Sampey and Lee

John R. Sampey, a Southern President and Professor of Old Testament, carried a legendary affection for Confederate General Robert E. Lee.  A fictional student skit between Sampey (S) and a student named Pinnix (P) made light of Sampey’s devotion:

“S: You’re too smart, Brother Arnold. What do you say about the nature of God, Brother Pinnix?

P: It’s all right, sir.

S: Certainly it is. Can God lie?

P: No, sir.

S: Can we lie?

P: Yes, sir.

S: Could Robert E. Lee lie?

P: Yes, sir.

S: No, sir; no sir! It’s not on record. There was a Christian gentleman, brethren. It is not even on record that he ever told a lie. I am surprised to find a man who would say he could lie. You must be a Yankee, Brother Pinnix.”

–From Oral Interview with Dale Moody

In a chapel sermon on Christ, Sampey compared Lee to the Savior, a memorable comparison retold by former student Herschel Hobbs:

One year about the time of Lee’s birthday, Dr. Sampey was asked to conduct chapel at the seminary.  He spoke on Jesus.  At one point he said, “Jesus was a good man.  He was a good man.  Good as Robert E. Lee.”  Realizing what he had said, he shouted, “Better, better, BETTER!!”

–From Herschel Hobbs, My Faith and Message

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