by Bishop Marvin A. Franklin
radio address delivered 30 May, 1948
“Wilt Thou Be Made Whole?” John 5:6
The increasing need in our nation for the services of the psychiatrist is an alarming fact facing us today. It reveals a lack of wholeness in personality and the presence of a sense of failure and frustration. Vast confusion abounds in human lives. Eyes are blinded, emotions are seared, and men grope in their darkened world like lost children “crying for the light, with no language but a cry.”
We recall that in our college days an erudite guest-speaker would tell us how necessary it was that we become integrated personalities. He did not make this meaning very clear, and it was long afterward that I truly comprehended what he had said. The way I learned it was going back to my Grammar School arithmetic, finding the word “Integer,” and discovering anew that it means a whole number and not a fraction. Then it came to me that an integrated personality is one that is whole and not one that is fractional.
The integrated person is the one who honors his body, knowing it to be “the temple of the Holy Ghost.” During the recent world war, the operation of the Selective Service Act revealed a startling state of the physical unfitness of millions of our young men. And, indeed, in all ages of life, devastating habits, utter neglect, and wanton wickedness take a terrific toll. The sins of the body are largely the wrong or excessive use of otherwise legitimate functions. Health habits are of the first importance. In what Dr. Sorokin describes as a “sensate civilization,” one is under necessity to follow the example of Saint Paul, who declared that he kept his body under strict control. The body is to be the servant and never the master. The mind and the spirit must hold the reins and compel the body to do their bidding.
Nevertheless, there have been many notable examples of people who refused to let physical handicaps prevent them from becoming completely integrated. Helen Keller, blind and deaf and dumb from childhood, threw off these invidious bars and become more than master of the fell circumstances of her life. Robert Louis Stevenson, with a body wracked by pain and suffering, become great and winsome, notwithstanding. Sir Walter Scott, the victim of infantile paralysis, was a pre-eminent man of letters. Time would fail me to name them all. But, after due acknowledgement of those who bravely overcame their handicaps, it remains true that a sound body is an essential requirement of a completely integrated person.
A mind fully developed and used for its highest function is indispensable to a life that would be whole. There has not been an era in the long history of our race when there was quite as much need for creative and independent thinking. Propaganda has come to high tide in our day, all of it making a bid for the minds of men. From every quarter we are being subjected to thinking already wrought out and handed down. Radio commentators, educators, columnists, editorial writers, and preachers, too, are bombarding us with enticing words. Every ideology is making a bold effort to command the minds of men. The call is most insistent for clear and discriminating thinking, so that we may arrive at logical conclusions around which we may build our convictions upon which we may safely take our stand.
In our day men must think with their minds and not with their emotions. It is imperative that they think without bias or prejudice or bigotry. They must see to it that their minds are not poisoned by hate and vindictiveness. Their thinking must be vastly more than a rearrangement of their opinions and prejudices. Mob thinking will lead to enslavement and never give the truth that makes men free.
Every area of life calls for constructive thinkers. Only such people can lead our confused world out of its wilderness onto the highway that ends in the fulfillment of man’s fondest dreams and highest hopes. Demagogues, either political or ecclesiastical, cannot rise among a people who think deeply, logically, creatively, constructively, and independently. “As man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”
The completely integrated person keeps an open mind…and a growing mind. He will entertain new ideas, and enlarge the ones he has. He is oriented in the world of truth and is unafraid of the light. He hungers for larger knowledge, constantly pushes back the horizons of his mind, and becomes more and more at home in the realm of rational thinking.
Another feature of the completely integrated life is that of social adjustment. But this I mean learning the art of living together wholesomely and successfully with other persons and groups. The cause of most of our trouble and tension today is the lack of adjustment in the social area. The maladjustment appears in every phase of life where people are thrown together. Since modern science and inventions have caused our world to shrink so much in our day, the problem of living together in peace and good will with others is intensified.
A major reason for the enormous and appalling increase in broken homes is this matter of social maladjustment. Two people meet at the holy altar of the church and make a solemn pact that they shall live as one to build a beautiful and abiding home. Most of them, because they have learned the way of love, honor, loyalty, and understanding, keep this pact inviolate until death. An alarming number, that has been steadily increasing, are not able to live successfully with one another and their marriages go on the rocks, all too often bringing the greatest woe and misery to the innocent children of their broken homes. The secret of a successful marriage is for the two involved to respect each other’s personality and walk together in loyal devotion and continuous understanding.
