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Pastor Dale Satterthwaite was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Los Angeles for many years and passed on to glory in 1973. He was used of God to help point many people to salvation and scores of people became missionaries under his ministry. He was a popular conference speaker because of his simple, down to earth way of filling our hearts with enthusiasm and yearning over spiritual matters.
"And Their Works Do Follow Them"
Baptist Bulletin, April 1974, page 9, 31.
by Stan Best, The late missionary to Brazil, and author of the Church cartoon series, It Happens All too Often.
At the outbreak of World War II, a sergeant of the British forces was roundly criticized by his men for his insistence on drill and marching. They found his discipline too harsh. But later they marched for their lives against the closing jaws of the Nazi blitzkrieg at Dunkirk and they escaped while others with less arduous training fell behind and were captured or killed. Their praise was loud for the wisdom of the noncom.
Dale Satterthwaite was not that sergeant. But he had the same kind of wisdom and foresight.
Dale and Iva Satterthwaite came to our little church in Los Angeles as young people in their twenties. When the former pastor of the church died as a missionary in China, Dale wanted to take his place. But God had other plans— he was to be a producer of missionaries. We grew up under his ministry feeling that here was a rare personality. A tough self-discipline mingled with an eye single to the goal of serving Christ was what we learned to expect from this man of God. Being in his young people’s group wasn’t easy. There was a strong stand against worldly amusements and an emphasis on service that quickly discouraged any who thought of coming for amusement only. At the age of fourteen I was on skid row with other young people handing out tracts to bums and helping in mission meetings. We learned to do house-to-house calling. We held street meetings for the Jewish folk of Boyle Heights and learned to love these people as he did.
Dale concentrated on the few rather than the many. Our summer Bible conferences were small but loaded with the best you could find in speakers and missionaries. We were pointed toward Bible training long before we graduated from school. I calculated at one time that about 75 percent of our young people had attended a Bible school at least one year. As we grew up we watched Dale being offered much larger churches to pastor, and saw him turn them down because he felt his place was with us. One rejected church was next in influence in the Southern California area only to The Church of the Open Door and Bob Schuler’s Trinity Methodist. And with these rejections he kept choosing a small salary. The only new car he ever had was bought in 1937. He usually drove very experienced transportation.
One tough character came to Dale and blusteringly threatened to have him killed. This individual’s mistress had found Christ in our church and was giving up her wayward life. He also threatened his ex-girl friend. Dale reached out and with his great strength grabbed the man by the shirt front. “What you do to me makes no difference,” he warned, “but when you lay a hand on that girl, you’ll answer to me for it.”
“But God took care of him,” Dale told me. “He made a left turn in front of a big diesel truck.”
Dale loved to work with folks from a Spanish background. His church was in the midst of a Catholic area and had tough sledding. And, too, his church officials and members kept going off to the mission field or the pastorate. He rejoiced, but still it was hard to fill those vacancies. Today, however, his “graduates” are preaching the gospel around the world.
I had the privilege of taking Dale to the Los Angeles International Airport to catch the plane for the 1973 Kansas City GARBC conference. “God has a purpose in my going,” he said. Indeed, He did— Dale Satterthwaite finished his life’s work there. In old Calvary Baptist Church of Los Angeles, thirty-five pastors rose to sing “Amazing grace-how sweet the sound…” in final tribute.
It is night here in the Amazon. Dale seems to stand before me saying, “See, it is worthwhile to follow separation in preaching the gospel. It gets the best results in the long run.”
And with the many others who were blessed by his ministry I say, “Thank you, Dale, for being the man you were and giving us the training you did.