The Miracle of the Bierschenk Girls

Let me share with you the miracle of the Bierschenk girls. I’m keenly interested in this story, because one of these girls, Susan [lower right] is my wife of 5 years as of yesterday.

The Bierschenk girls – Wally Ann, Rosalie, Mary Ruth, and Susan Jean – were all born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Their father, Walter J. Bierschenk, was a successful businessman who owned Bierschenk Brothers Plumbing with his brother, Chris. Walter was also the director of the Kosair Temple Band, which played at events for the Kosair Crippled Children’ Hospital in Louisville. He was also the commander in chief for the VFW. Walter and his wife, Virginia Jean, the girls’ mother, were well known on the social scene in Louisville.

Walter was buried in the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery by his wife. He had served in World War II.

Susan, the youngest of the girls, was born on June 11, 1944. Her father died at the age of 51, when Susan was 20 months old. She has no memory of him. Susan’s mother was 44 when she passed away. Susan was 8 years old. The Bierschenk girls were orphans.

From left, Wally Ann, Rosalie, Mary Ruth, Susan Jean

Neither Walter nor his wife attended church regularly, but a relative took the girls to St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church. Wally and Rosalie completed the requirements for Confirmation.

Walter had the wisdom to provide a trust for his daughters in the event of his death. In today’s dollars, the value of the trust was about $850,000. This was enough to provide for all four until they reached adulthood.

The Louisville Trust Company administered the funds, hiring a lady to live with and raise the girls. She was experientally and doctrinally a Oneness Pentecostal. The result: all four embraced the Pentecostal life; three married preachers.

For 41 years now, the girls and their families have gathered for a reunion each year. The following pictures, and those above, were taken on September 29, 2018, on the occasion of the 41st reunion, held at the Governor’s Mansion in Charlestown, Indiana.

From left: Austin Christman, Susan’s grandson; Michael Christman, Susan’s son-in-law; Lisa Mustread, Wally’s daughter; Susan; Daniel Segraves, Susan’s husband; Jimmy Soberg, Mary Ruth’s husband; Mary Ruth; Rosalie; Willis Thoen, Rosalie’s husband; Becky Christman, Susan’s daughter, took the picture.

If you would like to read more of this story, see Susan’s article, “Blooming in Brokenness,” in the October 2018 issue of the Pentecostal Life magazine, available at

Five years of wedded bliss!

Five years ago today, Susan and I were joined in marriage by our Bishop, Tim Dugas, Pastor Garry Tracy, and General Superintendent David Bernard. Pastor Scott Graham was the emcee at our reception. They all did a great job, and we joined the old tradition of Oneness Pentecostals who got married and spent their honeymoon at general conference. This is a great tradition, because you get to enjoy the congratulations of all your friends every year!

I love Susan with all my heart! She is a Proverbs 31 wife. We have enjoyed every day of our marriage, and we look forward with eager anticipation to our future together.

I love you, dear Susan, and I want the whole world to know it! ❤️

A general conference memory

The first general conference Of the United Pentecostal Church I remember attending was held at the Ellis Auditorium in Little Rock, Arkansas, circa 1955. My father, Glen Segraves, was pastoring in Rector, Arkansas. He sang at this conference, playing his little red accordion. His song was “This Old House,” written by Stuart Hamblin. This was “by request,” as they did in those days. I was about 9 years old. Compare that to today’s general conference music! Will there be an accordion?

Getting ready for the 2018 general conference in Louisville, Kentucky, from the 17th floor of the downtown Marriott. I’m not 9 anymore.


Also at this general conference

In addition to my new book Andrew D. Urshan: A Theological Biography, my newest book, Looking Forward: A Clear View of Biblical Prophecy, will be available this year. This 225 page book includes the following chapters:

  1. There Is a Lot of Prophecy in the Bible
  2. Finding Fulfillment
  3. Telling Time
  4. The Ultimate Fulfillment
  5. Now and Not Yet
  6. Always Watching
  7. The Back of the Book
  8. Signs, Symbols, and Solutions
  9. Justice, Judgment, and Eternal Rewards
  10. Rediscovery of Prophetic Truth
  11. Here Comes the Bride
  12. Retaining Historic Doctrines
  13. Perilous Times

If you wish, I would be happy to autograph a copy for you. I’ll be available at the Pentecostal Publishing House display.


