A Long, Warm Glow

A respected evangelical elder on the life of faith.

I met with Vernon Grounds the morning after his 65th wedding anniversary and the day he joined dignitaries in breaking ground for Denver Seminary's new campus. The years had taken a toll. He reached up now and then to adjust a hearing aid and rose slowly from his seat to answer the phone. His hunched posture belied a lifetime of working out with weights. "I have three secrets to longevity," he said as he turned 90: "God, genetics, and the gym."

For 23 years, Grounds served as the seminary's president before retiring into the role of chancellor. He crisscrossed the country at a time when that meant three or four stops in propeller planes. He preached thousands of sermons and delivered thousands of lectures. He was a pioneer in Christian counseling as well as social activism. Along the way, he sustained fierce attacks from fundamentalist board members who scorned Billy Graham as a modernist and argued for strict separatism.

"I still have a walking stick from those days," Grounds reminisced. ...

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