Another Florida Bible College Alumnus Died This Year!
Dr. Ralph “Yankee” Arnold
(Shared at the Missions Conference 2018)
Many great men and women have passed away that were alumni of Florida Bible College. But they were more than great; they were also good people. Few greats are known to be good, and few good are known to be great. Many of our alumni were an exception. They were great before God to do his will and good before men to bring the news of the gospel.
I have known many of these servants of the Lord for over 50 years. Much bonding took place back in the 60’s and 70’s with the spiritual nuclear glue that was known as the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Although there were a few that graduated with a few rough spots (a little crude, short on temper, or occasionally rude), their faithfulness to the power of the gospel, which was tempered with time and experience, took young youth directors and produced great men of God. Many became seasoned saints, with the character of gracious, generous, thoughtful, honorable, and kind Christian gentlemen.
So many of our number have passed on to glory; this only makes Heaven richer and the world poorer. Many fought a long, painful battle with cancer or some other terminal disease; and surely they had no desire to leave their work, family, or friends. God reminds us that we are “just stepping out of one life into another.” I am reminded to be nice to everyone because everyone is having a rough time.
Perhaps as we see the closing days of our life in sight, we realize there may not be many victories on the downhill side. We may become greatly disappointed, feel a sense of failure, dwelling in a failing body that cannot perform as it once did, and we may wake up to the fact that our glory days as to the Lord’s service is about over.
If we are not wise to compare ourselves among ourselves perhaps we should not measure our ministries among ourselves.
(2Co 10:12) For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
As we see the glory of our youth fade away into old age, we should also remember that the glory of a ministry fades away in due time. No man or ministry last forever. (1Pe 1:7) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Our recognition comes when Christ comes.
(1Pe 1:24) For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
We should always remember that the size of a ministry is not the true measure of a man of God. We are required to be found faithful, which is the main ingredient God uses to determine our success. It is the labor of love, not the size or results of our labor that counts. (1Co 4:2) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
We are poor judges of our own works; therefore leave the final judgement to the one who will reward everyman according to his own work. (1Co 4:5) Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
The smallest deed done for the glory of the Lord is never lost nor is it in vain. The biggest ministry done for the glory of man is forever lost and totally in vain. All of our physical lives on this earth will end. Every ministry built by man will also disappear, but every soul reached with the gospel can’t be undone. Florida Bible College alumni have gone throughout this world, giving without grasping, reaching without taking, and humbling a haughty spirit into submission to Almighty God for the sake of the gospel.
We were full of ambition with far more zeal than knowledge. We had many great, even humorous, experiences that we have laughed at many times through the years. Knowledge without zeal leads to frustration and zeal without knowledge leads to frustration. But we had a reckless abandonment to faith. We stepped out of the boat and believed we could walk on water. We knew our purpose of reaching the lost was right, we knew that our gospel was right without apology to anyone, and we believed that God would bless in our quest for souls. Look out world, here we come. We had confidence and boldness. I’m sure that many hunkered down in fear and wondered if any of us graduates would ever amount to anything for man or God.
We caused many parents to have heartburn and sleepless nights as we drove teens across this nation to attend camps. We knew our cause was just. We spent most of our time in the immediate present, knowing that getting the teens to camp was worth whatever price we had to pay. We desired no monument to be built to any man. We desired laborers to help produce a harvest of souls for the Lord. (2Co 6:1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (1Co 3:9) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
Spiritual reality demands that we build men not buildings. This is accomplished by Christians working together with the LORD. Neither the sizes of our buildings nor the number of our people are the measure of our ministries. Only the Lord is qualified to sit in judgment of our works.Luk_12:48 …For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
The successes of every graduate’s work, churches, ranches, or camps, provided spiritual motivation to all of us to do all we could with what we had where we were. I may send ten teenagers in ten directions to gather wood for a campfire. They will not all return with the same amount of wood. We were not filled with envy, jealousy, or bitterness toward others who seemed to be more successful. We were thankful, joyful, and felt a sense of fulfillment because we were all working together for souls.
None of us could have dreamt that about fifty years later there would only be a remnant of those Miami, Hollywood, and Kissimmee alumni still here. We really believed the rapture would take place before now and that we would never grow old.
We were scattered all over the nation and even around the world. Over the years, we have lost touch with some, we have stayed in touch with some, but in our latter years we have renewed/restored fellowships and friendships with many, once again. Some have maintained a steady pace along the way, some have sprinted to only end in burnout, some have fallen due to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, or the pride of life; and some have passed away by the will of God, still walking in the light. We rejoiced with each other’s faithfulness and have wept with the loss of a husband, wife or child. We must continue to serve the Lord as though we have never been hurt. If the Lord needs someone to suffer for him; it is not, “Why me, Lord?” but “Why not me?”
(Mat 9:36) But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. (Mat 9:37) Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; (Mat 9:38) Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Florida Bible College was not only about getting laborers into the vineyard, but laborers with a clear gospel message that included the zeal to go and faithfulness to tell it.
Our students are now in demand as counselors, leaders, and speakers for Freddie Coile’s Summer Camp at Grace Farms and Wally Morillo’s Spring Camp in Leaky, Texas.
Pray for the financial needs of Florida Bible College of Tampa to continue training laborers for God’s work. The students had three trust the Lord last week in AWANA and five this week. There were twenty-seven that trusted the Lord on last week’s Friday night soul-winning and forty-two this Friday. Several were saved at Ranch Thursday night.
Special thanks for those who have had a financial part in helping FBC continue the legacy of training soul-winners. Your prayers and financial gifts are greatly appreciated. You may donate online at:
For more information please contact Bob Gilbert at
Bob Gilbert email@example.com