This man was a walking rodeo, but he was also compassionate, driven to win souls, and he was never dull.  Some stories about him are real rough, but he left in his wake a bunch of preacher boys who are today in old age and still romping along giving the devil a rough time by the power of God.



John Franklyn Norris--  1877-1952

Fundamental Baptist pastor. J. Frank Norris was born in Dadeville, Alabama. He was graduated 
from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He was ordained to the ministry in 1899 
and soon after began his long, stormy career by serving as editor of The Baptist Standard, 
the official voice of Texas Baptists. He aided Dr. B.H. Carroll in the founding of South-
western Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 1909 he accepted the pastorate of the First Baptist Church of Fort Worth and remained 
there until his death. In 1935 he also accepted the pastorate of Temple Baptist Church, 
Detroit, Michigan, and held joint pastorates of these two great churches separated 
geographically 1,300 miles for 15 years. During those years, the combined attendance of both 
churches, under the leadership of one pastor, constituted the world's largest Sunday School.
A master pulpiteer, Dr. Norris was a fierce opponent of Communism, Liberalism, and evolution, 
and was acclaimed to be one of the twentieth century's outstanding leaders of Bible 
In 1939, with the aid of Dr. Louis Entzminger, he organized the Bible Baptist Seminary in 
Fort Worth, Texas, an institution which excelled in the training of young preachers 
in the building of large Sunday Schools and churches. Many of the graduates of this school 
have built some of the largest churches in America. A friend of world leaders, compassionate 
soul-winner, and Bible expositor, Dr. Norris died in Keystone, Florida, on August 20, 1952, 
and was buried in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday, August 24, 1952.


You may not like them, but they do show how this man was so 
much like Jehu and Ezekiel.

The Call to Fort Worth and What Came of It Thirty Days to Leave Town J. Frank Norris was famous in his fight against liquor. His enemies were also vicious, trying to run him out of town and even murder him. But God had the last say in the matter. Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. And Judgment Came -- Brains Scattered For 100 Feet on Track The man who presided at the meeting when a hundred and sixty-five banded themselves together to run Norris out of town -- this man was a powerful and influential man. He was chairman of the Democratic party of Texas. He lifted his glass of liquor and said to the crowd, "Let's stand and drink to the death of our enemy." Six days after that night...he and his negro chauffeur were driving to town and crossed the Interurban...The motorman on the front end said, "I saw the car moving slowly and thought surely it would stop, but it came on the track." And that Interurban coming sixty miles an hour hit that car amidship and smashed it to smithereens and the two Interurbans plunged from the track and there were more than sixty people in both cars. Not one person on the Interurban had a broken bone. The negro chauffeur was unscathed. But the insides and brains of this man who had drunk the toast to the death of Norris six days before -- his brains were scattered for a distance of a hundred feet on the track. He lay in state in the auditorium of the Chamber of Commerce -- "And great fear came upon every soul." And the revival increased. One of the main men in the conspiracy to run Norris out of town came to his house at two o'clock the next morning...When he rang the bell Mrs. Norris said, "I'd better go." But Norris said, "No, I'll go." And there stood one of his bitterest enemies. And he said, "Let me come in." And there that man knelt in Norris' front room with him and God and was gloriously saved and became one of his strongest friends and supporters. from p.111 of The J. Frank Norris I Have Known For 34 Years, by Louis Entzminger

