Samuel Parker Pitmann (1876-1965), a graduate who joined the faculty of the Nashville Bible School (now Lipscomb University) in 1897, enjoyed a unique position to assess the values and interests of its founding fathers. He called James A. Harding his “father in the gospel” who taught him “the true philosophy of life” based on Matthew 6 and Romans 8:28 (e.g., trusting God).
His “Alumni Address” was published in the Gospel Advocate (4 July 1918) 626-628. In the midst of WWI and published on July 4th, he makes the following provocative statement near the end of his address.
“When this institution ceases to be a temple of justice and becomes simply a temple of learning; when it ceases to be a palace of peace and becomes instead a hall of fame, then let it go down amid the wreck and ruin of secular institutions.”
That is rather courageous at a time when pacifist writers were no longer publishing in the Gospel Advocate due to the threats of the United States government.
In addition, Pittman mentioned several interesting items about NBS:
- The “purpose for which this institution was founded” is “to help young build build their monuments–their characters.”
- “Brother Harding used to say that the Bible School had young ladies in it every year but one, and that was the most unsatisfactory session in the history of the school.”
- “Another feature of the school is that there is no separate course for ‘ministerial students.’ Those preparing to give their lives to the work of proclaiming the gospel may find opportunity to lay stress upon those branches of study most needed in their life work, but the gulf that already exists between clergy and laity, between priest and people, should be bridged, and it is the work of the Bible School to hasten that.”