Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
Ralph Haneman: Its a joy to have in our
studio this afternoon Dr. Stuart Lease who is now President of
SCRIPTURE-CENTERED MINISTRIES here in Lancaster.
Welcome, Dr. Lease!
Dr. Lease: Thank you, Ralph. Its a privilege for me to be here, and Im grateful to you and to Paul Hollinger for this opportunity to share something what we believe the Lord has in mind for us in these days.
Ralph Haneman: Dr. Lease, many of the folks have been praying for you for some time now, because of a throat problem. I see thats much better now.
Dr. Lease: Yes, praise the Lord. I had my fourth vocal chord operation back in February, February 21st; and it seems as if everything is really going fine now, and I hope it will not ever again be necessary to have that again. The doctor told me that he literally will have to slit my throat the next time, and I hope that we can avoid that.
Ralph Haneman: I certainly hope so, likewise. That wasnt very pleasant to go through, and Im sure this wouldnt be either.
Dr. Lease: Yes, Im like the fellow said, Im glad it came to pass, and I hope its past.
Ralph Haneman: Well, thats good. You were born in this area, were you not?
Dr. Lease: Yes, I was born in a little town of Jacobus, just six miles south of York in York County the last of thirteen children.
Ralph Haneman: Is that right?
Dr. Lease: I often say, Im glad they didnt just have a regular dozen, but went on to have a bakers dozen, or I might not even be here today. But I also usually add that Im so glad that I was born into a Christian home, and I never felt unloved, unwanted, or unappreciated; and I know some homes where there are only one or two children, that that cant be said.
Ralph Haneman: Yes.
Dr. Lease: And Im grateful that my parents loved me in the Lord and nurtured us in the Lord; and early in life, I did come to know Christ as my Savior.
Ralph Haneman: What was the occasion for that?
Dr. Lease: It was in a childrens meeting, in what was then Pengrove Camp. I think its called Camp Pamadeva now, over near Hanover; and Stan Cook was in charge of the childrens meeting. He was at that time a song leader and trombone player; and he, toward the end of the meeting, gave an invitation and asked young people or children to pray a prayer that he gave, and I did that; and I believe thats the time when I received Christ. It was August the eleventh, 1939.
Ralph Haneman: So you were still below your teen years at that particular time?
Dr. Lease: Yes.
Ralph Haneman: You graduated from school; and I image probably like the many young fellows, you met a young lady that became your wife.
Dr. Lease: Yes, I might say about school that Im not sure to attribute this to, but I always liked school, from the first day of school till all the years that Ive been involved in school work. I always enjoyed school; and actually, I was in my, oh I guess, in my junior year at Lancaster School of the Bible when I met the young lady that became my wife. She was Barbara Rudisill, the middle child of five, in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Jim Rudisill many people knew Jim Rudisill, one of the finest Christian businessmen that Ive ever known, a great soul-winner, great lover of people; but he loved the Lord first, last, and always, and was a fervent witness for Christ wherever he went.
Ralph Haneman: Thats a good testimony for your wifes father. Tell us a little about how the Lord called you into Christian work.
Dr. Lease: I was in my senior year of high school; and my brother, George, who looks ten years younger than I but is two years older, had an experience with the Lord of giving his life to the Lord. And, I was so challenged by Georges example (and George always lived the Christian life in our home) that when he gave his life to the Lord, I just kind of emulated that and it wasnt long after that that I really gave my life to the Lord. I really did not live for the Lord the way I should from the age of about (I was saved when I was nine) from the time I was twelve I really didnt live fully for the Lord as I should and I dedicated my life to the Lord when I was a senior in high school; and then the Lord challenged me to go on to Bible school; and Ive often said that I was so glad that I got into the Word of God first before I got other training in higher education.
Ralph Haneman: You think thats necessary, for young people today?
Dr. Lease: I recommend it very highly. I really believe that theres nothing better or firmer or more beneficial than the eternal Word of God.
Ralph Haneman: Yes.
Dr. Lease: And the sooner you get into it and the longer you stay in it, the better you are.
Ralph Haneman: It does affect all areas of thinking in your higher education, doesnt it?
