“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
— Ephesians 2:4-7 NKJV
“Life‘s Greatest Adventure” by Paul Rader says, “I had come away from my college training without the God of the Bible, and without a Bible, … a spiritual wanderer, a speculator groping in the modern darkness that has come upon the world. I came to college … all aglow to be a young preacher. I had a father who was a Methodist preacher, a grandfather who was a Methodist preacher and a great-grandfather who was also a Methodist preacher …But college, with its ‘doubt’ propaganda … [negated] every evangelical tendency.”
Rader continued, “I had a father … who knew God, and who was a man whom God used. He came to see me after I was ordained …[asking]: ‘Could I not believe as I used to believe?’ … I answered him, saying that all such beliefs were to me like blocks of ice floating on a river on which I could not step across, because they slipped from under my faith feet and left me floundering in the cold water of freezing doubt! I left the ministry, … for I had no message.”
Paul Rader went on a spiritual search. “I knelt and cried. … The Spirit of the Living God witnessed within my heart … Oh, the joy of finding cleansing and escape from sin; finding the gift of righteousness, God‘s righteousness, … in place of my sin! Grace in place of law.”
Paul Rader came to truly understand the Gospel and God’s grace. He shared Christ fervently and effectively, ministering in Chicago at the Moody Tabernacle for seven years (1915 to 1921).
On a Sunday night in February 1917, teenager Virginia Highfield responded to the invitation extended by Paul Rader to personally “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Soon after responding to the Gospel, she joined the choir.
Presbyterian pastor’s son Lance Latham became a student at Moody Bible Institute in 1918. A piano virtuoso, Latham went to hear Paul Rader, and watched him plead with people to believe on Christ. Paul Rader invited Latham to teach a Sunday school class, and then to be in charge of special music. Soon, attendance was averaging 5,000.
Rader received invitations to preach in place after place across America, and resigned as pastor of Moody Tabernacle in 1921, inviting Latham to travel with him directing music from the piano. The biblical thrust of their ministry was Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.“
In 1922, a group of Chicagoans asked Rader to return for six weeks. A tabernacle was built to seat 10,000, and was filled six nights each week. Rader was asked to continue for four more weeks.
A real revival was underway, so the decision was made to continue ministering through the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle.
Lance Latham and Virginia Highfield were involved with the music and youth ministries at Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. On Oct. 14, 1924, Lance and Virginia were married at the Tabernacle.
Rader knew that any future had to be built on a sustaining program of Bible teaching and spiritual challenge to boys, girls, and teenagers. Lance and his wife Virginia were asked to develop a club program to attract youth and help them grow in grace. The Lathams prayed for God to give them the ability to communicate with young people and the joy of bringing many to personal salvation and Christian maturity. Hundreds responded, and a new chapter in evangelism happened at the Chicago Gospel Tabernacle through the unique club program.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” — Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
God has divinely destined a plan for each person who has been saved by grace. And He connects people with one another to work together for good.
Are you praying, serving Christ, and sharing His love with those in need?