Legends are said to be those individuals who soar above the limitations of the average human experience. These special souls leave eternal footprints in the hearts of even the casual observer, and their message remains timeless. History books are full of stories about these remarkable people. While some of these dynamic leaders affect only their generation, others are birthed for the purposes of eternity. Arthur Lee Crume, Sr. is such a man.
Arthur is the owner, manager and longest active member of the widely acclaimed Soul Stirrers’ Gospel Quartet. Historians herald this group as the greatest quartet in the history of gospel music. Arthur’s musical talents catapulted and held him at the top of his field for several decades. Although he enjoyed all the attention and accolades he received, he had one serious problem. Arthur did not have a personal relationship with the God he was singing about. All the notoriety and fame stroked his already inflated ego and caused him to become even more self-absorbed. His poor choices and fleshly appetites scarred the lives of those who loved him the most, leaving broken hearts littered along life’s highway. But God, who is rich in mercy, never gave up on Arthur.
Arthur was born and raised in the cotton fields of Missouri. Just as Jesus taught His followers through parables earthly stories with heavenly meanings the cotton plant held a spiritual truth for Arthur. This bush-like plant mirrored his life. If properly nourished, both housed the necessary components to eventually produce mature fruit. Just like the cottonseed, a miracle had to take place so the darkness would be banished and the seedling could break through the hard soil and reach toward the light. After bursting through the soil, the tender plant would be exposed to the high winds and blowing sand. Mirrored within Arthur’s life struggles is a picture of Israel’s eventual redemption. Arthur faced his own fierce storms. The Holy Spirit whispered into the depths of his battered and weary soul, and at the age of sixty-eight, he responded to the Spirit’s wooing. He accepted the Light of the World into his darkened heart, and Arthur Lee Crume, Sr. would never be the same again. He was a new creature in Christ. True to Bible promises, God put a new song in his heart. No longer an outcast, he was a child of the King. He finally had a personal relationship with the One he had been singing about for decades.