Former Vice President of Spiritual Affairs dies at 90
“Well Glory!” Those are the words former Liberty University professor Dr. C. Sumner Wemp pronounced in an email he had written to be released upon his death. “If you’re reading this, it means I have seen Jesus and heard Him say those cherished words, ‘Well done my good and faithful servant.’”
Dr. Clifford Sumner Wemp died shortly after midnight Dec. 25, 2012. His five children, Clifford Wemp, Elaine Grill, Carolyn Wemp, Chuck Wemp and his wife Donna, Janet Herlyck and her husband Jack, his three grandchildren and Jean Medley survive him.
Born Oct. 26, 1922, Wemp was known as a “firebrand” for giving the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ to every single person he came into contact with. In a testimony written for Wemp’s website, his story is told. He had never held a Bible or heard the Gospel until the age of 17, when one night in Jacksonville, Fla., a fellow paperboy invited this young man to church at 4:00 a.m. while they were rolling papers.
Three weeks after this invitation, Wemp accepted Christ as his personal Lord and savior, and as he was known to say that “he never got over it.”
Dr. Wemp had been a Liberty faculty member so long that Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr. reminisced about having Wemp as one of his professors when he attended Liberty.
“An important part of this university’s history was lost … but when I spoke with Dr. Wemp recently, he sounded like we all remember him — upbeat and praising God.”
Commenting on losing his father on Christmas Day, Chuck Wemp said, “If you knew my dad, you know it couldn’t have been a better day. I don’t know anyone that was as excited as my dad to go to heaven.”
Wemp received his Bachelor of Arts from Samford University in Birmingham Ala., which was then known as Howard College. He also received his Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, where he also met his future wife, Celeste Magee Zimmerman. He and Celeste ministered together until her death at 86 in July 2010. He received his Doctorate in Ministry from California Graduate school of Theology and his Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Liberty University.
After seminary, Wemp pastored different churches around the country for 13 years until he received an invitation to join Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Ill. as Director of Practical Christian Work. He also went on to serve as President of Southeastern Bible College before joining the Liberty family in 1973 as Vice President of Spiritual Affairs, where he served until his retirement in 1989.
The last years of his life were spent in “retirement,” which for Wemp meant mentoring pastors, missionaries and evangelists and preaching every other weekend around the country.
Wemp’s heart for things of the Lord is evident from his life, and it is difficult not to share in his sentiment when he wrote, “Well Glory!”