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Sonny Pyles



Elder W. A. (Sonny) Pyles was born February 22, 1939 in Love County, Oklahoma, the eldest of four children born to William A. and Eula Kingston Pyles. As a small child, he possessed a deep curiosity about God and the things of nature, which prompted him to read widely from an early age. He committed vast portions of scripture to memory as a young boy. He was first called upon to speak in church at the age of fifteen, and was ordained December 29,1963 at the age of 24. He became pastor of Medlan Chapel Primitive Baptist Church Located in the countryside near Graham, Texas, in 1965. He has labored diligently to serve God's people, in pastoring his home church as well as in travelling to appointments all across the United States, having flown over one million miles to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has also maintained a radio ministry across the country through The Gospel of Grace Ministries broadcasts. The hallmarks of his preaching style include colorful illustrations, practical wisdom, abundant quotation of scripture, a gift for making profound truths understandable even for young children, and an never-wavering focus on the glory and sovereignty of God.

ELDER PYLES WRITES: My father's people have been Primitive Baptists for many generations. My mother was a Southern Baptist but united with the Primitive Baptists the same day I did. My uncle, Elder Ray Piles (Our family name has been spelled either "Piles" or "Pyles" by various members. I spell it "Pyles" because my father did), preached for many years, and my great-uncle, Elder R.L. "Rube" Piles, was a signer of the Fulton, Kentucky Confession of Faith. There was also a great-great great uncle named Alexander Campbell who also preached for the Baptists but later started his own movement and became better known than the rest of us!
My childhood impressions were influenced by my mother's former church. I united with the Missionary Baptists at ten years of age and had a serious, though secret, desire to preach what I thought was the gospel. Our family moved to Dallas, Texas, when I was thirteen. My father began to take us regularly to the church, pastored by Elder W.W. Fowler. Dad had been very involved in the business world up to this time and was now taking us to a Primitive Baptist Church each Sunday for the first time in our lives. In a few months, three members of his family came asking for a home in the true church. My mother, my sister, and the unworthy writer were all baptized the same evening by Elder J.P. Dale. My own experience causes me to believe that many children are outside the church simply because they were not taken to church enough and properly influenced by their parents.

The Lord used Elder W. J. Blackmon of Logansport, Louisiana, at a meeting at Luling, Texas, in June 1952 to open my eyes to the truth. Elder Blackmon harmonized the "worlds" of John 3:16, 17:9, Luke 2:1, Heb. 9:26, I John 5:19, with the "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," of Romans 9:13. This message caused me to listen more attentively to the other preachers during the meeting. The Arminian sandcastle that I had built soon came tumbling down.

Our church was prospering and I had many young friends; but a terrible division occurred when I was fifteen and many of my friends left with their parents and started a church in another part of town. This was hard for a teenager to understand. I was called on to make my first efforts to speak shortly after the division and did so regularly for a few years. However, our state continued to be torn with strife and I began to ask myself some burning questions: Can we be the true church and be in such a divided state? Are you a Primitive Baptist because of the influence of others or have you had a real experience of grace and call to the ministry? For about four years, my beliefs were put to a rigid test and much scriptural investigation.

I am ashamed of these years of rebellion. As a youth, I had visualized the church as a place of rest and ease, not realizing that we have warfare to fight in this life. My failures have been frequent, and my mistakes have been many! The Lord delivered me from this terrible wilderness period of my life and enabled me to see that the worst of His children were better than I and that His church, though tempest-tossed and made up of imperfect disciples, was a far better place than this world could offer or that I could ever deserve.

Thanks to the Lord for the Primitive Baptist heritage already mentioned and for a spiritual, wise and patient mother. Thanks to our Lord for a beautiful girl named Sarah Rushing, whom I met on the steps of Morris Memorial Church in Memphis, Tennessee, at about 10 a.m. on July 12, 1956, and whom I married on June 7, 1957. My wife has been the fulfillment to me of the promises of Proverbs 19:14 and Proverbs 18:22.

