Click HERE to view pictures and
information about the Lord's church in Wayne County, KY,
and the work of J.D. Walling and Max Ogden among those brethren.
following biography was written by Robert
C. Welch and originally appeared in the July 1981 issue of Faith
It is reprinted
here in its entirety with the permission of brother Welch.)
OF MEN, EVENTS AND THINGS
WHICH HAVE MOLDED MY LIFE
Robert C. Welch
a small community west of Glasgow,
Kentucky had a small but thriving church of the Lord, and had
asked me to lead the singing in their summer meeting in 1941. I
had heard many of these brethren speak in fond and glowing terms
of Max Ogden, but I had never seen him. Though he had been in
several meetings there, seven miles had been too far for a young
man who travelled by foot to attend. He stood before the crowd
that beginning night and in a calm, kind, but strong and
deliberate, voice announced that his sermon would be
"Building on the Right Foundation," and that he would
continue that theme throughout the meeting. He declared that he
would make the lessons simple teaching from the Bible; and that
if there were any questions about them he would be happy to
answer, even if they stood right up and asked in the process of
the lesson. The lessons were so clear and complete on the
specific subtopics during the week that there was not need for,
and no, questions. Several were baptized during the week. A
friendship was formed that lasted through the years to his death.
were not as elaborate as in modern
times, but for me they were quite complete. Brother Ogden and I
shared the same sumptious room in the home of Jim Edmunds. There
was nothing queer about our sharing the same bed; such was
considered as most adequate. During this meeting an invalid woman
was to be baptized. Others were being baptized in the farm pond
and brother Ogden asked me to assist with the woman. We placed
her in a chair, carried her to a depth where we could rest the
chair on the bottom, and then we lowered her backwards beneath
the water. It was simply and easily done, with no big ado.
concern for such youth as myself was much in
evidence. He had a large family, back in Monticello, Ky. to
support, and the remuneration for that meeting was actually
meagre. I was receiving even less. But I was trying to get to
college again that fall. Brother Ogden took five dollars from his
pocket and gave it to me as help to get me into Freed-Hardeman.
You may laugh at the idea of such an amount now. But to me it was
a huge gift, and I know that it must have been to him. The
concern did not fade. After many years, marriage on my part, and
moving to Scottsville on his, I was in a meeting at Coral Hill,
another community northeast of Glasglow. During one of the day
sessions I was surprised to see him and sister Ogden in the
audience. They had driven from Scottsville, just to see what I
had made of myself.
following account was written by me upon the
occasion of their fiftieth wedding anniversary. It was printed,
framed in gold, and presented to them, with a copy going to each
of the children. It will give the kind of picture I hold in mind
FIFTY GOLDEN YEARS
"The glory of young men
is their strength;
And the beauty of old men is the hoary head."
When I think of this great
principle of life I envision a man of God and his bride of fifty
long--but short--years. I speak of Max Ogden and his wife, the
former Della Ham. They were born in the hills of the Cumberland
plateau of Kentucky. Fifty years ago, on February 27, 1918, they
began life together as God ordains. They are known and loved by
the children of God all over the state of Kentucky and farther
for their hospitality, their fidelity to and love of the truth,
their family of children and grandchildren who like they walk in
the old paths, and especially for his faithful preaching of the
gospel of salvation and edification to the hundreds, yea
thousands. So often, words of love and appreciation are unspoken
until after such have departed this life. It is a joy to remember
this noble couple as they celebrate this golden milestone of
united journey through life.
"Houses and riches are
the inheritance of fathers:
And a prudent wife is from the Lord."
"Let thy fountain be
And rejoice with thy wife of they youth."
No better words could be found
to describe his gracious and charming bride who has been by his
side through the years of sacrificial labor rearing of the
children because he was away so much in meetings all over the
country. It is readily observed that they have shared a happy
"The fruit of
righteousness is a tree of life;
And he that winneth souls is wise."
In 1924 they moved to
Winchester, Kentucky where he worked for a furniture company. In
1925 he began preaching. The following words of information
describe that early period of preaching; "and did much of it
in school houses and from house to house or where ever an
opportunity presented itself." Even in later years his work
is described in the following words; "His preaching has
taken him into eleven states, and much of it has been with weak
churches or where there was no church at all, much of it being at
his own expense." He had little formal education by today's
standards; but he schooled himself in the word of God and trained
himself for effective preaching in the laboratory of experience.
His preaching has been effective. He was in several meetings at a
country church near this writer's native home. At least fifty
souls were led to the waters of baptism through his meetings with
this little church.
"Buy the truth, and
sell it not;
Yea wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."
