Hills that Help–The Last Sermon Preached by Lester Roloff before taking off for Heaven.
Brother Roloff is cited as a major influence on both the Christian fundamentalist homeschooling and youth movements. His final recorded sermon was preached at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is entitled “Hills that Help.” It is regarded as a classic by his supporters. Perhaps his most well-known sermon was “Dr. Law and Dr. Grace.”
Lester Leo Roloff (June 28, 1914 – November 2, 1982) was an American fundamentalist Independent Baptist preacher and the founder of teen homes across the American South. It was the operation of those teen homes (primarily hisRebekah Home for Girls) which placed him in the public spotlight.
Born of German descent, Roloff was reared in Dawson in Navarro County in east central Texas. He began preaching at the age of eighteen. He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas (Roloff is reported to have brought his dairy cow with him to raise tuition funds through the sale of its milk) and later Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
After graduation, Roloff began preaching at small country churches in southern Texas, before taking on pastoral duties at churches in Houston and later Corpus Christi.
The Family Altar
It was in Corpus Christi in 1944 that Roloff began his radio show, The Family Altar.
The show consists of recordings of his sermons, aired in both 15 and 30-minute programs. Roloff also incorporated singing into his sermons, and would occasionally break into impromptu singing of hymns and/or leading his choir to sing along. The Family Altar program begins and ends with a recording of Roloff singing (“When Jesus Comes (One Sat Alone Beside the Highway)” at the beginning, and “The Stranger Who Sat By the Sea” at the ending) accompanied only by organ.