Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

J. W. Akin --- Benefactor Of Many

(Remarks by James R. Cope before faculty and students of Florida Christian College, November 29, 1960).

Many of you never heard the name "John W. Akin." Early yesterday, November 28, he left his abode here on earth to be with our heavenly Father, his Son, and the angels. Few people have ever known what this man meant to Florida Christian College. Our greatest single financial benefactor is dead.

In earlier years John Akin was a farmer and mule trader. When the great East Texas oil pool was struck in the early 1930's several hundred acres of land in the name of John W. and Nellie Akin rested almost in the center of the deepest sand.

Conscious that he was a steward of all he had, brother Akin ever sought to do only good with his material resources. After his first oil well came in he moved immediately to do two things he had pledged himself to do if ever he became able. One was to pay off the indebtedness of the property of a poor widow, and the other was to build a meeting house for the disciples in Longview. From that day forward he was beset on every hand to help projects and causes of every kind.

Though he never attempted to respond to every call, J. W. Akin dedicated his time and energies to using his material wealth to do good toward his fellow man. Some of his material resources were placed in the contribution basket on Lord's Day; some was in terms of large gifts to struggling churches seeking to build meeting houses and at times enough to construct the entire building; in addition to gifts he frequently made long-term loans to churches when otherwise financing would be difficult to obtain from banks; in many instances he supported gospel preachers in fields where otherwise they could not stay without working with their hands, and in one instance, underwrote one man for many thousands of dollars and continued to carry the major part of his support for about twenty years simply because he felt it was that man was dedicated to the defense the gospel; and in addition to all this he underwrote the tuition of hundreds of young preachers as they struggled to get a college education. In more recent years he has done much for both boys and girls who were enrolled at Florida Christian College.

If "going to heaven" was ever an obsession with any man it was exactly that with J. W. Akin. He thought about heaven, talked about heaven, prayed about heaven, preached about heaven. Day and night, in sickness and in health, in adversity before material prosperity was his, heaven was ever before him. Regardless of his interest in business affairs, his foremost considerations were spiritual. If one happened to be interested in discussions other than "things concerning the kingdom of God," he soon found himself without much audience if John Akin were present.

It is doubtful that any other man of his generation showed hospitality more freely and readily than J. W. Akin and certainly no other man has entertained, fed, and bedded more gospel preachers than this man and his faithful companion.

Brother Akin was decided in his judgments and was usually given to expressing them frankly, even to the point of bluntness at times. Nobody ever had to ask twice where his man stood on any issue or what his convictions were on any matter. He came out of the digression, exemplified by the "Christian Church" of his East Texas neighborhood near the turn of the century and was ever concerned about liberal trends among those with whom he cast his lot. A few years ago when brethren in the Dallas area-sought to establish a congregation unequivocally committed to the proclamation of gospel and relief of the poor among the saints without the use of orders and arrangements authorized by God's word, John and Nellie Akin tackled their responsibility in the fellowship of those who thus labored with all the zeal and enthusiasm with which they had given their first dollar toward the building of that meeting house in Longview almost thirty years before. To do this work he set head, heart, and hand unreservedly. The building now used by the brethren at Forest Lane and Stultz Lane in Dallas stands as the last erected material monument to the generous spirit of this man who "honored all men, loved the brotherhood, feared God, and honored the king." (1 Peter 2:17) He was active in its erection and led the first song when the saints assembled in it for the first service.

It was ever the prayer of this noble warrior that his physical body would not outlast his mind. Though his outward man was in process of decay for many years his mental powers were alert almost till the very end. He journeyed almost ninety years upon this earth and from the time he cut loose from the doctrines and precepts of men his inward man was renewed day by day. He was the direct benefactor of hundreds of boys and girls and through them the benefactor of thousands who never saw his face or heard his name. Though wealthy in this world's goods, he coveted no publicity for his almsdeeds.

Brother Akin will be sorely missed. Men of his kind and character are few and scattered. Your life, as mine, has been enriched because he lived. He was my personal friend. God bless his memory!