From Disgrace to Grace: The Story of the Black Sheep of a Respectable Family and the Ministry he Founded
“From disgrace to grace” is not our title for one of America’s greatly used men of God — that was Oliver Greene’s own appraisal of himself. He was born on February 14, 1915 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Oliver’s youthful life was that of a wastrel, living in wanton wickedness. Drinking, stealing, bootlegging, immorality-he was a veteran of all those vices. But at age twenty, God saved that wayward youth when he attended a revival meeting (solely in an attempt to date a pure country girl) and heard a sermon on “The wages of sin is death.”
That night he was convinced, convicted and converted! He got a mighty good dose of salvation! Five months later God called him to preach. To prepare for this, he attended North Greenville Baptist College but was expelled in his second year because of his reluctance to cooperate with the denominational program.
In 1939, the 24-year-old bought a tent, and for 35 years he conducted revivals all across America, until failing health forced him to stop. Carefully kept records reveal that over 200,000 found Christ under his ministry. Perhaps his single greatest campaign was in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, where 7,000 professions of faith were registered. He held his last tent revival in Bel Air, Maryland (this tent was 100 feet by 300 feet).
Surely another genius of Greene’s labors for Christ was his radio ministry, which grew from one station in 1939 to 180 stations at his death. The Gospel Hour is still heard coast to coast by his taped messages. He prepared these taped messages “to continue on the Gospel Hour hopefully until Christ comes back.”
Dr. Greene was called Home to be with the Lord on July 26, 1976, but he “being dead, yet speaketh,” not only by radio but by his writings. His books, pamphlets, tracts, totaling above 100 titles, are still mailed out by the thousands.
Aye, DISGRACE TO GRACE, a fitting appraisal as well as a fitting epitaph for a great man of the Gospel and the greatly used messenger of the Gospel Hour-Oliver B. Greene!
–The Sword of the Lord
God’s Simple Plan of Salvation
My Friend: I am asking you the most important question of life. Your joy or your sorrow for all eternity depends upon your answer. The question is: Are you saved? It is not a question of how good you are, nor if you are a church member, but are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?
God says in order to go to Heaven, you must be born again. In John 3:7, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.”
In the Bible God gives us the plan of how to be born again which means to be saved. His plan is simple! You can be saved today. How?
First, my friend, you must realize you are a sinner. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. “For the wages [payment] of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This includes eternal separation from God in Hell.
“ . . . it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
But God loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and die in your place. “ . . . He hath made Him [Jesus, Who knew no sin] to be sin for us . . . that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Jesus had to shed His blood and die. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). “ . . . without shedding of blood is no remission [pardon]” (Hebrews 9:22).
“ . . . God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Although we cannot understand how, God said my sins and your sins were laid upon Jesus and He died in our place. He became our substitute. It is true. God cannot lie.
My friend, “God . . . commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This repentance is a change of mind that agrees with God that one is a sinner, and also agrees with what Jesus did for us on the Cross.
In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “ . . . ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . . . .’ ”
Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected. His resurrection powerfully assures that the believer can claim everlasting life when Jesus is received as Savior.
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
Whosoever includes you. Shall be saved means not maybe, nor can, but shall be saved.
Surely, you realize you are a sinner. Right now, wherever you are, repenting, lift your heart to God in prayer.
In Luke 18:13, the sinner prayed: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Just pray: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”
Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it!
God’s simple plan of salvation is: You are a sinner. Therefore, unless you believe on Jesus Who died in your place, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you believe on Him as your crucified, buried, and risen Savior, you receive forgiveness for all of your sins and His gift of eternal salvation by faith.
You say, “Surely, it cannot be that simple.” Yes, that simple! It is scriptural. It is God’s plan. My friend, believe on Jesus and receive Him as Savior today.
If His plan is not perfectly clear, read this tract over and over, without laying it down, until you understand it. Your soul is worth more than all the world.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
Be sure you are saved. If you lose your soul, you miss Heaven and lose all. Please! Let God save you this very moment.
God’s power will save you, keep you saved, and enable you to live a victorious Christian life. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Do not trust your feelings. They change. Stand on God’s promises. They never change. After you are saved, there are three things to practice daily for spiritual growth:
- Pray — you talk to God.
- Read your Bible — God talks to you.
- Witness — you talk for God.
You should be baptized in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ as a public testimony of your salvation, and then unite with a Bible-believing church without delay. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . . .” (2 Timothy 1:8)
“Whosoever therefore shall confess [testify of] Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
About The Gospel Hour
Dr. Oliver B. Greene founded the Gospel Hour, Inc. in 1956 as a Christian outreach using radio, personal appearances, books and audio tapes. The radio program, which began on one station in Georgia, spread through syndication until it reached across the nation. At one time the program was heard on more than 150 stations. The program is currently heard on more than eighty stations in America; on Caribbean Radio Lighthouse, which carries the program throughout the Caribbean area; and worldwide by way of the internet.
Dr. Greene began preaching as an evangelist in the early 1940’s and went wherever he was invited to preach. This eventually led to his standard practice of holding revivals in churches and arenas during the winter and holding tent campaigns in the summer. His tents were quite impressive, the largest one being 300 feet long and 150 feet wide. He also travelled extensively overseas, visiting and raising money for missionaries in many different countries. He was truly a “triple threat”, spreading the gospel through public speaking, the written word and the medium of radio. His personal ministry ended suddenly on July 26, 1976 when he died of an aneurism in the heart. However, through the prayers and donations of many friends the ministry has continued and reaches thousands daily throughout the world.
After his death, his son, Dr. David B. Greene, along with Dr. Greene’s widow and his other son Tom, continued the ministry. David has been involved with the Gospel Hour since childhood, always travelling with his dad in meetings and helping at the Gospel Hour headquarters. He brings to the ministry a scientific and mathematics background, as well as a degree in law. David is a practicing attorney in Greenville and has a website at www.greenelaw.org
Timeline of Dr. Oliver B. Greene’s Life And Ministry
Feb. 14, 1915 – Oliver B. Greene’s Date of Birth
Sept. 9, 1935 – Oliver B. Greene saved
Feb. 29, 1936 – Called to preach
1938 – First preached on the radio, GA
July 24, 1939 – Ordained as a Baptist Minister at Morgan Memorial Baptist Church, Greenville, SC
Sept. 10, 1939 – Married Aileen Hazel Collins
1939 – 1968 – Held Tent Revival meetings along East coast
Mar. 8, 1942 – Son Thomas Greene born
April 8, 1942 – Gospel Hour Ministry began
1943 – First recorded sermons on radio, Salisbury, NC – WSTP
In five years Dr. Greene:
- Preached over 1600 times over radio
- Saw 1700 souls saved
- Had 25 people go into full time Christian Service
Mar. 9, 1946 – Son David Greene born
March 1947 – First edition of the monthly newspaper the Gospel Hour News printed.
Before The Gospel Hour was incorporated:
- The radio program The Gospel Hour was on many stations
- Dr. Greene had raised enough money to build a hospital in the Congo and a church in the Holy Land
- Published the monthly newspaper the Gospel Hour News
- Held Tent Meetings
- Supported Missionaries in Alaska and Brazil
Oct. 8, 1956 – The Gospel Hour incorporated
May 27, 1960 – Received Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree, Immanuel Schools of Atlanta
Jan. 1961 – First Printing Press installed at The Gospel Hour facilities
Oct. 1961 – Cancelled Tent Revival meetings due to medical reasons
Summer 1968 – Last Tent Revival meeting on the grounds of Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA
July 26, 1976 – Dr. Greene went home to be with the Lord