Max Ogden has preached the
truth, lived the truth, and stood for the truth for these many
years. Some have taught that he was "soft" on grave
issues which confronted the church; but not so. He is not
vociferous, belligerant or domineering in his stand or in his
preaching; he is patient, persuasive and gentlemanly. While in
Winchester, he worked out the discussion between Neal and Wallace
on the premillennial question; which debate became a turning
point in keeping the brotherhood from being swept into this
theoretical fancy. Some brethren at another place talked with me
about some of their problems with the church and they thought
that if they had a man to preach for them who went into the
institutional issues tooth and claw that the church would be torn
up. When I later learned that they had been able to get brother
Ogden to move there, I knew that they had the man they needed to
keep the church together, yet stand for the truth. It worked.
"A friend loveth at all
And a brother is born for adversity."
He is a man, stands as a man,
yet has the tender heart of a child. Several years ago while
working as a song leader with him in a meeting I had occasion to
witness this. A dear friend of his and mine came from a
neighboring town to talk with him about a grave crisis, probably
serious injustice, he was undergoing with the church. There was
unashamed tears and even sobs as they discussed the matter.
"The father of the
righteous will greatly rejoice;
And he that begetteth a wise child will have joy of him."
They are the parents of three
daughters and one son. All are faithful children of God. The
three daughters live in Louisville, Kentucky. The Son, Arthur,
preaches now for the church in Loveland, Ohio. There are fourteen
grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. Would that not be a
happy gathering for all of them, to be at the patriarchal home
where he now lives and preaches for the good Bear Wallow church
near Horse Cave, Kentucky, his post office address.
Let this tribute end with a
few more of the famous inspired words from the lips of the wise
man of old:
"Her husband is known
in the gates,
When he sitteth among the elders of the land...
Her children rise up, and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praiseth her."
Proverbs 31:23, 28
Max DeFrances Ogden, February 17, 1897 in
Nicholas County, Ky., near Carlisle, he grew up on a farm in the
same neighborhood. The earlier part of his preaching career found
him engaged in secular work in order to support his family. It
was not until 1948, when he moved to Scottsville, Ky., that he
was fully supported for his preaching. He lived and preached in
the following places: Winchester, Ky., Monticello, Ky.,
Scottsville, Ky., Hickman, Noblesville, Ind., and Bear Wallow,
near Horse Cave, Ky. From here he moved to Louisville where he
died September 16, 1970.
sermon preparation his son, Arthur, says:
always wrote out his sermons, I guess he felt when he had written an 8½
x 11 sheet of paper full, he had enough to preach for as long as he
felt he should. This was something I did not know until after he died.
He would fold the sheet of paper much like you would fold it to the
mail in an envelope, and he would write very small down each fold. It
is so small I can barely make it out...I don't think there was any way
he could have read it while preaching. Whether he took it with him to
the pulpit or not, I do not know. Mother used to say, no, but I think
he probably did on occasion or would make some brief notes to remind
him lest he forget a point."
seen those folded sheets of notes, and
have seen him take them with him to the pulpit, but he certainly
did not read them there. In fact, I cannot recall having ever
seen him even look at them. It was just an assurance.
an indelible imprint upon his family of
the importance of serving the Lord,. His son, Arthur, is a
faithful preacher of the gospel. Two grandsons are faithful
preachers; Alex, Arthur's son, and Max Shearer, Imogene's son.
Three granddaughters are married to faithtul preachers; Boyd
Sellers, Bill Krantz and Danny McKibben.
not been able to preach for a while before
moving to Louisville where he and his wife could live with a
daughter, Almeta. But he was not to continue long in retirement
from the work he loved so well. Only a month after this final
move, his heart no longer kept the physical body going, as his
inner heart had kept the real person alive and renewed daily. A
large crowd of his friends, and friends of his large family,
gathered on September 19, 1970 to give comfort to the family, and
to be comforted in their great loss, as they came to pay tribute
to the memory of a humble, valiant soldier of the cross who had
kept the faith.
hope were spoken by James P. Miller and
this writer. I could think of nothing more appropriate than to
use the theme he used in that meeting so many years ago;
"Building on the Right Foundation." The theme which he
developed was for time and eternity, he stresseed. Our lives must
be built on Christ in Faith, repentance and baptism. As a part of
the church we are to make sure that it is built on Christ the
foundation. The foundation must be furthered by growth in our
spiritual life. It involves the production of a righteous family.
It necessitates an interest in and a proclamation of the gospel
of Christ. These are themes he used in that meeting and
exemplified in his life, and were emphasized in that funeral
address for the encouragement of all of us.
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This page was last updated on October 16, 2000.