A person’s last words often reveal what was in his or her heart.
John Thomas Boddy, former editor of the Pentecostal Evangel (1919-1921), was a poet and a deep theological thinker. He was ordained by the Free Methodist Church in 1901 and transferred his credentials to the Assemblies of God in 1917. When he passed away on Nov. 6, 1931, he left behind a message that he wanted those still alive to carefully consider.
What was Boddy’s message from his deathbed?
Boddy’s daughter, Macie Lucas, wrote that her father meditated constantly on the Word of God while ill during the last two months of his life. She recounted that he preached for hours at a time while on required bedrest, and that he sensed an urgency to share, above all else, biblical truths about the holiness of God. She received so many inquiries about his last words that she preserved them in an article in the Feb. 6, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
According to Lucas, during his last weeks, Boddy repeatedly quoted Hebrews 12:14: “Without holiness no man shall see God.” Boddy knew he was dying, so it is understandable that he was meditating on Scripture verses about heaven. But Boddy emphasized the link between heaven and holiness.
Critics sometimes accuse early Pentecostals of promoting “works righteousness” in their emphasis on holiness. But Boddy explained that people cannot be holy by their own efforts. “God desires to impart His holiness to us,” he noted. This imparted holiness prepares the believer for heaven. He said: “There is no evil in heaven. There is no mixture in heaven. If you expect to go to heaven you must have a measure (the essence) of heaven in you here.”
Lucas recounted that, as Boddy was sharing about holiness, “his face would be radiant with the glory of God and he would burst forth in praises. Often he wept in the presence of God as he contemplated the glories of heaven.”
What does a life of holiness look like? Boddy echoed John Welsey, who taught that holiness meant loving God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, and fleeing from sin.
Boddy was a prince of preachers, and in his final opportunity to share what was on his heart, Boddy encouraged people toward holiness and heaven.
Read about Boddy’s last words in the article, “A Revelation of Heaven,” by Macie M. Lucas, on page 6 of the Feb. 6, 1932, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “Standing True to Scriptural Principles,” by Robert McClay
• “What the Pentecostal People Believe and Teach,” by R. E. McAlister
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
IMAGE – J. T. Boddy with his wife and daughter, Macie. Circa 1915.