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Collection 416 Oral History Interviews with Benjamin L. Armstrong

Identifier: CN 416

Scope and Contents

Oral history interview with Benjamin Leighton Armstrong in which he describes his family, particularly his father (Benjamin Leighton Armstrong Sr.) and grandfather (Benjamin Franklin Armstrong), his own conversion and spiritual growth, education at Nyack Bible College, New York University, Union Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, religious radio and television, Samuel Shoemaker, Paul Tillich, missions in the Christian and Missionary Alliance church, Voice of Tangiers and Trans World Radio, National Religious Broadcasters, Eugene Bertermann, NRB's lobbying of US government bodies (FCC and Congress), his international visits, particularly his witnessing the events immediately following the assassination of Benigno Aquino in the Philippines, the televangelist scandals of the second half of the 1980s, Presbyterianism, brother-in-lay Paul Freed, NRB conventions, his book The Electric Church. Other individuals mentioned include: A.B.  Simpson, Samuel Shoemaker, Frank Gaebelein, James Oliver Buswell, Paul Tillich, Clarence Jones, brother-in-law Paul Freed, Thomas Zimmerman, Robert Cook, Billy Graham, Lloyd Oglivie, James Kennedy. T he time period covered by the interviews is 1885 to 1989.

Benjamin Leighton Armstrong was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on June 16, 1989, at the National Religious Broadcasters office in Parsippiny, NJ.


  • Created: 1989

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name: Benjamin Leighton Armstrong, Jr.

Birth Date: October 18, 1923 Birth place: Newark, NJ

Parents: Benjamin Leighton Armstrong--pastor, radio evangelist; Margaret Woodworth Denison Armstrong--evangelistic singer

Grandfather: Benjamin Franklin Armstrong--worked with D. L. Moody

Siblings: Two younger sisters: Mary--married H. Miller Lake, missionaries in New Guinea; Ruth--married Virgil Megill, United Methodist minister

Marital Status: Married Ruth Freed in 1946

Children: Robert L., works at National Religious Broadcasters (NRB); Bonnie M. & Debbie M.: one works at NRB, the other counsels battered wives.

Conversion: 1935 (age 12) at a meeting of C&MA evangelist T. H. Ritchie


Stony Brook School--two years, graduated 1941

Houghton College--started 1941, left 1943

Nyack Missionary Institute--started 1943, graduated 1945

Calvary Clergy School, Calvary Episcopal Church--1946

New York University: B.S. in religious education, 1948; M.S. in mass media, 1950

Princeton Theological Seminary--post-graduate studies until 1954

Union Theological Seminary--B.D.,1955 (M.Div.?)

Seton Hall University--Russian classes

New York University--Ph.D. in mass media, 1968


1942-1945 Assisted Dr. Sam Shoemaker in the Calvary Clergy School of Calvary Episcopal Church in New York City Goodwill Home and Rescue Mission in Newark, NJ

1945-?? Director of Christian Education at Green Ridge Presbyterian Church, Scranton, PA

1948 Weekly radio program, Teaching the Sunday School Lesson

1949 Ordained evangelist and minister by the Presbyterian Church USA

Assistant pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hackensack, NJ

1950-1955 Pastor of Broadway Presbyterian Church in Paterson, NJ--later name changed to Central Presbyterian Church

Coordinated the "Cavalcade of Faith," a community celebration

19??-1958 Pastor of Community Presbyterian in Ringwood, NJ

1952-1958 Informally raised money for Voice of Tangier

1958-1966 Worked with Trans World Radio in France

Director of Trans World Radio in Chatham, NJ

1966- Executive Secretary of National Religious Broadcasters

1968 Recipient of Founder's Day Award at New York University

1973 Chair of Key '73 Mass Media Committee

1974 Coordinator of radio and television at the International Congress on World Evangelization

Memberships: National Association of Evangelicals, Director

Council of Cooperation for Community Interchange Center, NYC

Presbytery New York, UP Church in USA

Intercristo, Seattle, WA--board of directors

Telemissions, Nyack, NY--board of directors


8.00 Audio Tapes

344 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials for this collection were received by the Center in June 1989 from Benjamin Leighton Armstrong.

Accession 89-62 May 11, 1995

Mark Congdon

P. Ericksen

Collection 416 Oral History Interviews with Benjamin L. Armstrong
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

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