Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Enchanted Knight: The Life Story of Hugo McCord, Earl I. West

The Enchanted Knight: The Life Story of Hugo McCord, Earl I. West

This writer’s first opportunity to hear Hugo McCord was as a student in 1987 in which McCord presented his translation of the New Testament to Freed-Hardeman College, now University. The fourth edition of his translation was printed in 2002 and includes books from the Old Testament. Unfortunately, Hugo’s declining health will probably prohibit him from translating the rest of the Bible. The name of the translation, “The Everlasting Gospel”, was supplied by Franklin Camp. The first personal interaction with brother Hugo began in May of 1997 when we began a written correspondence that led to a visit to their home in Portland, OR during the summer of 1998.

He holds the following degrees: A.A., B.A., M.A., B.D., and Th.D. He has been both a world traveler and located evangelist preaching the gospel for over 65 years. He has conducted research abroad including trips to the British Museum and Palestine. In 1951, he began working with the Central Christian College (which would eventually become Oklahoma Christian College.) He has been the recipient of many honors (some humorous mock awards) from the brotherhood. He also has a delightful sense of humor and cherishes the humorous awards and displays them on the same wall of his study as his degrees and other awards.

Lois Henderson McCord (1910-2000) received the following dedication of the Enchanted Knight by Hugo: “Lois is my first, current, last, and favorite wife.” They met at Freed-Hardeman as students and were married in 1932. My visit with her was during the decline of her health both physically and mentally. But even at 88 years of age she was very keen, hospitable, and delightful. Lois McCord passed on to receive her reward on July 12, 2000.

Hugo McCord’s conversion is an example of the influence of the individual for the cause of Christ. B. B. Goodman, who was a traveling salesman who noticed Caruthersville, MS did not have a church of Christ, permanently altered the course of Hugo’s life. This man contacted the only known member of the church in the area to secure a lot for a tent meeting in an attempt to establish a congregation. Arrangements were made to have L. L. Brigance come and hold a gospel tent meeting. There was one response, the twelve-year old son of the member who secured the lot--Hugo McCord. He left the Methodist Church and would eventually persuade his mother do the same two years later. If it was not for the efforts of one man—B. B. Goodman, then Hugo McCord may have never heard and obeyed the gospel. Only God would be able to calculate the influence the life of Hugo McCord has had for the cause of Christ.

Brother McCord is truly a life-long student of the Scriptures. If we think we have exhausted the Bible in our studies, then we have fallen into ignorant arrogance. We, as finite beings, cannot possibly exhaust the revelation of an infinite God.

Hugo McCord’s translating work showed his resolve to listen to input and make changes when justified, but would stand firm when he had thoroughly studied the matter further and found the translation accurate. He did not seek to quarrel for the sake of notoriety, but he would state the truth at all costs including friendships. This illustrates a great lesson we all need to be reminded of—to avoid clinging to personalities as a substitute for the word of God. Some people are infected with what Hugo would call “preacheritis” where they would listen to a man more than they would check the facts to prove whether what the man said was true or not.

Someone once said “True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason.” This is very fitting of the courage of Hugo McCord. We live in a day where some reject being role models because of being criticized for their public immorality; however, Hugo McCord would resist being held up as a role model because of his godly humility. But even the apostle Paul wrote and Hugo translated “Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1). Hugo rightly stated to this author (referring to brother Wallace) that the lives of great men help us live better lives. Truly, Hugo McCord has left us a legacy worthy of study and imitation.

This writer would also like to call attention to the love and dedication of the McCord’s son and daughter-in-law, Charles and La Vera. They have personally cared for the elderly Hugo and Lois since 1989 including selling their houses to purchase a house large enough for all in order to provide the care needed by their parents. This is truly a great example of what God must have meant by “Honor your father and mother”.

Originally printed in West Virginia Christian, Vol. 9, No. 10, October 2002, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.

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