A Tribute To Bill and Nadine Britton
By Michael O’Connor
Volumes could be written in tribute to our “Dad and Mama Britton.” The introduction below falls far short of being a fitting tribute, but for now, it must suffice, to at least cause you to be made more familiar with Bill and Nadine Britton, and their lifetime of service and ministry unto Christ’s Body.
Charles William Royal Britain was born May 23, 1918 at Willow Springs, Missouri, as the beloved son of George W. and Nora Britain.
Bill’s father was a farmer, and a cousin to E. H. Britain, who was well known for his, “Jesus Saves” periodical. E. H. Britain was affectionately known as “A Prophet of the Ozarks.” Brother Bill would come to be known: “A Prophet on Wheels,” which he surely was. Bill traveled amongst the Body of Christ in many parts of this great Nation, bearing the Good-News of God’s Kingdom; and showing unto the Lord’s People “a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:31). At times, he flew on airliners, but for the most part, he drove (at times with his entire family) unto the scheduled meetings. The Brittons were a delight and a joy unto Christ’s Body. They brought joy, hope, and encouragement wherever the Lord sent them. In later life, Bill and his family lived and ministered with E. H. Britain, and his wife at, Little Mount Zion Camp Ground, in 1958 – ’59. More is written concerning this juncture, in Bill’s life story: “Prophet On Wheels;” which is a beautifully recorded autobiography, compiled and annotated through the eyes of his beloved daughter, Becky Britton Volz; who has most graciously granted us permission to post a number of Dad Britton’s timely articles in this magazine. Please pray with us that we shall soon be able to post Bill’s messages and a number of his sermons; we so desperately need help to make this website all it is intended to be: “A Light Unto The Nations.”
In requesting prayer for helpers and workers, I am reminded of hearing our dear father in the Faith (Brother Bill) say: “You know, Folks, I feel like the Lord has given me a great storehouse of the finest corn. Souls are starving all around me, but what burdens me with such great concern, is that I feel as though I have all this good food for God’s People, but only a worn-out, old shovel with a broken handle, by which to impart it to those hungering for the truth of His Word.” In this statement, Bill was making reference unto his voice problems, with which he had suffered for a number of years, as the result of so much intense preaching and teaching; often in those years without the aid of amplification, or proper acoustics. I suppose he was making reference also unto the somewhat limited resources with which to preach the Overcoming-Message unto the whole World.
Bill was truly a man of vision! Being a man of great vision and Divine purpose, were amongst his greatest qualities. I am glad to report that our Lord Jesus granted Brother Bill a healing in his voice, in approximately 1971, which held good, all the way through unto his home-going in 1985. It is noteworthy also, that as time passed, our Lord Jesus most graciously increased His servant, and enlarged his ministry, even unto reaching the Nations with the deeper truths of God’s Kingdom. Our Lord would send Brother Bill unto numerous Foreign Fields, to sow the Good Seed of the Kingdom.
It is to me a great paradox that so many truly noble and sincere servants of our Lord Jesus, face in their lives and ministries, so great a degree of hindrance and difficulty. A paradox? Yes! But we should not be detracted by this, in view of the fact that:
“so persecuted they all the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:12).
“…through much tribulation, [we] enter into the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
“In the world ye shall have tribulation…” (John 16:33).
“Strait [Gk. = difficult, tedious, with agony] is the gate, and narrow [Gk. = to be pressed upon, restricted, afflicted] is the way…” (Matthew 7:14).
“…Satan hindered [Gk. = to impede one’s course by cutting off his way] us” (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
Daniel’s prayers were hindered by a strong, high ranking principality (possibly a fallen angel), referred to as the “Prince of Persia” (Daniel 10:20).
“Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31).
We need only study the lives of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, and of those memorialized in Hebrews 11 (God’s Great Gallery of Faith), to realize that the true servants of our Lord in every age, have met with strong hindrances, and vigorous contests by evil spirits and regional principalities, and also by persons under the control and influence of the same. In short, if you are a true servant and disciple of Jesus Christ; preaching His true and uncompromising Gospel: If you are living godly in this present age, you shall suffer persecution! You shall suffer hindrances! It is a given! It is guaranteed!
Such was the case from early childhood, with young, Billy Britain! He had heard of, and loved Jesus, and he was known to peek into the doors and windows of Full Gospel Churches, out of more than mere curiosity; God was drawing this child by His Holy Spirit! His mother wished for him to attend church, so he was sent to Sunday School and Church from an early age, but he would not come into a Full-Salvation experience until age eighteen.
When Billy was but three years old, his Daddy became absent from the home. After this tragic event, Billy’s Mama would change the Family name to “Britton.” Billy and his Mama were then left alone to shift for themselves! To do so during the Great Depression was no easy prospect. Billy was always an energetic, hard-working kid! There was not a lazy bone in his body, so he found little jobs and part-time work wherever he could, to help keep a roof over himself and his mother.
The year 1936, brought a new and unexpected chapter into Billy’s life. He was moved upon by the Holy Spirit, and chose on his own, to venture into one of those “Pentecostal Churches,” which had so aroused his curiosity. This church was the “South Side Assembly of God,” in Springfield, Missouri. This first visit would be the first step in leading Billy into his salvation experience, eventual water baptism, and baptism into the Holy Spirit. In today’s vernacular, we would say that young Billy, “got the real deal,” when he earnestly prayed-through, with real soul-agony, unto an old-fashioned, Pentecostal, Born-Again experience.
In those days and even up-until fairly recent times, when Folk responded to an invitation to receive Christ; in Holiness, Full Gospel, Fundamental, and even Evangelical Churches, it was a serious matter, and one to not be taken lightly. The rule rather than the exception was, that those who were truly sincere would kneel in humility and submission unto God at an old-fashioned altar of prayer, and “stay with it, until the job was done!” This involved a confessing-out of one’s sins, a renouncing of every evil and unclean practice, and a welcoming and receiving of Christ into one’s spirit, soul, and body, as absolute Lord and Savior.
Folk praying in this manner often wrestled in prayer for a considerable time before the light broke through, but if they persevered long enough and prayed earnestly enough, the witness of the Holy Spirit would come! When Folk would arise from those old-fashioned altars, their faces were invariably wet with tears, and most often, there was a puddle of tears left upon the altar rail (called in early Wesleyan-times, “the mourner’s bench”). There would be a light in their eyes, and a radiance of the Holy Spirit upon their countenance! Often there would be also, accompanying shouts of victory and thanksgiving, as they arose, new-born creatures in Christ Jesus!