New at this general conference: Andrew D. Urshan: A Theological Biography

For the first time at a general conference of the United Pentecostal Church International, my book Andrew D. Urshan: A Theological Biography will be available this year. The book is a revision of my dissertation for the Ph.D. from Regent University School of Divinity.

Andrew D. Urshan was one of the four most influential persons in the shaping of early twentieth century oneness Pentecostalism. Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology are named in his honor and in honor of his son, Nathaniel A. Urshan, who served for many years as the general superintendent of the UPCI.

If you wish, I would be happy to autograph a copy for you. I’ll be available in the area of the Pentecostal Publishing House Display.

A new book idea . . .

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When Susan and I were in Paris a couple of weeks ago, I went into a bookstore and discovered an interesting book display. Here’s the picture and my comments.


Exploring a book display filled with small volumes all subtitled something like “A Short Introduction to . . . .” Each is about 100 pages long. I am looking at one titled “A Short Introduction to Miracles.” The bibliography includes a book on miracles written by Graham Twelftree, an Australian scholar who was one of my professors in my Ph.D. Program. The display gave me the idea to write short books on topics relevant to biblical studies. Who knows? Now that I’m retired . . .

Now, this past Sunday, Susan and I attended a 90th birthday celebration for Lorene Foster, a founding member of The Sanctuary UPC. As we sat at a table with Jim and Donna Sample and Robin and Marsha Johnston, Brother Johnston, who is the editor in chief for the United Pentecostal Church International, told me he had read my post. He said, “We need a book on the Holy Spirit.”

It turns out that the UPCI needs to publish a series of books on topics that are generally associated with systematic theology. One is a book on pneumatology, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.

I have mentioned before that my “big” project since retirement is to write the second volume of my commentary on Psalms. I have been working on that, but I will set it aside temporarily to write the manuscript for a book on the Holy Spirit. It will be about 150 pages long. I have already submitted a tentative outline to Everett Gossard, the book editor for the Pentecostal Publishing House.

I’m excited about this project. I’ve taught pneumatology between 25 and 30 times over the years. The Holy Spirit stands at the beginning and ending of the Holy Bible.

We’re Pentecostals, we need a book on the Holy Spirit!

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An Amazing Story of Redemption

Susan, my wife, was born into a family of four sisters. They had no background in Pentecostalism. Orphaned when Susan was eight years old, all four found their way into the full apostolic experience. Three married preachers.

Their story, written by Susan, is found in the October 2018 issue of Pentecostal Life, published by the United Pentecostal Church International. The title is “Blooming in Brokenness.” Read it to discover how God brought someone into their lives to transform their brokenness into spiritual wholeness.

IMG_1190(1).jpgThe magazine is available at


Another Look at “Delivering Up the Kingdom”

“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He has put all things under His feet.’ But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,’ it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (I Corinthians 15:24-28, NKJV).


After all opposition to Christ’s rule has ended, He will deliver the kingdom to God the Father. The subjection of everything to Christ excludes God the Father, for the Son Himself will be subject to God in order that God may be “all in all.” Several questions arise from I Corinthians 15:24-28: Since a time will come when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, does this mean Christ will no longer reign? If God the Father has put all things under the feet of Christ with the exception of Himself, what is the relationship of Christ and God the Father? Does this refer to ontological or functional subordination? Does the statement “then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him” mean that the Son is not now subject to Him? What is different about this future subjection of the Son from His present subjection? Is God not “all in all” prior to this event?

Christ’s reign is eternal.