Racial tension runs unusually high today. Our nation has been called the melting pot of all racial groups wherein they live together in mutual respect and cooperation. It should seem natural for each individual to be very proud of the race to which he belongs and do all he can to maintain its integrity and solidarity. Those of all races who are themselves whole and complete will strive to build a bridge across chasms that divide, so that all races may live together without fear or tension. A morally mature majority race will never take advantage of any minority race, but rather will undertake to guarantee educational, judicial, and economic fairness to that race. Racial hate and prejudice have no place in a Christian nation. A holier-than-thou sectional attitude will not solve our racial problems. Each section must meet the racial problems peculiar to its area and work them out on the Christian level. No solution less than Christian can stand the judgment of time or of God.
In our economic life today we face the period of a breach between management and labor. We believe in the system of free enterprise which has brought our nation to unparalleled heights. The welfare of the man who labors and the man who hires him is equally involved. A bridge must be built across this widening breach so that labor and management can sit down together with sympathetic understanding and work out their common problems in the atmosphere of mutual goodwill.
So soon after the most destructive war in human history, the international air is filled again with tension and suspicion. The rattling of the sword is heard above our heads. Our uneasy world calls for completely whole individuals in the places of government who can turn the points of friction among the nations to occasions of friendship, to the end that a world of many nations may become at last one world that will “beat its swords into plowshares and its spears into pruning hooks,” transforming its armaments of destruction into constructive implements for the blessing of mankind.
No personality is finally complete until it is properly related to God and is transformed by the Spirit into a new creation. This is the keystone in the arch of the building of an integrated personality and an integrated world. Man, to reach the noblest proportions, must know a Supreme Being to love, to worship, and to serve. This gives him a sense of moral responsibility and places him under inescapable moral controls. God is his highest authority and gives him a compelling reason to keep under the base demands of his flesh, to think God’s thoughts after him, to respect human beings as such, wherever he finds them, and to learn to live peaceably and constructively with all men.
We may assert, therefore, with finality, that our only hope is to bring the world to recognize God, to submit to His will, and to walk in His ways. Man cannot live by bread alone, nor by thinking alone, nor by social adjustment alone. Man is a living soul and is incomplete apart from God.
For a long time the preacher has been making the bold declaration that God alone is sufficient for this hour, but sometimes he has felt that he was only a voice crying out in the wilderness. Of late he has been joined by some valiant allies. As I mount my pulpit on Sunday, again and again, I feel someone tugging at my sleeve. When I look around, I find it to be an eminent educator who is saying, “Let me preach to your congregation today.” When I move over I hear him saying with intense earnestness, “With all our learning, we shall be lost if we do not enter the School of Christ and acquire His spirit and project His teachings into the hearts of men.” On another Sunday morning it is the renowned scientist saying, “Let me speak to your people today.” And he says with deep concern: “We have laid hold upon the secrets of God and have found such power that the world can be blasted into bits. I exhort you to hear the awful truth that unless God controls the findings of science, we are near the end of our civilization.” Likewise, the editor, the commentator, and the professional warrior are uniting their voices with that of the preacher to call men to join the fellowship of all true disciples of Jesus Christ to save the world from disaster and set it upon a holy quest again.
Jesus stands over our troubled world in its failures and frustrations, its warring madness, its growing tensions, and all its ills, and cries again today, “Wilt thou be made whole?” Then He says, “Come unto me and I will give you health for your sickness, hope for your despair, faith for your doubts, comfort for your sorrows, and salvation from your sins. Come unto me, ye nations, and I will give you trust for your suspicion, unity for your discord, and the way of peace for your ways of war.” To all he cries, “Come unto me, and I will be the center of your lives, and the anchor for your souls. Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest; I will make you whole again, for lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”
Our Heavenly Father, we come into Thy presence this morning in many places to seek Thy face, to hear Thy voice, and to find communion with Thy Spirit, and to receive our marching orders again. Draw very near to us in this holy hour. Undergird us with Thy power that we may be more than conquerors as we face the responsibilities of this day. May Thy grace be sufficient for every test or temptation. Comfort all who walk the lonely ways of life. Inspire us that we may gladly do Thy will and work.
