ST. LOUIS, MO — The National Baseball Hall of Fame is located in Cooperstown, NY. The Professional Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, OH. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is located in Springfield, MA. The College Football Hall of Fame is located near Centennial Park in downtown Atlanta.
Southern Baptist evangelists do not have a Hall of Fame, but they do have a Hall of Faith with great men of God from the past and present duly recognized for their preaching, soul winning, and harvesting ministries.
At the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Felix Snipes, who for years was a member of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, was inducted into the Evangelist Hall of Faith posthumously.
Snipes believed that the salvation of one lost soul could result in tremendous change for a community or a nation.
He once declared, “Every opportunity we have to influence someone else for our Lord is actually an opportunity to affect for good or bad, a nation – or the world.”
Snipes continued, “In 1942, a young black Cassius Clay was born into a neighborhood close to a Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. The Christians of that church evidently were so prejudiced that they would never take the time to reach for Christ, this young man whose skin was a different color and was perhaps a little on the cocky side. They would never spend the time to take an interest in him and help mold his thinking. Malcolm X, of the Black Muslims, did take the time to mentor him. Again, Christianity lost a great person for Christ, because we did not give our love to him no matter how different he may have appeared or acted.
“Cassius Clay became known as Muhammad Ali, world boxing champion and arguably the best known man in the world at one time. Islam profited from the failure of Christians again!”
On a plaque in the Hall of Faith these words appear: “Felix Snipes was born on December 20, 1933 in Jackson, Mississippi. While attending the first grade in Meridian, Mississippi, an assembly program came to his school. It was an animal act, but the man in charge did a simple magic trick and Felix was fascinated. He started checking out magic books from the library and making his own equipment out of cardboard.
“As a junior in high school, he gave his first public show at a small party at the First Baptist Church on Sumter, South Carolina. His parents encouraged him and bought him a copy of Greater Magic, and ordered a catalogue from Abbott’s Magic Company. Throughout his teen years, he made his spending money doing magic shows.
“In the summer of 1952, after graduating from high school, a life changing event took place when Dr. Billy Graham came to town. During the last night of the crusade he accepted Christ and a few weeks later committed himself to a lifetime in the ministry and enrolled at Mississippi College. There he met and married Patsy Chambers in 1954.
“With college, marriage and ministry, magic took a back seat and was not performed or even practiced for eighteen years. He came back to magic with a unique and natural approach, mastering effects that actually looked like magic and were entertaining.
“He was voted ‘Magician of the Year’ in 1982 by the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians. He began to use magic in his church services and recognized that numerous guests were coming only at the times when he did his programs that highlighted his illusions.
“In 1982 he was impressed that he should use these illusions as the principal tool to draw crowds. He launched the unique and extremely successful ‘Wonder-Full Weekend Evangelistic Crusades.’
“He did illusions for an hour and then preached a simple evangelistic message. For twenty-four years he traveled throughout the United States, telling his story and performing illusions. He stayed booked three or four years in advance. His unique ministry of entertainment/evangelism began in 1980 and resulted in 200,000 public commitments to Jesus in his evangelistic crusades across America.
“His outstanding magical and inspirational presentations have been highly acclaimed by ministers, businessmen, scientists, the media and by his fellow professional magicians. However, he said numerous times, ‘The most important thing that ever happened to me was when I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. This is when the real magic began to take place in my life.’
“At age 70 Felix as diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It affected his walking ability and especially his public speaking ability. On November 14, 2004 he officially retired from his public ministry. He entered into the eternal presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on June 11, 2010.”