DUANE V. MAXEY
HOW THE FIRE FELL
1 Kings 18:38 “Then the fire of the Lord fell.”
There is a second, definite work of grace following regeneration whereby the heart is cleansed from inherited sin, and to which the Holy Spirit bears witness to those receiving it as clearly and distinctly as He does to one’s new birth. I was convinced of that, as all should be, and shortly after the Lord swept back into my soul in clear and joyous regenerating power in the Spring of 1956 at Alliance, Nebraska, I began to seek that experience. I wanted reality — I wanted to be sanctified as clearly as I had been saved — a clear and distinct witness, eliminating all doubt.
Upon my return to Scottsbluff, my brother Parker urged me to seek entire sanctification, and he and others prayed with me at the church in the Youth Chapel as I sought the experience. Finally, I reached a point where I knew not what more to do, and upon opening the Scriptures my eyes fell upon Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” I thought perhaps the Lord had given me this, and while we were still around the altar for that special prayermeeting for me, I mentioned it to Parker. He felt that it was God’s message to me, and that I was to hold steady right at that point, believing that promise for my entire sanctification.
The prayermeeting was ended, but I was disappointed. Even though the Lord had shown me clearly the way of faith into the glorious regeneration just received in Alliance, I knew not how to stand on that promise, and even wondered if I should try to stand on it. I tried, but was plagued with assailing doubts. No “Fire Fell,” and it was not until between 3 and 4 years later that I found what I wanted that day.
My stay in Scottsbluff soon ended, after which I attended God’s Bible School in Cincinnati, Ohio for the “Six Weeks Course” during the summer of 1956. I met Glenn Griffith who was there preaching a camp. He and Parker were friends, and he came up to me on the campus following a service and gave me a warm greeting and “green-back handshake.” It was only a brief encounter with this fiery apostle of holiness, the only time I ever recall having a personal conversation with him, but I have never forgotten that warm greeting, and at the time I appreciated both the greeting and the 2 or 3 dollar bills he put in my hand with that handshake.
Lloyd Day was President of the School and burning with holy zeal, and I sat under the pointed teaching about “The Old Man” of E. G. Marsh and others who preached and taught on the subject of entire sanctification. The atmosphere was deeply spiritual, and did me good, but spiritual questions and perplexities plagued me, and the experience they had and taught seemed beyond my grasp — almost like David’s assessment of God’s knowledge when he wrote: Psalm 139:6 “It is high, I cannot attain unto it.”
I returned to Payette following the 6 weeks course, went back to GBS briefly during 1957, but decided to leave, and soon went back to Idaho before the winter of 1957-58. For about 9 months during 1958 I worked at a Creamery in southern Idaho, during which time I attended the Church of the Nazarene. I was not clear about a call to preach, although I thought I might be called, and I had saved up a small sum of money with an eye toward possibly entering college that Fall if I was not drafted. I was compelled to take the army physical, passed it, and I was #1 on the draft list to be called from the county where I was registered if there was a draft-call coming up in July or August of 1959. There was no draft-call, which left the way open to go to school. God had two other calls in mind for me: the call to Holiness and the call to the Ministry.
As God had so arranged things providentially, in August of 1959 Parker and family were to pass through the area where I was living on their way back to Rock Island, Illinois where Parker was on the staff of Bible Missionary Institute. I still had no clear call to preach, and when I was not drafted, I decided to get into school somewhere. Mother was a school teacher, teaching appealed to me, and I had written to a teacher’s college in West Virginia about the possibility of enrolling there. Parker and Edith agreed to pick me up and let me ride back with them as far as Rock Island.
I had heard some negative things in the Church of the Nazarene about the Bible Missionary Church. One day our Payette pastor had taken an entire morning service to refute Glenn Griffith’s “Nineteen Reasons Why I Am Leaving the Church of the Nazarene,” taking up and endeavoring to refute those reasons one by one. At that point in time, I had attended only one Bible Missionary service — one in the “Old Box Factory” on Nampa-Caldwell Blvd., and that was right after they had moved out of a tentmeeting farther up the way toward Nampa, Idaho. So new was the movement at that time that I remember Glenn Griffith stating that the name would be “The Bible Missionary Union,” before it later became known as the Bible Missionary Church. It was a fiery crowd, I could tell that, and I knew they had been thought of by many as ultra-radical.