May the power of another Pentecost fall upon Thy Church that she may bring the world to Thee in these desperate days, and help change its falsehood to truth, its hate to love, its suspicion to trust, and its hostility to friendship. May Thy Church, O God, be used of Thee to transform our world, torn asunder by war and division, into one world that finds its center and salvation in Jesus Christ.
We pray in the name of Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.
Marvin A. Franklin, Pastor
Highlands Methodist Church
May 30, 1948
“A Message From The Methodist Hour”
A Production of the Joint Radio Committee of the Methodist Church
Bishop Marvin A. Franklin (1894-1972) is the grandfather of Margaret McKee Huey. He was bishop of the Methodist Church in Mississippi from 1948 to 1964. Bishop Franklin was licensed to preach in 1910 and received his first pastoral assignment at the early age of 17. His first appointment was the Center Mission Charge near Athens, Ga. He later pastored some of the largest churches in the deep south, including congregations in Atlanta, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., and Birmingham, Ala.
While pastor of the Highlands Methodist Church in Birmingham, a church he served for 14 years, he was elected bishop. He was consecrated a bishop of the Methodist Church July 4, 1943, and was assigned to the Jackson Area.
During his tenure as bishop he had a remarkable record. He ordained 486 ministers as Deacon and 403 as Elders of the denomination. Under his leadership 70 new congregations were organized and staffed with ministers. The Methodist Church in Mississippi experienced one of its greatest periods of growth under his leadership, with more than 90,000 persons being received on profession of faith.
During his administration the Jackson Area led the nation in supporting the Day of Dedication offering (later called the One Great Hour of Sharing) with the highest per capita giving and a total accumulated contribution of approximately $1 million.
While bishop of the state, he witnessed the construction of several major Methodist institutions, including Camp Wesley Pines at Gallman, Lake Stephens Methodist Camp near Oxford, Seashore Manor Retirement Home at Biloxi, and the strengthening of many other existing institutions. It was while he was bishop that both the Mississippi Conference and North Mississippi Conference built headquarters buildings: the Methodist Building in Jackson and the Interboard Council Building in Grenada.
He was episcopal leader of the state following World War II, but in spite of the shortage of building materials, church building in the area experienced a great increase. During his 16 years he dedicated 363 debt-free church buildings and 113 parsonages.
A friend of higher education, he helped strengthen Millsaps College and Wood Jr. College, Methodist institutions within the state. He also supported the erection of Wesley Foundation Centers on most of the college campuses in the state.
Marvin A. Franklin served as President of the Council of Bishops of the Methodist Church in 1959-1960 and was president of the Southeastern Jurisdictional College of Bishops in 1949 and 1956. He served on numerous boards and agencies of the denomination and was a trustee of many of its institutions.
In 1953 the church sent him on a study tour of the work of the denomination in India and on a similar study tour of European Methodism in 1959.
During this tenure he also served as bishop of the Memphis Conference for four years.
Born January 19, 1894, the son of Charles L. and Eliza Ledford Franklin, in White County, Ga., he was educated in local schools in his community. He attended Young-Harris College and Emory at Oxford and earned the B.A. degree from the University of Georgia in 1915. He held honorary degrees from Birmingham Southern, Emory University, Millsaps College, and Lambuth College.
He was married to Ruth Tuck of Athens, Ga. in 1915. They had four children: Marvin Augustus, Jr., of Heightstown, N.J.; Mary Ruth (Mrs. W.W. Jeffries) of Annapolis, Md.; Robert Leonard of Birmingham; and Louise (Mrs. L.L. Wade) of Nashville, Tnn. He was preceded in death by his first wife in 1952.
In 1953 he married Mrs. William Henry Lane of Jackson, and he and his wife Faye have been residents of Jackson since his retirement in 1964.
Following his retirement he continued to preach widely throughout the state and in other states across the nation. He attended the recent General Conference in Atlanta, Ga., his thirteenth session of the top governing body of his denomination.
biographical profile adapted from “Last Rites for Bishop Franklin Held in Jackson”
30 August 1972 issue of Mississippi United Methodist Advocate, Vol. 25 No. 46