EVERETT OTIS CHALFANT (Nazarene — Thirty years District Supt., Chicago Central Dist.)
The saying goes, “When God made Bud Robinson, He threw away the mold.” This is
undoubtedly true, for there has never been another man like this unique character. But God must have had another mold that He threw away after using it only once — the mold from which He made E. O. Chalfant. There has never been another like him, and those who knew him would predict without any hesitation that there will never be another person just like this unique, nonconfrmable, rugged individualist, completely uninhibited, perfectly lovable human dynamo – Everette Otis Chalfant.
Thirty years the superintendent of the Chicago Central District, he would have been elected
for thirty more had his age and health permitted; but he retired from these duties to assume a full slate of things he loved most to do, promoting home missions and preaching holiness. Busy in the Lord’s Pork until the Sunday before his death at the age of seventy-two, he left behind him a challenging ministry, a blameless life, a worthy example and some unorthodox but nevertheless very effective ideas.
Begun in the home of devout French Huguenot parents near Muncie, Indiana, in a log cabin,
his life was rugged, vigorous, and deeply religious. Twice daily the family gathered together for the reading of the Bible and family prayer, and this habit was followed throughout his life. It was when Everette was only four years old that he remembers his parents praying until they were sanctified wholly. This made an impression on his mind that he never forgot. Many times he referred to it in his preaching as he would declare, “They prayed through in the old-fashioned dying-out way!”
At seventeen he enrolled in Huntington College in Huntington, Indiana, and it was while
attending this junior college that he was genuinely and definitely converted. He describes his experience in his book, Forty Years on the Firing Line: “I saw every wrong doing of childhood; I saw the watermelon patch I had helped to ruin; I saw the old buggy that I helped put on top of the blacksmith shop; I saw the difference I had with a childhood friend…while I was promising God to
take care of all these things, He came into my heart, my burden rolled away, and I experienced the joy of sins forgiven…” He referred to this occasion many times in his preaching, and said he “went down praying and came up shouting.”
It wasn’t long after his conversion that he began to seek the experience of entire
sanctification. He read Wesley’s sermons; he subscribed to every holiness periodical he could find and read them all — a practice he continued all his life. He sought the “second blessing” in a camp meeting in Cincinnati, and actually professed it, but soon realized he did not possess it. An incident on his father’s farm illustrates his struggle and dramatizes his need for full salvation. He filled the water hole for the hogs and spread the corn, then called the hogs. But one large sow pushed against young Chalfant unexpectedly from behind and he fell into the mudhole. At this point, as one can well imagine, carnality manifested itself, and he picked up a fence rail and began to chastise the errant sow. “Suddenly I realized what I was doing,” he related in his autobiography, ”and I dropped the fence rail and said to myself, ‘Now, isn’t this becoming of me!’ ”
Unable to stand it any longer without victory, he went to the country church near his home
one Friday morning to stay until he received the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Still there when people gathered for services, he refused to leave until victory came. They thought he was crazy. But again his own words describe his experience: “On the third day about six o’clock in the evening, God opened all the windows of heaven and sent down glory and peace and joy and love; something hit me on the top of my head and went to the soles of my feet like an electric thrill. I knew the old man of sin was crucified, for I had the witness that I was sanctified wholly.”
Source: “Selected Sermons and Addresses of Dr. E. O. Chalfant” by Rev. Morris Chalfant
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts