- S. BOARDMAN (Bible Missionary Church)
There never was a more carnal holiness preacher! I was marvelously converted in my
fourteenth year, on the backside of the hay mow, on my uncle’s farm in Vermont. God definitely called me to preach and I was making plans to further my education.
After leaving the farm and doing my high school work in a holiness college, I entered the
pastorate — starting in an abandoned church building in northern Vermont. Six years in that pastorate and one year in another, brought me to the same college, from which I graduated four years later, and entered the pastorate again.
Many pages here could be offered to convince the reader that my consecration to God was
as nearly perfect as I knew how to make it. We won’t go into detail as to the sacrifices of those early years in the ministry. There seemed to be no limit to which I would drive myself, in my labors for God and the ministry.
I had, it seemed, only one major problem — carnality. It showed up at home. It showed up
out in the business world. It showed up at church. Carnal explosions, many times entirely unexpected, would go off like a pistol. Every time it would happen I would have to pray back onto my feet spiritually, before I could go back to the pulpit and preach the Word.
I had studied the Theology of Holiness in college. I graduated with honors and walked out
with my diploma. I had the holiness doctrine and Scriptures in my head, but I did not have the experience in my heart. I thoroughly believed in holiness, but I could not make it work in my own life.
I went through many wonderful revivals during my high school and college years, as well
as several years of pastoring in a holiness denomination. I got under conviction hundreds of times (no exaggeration) when others would preach strong sermons on holiness, and when I would preach on the subject myself. Carnal blowups would sometimes make me sick for two or three days. I
would go to the woods to pray, and out to the barn to pray, and out in the car to pray, and to the church to pray. Invariably I would feel great relief. I would know God had forgiven me. I marvelled at His patience! Hundreds of times He forgave me. I would have given anything and everything to have been delivered from the terrible torture of that hateful monster in my heart. I couldn’t control it, and I didn’t know how to turn the problem over to God and let Him slay it. I battled with it for all of those early years and was making absolutely no headway toward controlling it or even improving on the situation. God only knows the suffering my wife went through during my mad fits and gloomy, silent hangovers!
Finally, in the spring of 1951, upon recommendation, I engaged an evangelist to hold a
revival in my church in Saratoga Springs, N. Y. Up until this time I had never seen or heard of H. B. Huffman.
That Saturday evening I brought him home from the bus. He immediately began walking
back and forth across our living room and saying over and over again, “Bro. Boardman, there are very few preachers who really have the Holy Ghost.” He had not said that more than three or four times before I came under the most awful conviction. It was a deeper and different kind of conviction than any I had ever felt in my life, and I was already scared of him. I had a feeling he could read me like a book. I knew I had to keep a guard up or he might go after me and expose my carnal condition and embarrass me before my congregation.
He then suggested we go into the church to pray. We knelt at the altar in the darkness and he
said, “Bro. Boardman, you pray.” That was the last thing I wanted — for him to hear me pray. But I was on the spot, so I said to myself, “This prayer has got to go over strong. I simply must convince him that I am all right.” So I prayed out as loud as I could yell and pounded the mourner’s bench, and thought I had done a real good job of covering up my fears and apprehensions. But Old “Doc” Huffman had seen hundreds of carnal preachers across the years try to bluff their way out from under “death-route” conviction, and he was not fooled. A hundred prayers like that would only have made things worse for me.
The next morning (Sunday) he preached a marvelous sermon. That night he did the same. I
now felt he was the most wonderful preacher I had ever heard and my fears of him subsided. The tears ran down his face while he preached. I was thrilled! I loved it!
By Monday night his tears were dried. He let the plow down, picturing carnality as I had
never heard it preached before, and I went home “under.” You would have thought he had some inside information, and that he had me only in mind when he screamed out “CARNALITY! CARNALITY! CARNALITY!” at the top of his voice, and painted it black. I was angry. (Let us use the colloquialism, “mad.”) I was mad! But I covered up my feelings, smiled, and kept up a front as long as I could.
