The Baptist Beacon
In Memory Of Elder Ernest Fred Prince
1903 - 1995
By Deacon Jimmie Hale
Early this year, West Tennessee mourned the passing of Elder Ernest Fred Prince. Brother Prince grew up on a farm near McKenzie, TN in Henry and Carroll Counties. He was attending a revival at Enon Missionary Baptist in August 1918 when he became convicted of his sins under the preaching of J. G. Cooper and was gloriously saved. He was baptized into Enon Church in September 1918 by the pastor J. R. Hamlin. It was recalled him saying regarding his new birth:
"I went about for several weeks as though I was in a trance. It seemed as though the trees were clapping their hands for joy and the leaves were singing."
According to Brother Prince's testimony, he felt the call to the ministry in the early 1930's. He resisted the call until late August of 1934. During this time singing became his avenue of avoiding the acknowledgement of his call to preach. He taught singing schools and tried to promote the cause of God in other ways. The Lord pressed upon the mind of Brother Prince the consequences of his rebellion by visualizing the graves of his four children lined in a row under the old apple tree in the backyard of his home. Brother Prince first acknowledged his call to preach on a Saturday afternoon in McKenzie, TN to Deacon B. N. Pate of Enon Baptist Church, by stating that he planned to preach there the next day. Brother Prince said that he had no sooner gotten the words out of his mouth when he thought to himself; "what have I done". The news spread quickly and he headed home to tell his wife who responded: "Why Fred, you can't preach." At this time Brother Prince did not own a Bible. He told his wife to get their four children ready that they were going to the home of his brother-in-law who had a Bible. He and his family walked three miles across fields to the home of his brother-in-law to spend the night so that he could study the Bible and prepare for his first sermon. According to his testimony, he was hoping and praying that there wouldn't be anyone at church when they arrived. That morning however, the church house was full and people were standing lined up around the walls of the church. Brother Pate introduced him to the congregation and Brother Prince humbly approached the podium. After studying and praying most all night, Brother Prince still felt a great uncertainty about what needed to be said. Brother Prince fell to his knees and summoned help from heaven. While in prayer he asked God to give him the words that He wanted him to preach and asked the Lord that if he had not been called to preach, to close his mouth so that he could not say anything. He took his text from Luke 2:10-11 and was anointed with the power of God to preach God's Word.
"He stated that when he finished preaching great rejoicing was going on all about the church house, and that before he left the building, he had six preaching appointments and was never without a church to preach at as long as he was able to preach."
Brother Prince was licensed to preach on September 22, 1934 and Ordained into the full work of the ministry on September 21, 1935 by Enon Baptist Church. During the sixty years of his ministry, he pastored 22 different churches in Benton, Carroll, Henderson, Henry, Shelby and Weakley counties in Tennessee. The first church that he pastored was Ephesus in 1936 and the last was Mixie in 1987. He preached his first sermon in August of 1934 and his last sermon in October 1994. He was instrumental in the organization of Caledonia Missionary Baptist Church near McKenzie and Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis.
While pastor of Pleasant Hill in Benton County, TN (1939-46) he stated that he preached to congregations estimated at 2,000 people, inside and outside of the church building. His ministry extended beyond the four walls of a church house. He preached on the radio and television, held revivals in nursing homes, tents, schools, Brush Arbors, and in 1983 at the age of 80, preached at the empty tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Preaching the Gospel was his life and he gave his all to the Lord's work, even at the expense of his family at times, but the Lord was always good to provide. To the very end, his concerns, thoughts, and mind was upon the Lord's work.
On January 4, 1995, at the age of 91, Brother Prince was called home to be with Jesus. Surely we can say as Paul did in II Timothy 4:7-8 that Brother Prince fought a good fight, and finished his course, and kept the faith: Surely there is laid up for him a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give him at that day.
REVIVAL - FAIRVIEW MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, Woodburn, KY
Pastor: Elder Doug Matthews
Helper: Elder H.C. Vanderpool
Song Dir: Bro. Danny Patterson
Begins: Sunday June 4, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
HOMECOMING - CEDAR GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH, Gallatin, TN
Sunday June 4, 1995
Preaching at 11:00 A.M. by the Pastor Arnett Gregory. A Pot Luck lunch will follow. Singing in the afternoon featuring the Jubilee's from Lamb KY. The Church Welcomes Everyone.
REVIVAL - CANEY FORK BAPTIST CHURCH, Etoile, KY
Pastor: Elder Billy Neal Davis
Helper: Elder Tim Eaton
Begins: Sunday June 4, 1995 - 7:30 P.M.
YOUTH TENT REVIVAL
Franklin, KY JUNE 7 - 10
Exit #2 off I-65 In front of the Keystop Motel
Services times are as follows:
Wednesday 7:15 P.M. Bro. Jeremy Sisk
Thursday 7:15 P.M. Bro. James Degraffenreid
Saturday 11:00 A.M. Bro. John Lewis
Saturday 6:00 P.M. Bro. John Buck
Please try to help support these young men and their efforts to reach out to their peers. New Bethel Sunday School will provide Lunch and other activities after the Saturday morning service.
If you can't attend these services, pray for their success.
For more information contact:
Jerry Shrum (615) 826-0302
John Buck (615) 868-8627
Ben Snoddy (615) 643-4686
Jeremy Sisk (615) 868-0676
REVIVAL - LANDMARK BAPTIST CHURCHMEMPHIS, TN
Pastor: Elder Timothy Binion
Helper: Elder Kenneth Massey
Begins: June 18, 1995 6:00 P.M.
Services: Day 10:30 A.M. Eve. 7:30 P.M.
ALL DAY SINGING- OAK GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH, RED BOILING SPRINGS, TN. JUNE 18th Services begin at 10:30 followed by Dinner On The Ground. Guest Singers will be The Spiritual Crusaders from Lafayette, TN and The Jubilee's from Lamb, KY. The church cordially invites everyone.
SINGING - WHITES BAPTIST CHURCH, ACWORTH, GA
The Jubilee Singers from Lamb, KY will be singing Saturday night June 24th at 7:00 P.M. and Sunday June 25th at 11:00 A.M. Pastor Elder Rick Huskins along with the Church welcome everyone.
HOMECOMING & REVIVAL - LITTLE FREEDOM MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH,RUSSELVILLE, KY
Will be celebrating their 6th year on June 25th. Services will begin at 11:00 A.M. with preaching by Elder Landon Long. Lunch will be on the grounds and singing in the afternoon featuring The Cannon Land Quartet and The KingsWay Quartet.
Revival beings June 26th at 7:00 P.M.
Pastor: Elder Mitchell Rigsby
Helper: Brethren of the Church
REVIVAL - GRACE MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, HENDERSONVILLE, TN
323 Old Shackle Island Road
Pastor: Elder H. C. Vanderpool
Helper: Elder Jerry Reynolds
Begins: July 9, 1995 - 7:15 P.M.