LEONARD SPANGENBERG (Nazarene)
Late in 1928 Dr. Leonard Spangenberg started to work for Mr. Roger W. Babson, starting
as Assistant Treasurer of Babson’s Reports. Then in 1934, he was made Managing Editor, and two years later Editor in Chief and Vice-President. He was a man who moved about in the circle of big business but who did not forget the Christ he found in his youth.
A Christian mother can have more influence on one’s life than any other person, place, or
thing. I am a proud father of two very fine children, but day in and day out Mother gets a lot closer to the children than Father.
I entered this cold world in the arms of a very devout Christian mother. At that time she did
not know about the “way of holiness.” If she had, I am sure she would have been walking the ”way” at my birth.
My father was at that time a nominal Christian. He attended church as a matter of duty; but
moral standards seemed to mean more to him than spirituality as a way of life, or even adherence to the manual of any church.
It was not long after I opened my eyes that I was taken to Sunday school by my mother. In
those days the forty-hour work-week was not even a dream. My father would work as a machinist six full days a week and plenty of overtime. Sunday mornings, he liked to catch a little extra sleep; so he would join Mother for the morning worship service perhaps once or twice a month.
Whether it was the influence of my Christian mother, or whether I was born with an
unusually tender heart, or both, the church always attracted me greatly. I enjoyed Sunday school and hated to miss it, even on stormy Sundays. Do not forget, forty-odd years ago you did not go out to the garage and get into a comfortable automobile and drive to church. You plowed through snowbanks and waited in the whirling snow for a trolley car.
At the age of nine, under my mother’s influence and helped by a very fatherly minister, I
expressed a desire to be baptized and join the church. This I did. I still remember the joy which I experienced even in those very early years of my life. Although I was only nine years of age, a peace seemed to come over me that still lingers. It made a tremendously lasting impression upon me.
Soon after, my father received a very attractive offer to become superintendent of a large
ordnance plant in Boston. We left my birthplace, Plainfield, New Jersey, and located in Boston during the height of World War I. My father worked night and day to get production out. At times he even slept part of the night on a cot in his office. He was successful financially, but he forgot religion. Meanwhile, my mother’s prayers continued for him.
One day, near the end of the war, both my father and mother realized that religion was the
only thing that could make our home a consistently happy place. Thus, on one Saturday, although we had been attending a local well-known church, my father consulted the religious page of the morning paper. He was not definitely “down” morally or physically, yet he felt that a mission was a good place for any sinner to find help. The name “Old Shawmut Mission” struck a responsive cord. At no time have I ever discounted divine guidance in this choice. Mother’s prayers had been piling up, and here was the answer.
In this mission there were Sunday afternoon services as well as evening services. The very
next day, early in the afternoon, my mother, my father, my sister, and I drove into Boston to attend our first mission service. It did not take my father long when the opportunity was given to find rest, peace, and pardon. Although we were dressed much better than some of the poor wayfarers who frequent missions, my father knew he needed Christ just as much as they.
We immediately took an active part in the mission and attended every Sunday. The
Christian fellowship of those mission days will never be forgotten. The superintendent was quite a musician; so I learned to play the trombone at the tender age of twelve. I can still remember playing the trombone at street meetings in the winter time. The weather often was really cold, so much so that several times I was forced to go back to the warmth of the mission to thaw out the slide of my trombone.
After attending this mission for some time, we were advised by the superintendent to join
some church. The first holiness preaching we ever heard was at this small mission. Naturally, after hearing about such a definite work of grace, we wanted to learn more about holiness. With this in mind the superintendent of the mission recommended a holiness church which at that time was called the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene. This particular church was located at Malden, Massachusetts.
Holiness was brand-new to us. The word sanctification had little significance. However, it
was not very long before our entire family became very hungry for a second definite work of grace. It seemed to be second nature with us to want to walk in the light as the doctrine of holiness was unfolded to us by the Nazarene pastor. Within a month’s time after we started to attend this Nazarene church, we had all received the blessing of entire sanctification. It was the dawn of a
beautifully bright day for the Spangenberg family. Not only did it bring an inward satisfaction which we had never experienced before, but it changed the course of our entire lives.
One of the most significant parts of my early life, that is, of my conversion and
sanctification, was that, as an entire family–father, mother, sister, brother — we accepted Christ. Since that time we have enjoyed the experience of holiness and have continued to grow in grace as we walk the holy pathways.
The Lord called Father home a few years ago. Father died as he had lived — in the sweet
communion of the Lord. My sister has become a well-known professor at Eastern Nazarene College. My mother continues to lead a consecrated life. In the business world, with all its stress and strain, I manage to keep calm and enjoy a living religion.
Not for even a fleeting second have I regretted the moment when I accepted Christ, in my
very early teens. The Lord has richly blessed me. With a devoted Christian wife, a son in the full experience, a daughter who, I am sure, will walk in the light when she becomes of age, I have everything that one could desire. I am asked at times: Can one be saved and sanctified and still be in the midst of big business? Absolutely! In fact, I find I am greatly respected for the stand I take. My one aim now is to inherit eternal life when my present life’s work here is completed. To me this is absolutely essential; otherwise my whole Life will go down as a failure. Will I fail? God helping me, I refuse to fail.
Source: “Living Flames of Fire” by Bernie Smith
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts