© 2023 Warren L. Johns. All Rights Reserved.
“Know the truth, and the truth
shall make you free.”
Early in the 20th century, Pastor Angelbarger, of Denver’s York Street Church,
launched a series of Bible study meetings to attract new members.
His effort seemed to “fail.” No one joined—until 3-years later.
The Pastor is shown here, circa 1910, with at least three, new young members,
who joined the church resulting from the “failed” series of Bible meetings.
Pastor Anglebarger, a devout Christian minister, most likely felt disappointed, if not discouraged! Two Libby sisters, Catherine (Cassie), and the widowed Annie, ninth-generation descendants of John Libby, had attended the Pastor’s series of public Bible studies but ignored his invitation to join his York Street, Denver congregation.
Walking into a church doesn’t make a person a Christian any more than walking into a garage makes you a car.
Astute Bible students, Cassie and Annie looked for more than a superficial, name-brand religion; a pro-forma social club faith; or a cosmetic cover for political nationalism parading under a religious label. The Libby sisters were searching for that transforming identity that delivers intuitive obedience to God’s commandments and a lifestyle reflective of the character of Jesus Christ.
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22, 23 “…Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12,13
The Denver Pastor’s inspired, Bible-based message, reaches beyond a ritualized creed or sectarian nuances. Listeners were invited to join a fellowship of believers, united by love for God and powered by the Holy Spirit.
Three years passed.
After reviewing the accuracy of every word spoken from the pulpit by Pastor Anglebarger, and offering many personal prayers for guidance, the truth about God triumphed. Annie and Cassie, together with children above the age of accountability, were baptized into the York Street Church fellowship of committed Christians.
The news upset Cassie’s next-door neighbor. He was the Sunday School teacher of Cassie’s son, Varner. After Sunday services in a local church, the distraught neighbor would routinely rush next door to set straight his family’s friend. Unprepared for her three years of intense Bible study, he routinely would leave her home, trying not to vent frustration. It took time, but eventually, the honest, kindly neighbor became convinced Cassie’s Bible theology resonated with God’s truth. He, and his family, joined Anglebarger’s congregation. More than that, this devout gentleman became a Seventh-day Adventist minister.
In more than a century since that “failed” series of Bible lectures delivered in the York Street Church, nine of Cassie’s own descendants entered the Christian ministry. As to that neighbor, his name was Vandemanm. He had a son named George, founder and host of the telecast, “It Is Written.”
Unknown hundreds of other Christians trace their spiritual roots back to that Denver Bible lecture series that “failed.”
Numbers mean nothing when the silent power of God’s Holy Spirit is working on human hearts. Once truth inspires the honest souls who live as free moral agents, the simple beauty of the everlasting gospel overwhelms hearts, and truth triumphs.
Mathew 25 confirms God’s judgment is not influenced by brand-name religion or pro-forma rituals. “Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” First Samuel 16;7 God, the righteous judge, recognizes only two classes: evildoers, or the righteous who “obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Revelation 14:12
While we can’t begin to comprehend how God moves “His wonders to perform,” I can verify, as fact, this story of the “failed” series of Bible lectures happened early in the twentieth century. Cassie, that lady of sterling character and Bible scholarship, lived an exemplary life of Christian love. Cassie was my own, dear Grandmother.