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Southern Nazarene University - Character Culture Christ

Dr. CharlesĀ Allen McConnell

"After I graduated from Pasadena I served as a pastor in California for some time. One day I found out that Dr. McConnell would be coming to my area, so I asked him to do a Holiness weekend in my church. On Sunday morning he preached, and after that we were invited to have dinner with some church members who lived out in the country. On our way out there, I stopped at a service station. As we were standing on that station, suddenly out over the radio these words came blasting 'Pearl Harbor is being bombed'. First we only stood there, stunned, and for some while nobody moved or spoke. Then I said, 'We are now in the war.' That was in 1941. And Dr. McConnell was there with me that day." (Dr. Paul Gray)

Dr. Charles Allen McConnell left a great impact on his students, and those who had the privilege to attend his classes never forgot him. He was always full of fun, optimistic, quick to reply. People loved and honored him and came to him for advice. He became known as "Uncle Charlie", and his students trusted and respected him. Most of his life was devoted to teaching, and he was editor of numerous magazines. Being present at Pilot Point when the Church of the Nazarene was organized, he never missed a single General Assembly during his entire life. His contribution to SNU consisted among other things of being the Dean of Theology for Oklahoma Holiness College (later Bethany-Peniel) for 21 years, and of being an outstanding teacher.

Dr. Charles Allen McConnell Dr. Charles Allen McConnell

Dr. McConnell was born on June 19, 1860 in Valparaiso, Indiana. His early childhood was spent during the Civil War. During that time he lived with either of his grandparents. He was the oldest of several children, and had a great time fishing, farming, and watching Indians in a nearby camp during the vacations. Three times he came very close to death, once through a forest fire, the second time he almost drowned and in the same winter was caught in a blizzard and almost froze to death. At that time he was living in Minnesota. His parents were well-educated people, and McConnell himself was an insatiable reader. He went to college and after that looked into some editing jobs, as his father was employed in that area, too. But nothing quite fit him, and some time later he moved to Dakota, being a member of the first legislature. He married and worked for a newspaper. Later, he moved to Texas with his wife and kids. All the time, he was a confirmed atheist until one night he decided to search the Bible and wait whether God would reveal himself, if he existed. That night McConnell became a Christian. Some time later the Holy Spirit spoke to him and after a nightlong struggle he was sanctified.

A difficult time was to follow. His father and siblings rejected him. His pastor turned him out of the church. The paper publicly declared that he had gone insane. His artist brother wrote him from France, "Never write me again", and for sixteen years he cut him off. But just before his death he wrote him, "Charlie, you chose the better way. I have received the highest recognition that can be accorded an American painter, but it is as dead sea apples in my mouth."

In 1900 the Texas Holiness Association was organized and McConnell became a member and edited their religious paper. He was intelligent, a good speaker, but always stayed a layman, he never was ordained. He was very aggressive in his spiritual feelings and desires to see God's work to progress.

After he had been present at the First General Assembly of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene in Pilot Point in 1908, he spent several years in the headquarters in Kansas City and from 1912 to 1916 was office editor of the Herald of Holiness. The next two years he was managing editor of the Nazarene Publishing House.

In 1918 Dr. McConnell started teaching in the first Nazarene college at Peniel, Texas. In 1920 Dr. Bracken called him to Bethany and McConnell became the Dean of Religion and taught Theology.

Dr. Charles Allen McConnellDr. Charles Allen McConnell

He wrote several books and used these in his courses. One of his students remembers his words: "God created man holy. A holy God could not have created a man sinful. But man failed God, and God did not give up. God's purposes are eternal and he purposed that there would be a raise of holy men upon this earth. God's purposes are eternal but God changes his plans to suit man's changing choices because God has endowed man with free moral agency so man from the beginning was free." (quoted by Dr. Paul Gray)

Dr. McConnell was very active in Bethany First Church and community activities. He taught a large Sunday school class in the First Church and during that time became known as "Uncle Charlie".

In the early fifties he died of old age, after ninety years of a fulfilled life led in the light of God's love.

Dorli Gschwandtner

Our Nazarene Heritage
Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, SNU grew out of several small colleges committed to educating people for lives of service to God, leadership, and reconciliation toward their neighbors and within the global community. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world. Read About Our Heritage

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