I joined Parker and his family for the ride back as far as Rock Island, but during the trip the inward thought persisted: “You’re not going to West Virginia; you are going to Bible Missionary Institute in Rock Island.” I was noncommittal. If I was to go to the Institute of this radical holiness group, despised both by the world and by less radical holiness people, I wanted to know that God was making that choice for me, and not either my brother or myself. Parker and Edith said little, didn’t pester me at all about enrolling at BMI, and I pretty much kept my thoughts to myself during that journey.
We arrived at Parker’s place, 4414 10th Ave., Rock Island, Illinois, on a Thursday evening, a week or two before BMI classes were to begin. I had to decide whether to stay and attend BMI, or to go on. I put out a fleece: “Lord, if you want me to stay here in Rock Island and attend Bible Missionary Institute instead of going on to West Virginia, please open me up a good job to help pay my school expenses here.” Friday morning I got on the phone, called Borden’s Dairy, got what sounded like a strong possibility of a job there, interviewed for the job on Tuesday, and was soon employed at the highest hourly wage I had ever earned.
Thus, God clearly indicated that I was to stay in Rock Island. I had worked for what I considered to be a rather miserly wage in Idaho, but that Creamery experience now had landed me a job right where God wanted me at a much better wage. Further, I was soon able to get a steady, part-time, night schedule that would allow me to both work and attend classes. Nothing could have been better arranged if it had all been done long in advance of my arrival, — but you know something? I think it was so arranged, but not by men. “Where God guides, He provides.”
In accordance with those clear leadings of God, I enrolled at BMI and began classes there in September of 1959. The atmosphere at the school was even more spiritually intensive than that of GBS during the times that I had been there. Emphasis was placed first and foremost on spiritual things. We had a chapel service each morning for about an hour, and the preaching in those services was powerful, anointed, and more like a revival meeting than some sort of little devotional. A new building had been constructed for BMI on a bluff overlooking the Rock River, and back then it was the only building there was on the property. Things weren’t the most convenient always, and often we were cramped for space, but it was a spiritual boot-camp, not intended to pander to fleshly comforts.
In February of 1960, which was during the winter of my first year at BMI, H. B. “Doc” Huffman came to the school for a revival. My hunger for a genuine, know-so experience of entire sanctification was increased through reading “Forty Witnesses” by S. Olin Garrison. And, before his arrival on campus, H. B. Huffman was advertised to us as an old-fashioned, death-route, holiness evangelist who insisted on people digging down, dying out to self, and seeking until the Fire of the Holy Ghost fell, killing the “Old Man” dead and witnessing to the happy finder, beyond all doubt, that the work was done.
The meeting began, and on Tuesday morning, February 9th, during the morning chapel service, my hunger for Holiness was such that while H. B. Huffman was preaching, I stood to my feet, lifted up both arms like two lightning rods to heaven, and said, “I’m going to get in!” If folks thought I was making a fool of myself, no matter. I wanted reality, and I began to march around that chapel with both arms lifted high, calling on God to sanctify me wholly! I got clear out on top of what anyone there thought. The preacher preached on, the service was dismissed, they all went to dinner, and Duane Maxey was still marching around in that chapel with both arms raised calling upon God for an experience I knew that I had never had, but was determined to get.
Some might think I was crazy, others might think I was rude, but once I made that move I began to be assured that I was going to get that for which I sought. It was a humbling thing to do, but it was just what I needed to get me beyond myself and others and follow on as the Spirit led me personally toward that for which I thirsted. H. B. Huffman was wise enough not to tell me to sit down and be quiet. He let me pray on and march on while he preached on.
My seeking continued. I went to the services, sought there, and in between services I groaned, and reached out after, and prayed for the blessing. On Wednesday or Thursday, I did something else that many folks may think was rash, and totally unnecessary, but I meant business. I called my foreman at Borden’s Dairy in downtown Rock Island. I was working part time nights. When he got on the phone, I said to him something quite like this, “_____, I have unfinished business with God. I need to spend time seeking the Lord until this matter is settled. If the job is still there after I get through, I will be back.”