Dr. Lease: Yes, indeed it does; and I guess thats why we call our new ministry, SCRIPTURE-CENTERED MINISTRIES; because when I dedicated my life to the Lord, the Word of God became central in my life and I want it to continue to be so in my ministry for Christ.
Ralph Haneman: Now, from getting married then and you and your wife went to Bible school, or how was that?
Dr. Lease: I finished Bible school, what was then Lancaster School of the Bible, graduated; and we had felt the Lord was leading us to Alaska to serve there, but through various circumstances, the door closed and I went on to Gordon College in Boston and served churches while I was taking schooling there; and then graduating from Gordon and then from Boston University with a Masters Degree. Then the Lord led me back to Lancaster in 1956, after serving four years in pastorates in New England.
Ralph Haneman: And now, you are married. How about the children?
Dr. Lease: Well, we were married more than seven years before we had a child; and Timothy came along. My wife, sort of jokingly said about Tim (he was rather strong-minded); and when she was bearing our second child, she said, I hope the Lord doesnt give us II Timothy. And the Lord was gracious and gave us Rebecca, instead; and were grateful they both know the Lord. Tim is preparing at Millersville to become a clinical psychologist, and Becky has just concluded her freshman year at Lancaster Bible College and is now going to Millersville where shes going to pursue Special Education of Handicapped Children.
Ralph Haneman: Well, thats a wide open field, and perhaps down through the years its been a much neglected field. It certainly is needed now, perhaps becoming a little bit more aware of the possibilities of working with handicapped children and developing them.
Dr. Lease: Yes, it kind of takes someone with a gift for that. I think you and I were talking about that earlier, Ralph, that were not so sure that that would be our gift; but Becky has tremendous patience (and I think as you and many of our radio audience know, Becky was found of having Hodgkins Disease back in 1975 and shes currently symptom-free of that, although shes not as physically strong as she would be if she had not had that. But, she has a tremendous temperament of patience and being willing and able to help other people, and God I believe has gifted her in this way and I think that thats a gift that shell be able to exercise in a ministry to handicapped children.
Ralph Haneman: I sort of suspect that that gift was enforced or reinforced....
Dr. Lease: Yes, sharpened by her own experience, I believe thats true.
Ralph Haneman: And shes doing well now?
Dr. Lease: Yes, we praise the Lord. Shes currently symptom-free, and we trust that it will continue that way.
Ralph Haneman: Were talking this afternoon with Dr. Stuart Lease, president of the SCRIPTURE-CENTERED MINISTRIES here in Lancaster; and Dr. Lease, you mentioned before you were out of school that you were ministering in churches. Will you tell us about that?
Dr. Lease: Yes, we served three different churches over four years in New England. Being a student at the time, we couldnt take a permanent ministry, so we took what were known as interim ministries. I served the first church, which was a Swedish Covenant Church, and they were lovely people most of them had immigrated from Sweden; and then I served a church in Brocton, Massachusetts which was a Baptist Church. And then for two years I served as pastor of an Armenian Church, folks who had come from Armenia some of the dearest people I have ever met in the world, some of them had seen their children freeze to death as they left Armenia because of their faith in Christ when the land was turned over to the Turks. They faced either staying there and renouncing their faith or leaving in the middle of winter; and many of them left and.....I spoke to one couple who saw their two children freeze to death. They just had to leave them by the roadside as they came out of Armenia. So, I had some very tender memories of dear, lovely, Godly people in that little church in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Ralph Haneman: How about radio ministry? Were you involved in that before you.....?
Dr. Lease: Yes, actually, we began in radio in a music ministry with Johnny Hallot back in 1948 over in York, Pennsylvania; and we incorporated in what was known as the Sunday School of the Air, The Bible School of the Air. I think that we ran that for two or three years. Johnny later had to go on to other work; and for a while I ended up leading the choir which isnt my major gift, but someone had to do it. And, we enjoyed that ministry. It was carried on in York, Pennsylvania.
Ralph Haneman: I see. Ive heard you sing, and you have a very fine voice, so I can understand you being used in that field as well. Where did you go then, after that?
