Wendell Loveless at the Moody Bible Institute

This is the day that … Wendell P Loveless died in Honolulu, in 1987.

“I was born in Wheaton,” he had told an interviewer the year before he died, “which is the Protestant Vatican!”

After his father’s death, when Wendell was still an infant, the rest of the family lived with the godly grandparents.  They attended Wheaton College Church, and “before I was saved,” Wendell tells, “I was leading the choir.”

He studied singing, piano and drama – God was preparing him for future service. In 1914, he was chosen as a member of an entertainment group that toured the United States for six seasons, giving him experience and training in voice, piano, dramatics, and master-of-ceremonies duties, which he used later in Christian ministry.

During World War I he was an officer in the US Marines.  He was married in 1920 (“neither of us knew the Lord,” he said) – and was chaplain of a Masonic Lodge.

But, watching his eldest child playing, he says:  “The thought came to me with terrific force – I’ve got to set a better example to my son!”

Wendell Loveless began to read the Bible – and “when I came to Romans, I was saved!”

Seeing the incompatibility between Masonic teaching and Christianity, he resigned from the Lodge.

James Gray, the president of Moody Bible Institute, invited him to join the staff in a management role.

Then WMBI, Moody’s radio station, commenced – and Wendell Loveless was the first manager … “along with a secretary – that was the radio department!”  Today WMBI has over 160 full-time workers.

In 1928 he wrote his first chorus …
          Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before….

Others flowed from his pen – Altogether lovely …, You’ll never know real peace ‘til you know Jesus …, All because of Calvary….

After 20 years with WMBI, Wendell Loveless pastored three churches, Wheaton, Illinois; Boca Raton, Florida; and Honolulu, Hawaii, and lectured at the Moody Bible Institute.

At the age of 90 he suffered a stroke that slowed him down a little – some days, he told a reporter, he could only type 25 letters because he could no longer use his right hand.

Living in Honolulu, where his son Bob was “chaplain of Mid-Pacific Institute”, Wendell P. Loveless went home to glory at the age of 95.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History, which I previously considered to be a little stuffy and of little practical value. I find in the process of updating Don’s Christian Diary that I am being constantly refreshed, illuminated or challenged by the lives of those who have gone before.

Blood is Thicker Than Water

People are bound together by many things. Family ties are an important and valuable link between people. The saying goes that ‘blood is thicker than water’. This is often quoted when someone acts in a nepotistic fashion, giving advantage and favour to a family member at the expense of others who should have been considered.

But the blood bond is not the only bond, and at times it is not a good bond. King Solomon advised that a near neighbour is better help than a brother who lives a long way off.

Neighbourly support is a sweet benefit for those who enjoy it. My 99 year old neighbour, Howard Perkins, at home caring for his 92 year old wife, Marion, gets plenty of support from others in the street. Patricia drives him to the local market so he can do his shopping. Kalliope calls around regularly to cut Marion’s hair. And so it goes. Up until just a few years ago Howard was cutting the lawn of an elderly lady who is just a little older than he. She is now in a nursing home and will beat him to the ‘century’.

Then there are the networks of church and social groups. These provide long-term friendships and support bases for people. Social research during the great depression found that those who survived unemployment and loss the best were those who had a strong family network and who were well connected into a church.

Then again, there are the less obvious connections of such things as secret societies. In these, people make vows to others and are bound to fulfill them. The connection may be ideological, such as we see with religious fanaticism, or it may be entered into from some lure of privilege, such as may attract some to the Masonic societies.

Where these secret connections exist they are often called upon by covert signals, such as handshakes, stance postures, and so on. A man in the docks can signal to the jury by assuming a prescribed posture. Anyone in the jury who is a fellow Mason is thus obligated to rescue the defendant, even if he is obviously guilty.

Now, having given than elaborate introduction, here is my point.

Blood is thicker than water and secret alliances may hold greater sway, but the Fear of God is thicker yet again!

When a person acts in the fear of God they are willing to uphold justice and righteous standards for all. They will not give leniency to their family, as that would mock God. They will not give special consideration to their neighbours, as that will rob someone else of justice. They will not let off an offender because of secret vows made to the secret society.

The answer to any request for such treatment should be “No, you have violated a higher moral ethic than my secret commitments with invocations and vows. My responsibility to the living God is of a higher rank than the promises of my lips, my subscriptions to secret collusions and vows, my care for my family or the members of my society.

Whenever the fear of God is not the ‘thickest’ thing in our life, we end up compromised and morally damaged. I challenge you to be in thick with God. Let the cord that binds you to Him be the thickest of them all.