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Billy Sunday

William Ashley (Billy) Sunday
American evangelist


Let's quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ.

If you want to drive the devil out of the world, hit him with a cradle instead of a crutch.

I'm against sin. I'll kick it as long as I've got a foot, and I'll fight it as long as I've got a fist. I'll butt it as long as I've got a head. I'll bite it as long as I've got a tooth. And when I'm old and fistless and footless and toothless, I'll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!

Live so that when the final summons comes you will leave something more behind you than an epitaph on a tombstone or an obituary in a newspaper.

The Lord is not compelled to use theologians. He can take snakes, sticks or anything else, and use them for the advancement of his cause.

I believe that a long step toward public morality will have been taken when sins are called by their right names.

Your reputation is what people say about you. Your character is what God and your wife know about you.

If you took no more care of yourself physically than spiritually, you'd be just as dried up physically as you are spiritually.

Look into the preaching Jesus did and you will find it was aimed straight at the big sinners on the front seats.

Churches don't need new members half so much as they need the old bunch made over.

There are some so-called Christian homes today with books on the shelves of the library that have no more business there than a rattler crawling about on the floor, or a poison within the child's reach.

Home is the place we love best and grumble the most.

I don't believe there are devils enough in hell to pull a boy out of the arms of a godly mother.

To train a boy in the way he should go you must go that way yourself.

Whiskey is all right in its place -- but its place is hell!

It won't save your soul if your wife is a Christian. You have got to be something more than a brother-in-law to the Church.

You can't raise the standard of women's morals by raising their pay envelope. It lies deeper than that.

The reason you don't like the Bible, you old sinner, is because it knows all about you.

Going to church doesn't make a man a Christian, any more than going to a garage makes him an automobile.

God likes a little humor, as is evidence by the fact that he made the monkeys, the parrot -- and some of you people.

The normal way to get rid of drunkards is to quit raising drunkards -- to put the business that makes drunkards out of business.

There is more power in a mother's hand than in a king's scepter.

Yank some of the groans out of your prayers, and shove in some shouts.

What have you given the world it never possessed before you came?

The Bible says forgive your debtors; the world says "sue them for their dough."

There is nothing in the world of art like the songs mother used to sing.

The backslider likes the preaching that wouldn't hit the side of a house, while the real disciple is delighted when the truth brings him to his knees.

Temptation is the devil looking through the keyhole. Yielding is opening the door and inviting him in.


William Ashley Sunday was born in Ames, Iowa as the son of a Civil War soldier, on November 19, 1862. Because his father died when he was less than a year old, "Billy" was raised in an orphanage. His young days were hard, working in a hotel and later for Colonel John Scott.

During high school young Sunday worked as a janitor. In 1883 he joined the "White Sox," becoming a professional baseball player; he played in the major leagues for seven years. He was converted to Christ in 1886 through the street preaching of Harry Monroe of the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.

Sunday gave up his baseball career in March, 1891 to become an assistant YMCA secretary. After three years of work at the YMCA and acting as assistant to Dr. J. Wilbur Chapman, Sunday began preaching in his own services. He was ordained to the ministry in 1903 by the Presbytery of Chicago. Sunday preached in the army camps during World War I and later held city-wide meetings in the various cities across America. He refused to accept invitations offered him to go abroad.

In one meeting in Philadelphia over 2.3 million attended his crusade during a period of eight weeks. Sunday held campaigns for over twenty years and literally "burned out for Christ." At the close of each service throngs of people came forward and grasped the evangelist's hand to signify their conversion. Such action was called "hitting the sawdust trail" because the tabernacle floors were covered with sawdust. Sunday was noted for acrobatic feats on the platform as he preached.

The worst ever said of him was that he occasionally let his humor run wild; the best ever said about him was that he reached a million lives for Christ - the drunken, the down and out, the homeless, the common man. His blazing-fisted bare-handed evangelism lives in American history. He was probably a factor in preparing the country for the passage of the Eighteenth (Liquor prohibition) Amendment to the US Constitution.

Billy Sunday died in Chicago, November 6, 1935; services were held in the Moody Memorial Church with 4,400 present.

Campaign interior during one of Sunday's meetings in Bloomington, Illinois.
This particular meeting was on January 19, 1908.


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