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[pp. 80 – 88 of A Prophet With Honor by William Martin]

Theologically, Wheaton was a Lamb's-blood relative of Bob Jones College and Florida Bible Institute, and the motto carved on the cornerstone of Blanchard Hall—For Christ and His Kingdom—clearly expressed the dominant ethos, but Wheaton embodied the broadest spirit of American Fundamentalism in the 1930s. As an accredited and academically respectable liberal arts college, it attracted the offspring of many of America's most affluent and influential Fundamentalist families. Because Wheaton gave him almost no credit for his courses in Florida, Billy, now almost twenty-two, had to enroll as a freshman. If his bright clothes, Li'I Abner brogans, and North Carolina accent caused people to think him a naive country boy, his age and status as an ordained minister with real preaching experience gave him a jump on other neophytes, and he soon emerged as a well-known campus figure. He had not yet drawn many invitations to preach, and Frank Graham had stopped sending him money, so he found a job working for another student who hauled luggage and furniture in a battered old yellow pickup. The CEO of the Wheaton College Student Trucking Service was preparing for mission work in China and introduced his new assistant to Ruth Bell, a second-year student who, as the daughter of a Presbyterian medical missionary, had grown up in Tsingkiang, China. Ruth claims not to remember their first meeting with any real clarity. Billy fell in love with her immediately and informed his mother of that fact before he ever got up the courage to ask for a date.

In many respects, Ruth's and Billy's childhoods could hardly have differed more. He had pored over books about faraway lands; she ...

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