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Ralph Wingate Jr Uses Me as a Sermon Illustration

ralph wingate jr
Ralph Wingate, Jr

From 1976-1979, I attended Midwestern Baptist College, Pontiac, Michigan, to prepare myself for the ministry. Students were required to attend chapel services every day. Over the course of the three years I spent at Midwestern, I heard many of the big name Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) preachers preach during chapel. If you were a preacher boy like I was, you wanted to hear these mightily used of God preachers. One such preacher was Ralph Wingate Jr.

Wingate, the son of a preacher, was a graduate of Midwestern.  In 1973, Wingate went to Newington,Connecticut to plant a new church, Emmanuel Baptist Church. (from 1970-1973, Wingate pastored First Baptist Church, Dwight, Illinois) The church was wildly successfuland this made Wingate a favorite son of the chancellor of Midwestern, Tom Malone.

In August of 1983, Wingate assumed the pastorate of Calvary Baptist Church in Normal, Illinois. Due to health problems, Wingate retired in December 2013. He pastored Calvary for 30 years.

Wingate, after stumbling upon my blog, used me as a warning, a cautionary tale, in one of his sermons. What follows is an audio clip of the part of the sermon that mentioned me.



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    Ralph Wingate Jr. may have retired as a full time pastor from Calvary Baptist Church in Normal Illinois but he did not stop from being involved from some type of religious activity. He functioned as an interim pastor at three different churches. From November of 2014 to December of 2015 he was the interim pastor at one non-denominational church fifteen miles away from Calvary Baptist in Normal, Illinois. From April of 2018 to Early November of 2020 he was the interim pastor of Oak street Baptist Church in Burlington Iowa. From April 2021 to the present he has been the interim pastor of Calvary Memorial Church of Racine Wisconsin. He had been involved with some time of Bible Prophecy class called Until He Returns that was headquartered in Morton Illinois. This group had a radio program that was broadcast on WPEO. Those are the call letters of an evangelical Christian radio station in Peoria Illinois. That group dissolved early in 2020. Ralph Wingate stopped being involved in that group due to his taking the interim pastor position in Burlington Iowa.

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    When it comes to Ralph Wingate Jr.’s preaching often he would use some story in a sermon that he probably got off the Internet. one time he told one of some man running in some Olympic marathon who collapsed at the wrong finishing place. He also did one on an anecdote of Alexander Fleming’s father saving a young Winston Churchill from drowning and a grateful Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father, paying for Alexander Fleming’s education which resulted in Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin. then Winston Churchill’s life was saved once again when penicillin was used to to cure Winston Churchill off some illness. Instead of the race being some Olympic marathon, the only thing close to that description that I am aware of occurred in the British empire Games in 1954. Ralph Wingate Jr. might have given that sermon some years before the Article in the Knollwood Church of Christ appeared in 2010. this is in regards to the Alexander Fleming-Winston Churchill anecdote.

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Bruce Gerencser