The following article is excerpted from the new BMH Book BMH Book Heroes Who Live On, Vol. 2. The project was originated by CE National, and text was written by Robert Cover, Sr. and Viki Rife, with illustrations by Sarah Pratt. Written for upper grade school children, the book emphasizes character traits in 13 Grace Brethren leaders of the past, including Orville Jobson, Jake Kliever, W.A. and Francis Ogden, R. Paul Miller, and others. Heroes Who Live On, Vol. 2 is available for $9.99 at www.bmhbooks.com or by calling 1-800-348-2756.
Little Paul Bauman watched as his papa welcomed the visitors to their home. Paul was used to his father having important people come to the house, because Papa was well known in Brethren churches.
Paul turned and ran into the kitchen. He opened the silverware drawer and pulled out a fork. Then he ran through the door of the room where Papa and the guests were meeting. He ran up to Papa, held up the fork clutched in his fist, and stabbed his daddy’s leg as hard as he could. The visitors gasped. Paul stood still, looking up at his father. Dr. Bauman smiled faintly at his son. “Run along, Paul,” he said calmly. Then he reached down and pulled the fork out of his leg.
Paul smiled to himself as he left the room. It was so funny to watch the horrified faces of the visitors! Paul knew the secret that Papa was now explaining to his guests. Papa’s leg was an artificial one made of cork. He had lost his real leg in a farming accident long ago.
It wasn’t his cork leg that had made Paul’s father, Louis S. Bauman, great or famous. Dr. Bauman was known among Brethren people for his preaching, his wisdom, and the way he taught the Bible. He had accepted Jesus as his Savior when he was 11 years old, not long after he lost his leg.
Before long, Louis Bauman started preaching. He was so young that people called him “The Boy Preacher.” Years after he had become a pastor and a conference speaker, his mother told him, “Son, before you were two hours old I lifted you in my arms and dedicated you to the Lord for Christian ministry.” God had heard the prayers of this faithful mother.
After serving as pastor of churches in Indiana and Illinois, Louis Bauman was asked to become pastor of the First Brethren Church in Philadelphia.
While he was in Philadelphia, Louis became more and more concerned about people who had never had an opportunity to hear the message of Jesus. He worked hard to help plan a new missionary work in Argentina. He also became interested in reaching people in Persia (now Iraq and Iran). He decided to rent the third floor of his home to Persian students who had come to Philadelphia to study. This gave him a chance to know more about Persia.
His life motto, which anyone who heard him preach can remember, was, “It’s in the Book! What are you going to do about it?”
One person who accepted Christ in Dr. Bauman’s church was a young streetcar conductor named James Gribble. James was convinced that God wanted him to go to the center of Africa, to tribes who had never heard about Jesus. Dr. Bauman explained that the Brethren Church did not have a mission in Africa, and he encouraged him to pray. James found another mission that would send him to Kenya.
Eight years later James came back, now with a wife and two-year-old daughter. Again he went to Dr. Bauman and explained that he wanted to reach people who had never heard the message of Jesus.
Dr. Bauman sighed. “James,” he said, “do you understand what you’re asking? There is no established mission where you want to go. There are no other missionaries. There are no government representatives in the area to protect you from the fierce tribes. Some of them are head-hunters and cannibals! There’s a war going on right now, and it just isn’t wise to take a ship across the Atlantic Ocean. You have to get permission from the French to enter that area, and they aren’t likely to give it to their own people, much less to you. Besides, it’s not a place to take a small child.”
Dr. Bauman smiled at James. “I know you and your wife are people of faith. If you pray and prepare yourselves to go, I promise that our church will support you. I’ll ask others to help you too.” With those words of encouragement, the Gribbles began to prepare to go to the center of Africa. Because of their pioneer work there, that land now has about 900 established Grace Brethren churches, with about 230,000 baptized believers.
Dr. Bauman had married Mary Wageman, a lively, energetic woman who loved helping him with his church. They had three children–Paul was the youngest. When Paul was only 18 months old, a serious flu virus infected many people in the area. Mary and the oldest boy, who was six, died.
Their deaths were a terrible blow to Louis. He began to wonder what God was doing in his life. As he struggled to take care of two little children who now had no mother, he turned to God’s Word for comfort. The more he studied his Bible, the more interested he became in prophecy. When he started preaching again, he became one of the best-known speakers on prophecy, speaking in Bible conferences throughout the country.
Eventually he became pastor of the “Fifth and Cherry” Brethren Church in Long Beach, California. He served at that church for 34 years. Through his influence, many young people dedicated their lives to serving God in places all over the world.
He was a leader in the Brethren Foreign Missionary Society for many years, and also helped start Grace Theological Seminary. He was instrumental in helping clarify the theological controversies that led to the split with the Ashland Brethren and the founding of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches in the 1930s.
Dr. Bauman was 73 years old when he went to be pastor of the Brethren Church in Washington, D.C., but his writing ministry continued. Even when he had to be in a wheelchair, he still wrote articles and letters. In one of his last letters he said, “The Lord’s coming seems so very near, that I almost feel His breath upon my cheek.” He was buried on his 75th birthday in Germantown, Pennsylvania.
See related article, Brethren Heroes Vol. 2 Released.