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Fuller, Charles Edward - Timeline Biography

Time Period

04-25-1887 - 03-18-1968

Description

In 1932, Fuller resigned from the pastorate to work full-time under the auspices of his radio ministry, the "Gospel Broadcasting Association." The most popular of his shows, the "Old Fashioned Revival Hour," featured simple, warm sermons by Fuller, a choir singing traditional hymns, and letters from listeners. By the mid-1940s, Fuller's sermons were being broadcast on 575 stations, making the "The Old Fashioned Revival Hour" one of the most widely heard shows on the Mutual Broadcasting System. His show was influential in the religious conversion of Jerry Falwell.

Fuller used the funds donated by his radio listeners to found Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, with the support of famous Boston pastor Harold John Ockenga. The seminary quickly became the most influential evangelical seminary of the second half of the 20th century, with graduates like Bill Bright, Rob Bell, John Piper, and Rick Warren.

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Narrative

Charles Fuller studied chemistry at Pomona College, but in 1916 he felt a call to the ministry and returned to school at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (now Biola University). After graduation, he planted a church in southern California and began preaching on local radio stations. In 1932, Fuller resigned from the pastorate to work full-time under the auspices of his radio ministry, the "Gospel Broadcasting Association." The most popular of his shows, "The Old Fashioned Revival Hour," featured simple, warm sermons by Fuller, a choir singing traditional hymns, and letters from listeners read by his wife, Honey. By the mid-1940s, Fuller's sermons were being broadcast on 575 stations, making the "Old Fashioned Revival Hour" one of the most widely heard shows on the Mutual Broadcasting System.

The high cost of airtime -- nearly a million dollars annually at the show's peak -- was paid for through small contributions from as many as 20 million listeners. Fuller used the funds to found Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, with the support of famous Boston pastor Harold John Ockenga. The seminary quickly became the most influential evangelical seminary of the second half of the 20th century, with graduates like Bill Bright, Rob Bell, John Piper, and Rick Warren.

Fuller’s radio show ended production after his death in 1968, but the program's continuing influence can be seen among the second generation of evangelical broadcasters. He was one of the founding members of the National Association of Evangelicals and the National Religious Broadcasters, organizations designed to give evangelical broadcasters more influence in the broadcasting industry.

Organizations are easy to spot but it is much harder to see the important role that Fuller played in the lives of his millions of listeners. One such listener was Jerry Falwell, who traced his conversion experience back to hearing Fuller's radio show every Sunday morning; it was no accident that Falwell labeled his own radio show the "Old-Time Gospel Hour."

Religious Groups

Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links
Baptist Family: Religious Family Tree
Timeline Entries for the same religious group: Independent Fundamentalist Family
Independent Fundamentalist Family: Other ARDA Links

Events

National Association of Evangelicals Founded

Movements

New Evangelicalism

Related Dictionary Terms

Bible, Christian, Christianity, Fuller, Charles (1887-1968), Hughes, John (1797-1864), Ockenga, Harold (1905-1985)

Photographs

Charles Fuller portrait- Christian Heritage Ministry, Old Fashioned Revival Hour
Charles Fuller portrait- Christian Heritage Ministry, Old Fashioned Revival Hour

Book/Journal Source(s)

Larson, Timothy and David Bebbington and Mark Noll, 2003. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois.

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