Though I've at least touched on most of the major episodes in my life in these Jonal entries, the first career change after leaving the Valley has been mentioned only in passing. I've mentioned that my next newspaper job after leaving the Nanty Glo Journal was as managing editor of the Christian Beacon, in New Jersey, and perhaps mentioned that the four years I spent in New Jersey included summers and most weekends year-round at a wonderful resort hotel in Cape May. But I've skirted around mentioning the central temporal character of those years, the preacher who published the Christian Beacon and reserved the title "editor" for himself, and whose enterprise won him control of the former Admiral Hotel in Cape May which he rechristened the "Christian Admiral" (it is seen below in a photo from about 1967).
I learned on Friday that historical figureboth famous and in some senses infamousCarl McIntire, died at age 95 in March. Though I'd had no direct interaction with him after 1972 when I moved my own ministry to Stanford University, I have to allow that he may be the most important older man in my life, at least alongside if not even having more influence than my Dad. Where Dad was a man of few words, Dr. McIntire was a prolific speaker on the radio, preacher in pulpits, author of books, and many lengthy articles weekly in the Christian Beacon.
some years I was absorbed by those words so much that, several years after I wrote
an article for the Beacon that he and I happened to notice together, he
thought he had written. I emulated many facets of his delivery, but I astutely
tried to avoid pulpiteering in his style, though it was articulate, absorbing,
and highly effective, lest I be labeled an imitator. I needn't have worried, never
having had the opportunity of preaching to a larger congregation than a few dozen
people during my short period as a parish pastor (the congregation he pastored
for 75 years had 1200 members when he began and grew to 1600 by the time I was
By the time he was forced to leave that congregation, three years ago, it had been decimated, down to probably only a few dozen regulars. When I joined his empire he was on radio more hours per week on more stations than any other clergy member in (I think it's safe to say) the world. He founded a theological seminary that was growing in Philadelphia in a multimillion dollar facility; started a college in Pasadena, Calif., that had by then already closed; took over a college in New Jersey that had a campus in Florida for a while, founded the American and International Councils of Christian Churches that numbered hundreds of fundamentalist denominations nation- and worldwide. The Christian Admiral was the envy of any Christian retreat center or Bible Conference, with a half dozen prime properties in Cape May. The weekly Christian Beacon grew while I was with it from 30,000 to over 100,000 subscribers.
But he alienated virtually everyone who worked with him, so that the only institution that was surviving at his death was the Philadelphia-based Faith Theological Seminary, which an obituary described as operating, now, from a basement. The American Council of Christian Churches had wrested independence from his control in the late 1960s and survives. The International Council may exist in name only, or may have a small following in the Far East (according to the only web page I could find mentioning it).
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