Dr. Lease: Well, then we went on to Bible school. We were in Bible school at that time; and then of course, on to New England; and then while I was pursuing my Masters Degree at Boston University, I received a letter from Rev. William Randolph, who was President of Lancaster School of the Bible, asking me if I would consider returning to my alma mater to serve as Dean of the School. And, we prayed about it and felt the Lord would have us come; and that was the Fall before we came. He had approached us in the Fall if 1955; and so the following summer, late in the summer we moved to Lancaster, Summer of 56 and began my ministry here in Lancaster as Dean, of what was then Lancaster School of the Bible, later to become Lancaster Bible College.
Ralph Haneman: And you went on to become President of the School later on?
Dr. Lease: In 1961 and five years later.....Dr. Figart used to say,Old Deans never die. They just lose their faculties......and I guess thats what happened to me in 1961, and I became President of the School and served in that capacity until this January when the Lord led us forth from there. I had considerable administration responsibility, and Im grateful for the opportunity I had to serve at Lancaster Bible College. It was for me, a great learning experience and a great outreach experience for Christ; and Im grateful for the stand of the College on the Word of God; and I subscribe wholeheartedly to their theme verse, which is sort of the theme verse of mine from I Peter 1:25, The Word of the Lord endureth for ever. As Ive often said, there are only two things that are eternal the Word of God and eternal souls of men! And, the greatest work is imparting the eternal Word of God to the eternal souls of men! And thats the work that Lancaster Bible College is primarily involved in, and thats the type of work that I believe God has led me to continue to do in my own ministry for Him.
Ralph Haneman: I noticed being a resident here in the County for some years now that the School has grown considerably in recent years, in buildings and enrollment likewise.
Dr. Lease: Yes, there were fewer than a hundred students enrolled in the day-school, when I became President in 1961; and we went up to around four hundred and fifty and were back to around four hundred and twenty five this past semester; and were grateful for the ones that God has led there to be trained for His service in the Word of God. Its been a real challenge and a privilege to work with young people through these many years.
Ralph Haneman: What do you think is the most rewarding experiences that youve had, when you have been at Lancaster Bible College?
Dr. Lease: I suppose, meeting with the alumni and seeing how that having invested our lives in them, how they are now investing their lives in others giving out the Word of God and also seeing lives transformed by their ministries as they serve Christ, in various places around the world.
Ralph Haneman: Even as President of Lancaster Bible College, you had a number of opportunities to speak in local churches and Bible conferences. Would you tell us a little about the Bible conference ministry?
Dr. Lease: Yes, I had almost constant opportunity to be ministering in churches, sometimes as many as forty five different churches in a course of the year, and then a great number of Bible conferences. Im afraid that in some areas, the Bible conference is somewhat deteriorating in attendance. I really believe that the greater emphasis now almost has to be upon local churches; and I believe that God is working in and through the local church, and I envision our future ministry to be involved very largely with local churches individual churches in various localities I believe are Gods means for reaching those areas for Christ, and its that type of thing I want to encourage pastors and people to be involved in the work of the Lord. I think that this is the teaching of Ephesians 4 where is says that gifted individuals are given to the church, For the perfecting [or for the maturing] of the saints [literally, to involve them] in the work of the ministry... So, I envision my work as going out and stirring up the saints to involve them in the work of the ministry which I believe God wants us to do; and then that leads to the edification of the body of Christ. So, I see our work in the future as edification of believers and evangelization of the lost.
Ralph Haneman: Dr. Lease, the Lord has seemed to have led you into a new ministry. Now will you tell us a little about this, please.
Dr. Lease: Its essentially, Ralph, to engage in ministries of Bible teaching, writing, and counseling, to edify the saints, and to evangelize the lost working essentially through local churches and encouraging the pastors and people there, to do the work of the ministry, which God, I believe, has called every believer to be involved in. I dont believe that the work of the ministry is just to be done by the minister. He is to involve the people in the work of the ministry; and I think that in a ministry, like mine, there are times I can come in and say maybe some of the things the pastor has already said, but being an outsider and coming in and saying them with a new emphasis or new twist, theyll get the message maybe a little more forcefully, and we hope to be able to do that.