Then I landed on an idea. I said, “Bro. Huffman, I want you to come into my study and
listen to one of my sermons.” I picked out what I felt was one of the best recordings. I thought, ”When he hears me preach, that will convince him that I am sanctified, and he will get off my case, and start trying to help my people. However, the sermon was hardly started when he jumped up,
started for the door and said “Shut that thing off — yack! Yack! Yack!” If he had salved me up, I never would have made it.
Talk about Mad! I was furious! In my heart I said, “He isn’t fair. He didn’t even wait till I
got down into the good part of my sermon where it was real spicy. He didn’t give me a chance.”
For the next few nights, when he would preach on carnality, that awful carnal anger would
rise up in me until I hated his sermons and him too. I couldn’t understand why he had to preach on carnality every night. And he seemed to know more about it and its ways than any preacher I had ever heard. When he would tell about the old turkey gobbler, he made me feel like I was the meanest thing on earth, and I had the old turkey gobbler in my heart.
Then I put up one more big bluff. I drove out to a little pond under some shade trees and sat
there in my car most of the day, searching my heart and writing down the evidences of sanctification and holiness in my heart. Late in the day I showed him my list. I had three or four evidences that I thought were quite convincing. He looked at it and said, “Well, Bro. Boardman, keep your heart open and God will show you.” I knew by this time the bluffing would never work. But I was breaking. I had determined to bluff him out and shake him off, but nothing worked. I knew I was in for it!
The next day I went back to the little pond and searched my heart all day again, and wrote
down all of the evidences of carnality that I could locate in my heart. I believe I had thirty-seven. In the late afternoon I showed Bro. Huffman my list and he said, “Well, that looks more like it.” Then the siege set in, in dead earnest. The bluffing was over. I became a seeker.
I knew my boat was sunk, and for the first time in my life I had come to the place where I
was willing to come out in the open and become a seeker. I begged Bro. Huffman to let me come to the altar as a seeker. He said, “No, that would spoil it all. You are not sick enough yet.”
“Man,” I said, “sick? I’m sick enough to die!”
“No,” he insisted, “just a little head conviction. If you should come to the altar now you
would pray a little, and maybe cry a little, feel a little better and think you are sanctified and lose all of your conviction.”
Then we went to a preachers’ meeting in Albany and the district superintendent wanted to
know how the revival was going.
“Oh,” I said, “I’m sick as a dog.”
“Bro. Boardman,” he expostulated, “Don’t say that. Bro. Huffman does that to everyone he
can. He preaches away their confidence. He held a revival a few years ago and he did that to my wife, but I calmed her down, and after the meeting was over, she got over it.”
“Bro. _____,” I said, “I’m too deep ‘under’ conviction to back out. I’ve got to see it through.
I know I am carnal. And I know now that there is a cure. I’ll never rest till I an sanctified.” He was very upset. But I kept digging.
Several more days went by. I made a few restitutions. But every night before he would get
anywhere near through picturing carnality as black as the pit of hell, and as loud as thunder to my soul, I would sit there and get so mad I could hardly stand it. Lots of seekers never get mad at all when they are dying out to old carnal self, but I did.
Finally my wife and I and our song evangelist got our heads together, and as soon as Bro.
Huffman walked through the door into the parsonage, we locked him out, and we went to the altar. He came banging on the door, but we ignored his knocks and kept on praying. I saw more carnality in my heart that night than I had ever seen before. The awful worldly ambitions, the desires to be a big preacher, the most subtle and hateful motives– it all came out. Finally, at nearly two in the morning, it seemed as though there was a trap door in the bottom of my heart that opened and down in the hidden depths of my being the most subtle and awful traits of carnality were lurking, and I spewed them all out. Such relief came to me as I could never describe. I was sure I had finally arrived and was sanctified wholly.
Together wife and I went up to Bro. Huffman’s room and rapped on his door. He pulled on
the bed light and asked us in. I told him I had prayed through and the Lord had sanctified me. He only replied, “Well, you keep your heart open an God will show you.”
As soon as we left the room I said to my wife, “He didn’t act as though he believed it, did
“No, he didn’t,” she accentuated! I was disgusted.