Broken Quart Bottle of Liquor With Brains of District Attorney It would be now in order to tell the fate of the conspirators. Take the District Attorney who was a tool of the liquor interests. After the conspiracy trial had come to nought -- and only a short time afterpiano coversds -- this prosecuting attorney loaded his fine new Cadillac car with liquor, two women and another man. They were going across the North Main Viaduct at a terrific speed and ran head-on into an on-coming street car. This District Attorney and the other three in the car were killed instantly, and nobody was hurt in the street car, only shaken up. There was a half quart bottle of liquor broken and it was sitting straight up on the pavement, and it had a lobe of brains in it. This bottle was and brains was carried to Dr. Norris and he took it to the pulpit and preached a sermon on it the next Sunday night on the text, " The Wages of Sin is Death." Of course it created a great sensation. Norris was severely criticized. Some women fainted in the audience. And some men did too. You talk about "Great Fear coming upon every soul!" It scared me almost to death. He fought on. He preached on. from p.112 of The J. Frank Norris I Have Known For 34 Years, by Louis Entzminger
Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves Pastor Norris was a real soul winner, and he was not inhibited by a man's fame or wealth. He went among all the businessmen in his community witnessing and getting to be their very close friend. He especially took an interest in the car dealers in his city. He witnessed to them all, though most of them were Roman Catholics. After a good number of years he had not won one car dealer to the Lord. On a trip to Europe, Pastor Norris went around to visit the Vatican. He bought several large expensive crucifixes and had them personally blessed by the Pope. Upon returning to his home town, pastor Norris went around to each of the car dealers, and he gave them each a crucifix. He never went back to witness to them. He said that they had made their choice. But, the car dealers all were so impressed with Pastor Norris that from that day onpiano coversd they showered him with all sorts of gifts and money for his church. Pastor Norris's biblical principle was the following: Ecclesiastes 2:26 For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. That is hard to argue with.
Attempted Murder At 10 A.M. Friday morning July 16, 1926 two city officers, Harry Conner and Fred Holland, piano coversned Dr. Norris that D.E. Chipps had made repeated threats, and before many others, in Texas Hotel the night before, he said, "I am going to kill J. Frank Norris." Norris had never heard of Chipps, knew nothing about him, and therefore could have no malice or hate topiano coversds him. On the fateful Saturday afternoon Chipps walked up Main Street to the Westbrook Hotel where he was staying and told many people, "Sunday morning the Star-Telegram will have a front page headline, D.E. Chipps Kills J. Frank Norris." Those were the exact words in the Star-Telegram and and his prophecy came true except their names were reversed At 3:30 P.M. he asked the PBX operator at the Westbrook Hotel, "Get J. Frank Norris on the telephone." He was impatient and cursed her because she did not get Norris quickly enough...She later testified, "Because of Chipp's anger and abuse I listened to the conversation. Everybody in the hotel was afraid of him. I head him call Dr. Norris mane vile names, and he was very profane. I heard him repeat several time, "You blankety, blankety blank, I am coming over there and kill you." L.H. Nutt, a deacon in the First Baptist Church was in the office of the pastor at that time. He was teller in the Farmer's and Mechanics Bank, a very honorable man. After those violent threats from Chipps ever the phone, Norris turned to Nutt and asked, "Who is this D.E. Chipps?" Nutt told him the reputation of Chipps, that he was a trouble-maker and had had mane escapes with the police. Before Norris knew it Chipps kicked the dorr open -- it was only a block away from the Westbrook Hotel -- and announced so all could hear, "This is D.E. Chipps you blankety, blankety blank -- I am going to kill you." The night watchman of the church always left his tatter in a drawer in the pastor's office safe keeping. It has always been a joke how it has been published "Two tatter Norris," "Pistol Packing' Pastor," et cetera. He never carried a tatter. Norris sought to quiet Chipps and succeeded for a moment. Then he saw that Chipps' anger and abuse increased -- and Nutt testified that Chipps kept his hand on his right side, with his coat pulled back, and kept moving it -- finally Norris said, "There is the door and I don't wat any trouble with you." Norris was standing with his back against his desk and had his hand on the tatter and did everything he could to avoid trouble. Chipps went out into the hallway and the mayor of the city and some others who had sent Chipps to Norris' office were waiting in the car across the street in front of the First Baptist Church office building where Norris' office was. No doubt Chipps' mock pride got the best of him and he whirled around and started back into Norris' office and said, so the testimony shows, "I will kill you, you blankety, blankety blank!" And quick as a flash it was over. Immediately the mayor, the city manager and other henchmen were up the stairway. Norris had gone into the larger office to phone his wife. The testimony showed there were two tatters found on the floor in the room and they were never presented in the trial. And why? The testimony showed that at the morgue, the Mayor, H.C. Meacham, said, "Poor Chipps, I sent him to his death." Of course Norris was quickly vindicated, and not-withstanding all the dregs of bitterness and passion of years that entered into it. Norris went before the congregation the next Sunday morning and said, "It is a great sorrow, but I have no apology for what I have done. I could not have done otherwise. I was forced to defend myself, my wife and children," and he offered his resignation. The church leaped to its feet and refused to accept his resignation. Those present will never forget the first Sunday morning afterpiano coversds. from pp. 107-109 of The J. Frank Norris I Have Known For 34 Years, by Louis Entzminger
Do you have a story about J. Frank Norris? If so, please send it by E-Mail.
background by mary vannattan

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