Van Osdel_thumbBy Kevin Bauder and Robert Delnay

A group of teens gather outside Belden Avenue Baptist Church in Chicago, birthplace of the GARBC. Alive, vibrant, hopeful—they represent the young dreams of a new church fellowship. But the story of the organization’s founding is considerably more complicated and interesting. History remembers Robert Ketcham as a key leader, but a new book expands our understanding of the GARBC’s earliest days. One in Hope and Doctrine, released in June by Regular Baptist Press, starts with the story of a forgotten founder.

Bracing himself against the February cold, a tall, graying gentleman stepped from the train and into the winter of Grand Rapids, Mich. He wore spectacles and a broad-brimmed hat. Puffs of his breath condensed on his mustache in the chilly air. The year was 1909, the man was Oliver W. Van Osdel, and he was returning to Grand Rapids to shepherd Wealthy Street Baptist Church.