The next morning I was down in the basement praying quietly when Bro. Huffman came
into the church over my head and began to pray. I heard him pray, “O Lord, Bro. Boardman thought he was sanctified last night, but he didn’t make it.”
When I heard that, that lurking anger that had been “playing possum” arose in my heart and I
was mad clear through. And again I said to myself, “There is no use in my praying through and getting sanctified while Huffman is here. He would never accept it anyway. I’ll wait till he is gone and then I’ll pray through and get it settled.
That evening I made up my mind I was not going to get mad when he preached. I said to
myself, “I am going to sit there and smile and boost when he preaches, and maintain a sweet and cheerful countenance. However, I had something on board that I couldn’t handle, and before he had preached fifteen minutes I was as mad as a wet hen. I remained in that mood nearly to the end of the sermon, when suddenly I emerged on the other side of the anger that had flared for years. I had come out of it like coming out of dark room into the sunlight. I knew the carnal storms were behind me. I knew the Old Man was dead!
With a feeling of finality I went up into a little room in the steeple, locked the door and
said to God: “I will stay in this room and not come out for seven days and seven nights if it takes it that long to get sanctified. But when I come out, if I don’t have the blessing I will leave the ministry forever. I simply cannot go on in this carnal condition.”
I had not prayed but a few minutes when my wife turned the knob and finding the door
locked, asked to come in. At first I said, “No, I must be alone.” Then with a deeper pathos in her voice than I had ever heard, she said, “But I want to come in.” Immediately and impulsively I arose and unlocked the door.
She said, “Sit down. I want to talk to you. I have a confession to make. The devil told me
that if I should confess to you, you would leave me and would never come back. But I must confess that I have sinned against you the worst sin that a wife could ever sin against her husband.”
My mind went immediately on a rampage, but I knew then, again, that the Old Man was
dead. I knew that no matter what her awful sin might be, I could not get mad.
She then explained: “This is the sin that I have committed against you: You have been the
meanest man to live with I have ever seen, and it is all my fault.”
“How come it’s your fault?”
“It’s my fault because I have petted you, and babied you, and palavered over you, and made
excuses for you, and called your problem ‘human nature’ instead of ‘carnal nature’ and it is my fault that you are in the condition you are in.”
“Then let’s pray,” I wilted! We slipped onto our knees there in the darkness and prayed for
two or three minutes, when the Holy Ghost slipped into my heart, and I knew He had come. Together, again, we rapped on Bro. Huffman’s door. He pulled on the light. I stood there as cool, as calm and as nonchalant as ever I was in my life, and said, “Bro. Huffman. The Holy Ghost has come.” I had no outstanding emotion except a peace that flowed like a deep, quiet river. Bro. Huffman immediately laughed and cried all at the same time. He had the witness also. My war with the carnal nature was over. The devil was defeated. The Old Man was crucified. The Holy Ghost viewed the sacrifice on the altar, and was satisfied. He came to abide. He came to reign. That was thirty-six years ago, and He still abides. A sizable volume could be written on some of the terrible storms I have been through since that memorable night when the Holy Ghost came in and sanctified my heart, but He has never failed me.
Three years out on borrowed time now, finds me nearing the crossing, but I have never
regretted that painful “death-route” journey which took me to the crucifixion of that awful carnal nature which kept me constantly in defeat for years, and would have damned my soul in hell if God had not delivered me. A million years from this hour I will still be thanking God for that ”death-to-self” revival wherein I prayed through to victory and was sanctified “holy” and ”wholly”.
Since that night in the steeple of the Old Saratoga Springs Church I have been through and
conducted many “death-route” revivals. That is the kind of revivals I stood for through seventeen years in the evangelistic field, as well as many years in the pastorate. Only eternity will reveal how many souls prayed through in those revivals, including some of the greatest Holy Ghost preachers that are out there today, preaching “death-route holiness” and seeing people sanctified.
Source: “Scriptural Death-Route Holiness” by L. S. Boardman
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HOW THEY ENTERED CANAAN (A Collection of Holiness Experience Accounts) Compiled by Duane V. Maxey
Vol. I — Named Accounts