Rev. Leonard W. Onstead
June 1967 — Faith Tabernacle — Rockford, Illinois
Brother Onstead was probably my father's favorite Bible teacher. He was the Pastor of the First Pentecostal Church in Corning, Arkansas at the time I was born in 1951. And throughout the period of my growing up he would stay with my family for a week or so at a time while ministering in churches in the areas of Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois where we lived during those years - although the area covered by his ministry was much wider across the United States.
Rev. L.W. Onstead had an exceptional Bible teaching ministry and could make complex theological topics easy for the common man to understand ... as you will see for yourself if you listen to the audio recordings included below on this webpage. He didn't shy away from the more controversial topics, such as the first three of those included here: The Woman's Place in the New Testament Church, The Rapture, and Footwashing. And two of his most often requested Bible studies covered the end time prophecies the book of Revelation and the basic truthes of the gospel message found in the book of Romans.
He was a gentle, tall, friendly man with a disarming smile, a resonate voice, and a commanding presence. He originally came from Texas. His wife was a gentle southern lady whose voice had that distinctive southern lilt that immediately identified her as being from Mississippi (if I recall correctly). They had four children all a few years older than myself: E.W. Onstead, Otis Onstead, Maxine Onstead, and Miriam Onstead. One of his sons stayed in our home in Rockford, Illinois for about a year while he was attending college at Beloit, Wisconsin - just a few miles away. (That was Otis, I think - I was pre-school at the time and remember more about him working at the nearby grocery store than anything else.) And for most of the years that I knew "Brother Onstead" he had pure white hair that was thin on top.
For one evening meal each time he stayed with us he would take over the kitchen from my mother and fix his speciality, a hot tomale pie — a bubbly, spicy ground beef mixture layered with a corn meal mush on both top and bottom of the dish and cooked in the oven until it was firm.
In the summer of 1968 our family went to visit him in Houston, Texas, where we stayed in the home of one of his sons for a couple of days. One day Brother Onstead took us to see Galveston, and on another he took us to a Houston Astros baseball game in the dollar seats below the huge scoreboard at the Astrodome and got to see the spectacular show after someone hit a home run ... which to a teenage boy at that time was quite a treat!
And I was priviledged to be allowed to read his book (a 366 page hardcover edition was published in 1978 by Carlton Press) Cornelius the Centurion while it was still in manuscript form. Although out of print now, a few used copies are still available for sale on the Internet including through Amazon.com and on eBay.
These audio recordings are roughly 50 years old, were recorded live during a church service with all of the usual crowd noises in the background, have been played many times, sat on a shelf for many years, suffer from some channel cross-talk in the quieter passages, and now have been digitally re-mastered and restored as much as is possible back to their original lustre for your ease of listening.
And now you are in for a treat, whether this is the first time you have ever heard of this man, or have heard stories of him told by old timers, or have been a follower of his ministry for many years, I present to you, the Reverend Leonard W. Onstead (just click on the topic of your choice from the listing on the left or the images on the right).