There had been a persistent rumor around town about a particular house located across the road from one of the local high schools and how it had become a den of iniquity. A preacher had been making a big deal about it and the fact that sexual immorality was rampant in the area, particularly among young people. One version of the tale had it that some of the high school students were planning some kind of demonstration out at the makeshift tabernacle, where the old preacher was railing against the sins of the city. The whole thing finally convinced one previously reluctant young man to go out to one of the revival meetings to check out things for himself.
By the middle of 1852, a young minister serving in the quaint and pastoral village of Waterbeach, located just a few miles from Cambridge, England, was becoming a minor local celebrity-a prologue to a much bigger story to come. There was a chapel in another hamlet not far away, overseen by a faithful servant of God who was well more than 80 years old. The congregants purposed to have a special service to mark their pastor's anniversary at their church.
One day, after Criswell had been filling George W. Truett's shoes for nearly eight years, W.A. glanced out the window of his office and saw an old man sitting there. He buzzed his secretary and asked how long the man had been waiting, "Well, he's been there for quite a while, Dr. Criswell. He looked like a bum to me, and I wasn't sure you'd want to be disturbed," she said. Criswell recognized the old man. He was no bum...
Of Preaching and Personality: The Ministry of Joseph Parker