Billy Sunday

“I’ve stood for more sneers and scoffs and insults and had my life threatened from one end of the land to the other by this God-forsaken gang of thugs and cutthroats because I have come out uncompromisingly against them.”

William Ashley Sunday (1862-1935) was the most famous evangelist in America, during his heyday.  His first career was as a baseball player with the Chicago White Stockings.  He was saved at Chicago’s Pacific Garden Mission and gave up his worldly lifestyle.  He left his sports career making $3,000 a month to work in the ministry for $83 a month.  Billy Sunday was uneducated and spoke very plainly and undignified.  Billy Sunday preached in tabernacles that held up to 15,000 people, and he preached without a sound system.  It was said that Billy Sunday’s preaching resembled a shadow boxer.  He would stand on chairs and even stand on the pulpit!  Also at times he would smash chairs in his rage against Satan.  The phrase “hitting the sawdust trail” is synonymous with Billy Sunday.  He preached in wooden tabernacles with the floors covered in sawdust.  Billy Sunday preached hard against sin and The New York Times recognized him as a fundamentalist.  He preached against dancing, alcohol, political liberalism, racism, evolution, and anything else that didn’t line up with the Word of God.  His last message was “What must I do to be saved?”  He had a heart attack and died a week later.  He was a man that took a strong stand for right and was ridiculed, yet never stopped preaching the truth.  Where are those that will take the stand today like he took just a few decades ago?


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