Dr. Clifford Sumner Wemp II, who at age 90 went to be with our Lord Jesus on December 25, 2012.
Sumner was born October 26, 1922 to Clifford and Mabel Glidden Wemp in Rochester, New York but was quickly moved to Jacksonville, FL due to health problems as an infant. At age 17, having never held a Bible nor heard “Jesus Loves Me this I know” he experienced his life changing event when he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. And often stated, “He had never gotten over it.”
After answering God’s call to ministry, He attended Bryan College then graduated from Howard College, now Samford University in Birmingham AL. He had a BA from Samford University, a Th.M from Dallas Theological Seminary, a D.Min from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, a D.D. from California Graduate School of Theology and a S.T.D, of Sacred Theology from Liberty University.
While attendiung Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, he met and later married Celeste Magee Zimmerman, “Angel,” at Scolfield Memorial Church in 1946. They were married and ministered together for 64 years until her death at age 86 in July 2010.
Sumner pastored churches in Dalton, FL, Dothan, AL, Birmingham, AL, Pensacola, FL, and Mt Prospect, IL. In 1961 he joined the faculty at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago IL as Director of Practical Christian Work and began his second career in education with college students. After 9 exciting years at Moody Bible Institute, Sumner was asked to become the President of Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, AL. In 1969 he was called to be the Pastor of Mt. Prospect Bible Church in Mt. Prospect, IL. Then in 1973 he joined with Dr. Jerry Falwell at newly founded Lynchburg Baptist college, now Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, to be Vice President of Spiritual Affairs, the spiritual mentor to thousands of students.
Sumner authored many Gospel tracts, and books. His tract, “Your Ticket to Heaven” has been printed in many languages and over a million copies have been circulated worldwide. His best known books include, How on Earth Can I be Spiritual, The Guide to Practical Pastoring, Teaching from the Tabernacle, and Fishing for Men, a book on evangelism which was a collection of the stories of many witnessing experiences. Sumner and Celeste had a great zeal for missions and travelled around the world ministering to thousands on every continent around the world.
The last 10 years he has mentored hundreds of Pastors, Missionaries, and Evangelists while in “retirement,” and has sent out weekly messages of encouragement to thousands, on the internet through his website. He was actively involved in his email ministry and continued to share the Gospel with the various caregivers and doctors who cared for him the last few months of his life.
Sumner challenged everyone he came in contact with his passion to live life under the influence of the Holy Spirit and to share with everyone you meet the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, suffered and died a substitutionary death on the cross for all who would accept him and was resurrected. Sumner lived his life with great anticipation of the soon return of Jesus Christ and is now reunited with his Angel in the presence of Jesus in Heaven.