It was in 1938, in his gospel meeting with the 2nd and Whaley Street Church in Longview, Texas, that I first became acquainted with the great, respected, much-loved N. B. Hardeman. It was here that he conducted a great gospel meeting, with C. M. Pullias (our local preacher) leading the singing! Yes, the same team that had conducted the great Nashville, Tennessee, Ryman Auditorium meetings! By the time the Longview meeting was over, I had determined in my own mind that someday, somehow, I would become a student in N. B. Hardeman’s classes.
In September of 1940 Wilma Ruth and I made our trip to Henderson, Tennessee. Within a few days I was a student in classes taught by N. B. Hardeman, L. L. Brigance, W. Claude Hall, and Mary Nell Hardeman Powers—the greatest English grammarian I have ever known!
In my first year one of the required courses was the study of the Scheme of Redemption. The text was the monumental book entitled The Scheme of Redemption, written by Dr. Robert Milligan, who at the time of the writing was President of the College of the Bible in Kentucky University — a great scholar in the Restoration Movement. The “Introduction” to the book has the date: May 19, 1868. So, the book has been around for awhile, and it will continue to be around.
It was a study course for which I personally will be eternally grateful. I was and I am and I will ever be truly grateful to have had that privilege of seeing such a majestic unfolding of the glorious “Scheme of Redemption.” Three of the best years of our lives were spent at Freed-Hardeman College, and we are truly grateful.
What’s the point — the present point? The above article is the material contained in pages 276 through 284 in Milligan’s The Scheme of Redemption. The book is hard to come by, and so, I have typed this material that others may read it for themselves. This is the class, and these are the pages which first began to give me — in some measure — an understanding of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It triggered my determination to continue to study the subject. It was here and why and how I began to grasp the concept of an actual, literal, personal, indwelling of the Holy Spirit within the child of God. Who was the teacher? Professor N. B. Hardeman! I am here to tell the reader that in NO WAY did brother Hardeman ever try to “explain away” what Milligan had written. If you want to know what brother Hardeman taught on this subject — HERE IT IS!
And so, it disturbs me no little to hear somebody on the present scene declare that brother Hardeman did not teach an actual indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I encourage the reader to read– and/or to read again and again his monumental sermons on “The Vine and the Branches” and “The Spirit of Christ.”
At that time (when I was a student, 1940-43), FHC was a two-year college. But after two years I was not ready to leave. I wanted at least one more year, and did remain another year. I had three things in mind: (1) I wanted to do additional work in my Greek; (2) I wanted to take advantage of that fabulous library; and (3) I wanted to study N. B. Hardeman. I wanted to see (at least to my own satisfaction) what made N. B. Hardeman so great! So exceptional! In case you are interested in my conclusion, here it is: (1) It was not the fact that he was a handsome man, always dressed well and looked well — his shoes were always shined! (2) It was not just the fact that he was so exceptionally brilliant and knowledgeable in so many different subject areas. (3) It was not simply the fact that he was a man “set in authority.” Rather, my own conclusion was (and still is) his tremendous ability (without seeming to be aware of it) to produce a student!
He did not have to give orders or make threats. He simply possessed an indescribable way of causing a person to want to be a better student! If he happened to mention the annual overflow of the Nile River, being translated that meant: tomorrow you had better know the lakes and rivers that were in any way related to the annual overflow of the Nile. God bless you, N. B. Hardeman!
[Editor’s note: This piece was originally published in the Jan-Mar 2000 issue of Biblical Notes Quarterly, and references another article which is not reproduced here].