We have been blessed with David, Lynn, and Daniel. It has been my privilege to baptize David and Lynn and to have shared many spiritual conversations and experiences with them. Daniel (Danny) is our special autistic/mute child. He has always lived at home and has been a great blessing to our family. Danny has many friends everywhere we have visited and enjoys going to church meetings. David (whose biography precedes mine) was ordained to the ministry in 1984 and has written prolifically on Biblical topics. Our daughter, Lynn Pyles Bruce, is a devoted wife and mother and has written extensively on matters of Christian family life and hosts an Internet fellowship for Primitive Baptist parents. At the time of this writing (January 2000), I have baptized the two eldest of our five grandchildren, Caitlin and Claire Louise Bruce.

It has been my privilege to pastor my home church, Medlan Chapel, for over 35 years. I enrolled in college, hoping to become an M.D., but David came along, and I became a D.A.D. I failed to obtain some of the degrees and goals that I set in my youth but have been able to obtain a few peculiar degrees out here in the sparsely populated, mesquite-brush country of west Texas. For instance: the world gives ministers a B. D. degree (Bachelor of Divinity), but the Lord gives His own B. D. (Backside of Desert). The world offers a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy). Our west Texas farm also offers a Ph.D. (Post-hole Digger). A man can preach without a Master's Degree, but not without the Master’s Decree. I am thankful that the Lord has led me down this path rather than the one I would have chosen.

We thank the Lord that peace reigns in our home church and in our home state. It has been my privilege to preach for the Lord's people by invitation in 32 states. It seems that there is more love and fellowship at present than I ever remember in times past. It is my firm conviction that we have a great opportunity to reach the Lord's people in this age. Let us set our ministers free to tell the good news, and as members, let us put on the whole armor of God as described in Ephesians Chapter 6. I thank the Lord that the goodness of His people has enabled me to give most of my time to the ministry for the past several years. I also thank the Lord for many hours of spiritual meditation while working on the farm.

God calls men to preach His word. He does not call men to correct, criticize or sit in judgment of His word. The Lord has blessed me most when I have honored His word the most.

The material ambitions of my youth have faded away. The great truth of I Timothy 6:8 sinks more deeply into my being each year that passes. The text says, "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

May God's servants learn this lesson and thank His people if they provide the necessities of life for His ministers! A man's life is not measured by its duration but by its donation. It is my desire to contribute what I can to the lives of the Lord's people. There are a few verses from the apostle Paul which summarize my life and ministry in Acts 26:22, “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day; and I Timothy 1:15, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."


MEDLAN CHAPEL Where The Church Meets

Medlan Chapel is located 8 miles south-southwest of Graham on Medlan Chapel Road off Highway 67. The Church building was built of native sandstone quarried one mile from the site, with lime rock burned for mortar. The original pews were hauled by ox wagon from Sherman, Texas, but have since been replaced. The Chapel was one of the earliest houses of worship in Young County and is the oldest Church building in the county. Archibald B. and Betty Medlan donated the Church building and land in 1888 to be a Primitive Baptist Church. Weekly worship services are still held today, with Elder Sonny Pyles serving as pastor. The Medlan cemetery is located nearby.

Pastors of the Medlan Chapel Primitive Baptist Church:

Elder D.P. Thomas

Elder D.W. Russell

Elder Andrew Jackson Higgins

Elder J.H. Fisher

Elder V.F. Lawrence

Elder O. Strickland

Elder W.A. “Sonny” Pyles


Passed from this life - November 3, 2019

Wilford Allan (Sonny) Pyles, 80, a resident of Graham, TX passed away Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 11:00 am, at St. Dominic Memorial Hospital in Jackson, MS. Memorial Services were held Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at Morrison Funeral Home in Graham, TX.

Sonny Pyles was born on Feb. 22, 1939, in Burneyville, OK to the late William Arthur Pyles and Eula Beatrice Kingston Pyles. Elder Pyles began preaching at the age of 15. Over his career, he preached in 37 different states across the country. He had served as pastor at Medlan Chapel Primitive Baptist Church in Graham since 1965.

He is survived by his wife, Sarah Allene Rushing Pyles; two sons, David Pyles (Karen) and Daniel Lee Pyles; daughter, Lynn Louise Bruce (Daniel); sister, Jean Anthony; brother, Lee Pyles (Patti); five grandchildren, Caitlin Beauchamp (Dan), Claire Bruce, Justin Bruce, John Z. Pyles, and Allison S. Pyles and two great-grandchildren, Luna Beauchamp and Wendell Beauchamp. Mr. Pyles is also preceded in death by a brother, Olen Ray Pyles.

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)