My call to preach was confirmed by the Word of God that is recorded in John 15:16. Here is how it reads in the King James Version:
16 "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my Name, He may give it you."
What a wonderful calling. I know that these Words of Jesus were spoken to His disciples, but the day I read it when I was a student at Asbury Theological Seminary for my devotions was the same day I was to preach the sermon I had written (typed on a portable typewriter) and actually memorized in my homiletics class. It leaped off the page and spoke directly to me. I received the Word from our blessed Lord as a Rhema Word to me from the Logos Word (written Word).
After I had preached this sermon in Estes Chapel and sat down, Dr. Frank Bateman Stanger, President of Asbury Theological Seminary, was the first person to critique my sermon and delivery. The first words he uttered were, "Can anyone doubt that Hugh Morgan is called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ?" I wanted to scream and shout but resisted that inner desire to express my gratitude to God for the confirmation of my calling by the president of my seminary. However, I could not keep back the flow of tears down my face and on to my shirt and tie.
I was the only Pentecostal student that year. I was required to sign a document that I would not propagate the doctrines of the Pentecostal Holiness Church with regard to the Baptism with or in the Holy Spirit, the gifts of tongues and interpretation. I did sign it with an addendum. I wrote when I made my application that should you accept me as a student, I will be there as a student and not a teacher. I went on to say, should you allow me to be a student I reserve the right to share my faith as a Pentecostal believer with any person who privately asks me about my faith. Well, I was accepted.
To be affirmed by the Word and Dr. Stanger about my calling to preach the Gospel is so dear to me that I think of my salvation as a born again believer to be synonymous with my calling to preach. Since that memorial day, I have never doubted my calling.
Many years after graduating, pastoring serving on active duty in the Air Force Chaplaincy, a college president, and returning to Birmingham to be the pastor of my home church, I invited Dr. Frank Bateman Stanger to conduct a Healing Mission in our church. God had healed him and lead in him in a ministry of healing through the power of God.
One evening when Melvine and I took Dr. and Mrs. Stanger out to eat at a nice restaurant in Birmingham, I told him the story. His response was, "Hugh, why didn't you tell me that what I said to you meant so much to you? I needed to be affirmed as much as you did that the words I uttered were given to me by the Holy Spirit."
What I learned was that people who minister to me, regardless or their position, need to be confirmed, too.
Since that day, I have endeavored to speak encouraging words to people I consider to be my superiors in authority, as well as peers and younger men and women, youth and children.
In conclusion, I believe that God not only anointed me to preach last Sunday morning, but gave me the unction to speak the right words for the right moment to the right people. I still rely on the Holy Spirit. I can do nothing without His blessings.