My foreman probably didn’t like what I said. He mumbled a few words and hung up. Again, I realize that some may think that this was another rash and unnecessary move, but God honored it, and that job was still there the next Monday when I went back. So, then undistracted by my job, I sought on, and groaned, and prayed. I knew I was on the right track, but nothing happened on through Friday night. So far as my feelings were concerned, I felt no closer to the prize than I had back in 1956. But, God was listening, I had made progress, and still convinced that I was on the right track, I continued my seeking.
Saturday morning arrived. Things were crowded in the men’s wing of the building. It was often hard to find a place to pray for devotions. Sometimes even the hall closet was occupied, and frequently there would be several men students having morning prayer in the chapel. That morning, I was fortunate enough to find one of the classrooms empty. I could be alone with God. I entered the classroom, sat down in one of the desks, placed my Bible on the desktop, and within moments of the time I sat down, the Lord began to speak to me.
He told me that if I would ask Him, He would show me whether I was called to preach or not. I had wondered about this for a long time, but I was in dead earnest about getting sanctified wholly, and I had not given much, if any, thought to that question for some time. Therefore, I was surprised that the Lord spoke to me about it. Nonetheless, I knew that He had spoken, and I knew that if I asked him right then, he would also answer the question right then. So, I obediently asked him. What I did not realize was that there was to be several things wrapped up in His answer.
He guided my attention to three verses of Scripture in Ezekiel. What God gave me from those verses was strictly for me. I do not profess that the message given to me from them is their literal interpretation at all, but wrapped up in those three verses was: (1) An assurance that I was called to preach; (2) An assurance that He was going to cleanse me; (3) A personal, life-prophecy telling me of a time of weakness that was coming into my life, which I think is being fulfilled right now; and (4) Another life-prophecy which has yet to be fulfilled — one that I will not here reveal.
When I read those verses, I knew that God had given them to me, and I knew that I was called to preach. Those verses were given me on Saturday morning, February 13, 1960 — over 39 years ago. The time of weakness began over 15 years ago, 24 years after God gave me the verses, and still continues.
That was Saturday morning. My seeking continued that day and that night. Our regular Church services, as well as our Chapel services, were held in the school chapel. There was no BMC Church in the area at that time, besides right there at the school. I went to the Sunday morning Church service in the chapel, February 14, 1960.
As I listened to the message during that morning service, I felt nothing more than an inward calm. When the altar call was given, I went to the altar. The altar was lined, and student seekers were loudly praying and calling upon the Lord. I was over near the end of the altar close to the piano. Somehow, that morning, I had no inclination to do more than pray quietly, and as I did, the words, “Cleansing, the Cleansing Stream,” began to softly come into my mind.
Then, suddenly, I knew that I was about to be sanctified wholly. I asked those in charge if I could make a statement to all. They allowed me to do so. I arose to my feet and walked to the center of the chapel and turned to face those in the pews, with those at the altar behind me. The entire congregation quieted to listen to me. I said:
“All my life I have had within me an evil heart of unbelief, something that just would not believe God. But I believe that the Lord has shown me that He is going to take that out of my heart here this morning.”
When I finished that brief statement, Suddenly, the Holy Ghost came! — and I knew He sanctified me wholly! In holy rapture, I cried loudly: “HE’S HERE! HE’S HERE!” Oh! the mighty Pentecostal, sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost that struck my soul!
I took off down the aisle skipping like a boy on his way to the candy store with more riches than he knew how to spend! Back and forth, up and down that aisle, I skipped and shouted and skipped and shouted! And as I skipped along the aisle nearest the cinder-block outside wall, I was impressed with the thought that there was now no wall between my soul and God, and I shouted, “He hath broken down the middle wall of the partition between us!”
God struck the place! Holy Ghost revival began! Sanctifying fire fell on student after student as they were swept into a genuine and clear experience of second blessing holiness. That Pentecostal revival went on for some six weeks! Finally, even the classes were shut down and from then on to the close of the meeting we had nothing but revival. When H. B. Huffman left that meeting, Pentecost had come to me, to a goodly number of the students, and to the school. There were other outpourings of the Spirit upon the BMI students and faculty during the remainder of my time there, but this one, I think, was the greatest of them all.
Source: “Illustrative Sketches From My Life” (hdm0888), by Duane V. Maxey