|HISTORY: 1890 - 1939
BACK TO THE BIBLE - INTERNATIONAL
Discovering the early years of Back to the Bible is like a voyage into the unknown -- a quest that challenges your faith and touches your heart. As you read, you will meet a young man from Oklahoma who ventured to Nebraska with a plan, $65.00 and a very, very wealthy partner, and began the work of Back to the Bible - International.
His name is Dr. Theodore Epp.
You will also find out how far a man’s faith and trust in the Lord can persevere amidst the chaos of economic crises, world wars, savage conflicts and the downward-spiral of the world’s social and spiritual values.
1890 – 1900: From Russia to Kansas
Johann and Margaretha, Theodore Epp’s grandparents, lived in Eastern Russia. Although they had a good life in Russia in the late 19th century, Johann and Margaretha decided to leave for the United States in 1893.
Twenty-one years after they left, World War I began in 1914 which took the lives of more than a million Russians. Three years later, many more Russians died in 1917 because of the communist Bolshevik revolution and the food shortage that followed.
In 1907, Theodore was born to the Epp family in Arizona, USA.
1939: The First Broadcast
When Theodore Epp walked into the office of a local radio station in Lincoln, Nebraska, to ask for a slot to air the Back to the Bible program, he faced a long wait before he could see the manager.
As he waited, he thought, “Where would we get the money for such an endeavor? Purchasing air-time on a radio station is very costly.” Nevertheless, Theodore Epp decided to rely on the all-sufficient God to provide what was necessary to help Christians grow in their spiritual life.
When the radio station manager came to talk to him, he agreed that the station needed a Gospel program.
He then asked Theodore Epp, “Who will finance your radio program?” Theodore Epp answered, “I have a partner who will pay the bills.”
The radio station manager was impressed! The manager believed that because Mr. Epp was from Oklahoma, he must have a very rich oil millionaire financing his ministry.
Curious, the manager asked him again, “Who is your partner?”
Mr. Epp replied, “God is my partner.”
Mr. Epp’s simple faith touched the station manager’s heart. He agreed to give him a 15-minute time slot in the radio.
On May 1, 1939, Theodore Epp began the Back to the Bible Broadcast.
Despite low mail responses and an even lower income to pay for the radio program bills, the broadcasts produced its very first convert – Mrs. Louise Jantzen, who later became a missionary to Africa.
But the clouds of war were gathering over Europe. On September 1, 1939, five months after the broadcasts began, German Luftwaffe and Panzers attacked Poland.
World War II had begun.