Uncle Bud Robinson (1860 – 1942)
“Oh Lord, give me a backbone as big as a sawlog, ribs like the sleepers under the church floor, put iron shoes on me and galvanized breeches, give me a rhinoceros hide for a skin, and hang a wagonload of determination up in the gable-end of my soul, and help me to sign the contract to fight the devil as long as I’ve got a fist and bite him as long as I have a tooth, then gum him till I die. All this I ask for Christ’s sake. Amen.”
Every day Reverend Bud Robinson’s prayed like this. Many were amused by it, but for him it provided strength for each new day, the strength he needed to be the incredible example that changed so many people’s lives.
Never was he the pastor of a church. He was uneducated and had many queer ways. But for exactly those quaint ways people loved him. They called him Uncle Bud. He was just himself, totally unaffected, always sweet-tempered. In his simple way he criticized evil and wrong. Still, he was a friend to everybody.
Probably the most remarkable characteristic about him was his humor. He put things into figures of speech that nobody else would think of. He was a beloved figure; anytime you announced him for a service or a meeting you could be sure you’d get a crowd of people. His native wit and his lisp gave him wide renown.
He became a worldwide evangelist, humorist and writer. During his life he wrote about 14 or 15 books, and would write what was called “Good Samaritan chats by Uncle Bud” for the Herald of Holiness. “A heathen is any member of the Church of the Nazarene that doesn’t subscribe to the Herald of Holiness,” he loved to say. Thousands of people found the Lord under his ministry.
Uncle Bud Robinson
Bud Robinson was born in the mountains of Tennessee on January 27th, 1860. His family was very poor, and they lived under meager conditions. Growing up with twelve siblings, space and food was scarce. He did not receive an education, but rather had to work early in order to make a living. His father died in 1872, and in 1876 his mother decided to leave the Tennessee Mountains and move to Texas. Bud worked on a farm and joined the wild town life; he played, attended horse races, danced, and drank. He was known as “a tough one” among the Texas boys.
In 1880 he attended a local tent revival. In his one pocket he had a pistol, the other one held a deck of cards. But God spoke to him and after a long struggle he made his way to the altar where he gave his life to the Lord. As soon as the meeting was ended he ran outside and got rid of the gun, then threw the cards into the fire. Later he crawled under a wagon to go to sleep, but he only lay there and laughed and cried. That night under the wagon, with his head on a tree stump, God called him to preach.
The next day he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and was baptized. About three months later he attended his first Sunday school, which he was about to refuse, as he could not read. But the Sunday school lady convinced him that she would do all the reading, and so he came along. After that, he slowly started to learn how to read.
Bud received a preaching license and started in his evangelistic work, which he would carry on till the end of his life. Most people tried to discourage him from preaching because of his stutter. But in spite of them Bud followed His call. In the first year he had 300 conversions. He would go out in his Sunday shirt and straw hat, with his pony, a Bible and songbook in hand. In the first four years he received a total of $16 for his ministry.
By 1891 he began to make plans to enter school at Southwestern University in Georgetown, which he entered shortly later. He kept studying there for four years. During that time he also joined the Salvation Army and stayed there until 1893. All over the United States he held campmeetings, travelling to and fro. He watched much of the development of the early Church of the Nazarene, and was a member of the board of trustees of Texas Holiness University at Peniel.
His entire life was devoted to preaching the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection to the people of his country. He travelled extensively all over the United States and preached in many churches. People loved him and came to listen to him wherever they heard he was coming. Thousands were converted, and many more encouraged through his ministry. They called him Uncle Bud, and he influenced many of the great leaders of the Church of the Nazarene.
One time when he was in California, he started across a street and a car hit him so bad that he literally flew through the air. Quite a few broken bones were the result and he spent weeks and weeks in hospital. But he recovered, and once more took up his responsibility, and followed the call.
Uncle Bud was never an intellectual. Still, he became one of the most popular evangelists in the Church of the Nazarene and changed the lives of many.
In 1942 he died of old age. After his death, a newspaper ad read:
“An evangelist who claimed to have preached 32,176 sermons and won 200,000 converts, Rev. Reuben “Uncle Buddy” Robinson, is dead today.
The thirteenth child of a poor mountain family of White county, Tennessee, he had an impediment of speech and could not write a word or spell his own name when he was converted at 20.
But he overcame these handicaps to preach an average of 500 sermons a year to 72 denominations in his 61 years on the sawdust trail, and to write 10 books of which 500,000 copies were sold.
He died last night in his Pasadena home. He was 82 years old.”