G.K. Wallace

G.K. Wallace was born near McKinney, Colin County, Texas on September 2, 1903. He was the eighth of fourteen children born to the J.W. Wallace family. When he was three months old he and his family moved to Montague County (Bowie) and there he grew up as a son of a Texas sharecropper and farmer. As a child, his family rode in a wagon or on horseback to church. His older brothers rode horses, but G.K. rode a mule named Peanut. The church services were held in a schoolhouse. They would have Sunday School, one class, and the Lord’s Supper with one glass. There was no preaching except during the “big meeting” time held in the moonlight nights of August. During one such meeting held in 1916, G.K. was baptized by his first cousin, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., in a cow pond on the prairie of North Texas. After the baptism, the senior Wallace, just aged 20 himself, pulled the thirteen-year-old boy into his lap and said, “I hope someday to hear you preach the gospel.” Both Wallace’s were part of a family of preachers, from their grandfather, Thomas Knox Wallace, to some of their own brothers and cousins. According to G.K. there were at least twenty men he was related to who preached the old time message.

He preached his first sermon at Montague, Texas, at the age of 20 in 1923. He became a full-time preacher at Moro, Texas, the following year at the age of 21. On September 1st, 1924 he entered Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University) to further prepare himself for the ministry. When he arrived he had fifty dollars and an old blue suit. He lived in an old Mexican shack located in the back yard of the home of Batsell Baxter, the president of the college. While there he supported himself with preaching and being a janitor at the school. He was elected president of the A-Club, the highest honor organization in the college. When the club later merged with the National Blue Key Scholarship Society, he automatically became one of its members.

 While at Abilene G.K. Wallace began his evangelistic work. He preached in Gospel Meetings during the summers in various places. It was not unusual to baptize twenty-five or thirty in each meeting.

In 1928 he graduated from ACU with a double major, one in Bible and the other in English, and a minor in Greek. He said that he minored in Greek because he was tired of little Denominational preachers getting up and saying, “This is what the Bible says but let me tell you what the Greek says.” His study of the original language of the New Testament helped him greatly in years to come with the many debates he held.

In the year of his graduation he married Sussie Ina Franks of Paoli, Oklahoma. To this union was the birth of a daughter who died in infancy, and a son, James K. Wallace. One daughter, Nancy Ruth Zickefoose, was adopted when she was three days old. The marriage came to a tragic end in 1952. In 1954 he married Lillian Higgins Smith of Woodbury, Tennessee, and Homer Hailey officiated. Lillian had two daughters, Sally Ann Smith, of Brandon, Florida and Nancy Clema Griner, of Winter Haven, Florida. Together they had four children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

From 1928 to 1952 G.K. Wallace was involved for the most part in full-time Gospel Meeting work. During that time he served the West Side Church in Wichita, Kansas as minister for ten years, and the Riverside Church in Wichita for five years. Also, he helped to get the Maude Carpenter Children’s Home organized. He also worked with the 39th and Flora Church in Kansas City, Missouri. He told of one church he preached Gospel Meetings for in western Oklahoma who had him for five meetings in a row. He was beginning to feel that the brethren there must have thought of him as a “big preacher” since he had been invited to preach for five years in a row. When they asked for the sixth meeting, he suggested that they ought to try to have someone else come. To this they responded, “Brother Wallace, we tried that.” This placed his inflating ego back in check.

He held many debates. The first of fifty in his lifetime was held in 1928. He debated Joe Meice, “a footwashing Hardshell Baptist” near Anson, Texas on the subject of Calvinism. In 1935 he debated the Oklahoma State Evangelist of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. In 1933 he debated A.R. Farley, District Superintendent of Assemblies of God, Inc. at Ransom and Scott City, Kansas. In 1937 he met Dr. E.E. Satauffer, a Lutheran, of Wichita, Kansas. The debate was published, and has been through at least two printings. Also that year he met Mr. J.E. Bean on Pentecostal doctrine. In 1940 he met Charles Jessup, a famous radio preacher of the day, under a tent in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. That same year he also met a woman preacher, and a Mr. Shoe in a debate in Anderson, Indiana. In 1941 he debated Gus Dunn on the anti-located preacher question. In 1950 he debated Ray Vaughn of Arvada (Denver), Colorado, also a published debate. Also in 1950 he met Burton Barber, a conservative Christian Church preacher, in Des Moines, Iowa, also a published debate. In 1952 and 1953 he debated W. Carl Ketcherside, both debates being published. In 1954 he met D.L. Welch, a Pentecostal at Vernon, Florida. He debated him again in Birmingham, Alabama in 1956.  In 1959 he debated Charles Holt of Florence, Alabama over the Cooperation and Orphan Home questions, which was published. In 1965 he debated Jessie Pratt, overseer of the Church of God of the Union Assembly. Also that year he met James P. Miller in a debate. Through those years Brother Wallace was a highly acclaimed and successful debater. Guy N. Woods said, “G.K. Wallace is one of the truly great debaters of all time.” That is high praise from a man who held over 200 debates himself.

A number of books and study guides bear the name of G.K. Wallace as author. He wrote nine books and sixteen booklets with titles such as, Denominational Dogmas, A Plea For Unity, And A Critical Review Of Modernism, Dangers That Face The Church, and others.

Wallace was a well known preacher throughout the brotherhood. He was invited to appear on numerous lectureship programs. He appeared at Pepperdine University, Abilene Christian University, Oklahoma Christian University, Harding University, Harding Graduate School, Getwell Lectures, Alabama Christian College (now Faulkner University), Ohio Valley College, Mars Hill College, Lipscomb University, Florida Christian College, and a host of congregational lectureships across the nation.  He appeared for 39 years on the program at Freed-Hardeman University.

In 1952 he began teaching in the Florida Christian College. After being in the classroom for two years he accepted an invitation from H.A. Dixon, then president of Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tennessee to come and be his executive assistant. He went for a three year commitment and stayed for thirteen years. Incidentally, he had been invited by N.B. Hardeman to come be vice-president as early as 1942, to which he declined because of his busy Gospel Meeting work. During his time at Freed-Hardeman he served five years as Vice-President of the college, and three years as director of the annual Lectureship. However, his most challenging work was in the role of fundraiser. He traveled throughout the nation raising funds for the university. Also while at Freed-Hardeman he was instrumental in setting up an Advisory Board that still works to this day to promote the college, as well as helping to build the Booster Club that also continues to this day.

At the age of sixty-five G.K. Wallace retired from Freed-Hardeman. On February 6, 1968 over six hundred people gathered together at the Bader Memorial Gymnasium to honor him with a dinner. Those who handled the program were C.P. Roland, Albert Hill and W.A. Bradfield. Those who spoke were his brother Glenn L. Wallace, B.C. Goodpasture, Guy N. Woods, E. Claude Gardner, and H.A. Dixon.

After retirement G.K. and Lillian Wallace left Henderson, Tennessee and returned to their home in Temple Terrace, Florida. From 1968 to 1972 he held many Gospel Meetings and taught two nights per week in the Florida School of Preaching at the South Florida Avenue church in Lakeland, Florida.