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C.E. Smith



Elder Smith was born March 14, 1890, at Mulberry, Okla. and died Feb. 5, 1968 at Shawnee, Okla. He was licensed to preach, for another denomination, in July 1918 and was ordained the same year. He obtained a high degree of education and was a very able preacher. Elder Smith came to the Primitive Baptists in 1957, and until the time of his death, in Feb. 1968, was busy proclaiming the doctrines of Sovereign Grace. He was used of the Lord both in the capacity of pastor and evangelist. He was married to Merle Ethel Reynolds May 17, 1926. They had eight sons and one daughter.

Elder C. E. Smith of Shawnee, Oklahoma preached for the Missionary Baptists most of his life. He attended the Moody Bible Institute and another Bible institute in Los Angeles, California.

In the mid-1950's, he was upstairs in his study reading the 31st chapter of Jeremiah and the quotation of it in Hebrews chapter 8. According to his own oft-repeated testimony, the "shalls" and "wills" seemed to leap from the pages. He said, "I could see that those seemingly race-wide and universal expressions in such places as John 3:16, Hebrews 2:9 and 1 John 2:2 all had their meets and bounds in the Everlasting Covenant." He exclaimed out loud, though all alone at the time, "Oh,
Lord! These Hard-shells that I have castigated, slandered and vilified, have the truth!" He joined the Primitive Baptists, was baptized and later ordained. He said he wanted to preach forty years for them. Although he only lived to preach about ten years beyond that time, he preached nonstop in many states and did more preaching in those ten years than most men would do in forty years. He would sometimes quote from memory the entire 20th chapter of Revelation or the first chapter of John's gospel before preaching on it. He could quote some chapters of the Bible in both Greek and English. He was a superb scriptorian and an engaging, earnest, energetic speaker.

Elder Smith is also remembered for walking about ten miles daily, preaching to himself as he walked. He claimed that he meditated better while walking as it increased his circulation, and that thoughts and scriptures came to him more readily. If someone beckoned him to end his walk prematurely, he would often respond, "Not just yet. I haven't got this quite preached out."

While staying in the homes of church brethren in his travels, he would often return from these walks with groceries for his host family, and is most fondly remembered for bringing Hostess Twinkies and cupcakes for the children of the house. These children are grown today,but these memories are precious.

I was one of those children. I was almost a teenager before I began to think of this great man as "Elder C .E. Smith," because to me and my brother David, he was always The Hostess Twinkie Man. Elder Smith and my father, Elder Sonny Pyles, were dear friends. When I was around three or four, Hostess Twinkie Man would come visit us in our little house in Dallas. Being a kind old soul, and probably recognizing that my father (then still in his twenties) was struggling to support a family of five, he would always arrive with two or three large sacks of groceries. And those sacks always contained lots of Hostess Twinkies for David and me (my younger brother Danny was still a baby). I can still see him towering benevolently in the doorway with those much-anticipated sacks in hisarms.

He was so interesting. He had a special way with children, and David and I thought he came just to see us. Each morning, Hostess Twinkie Man would slip out the back door, as he knew Daddy needed to work. He was a gentlemanly elder who knew the wisdom of "avoiding even the appearance of evil" and so he would never have considered staying in the house with Mother all day. Since he traveled by bus, he was on foot. And so off he would go, walking up the railroad tracks toward downtown Dallas (which was many, many miles away). David and I would climb the big tree to catch the last glimpse of him disappearing into the city skyline beyond our backyard horizon. We figured he was secretly mighty important -- maybe he was like Superman, going off on missions to save downtown people from certain doom or something. Late afternoon, he would come walking back up the tracks. David and I would be at the back fence watching for him. It wasHostess Twinkie Time.

I remember David and I lurking, as silently as possible for preschoolers, outside the bathroom door while he took his bath. He would stay in there for what seemed like an eternity to two little towheads who just wanted him to come out and tell more stories. He did a form of hydrotherapy in the bath for his circulation, and so he would splash very loudly, something we got in trouble for. David and I would look at each other all big-eyed and gaspy. Then we'd watch for water to flood under the door like Mother always said it would if we splashed, and we'd wonder how Hostess Twinkie Man got away with being so naughty. And then it would get real quiet in there for a long time. He was cleaning the bathroom. Mother was always charmed that he left the bathroom scrubbed and sparkling every time, not a drop of water anywhere. He was a kind guest to this young, tired mother.

Elder Smith was especially drawn to my younger brother Danny, who is autistic and mute. The years that Elder Smith visited our family regularly were very difficult years for Danny, who was just a toddler at that time. As a child Danny had frequent seizures, several per day, and was often in a very agitated state. Elder Smith would bounce Danny on his knee and preach to him in a very rhythmic, soothing voice. Danny loved it, and would calm down. Once, my mother entered a room to find

Elder Smith pacing back and forth at the window, watching Danny just outside. He seemed to be lost in prayer, and was softly chanting to himself, "A God-sent trial, a God-sent trial." Our family has held onto the balancing, humbling effect of that phrase; so perceptive, so simple yet so profound. Elder Smith had a way of saying things like that. As a small child in the church, I didn't know a thing about his preaching. For those of you who knew him as a preacher, when you think of him you probably hear a certain distinctive voice. I can't even remember his voice. But I remember his actions, which to the small child I was then, spoke much louder. I knew he was a great man, a Godly man, and I was his special buddy. I knew he loved me.And Herein lies something I hope all Primitive Baptists, but most especially the elders, will hold in your hearts. At that early stage in life when David and I were just learning the definitions of things, Hostess Twinkie Man provided our earliest, formative definition of what a Primitive Baptist preacher is. To us, a Primitive Baptist preacher was a big fellow with good manners, who leaves things better than he found them, who tells good stories, who shares his sweets, and who loves children. He's a Hostess Twinkie Man.

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)