S. P. Pittman on Lipscomb University in 1918

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.”

3 Responses to “S. P. Pittman on Lipscomb University in 1918”

  1.   RICH constant Says:

    john mark
    at some point in time on the blog,did you not say that Lipscomb Univ.
    didn’t charge tuition?
    or was that Harding Univ.?
    From today’s point of view and the power of the almighty dollar, i found that more than pleasing, and speaks to the faithful service rendered by men and the families of the men(wives), who stood out as an example in so many ways.
    which you have been bringing forward of late on the blog.
    their faith resonates even today as a harmonic chorus of faithfulness to their time, which responds to the father’s faithfulness to his word in bringing about the promised blessings. the restoration of all of creation, the new kingdom of his son.

    john mark


    •   John Mark Hicks Says:

      Nashville Bible School always charged tuition, but the poor were able to attend on the promise of paying it back once they got out. But if they never were able to pay, NBS never came looking either.

  2.   Charles Babb Says:

    There was a time when many young ministers showed up at the doors of Bible colleges with nothing but a suitcase. They were never turned away. Those young men were cared for, educated, fed, and eventually – converted thousands of souls.

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