Ralph Haneman: Its been encouraging to me to know many times how the Holy Spirit works in reinforcing what the pastor says with someone else.
Dr. Lease: Yes, actually, we dont feel like were competing with pastors or anyone else. Its a cooperative work to encourage the saints in the work of the Lord; and of course, also to evangelize the lost. Im asking the Lord for myself as well as for others of using maybe new ways of reaching the lost for example, I just read through a copy of Beyond Deaths Door by a medical doctor concerning what really happens after people are clinically dead; and he has found some have actually gone to Hell, and Ive gotten a number of copies of those and subscribing them to the medical doctors who have served me; and Im hoping that this will be a ministry to them, that hopefully will win them to Christ; and were looking for other ways like that to reach the lost, maybe in ways that are a little different than just going up and saying, Do you know the Lord? but reaching them in means that will be effective for them.
Ralph Haneman: Do you think that certain people are gifted in certain ways to serve the Lord, for instance, maybe not all are soul-winners or all Bible teachers or all pastors?
Dr. Lease: Oh, yes. Im sure thats true; and yet I think every one of us our lives should be a witness; and when the Lord gives us opportunity to share our faith, I think that should be done quietly, not ostentatiously but I think that people do have various gifts.
Ralph Haneman: All right....What is the extent of the outreach of SCRIPTURE-CENTERED MINISTRIES? And, by the way, is it incorporated?
Dr. Lease: Yes, actually, it was incorporated April 26th of 1979. Were still seeking State Tax Exemption and IRS Exemption which we hope and trust will come through very shortly. But the extent we expect to cover, probably will be mostly on the East Coast of the United States, although I do envision some possibilities of ministering in the foreign field to missionaries, as Ive done before. And this is one of the reasons why weve incorporated this Ministry, so that people can and will pray for us and support us, so that we can go to places that could not afford of themselves to have us come.
Ralph Haneman: Especially, the mission field.
Dr. Lease: Yes.
Ralph Haneman: Yes.
Dr. Lease: Yes, thats true.
Ralph: And maybe small churches.
Dr. Lease: Thats correct.
Ralph Haneman: All right,....What is your present and potential outreach?
Dr. Lease: Well, we expect that well be serving in churches and to individuals; and we believe that God has already opened many doors for us, in fact, I have very few times open between now and next Fall. I think I may have five Sunday services that I may give out between now and October so that the schedule is filling in very well with church commitments and Bible conference commitments. Ill be, Lord willing, at Sandy Cove this summer and Ocean City, Lake Erie Bible Conference, as well as on what remains of the Harrisburg circuit Ill be there in the Fall.
Ralph Haneman: All right, and are you available also for counseling?
Dr. Lease: Yes, in fact, Ive had people already call me and come in and share in counseling, individuals; and we look forward to that opportunity of doing that. If people want to reach me, our phone number is * ______; and well be happy to try to be of help in whatever way we can; although I do try to channel people back to their pastors. Im not trying to run a counseling service in competition with pastors or local churches.
Ralph Haneman: I think that many times, even pastors would appreciate someone to talk to maybe they might be new in the area or maybe they want to share something with another person that perhaps is a little out of their denomination.
Dr. Lease: Yes, and God has given me that opportunity to minister to quite a few pastors already and to help them both in problems and in doctrinal problems theyve had.
Ralph Haneman: We want to thank Dr. Stuart Lease, President of SCRIPTURE-CENTERED MINISTRIES based here in Lancaster; and by the way, do you have an address?
Dr. Lease: Yes, we have a post office box, thats easy to remember. Its Box *______, Lancaster, Pennsylvania *_____..
Ralph Haneman: And your telephone number, whats it again?
Dr. Lease: Area code 717- *_______..
Ralph Haneman: Thank you very much, Dr. Lease, President of SCRIPTURE-CENTERED MINISTRIES in Lancaster.
* At the typing of this Testimonial-Interview on February 17, 1998, the address and phone numbers as of 1979 are no longer in use. So, to avoid any confusion, these numbers were left out.