Vance Havner

When I attended the Bible Institute of Ohio, Pastor Graydon Cox (now pastoring in Bucyrus) was the president. His classes always included interesting stories from his time as a church planter in Ohio. I could sit and hear those stories for hours on end. But there was something he used to say that I didn’t understood at the time. He would preface a pithy quote with these words: “As Vance Havner used to say… .”

After listening to his message on The Lordship of Christ, I can see why so many people quote him. He has a style that you don’t soon forget. In fact, his preaching reminds me of Dr. Les Ollila of Northland Baptist Bible College. They both have a way of using humor to get the point across. While listening to this particular message, I smiled quite a few times. But I also noted the excellent thoughts expressed in that message. Too often people “get saved” without ever thinking about the lordship of Jesus Christ. In those cases, it may be that they are not truly regenerated (see Rom. 10:9-10).

Who was Vance Havner?

“Dr. Vance Havner (1901-1986) was a very popular “revivalist” and Bible conference speaker and authored over 30 books of sermons and devotionals. He became a Christian as a boy, licensed to preach at twelve and ordained at fifteen. His charm, wit, and homespun style of relating biblical truth were convicting and unforgettable. And even today, you still hear preachers quote from his books and sermons” [1].

Was he a fundamentalist?

I really don’t know enough about the man to answer the question. But a glimpse at the men who endorsed him might cause you to raise an eyebrow [2]. Of particular interest was his relationship to new evangelical evangelist Billy Graham. Was he in agreement with Graham? He also spoke at a variety of places which I would not today. Perhaps things were different at the time? But I was encoouraged that he found J. Gresham Machen’s book, Christianity and Liberalism to be very profitable [3].

In any event, his message was both enjoyable and thought provoking. Let me know what you think.