Rev. Dr. R. Hollis Gause graduated from earth to glory into the presence of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015.
He was a native of Clinton, S.C., but since 1947 had made his home in Cleveland where he distinguished himself as a Christian gentleman, a disciplined scholar, a gifted teacher, a profound preacher, and an effective educational administrator both at Lee College (now Lee University) and at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary.
He began his earthly pilgrimage on July 1, 1925, the second of two children born to a holiness-Pentecostal pastor and his wife, the Rev. Rufus H. Gause and Rebecca Blanche King Gause. Throughout his life he cherished the Godly heritage they lived before him. From them he especially learned the love of the Holy Scriptures, the love of sound doctrine, the efficacy of prayer and the joys of holy living.
He was a lifelong learner. After graduation from the public schools in Clinton, S.C., he attended and graduated from Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Ga., and then from Presbyterian College back in Clinton. Later he received the bachelor of divinity (since named master of divinity) degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. He then earned a doctor of philosophy degree in New Testament studies at Candler School of Theology of Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. For him the ministry of study and the ministry of teaching were expressions of worship.
As a teenager, he transitioned his church affiliation from the International Pentecostal Holiness Church to the Church of God.
He became a credentialed minister in 1943 at the age of 18. During his studies at Columbia Theological Seminary, he became an active member of the Sixth Street Church of God where he met the love of his life, Beulah Hunt. They married in 1948, one year after he joined the faculty of Lee College.
Theirs was an uncommon union of two equals who loved, honored, encouraged and challenged each other toward faithful and full lives in Christ.
They were blessed with one son, Valdane (Val) who grew up in a home marked by Bible reading, prayers, laughter, shared household duties and hospitality.
He served in a variety of roles during his 28-year tenure at Lee College (1947-1975); he was an instructor, registrar, dean of the Bible College, Department Chair, Dean of the Division of Religion, and Academic Dean of the College. He was an instrumental figure in the school’s transition to a liberal arts college and subsequent accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
During this period he emerged as a noted Pentecostal scholar serving as a founding member and later as president of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. He came to be recognized by many as being the leading theologian of his denomination. He became the unofficial private tutor to many church leaders helping them with the finer points of doctrine. Through his publication of the book “Church of God Polity,” he became the primary arbitrator of the processes and procedures of church government.
For almost a half century he served as parliamentarian for the International General Assembly of the Church of God and remained until his death an official consultant to the Executive Council of the Church. Concurrently, for many years he authored adult Sunday school commentaries for Pathway Press.
In 1975, he accepted the call from denominational executives to become the founding director and dean of the Church of God Graduate School of Christian Ministry (now the Pentecostal Theological Seminary).
He poured his energies into the creation of a model of theological education grounded in the Wesleyan Pentecostal tradition. He saw the fledgling school as the church gathered to train ministers, a community of faith and learning that integrated advanced scholarship with intense field experiences in the practice of ministry. Under his guidance the school grew rapidly and laid the foundation for its first accreditation.
In 1980 he left the seminary and with his wife, Beulah, moved to Warren, Mich. where he assumed the pastorate of the local Church of God. In that assignment he also served as district overseer and was soon elected by his peers to serve on the State Council for the denomination.
While greatly fulfilled in his new role and greatly loved by the congregation, he responded to God’s nudging in 1982 to return to Cleveland, where he would once again teach both at Lee and at the seminary.
In 1984 he gave his full attention to the seminary, where he remained a professor until this year.
In Cleveland, he was a member of the North Cleveland Church of God and became one of the charter members of the Westmore Church of God. He has been for the past 15 years a faithful and greatly loved member of the New Covenant Church of God.
He is survived by one granddaughter, April Gause-Jolley and her husband, Mike Jolley; three great-grandchildren: Lauren Griffin-Roach and her husband, Cody Griffin-Roach, Whitney Gause, and Brice Gause; one great-great-grandson, Clay Griffin-Roach; three nieces: Janice Wilks, Katherine Fabish, and Sylvia Coyle; two grandnieces: Caroline Fincher and Chrissi Snell; and four grandnephews: Heath Carver, James Coyle, Kirk Fabish, and Alan Sellers.
He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Beulah Hunt Gause; his son, Valdane Hollis Gause; his parents, Rufus Hollis Gause and Rebecca Blanche King Gause; and his brother, Valdane James Gause.
Dr. R. Hollis Gause lived life to the fullest. He taught and understood that eternal life is more than life that does not end; it is to know God and to glory in the cross of Christ forever. He measured his life not by dates on a calendar, but by the joy of serving the eternal Creator from whom all life flows. To that end, he was a friend to the friendless, a counselor to the weary, and a tireless preacher of the Word of God. He served as a professor at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary until his 90th birthday.
He remained an active preacher and teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ until his death.
In recent months he completed an extensive commentary on the New Testament Book of Hebrews and submitted it for publication. In recent weeks he submitted for publication a collection of short theological essays.
He fought a good fight; He kept the faith; He labored until the end. In the words of the early Methodists, on Sunday evening, Sept. 6, 2015 with family gathered around he died a “happy death” and marched into the presence of his Savior.
A Celebration of the Life and Home Going of Dr. Gause will be held Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, at 2 p.m. at the North Cleveland Church of God with Dr. Mark Williams, Dr. R. Lamar Vest, Dr. Steve Land, Dr. Jackie Johns, Pastor Mitch Maloney, the Rev. April Gause-Jolley and Brice Gause officiating.
Interment will follow in Sunset Memorial Gardens.
The family appreciates the kindness of friends who wish to make memorial gifts of flowers or monetary gifts to the R. Hollis Gause Endowed Scholarship fund at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, 900 Walker Street, Cleveland, Tennessee.
The family will receive friends Wednesday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the church.
Funeral arrangements are in the care of Mark Grissom and Grissom-Serenity Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be sent to www.grissomserenity .com.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE