Greathouse Passes to Glory

March 25th, 2011 / 14 Comments

William (Bill) Marvin Greathouse passed from this life to the next Thursday evening, March 24. Bill was a giant of a leader and theologian in the Church of the Nazarene.

A recently published biography on Greathouse, Crucified with Christ: The Life and Ministry of William Marvin Greathouse, offers a nice summary of his life and accomplishments. Bill was a pastor, college president, seminary president, general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene, and inspiring theologian.

For several years, Bill has been expecting to pass on to glory. In our conversations, he often talked about his failing health and physical difficulties. He was ready to go home.

Upon hearing of his home going, I flipped through some old emails exchanges. And I pulled down some of his books from my shelves. Many of us in the theological academy owe a great deal to Bill’s personal and intellectual influence.

Of his books, his little tome, Love Made Perfect, is probably my favorite. We both believed love to be the center of holiness and the Christian life.  His writing style comes across like an inspirational sermon.

I was struck when I took down the book by the inscription he had written to me. After a few comments of encouragement, he wrote these words from John Wesley:

“If thine eye be single – singly fixed on God and heaven, thy whole soul will be full of holiness and happiness.”

Bill Greathouse lived a life fixed on God. And now he enjoys the complete happiness of heaven.



(Photo: Diane Leclerc, William Greathouse, Rob Staples, Thomas Jay Oord)

Add comment


Tom Cook

Dr Oord awesome Blog and so well expressed! I had Dr G in classes for 8 years at Trevecca then Seminary.He was and is a true Hero of the Faith in every way to me!

Peggy King

Thanks for the great commentary on the life of Dr. Wm. Greathouse.  I considered a real privilege to have sat in his class as he taught, “Christian Doctrine,” at TNU in 1959.  Many times he would weep as he taught the class on Monday morning and it would be a carry-over from his sermon the day before on Sunday morning and then he would break out in a song.  I didn’t value it until many years later.
I sat here with tears rolling down my cheek as I read your blog.  Thanks again for sharing.

Debbie Coutts

Thank you for sharing Tom! What a blessing on your life to have had a relationship with Dr. Greathouse.

WIlbur W. Brannon

When I visited Dr. Greathouse on Monday morning, March 21, I read to him Oswald Chamber’s devotional text on “I am crucified with CHrist.”  He tracked with every sentence and at the end said, Thank you Wilbur, “it was of the Lord.”  A man “without guile” has transferred to his eternal home.

Ron Hunter Jr

Of all that we may say of Christ and Love, that we would live such a life of inspiration and strength for others as he. As a small boy I always considered him to wear his name fittingly only to find later that there was humility in his greatness and his intellectual prowess was rooted in a heart of Holiness. Tom could we be the men to inspire another generation with our lives more powerfully than our words? As Wesley noted the lives of nameless people who inspired that the work of God is possible, Dr. Greathouse did so for me.

Hans Deventer

I found Love Made Perfect in the little book store at Windsor Hills and bought it there. Still have to read it, but I will.

Haven’t known Dr. Greathouse much, but his name has always been mentioned with great respect from anyone I heard talking about him. The church will miss him.

Lige Jeter

Dr. Greathouse will be greatly missed. He is one of the last of the greats. I had the priviledge of setting under his teaching and what a giant he was. He never assumed he had all the answers and was always willing to listen to his students. His family can be proud of the heritage he left behind. Prayers for the family.

K. Steve McCormick

All of heaven and all of earth are filled with the glory of God.  Ever once in a while, we get a closer glimpse into the glory of God through the lives of those who live so openly devoted to God and to others. . .  Dr. Greathouse was that most precious and rare prism of glory on earth as in heaven!

I will always remember William Greathouse as insatiably curious about the stuff that mattered in our Faith because he was deeply in love with our Lord.  Every time we would ‘reconnect’ after months or even years without a personal conversation, he would want to pick up where we left off and ‘talk’ without any pretense about what new insight or discovery he had stumbled on.  The sparkle of ‘holy conversation’ was always in his eyes.  Our last conversation was about our similarly shared paths of journeying with Mary, the ‘mother of our Lord.’  He told me that he would spend hours looking at the manger scene, pondering the birth of our Lord, . . . “God becoming human so that we might become divine,” he would say, as he thought openly with me about “why” we need to ‘rediscover’ Mary in the Church. . . Well, it was that kind of contagious love that has encouraged and infected so many of us.  Thanks Dr. Greathouse for your life, your intellect, and the fire of your love.  Yes, all of heaven and all of hearth are infused with the power of resurrection, and your life, Dr. Greathouse continues to attest to this ‘hope of glory’ by your love that lives on in so many of us.  Thanks be to God! K. Steve McCormick

Larry Coen

When I was in Seminary, Dr. Greathouse and the dean permitted me to audit my courses do to a persistent problem with my eyes that prohibited my ability to handle the volumes of reading required.  I shall forerver be grateful to Dr. Greathouse and the dean for allowing me that opportunity to get the benefit of the classes, even if I didn’t get the degree.  He had a grandson who suffered from dexlexia who struggled with studies.

Keith Bottles

Dr. Greathouse taught my first Introduction to Theology (Dr. Wiley)at TNC 1947.We took other classes under him at Trevecca. I had him on our Chicago Central District many times. I always loved to be in his presence. He was a true follower of Jesus.

Laura Lyons

Thanks for sharing this tribute to Dr. Greathouse.

Jerry Kester

When I was in Seminary, Dr. Greathouse was a General Superintendent.  He called and asked me to install new carpet at his house.  While I was working in his home, he lay down on the floor and talked with me about my wife and new son.  He was a great theologian, but he was an even better person.  I was so pleased a few years later when he was the one who ordained me.  He was a walking picture of our doctrine of holiness; heaven is richer.

Doug Sherwood

I am one of many, many who had the privilege to read the writings of, and sit in the classroom of this great man of God.  He has been such an influence within the Church of the Nazarene, and such a instrument in helping to shape the thinking of many who preach and teach across our church today.

Carolyn Savell

It’s always sad when any great person in our denomination passes and leaves a void. It’s even more sad when that person has made a major contribution to our denomination leaving shoes that are difficult, if not impossible to fill. However, it becomes of great importance to at least seek someone or a group of people to carry on the work and mission he left behind. He filled a valuable theological strengthening position here and that needs to be sustained and passed on. Failure to pass on what Wm Greathouse left for us may cause great harm to our denomination in that the strength of the holiness theology may bcome watered down if not nonexstant at all in the furture. We are a Holiness Denomination and where might we be without strong holiness teachings. I pray the Church of the Nazarene not allow the shoes he filled to be shoved under the bed and forgotten.
Thank you for sharing about Wm Greathouse adn reminding us of what we could possible loose. God bless his family and olur leaders as they seek ways to carry on what he started. cs

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.