “Where could you go if that was you?"

There is the beginning of my experience of God dealing with me. That expression has not faded in my mind and memoryto this good day.

 

I united with the Primitive Baptist at Valley Creek Church in Runnels Co. on Friday, P.M. before the first Sunday in September 1909. I was baptized the next morning by Elder T. A. Dunn. I forcibly felt a deep sense of duty to read and study in the Bible then, even as yet my mind was tenderly directed to the beautiful types and shadows of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was in the midst of my studies and mediations that while one day lying on mother's couch after reading an article in the Baptist Trumpet of the labors and affliction of ministry, I was in deep solemnity extending my sympathy to our ministers of that day, and Heaven spoke to me again, not in audible tones, but in language I couldunderstand, "You must preach the gospel of our Savior." My immediate response to that command, and impression was that I turned my face to the wall and wept extensively from the great shock of the burden that fell on my heart. My entire afternoon of labor in the field was a siege of tears.

 

It followed me everywhere I went. I endeavored to conform my school work to my impressions, but to no avail. In my late teens and young manhood the burden was not so intense only when some of my close associates seemed to want to intimate it to me. I thought at times I could eventually dismiss it entirely.In the early part of 1915 my father and mother moved the family to Crosby County, Texas. I thought at times that move would entirely eliminate the impression from my mind. But in the year of 1918 it was bounding in full force, so I concluded that I would just quietly, unofficially separate my life from the whole matter. I moved or went to Fannin County, Texas, and quietly and cunningly weeded out any association with Primitive Baptist. But many and almost every Sunday afternoon I would sit on the back door step of the home where I lived and worked, reading, studying, and meditating my only companion, joy and friend, my precious old Bible.

 

My Savior God gave me a bosom companion and wife while I was journeying in that strange land, which was a great joy to my heart and life as long as she lived and with heavens graces I cherish her life and loving devotion she so gracefully gave to me. We were married on December 5, 1920. In the meantime I had returned to (Canaan’s land) my church and people; to the Baptist of the South Plains of Texas. I moved my wife out there with me and my renewed fellowship and association with God's people was sweeter than ever before, but yet rebelling my impression. In May 1921, the Lakeview Church gathered on Saturday morning for regular meeting. Bro. Dunn had been called away the night before for a funeral. We sang for a lengthy period, dismissing was mentioned. Elder Dunn's mother, sitting across the aisle from me, turned and said to me,“Ethrich don't you feel like reading scripture and praying for us.” I saidno, the most infamous lie I ever told. The years of impression were pounding in my heart like a hammer, the crowd breaking up and was out in the yard, and oh, the anguish, bitterness, and penitence of a lying tongue had to be confessed and unloaded from soul. I went to Aunt Mant Dunn, confessed that I had lied to her, and if those people would come back on Sunday I would follow my impression to serve my Lord and them. We met, I have made slow progress ever since. In August, 3rd Sunday in 1922 I made my first attempt at an association at Rule, Texas.

 

In August 1926, at Loop, Gaines County, Texas, I preached my first discourse that could in any sense be called a discourse. I was ordained to the ministry the 4th Sunday in May 1927. I was called to the care of the churches in Wellington Church and Childress. In December 1929, I moved to the North Plains, Morse, Texas. I served the church there, at Dalhart, Texas and at Forgan, Oklahoma.I moved to Wellington, Texas in 1935 where my membership is at present and have served that church since then.

 

 

 

I have served three and most of the time four Churches since I was ordained. I know I have been a very poor servant all along but did the best I knew at the time.



larry heldman  

Elder James Compton (1905 - 2007)
Elder James Compton was the original founder of the 'Gospel of Grace Tape Supply.' His collection of tapes began as he traveled to Church meetings and Associations recording sermons on Reel to Reel. He has maintained this library of sermons faithfully over the years and are now the foundation of PB Sermons. org. This web site is dedicated to Elder James Compton (1905 - 2007)