Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thinking of the Christian Brotherhood, Grace, and Darrell Scott

Darrell Scott, a former pastor, exemplary mentor, and dear friend of many years is undergoing serious health trials right now and a few of us, in addition to stepping up our prayers for he and his wife, sent along notes of encouragement and thanks. My letter, including as it did reflections on the Christian Brotherhood, Grace Bible Institute, and Pleasantview Berean Fundamental Church may be of interest to those with connections to those organizations. It may even be of limited interest to those who remember the "Jesus movement" of the late 60s and early 70s.

Also, if you would like to share your own testimony about Darrell Scott's ministry in your life, please send it along to us and we will forward it ASAP. Please send it to

Dear Darrell and Barb,

We are so sorry we couldn’t set it up to get together before Christmas but our plans to do so ended up alerting a lot of prayers in your behalf.  That’s a good thing.  Still, we hope (and pray) that you feel well enough soon for us to put that little party back on the schedule.

Until that happens, however, we thought you would like to hear from a few of those folks.  Some of them may have already sent a note while others may do so now that the hectic pace of Christmas has slowed down.  But there are a few who sent brief testimonies to Claire and me so that we could send them over to you guys.  They are enclosed with this note.

But Claire and I wanted to share a few reflections also for we have been so profoundly affected by your ministry, Darrell.  We are honored to be among that very large crowd of people whose lives have been inspired, educated, exhorted, and encouraged by yours.  We will be forever grateful.

I first made your acquaintance in those heady days of the Christian Brotherhood.  It was late spring 1970 and I had just hitchhiked into Omaha from my home in Denver.  Providence took me to the Brotherhood and, within days of my moving in with Buddy Medlock, I attended the Sunday service at Pleasantview Berean Fundamental Church and was captivated by your sermon…and by your warm, engaging hospitality.

I was a new believer and I hadn’t heard much of solid, expository Bible teaching. But I loved it and knew instinctively it was what I needed.  So, right from the beginning I was listening carefully, taking copious notes, asking questions afterward, and as you always encouraged the audience to do, studying the text on my own also. You provided excellent content in the sermon but also a terrific example of how to carefully, patiently study the Word myself.  You also taught me much about the qualities of a disciple.  Humble yet confident in Christ. Winsome but uncompromising with the truth.  Kind-hearted and servant-oriented. Cheerful. Hopeful. Active in evangelism.

Over the years, many people have wondered about the remarkable impact that the Christian Brotherhood had on so many lives.  Particularly, the question comes up of why the Brotherhood had such lasting effect, much more than most of the “Jesus movement” communes and organizations. The sheer number of young believers who went on to formal theological training and professional ministry, for instance, is impressive. But even more so is the steady growth and Christian service of all the others.  We were not only a “thoroughly converted” bunch – we were wonderfully trained and equipped and sent forth as lights into the world.

But what made the Brotherhood so different from the other “Jesus People” places?  My answer has always stressed two things.  1) We had the incredible resource of Grace College of the Bible available to us with such stellar Bible scholars as Abe Penner, Chuck Nichols, Reuben Dick, Bob Benton, J. Doss Quinelly, and Norm Rempel teaching us three or four nights a week.  It was ironic but wonderful – established fundamentalist scholars graciously coming into the city to teach unchurched, counter-culture, sin-scarred youth the glories of the Bible.

But 2) we had another grand resource available to us besides Grace.  And that was Pleasantview Berean Church with its personable and capable pastor, Darrell Scott.  There at the church, we were able to see how this new life we had in Christ was to be lived in practical, social, and long-term ways.  The heavy theology we were learning in those Brotherhood classes and in reading books by Ironside and Pentecost and Chafer was made alive for us in the persons of Berean’s pastor and other keen saints in the church.

Darrell, your teaching was practical theology at its best.  And you lived what you preached.  You were also so patient and kind to us as we learned.  Never did we feel like freaks at Pleasantview.  Never were we treated with anything but acceptance and hospitality and inclusion.  Indeed, Brotherhood youths were welcomed not only into the front pews of the church (we were so happy and eager to learn) but also into the choir, the fellowship suppers, member’s homes, and, for Gene Jost, Phil Miller, John Foster and myself, into the starting ranks of the slow pitch softball team.  We had all found a church home where our Christian discipleship was intensified and encouraged.

Through God’s merciful provision of both Grace Bible Institute and Pleasantview, we young Christians (many of us with sordid backgrounds and lousy educational records) were transformed by the love in action of patient and skilled mentors.  And that’s why so many of us are still pursuing godliness to this day.  And that’s why so many of us owe you such a grand debt.  We love you very much, Darrell, and we are so grateful for your investment in our lives in those years. And we’re grateful too for all the sweet years of friendship that followed.

Denny & Claire