William Ashley Sunday (November 19, 1862 – November 6, 1935) was an American outfielder in baseball’s National League and widely considered the most influential American evangelist during the first two decades of the 20th century. Converting to evangelical Christianity in the 1880s, Sunday left baseball for the Christian ministry. He gradually developed his skills as a pulpit evangelist in the Midwest and then, during the early 20th century, he became the nation’s most famous evangelist with his colloquial sermons and frenetic delivery. Sunday held widely reported campaigns in America’s largest cities, and he attracted the largest crowds of any evangelist before the advent of electronic sound systems. He was often accused of being too harsh of which he never apologized for stating that “the absolute truth can be harsh.”
At The Cross-Roads
Right where the two roads through life diverge God has put Calvary. There he put up a cross, the stumbling block over which the love of God said, “I’ll touch the heart of man with the thought of father and son.” He thought that would win the world to him, but for nineteen hundred years men have climbed the Mount of Calvary and trampled into the earth the tenderest teachings of God. You are on the devil’s side. How are you going to cross over? So you cross the line and God won’t issue any extradition papers. Some of you want to cross. If you believe, then say so, and step across. I’ll bet there are hundreds that are on the edge of the line and many are standing straddling it. But that won’t save you. You believe in your heart – confess him with your mouth. With his heart man believes and with his mouth he confesses. Then confess and receive salvation full, free, perfect and external. God will not grant any extradition papers.
Get over the old line. A man isn’t a soldier because he wears a uniform, or carries a gun, or carries a canteen. He is a soldier when he makes a definite enlistment. All of the others can be bought without enlisting. When a man becomes a soldier he goes out on muster day and takes an oath to defend his country. It’s the oath that makes him a soldier. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you an automobile, but public definite enlistment for Christ makes you a Christian.
“Oh,” a woman said to me out in Iowa, “Mr. Sunday, I don’t think I have to confess with my mouth.”
I said: “You’re putting up your thought against God’s.” M-o-u-t-h doesn’t spell intellect. It spells mouth and you must confess with your mouth. The mouth is the biggest part about most people, anyhow.