By Darrin Rodgers
Originally published on PE-News, 10 September 2015
When most Christians share the gospel, they do so through words or actions. But Charles Ramsay (1911-1994) preached using cartoons, and for 43 years his pulpit was the Pentecostal Evangel.
Ramsay grew up in Minnesota and, pursuing his love for art, attended the Chicago Art Institute. Yielding to a call to the ministry, in 1935 he enrolled at Central Bible Institute, the Assemblies of God school in Springfield, Missouri. To help make ends meet, he began working part time at Gospel Publishing House (GPH). A gifted artist, Ramsay was asked to create weekly cartoons for the Pentecostal Evangel and the Adult Sunday School Quarterly.
Ramsay began working full time for GPH after he finished college, and his cartoons became a well-loved feature in the Pentecostal Evangel for decades to come. Ramsay was the leading Christian cartoonist of his era, according to Vaughn Shoemaker, chief cartoonist for the Chicago Daily News. “Every one of his cartoons,” Shoemaker stated, “is equivalent to a sermon. It will never be known in this world just how far his cartoons have gone in extending the Kingdom of our Lord.”
In 1955, Ramsay accepted a position as head of the art department at Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association. He moved to Tulsa but continued creating cartoons for the Pentecostal Evangel until 1978. He began teaching art at Oral Roberts University when the school opened in 1965, and was a leader in the Tulsa arts community.
When Ramsay passed away in 1994, the Assemblies of God lost its best-known cartoonist. Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center Director Wayne Warner memorialized him, writing: “Now Charlie’s ink pens have been laid aside. He has autographed his last creative work. He has met his last deadline. Few will remember his preaching or writing but multitudes remember his distinctive ink drawings and paintings that in the words of Vaughn Shoemaker were ‘equivalent to a sermon.'”
For decades, one or two Ramsay cartoons could be found in each issue of the Pentecostal Evangel. However, the September 12, 1936, issue, dedicated to Sunday School and ministry to children, featured 20 of his cartoons.
Also featured in this issue:
* “Does Your Bible Wear Out Evenly?” by Myer Pearlman
* “The Living Word in the Written Word,” by Alice E. Luce
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200