Christ must reign “until” He subdues all enemies, but this does not mean His reign will end. It means His reign will extend up to the point when His enemies are subdued, without addressing what will occur afterwards. If I Corinthians 15:24-28 indicates changes in Christ’s reign or in the relationship between God the Father and Christ, it suggests that Christ’s reign is temporary. This cannot be the case, as seen in Revelation 11:15: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (NKJV). The eternal throne is the throne “of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:3, NKJV). Whatever it means for Christ to deliver the kingdom to God the Father and for Christ to reign until He has subjugated all enemies, it cannot mean there comes a time when the reign of Christ is terminated.

The context of I Corinthians 15:24-28 is the resurrection of the dead. In spite of the claims of some of the Corinthians, there is a resurrection, of which Christ’s resurrection is proof. Furthermore, if Jesus rose bodily, He still exists and will continue to exist throughout eternity as the God-man. The bodily resurrection of Christ, therefore, guarantees the permanence of the Incarnation; and because the Incarnation is permanent, the relationship between the Son and God the Father is constant.

Is Christ’s subordination ontological or functional?

In order to maintain the position that God is three co-equal persons, Trinitarian theology describes Christ’s subjection to the Father as functional subjection. [1] In other words, since Christ—viewed as the second person in the Godhead—is co-equal with God the Father—viewed as the first person in the Godhead—His subjection to the Father is not based on His being (ontological), for He is co-equal with the Father. Rather, it is a functional subjection for a specified purpose.

However, the subjection of Christ to God the Father is both functional and ontological. The Incarnation is certainly functional. God was manifest in the flesh for the express purpose of redemption. We also know that Jesus Christ—God incarnate—will judge the world.

However, there is more to the subjection of Christ than the functions of redemption and judgment. I Corinthians 15:24-28 addresses the role of Christ after His works of redemption and judgment are completed. Since Christ is fully man and fully God, the humanity of Christ is also ontologically subject to God the Father. Once the purpose for the Incarnation is completed, the subjection is no longer functional, for the function has been accomplished. At the point when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, His subjection will be purely ontological.

The Son is and will always be subject to God the Father.

Human nature is, by definition, ontologically subordinate to God. Christ is one integrated person who is both divine and human. In order for His humanity to be meaningful, it was necessary for Christ to voluntarily limit Himself within the parameters of that which is essentially human. All references to the subjection of Christ to God, whether past, present, or future, depend upon Christ’s solidarity with the human race.

The use of “Christ” emphasizes the Incarnation. In verse 28 Christ is referred to as the “Son.” The identification of the Son as “Lord” calls attention to His deity as Yahweh. To identify the Son as Christ emphasizes His humanity and the fact that He is the anointed One. Paul’s primary Christological focus in I Corinthians is on the Son as Messiah. Except for four references (I Corinthians 5:5; 6:11; 11:23; 12:3), Paul identifies the Son as Christ. In I Corinthians the Son is identified as “Christ” forty-four times, as “Lord Jesus Christ” ten times, as “Jesus Christ” four times, as “Christ Jesus” four times, as “Jesus Christ our Lord” three times, and as “Christ Jesus our Lord” once.

The God-man will terminate all opposition and deliver the kingdom to God the Father. “God the Father” refers to God transcendent—God above and beyond the Incarnation. [2] God will conquer sin’s consequences not by means of His transcendence or immanence, but by means of His manifestation in the flesh. Redemption is rooted in the Incarnation.

The subjection of all things to Christ fulfills Psalm 8:6: “You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” This subjection includes only the created realm; God the Father is not subjected to the Messiah. The use of Psalm 8 in I Corinthians 15:25-27 and Hebrews 2:5-9 indicates that although the created realm is ontologically subordinate to the Messiah, it is not presently subjected because of the sin problem. The Fall was not just the fall of humans, but of the entire created realm. Creation, now subjected to futility because of sin, “will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (See Romans 8:19-24.) Because the final defeat of death is yet future, and because death is the consequence of the Fall, we could say that the created order is at this time ontologically subordinate to the Messiah, but not behaviorally subordinate. Sin is now in its death throes, something like a snake whose head has been cut off, but who continues to flail about. On the other hand, Christ is presently subordinated to God the Father, because no sin problem is involved.

When all things are made subject to Christ, “then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (verse 28). This statement must be understood so as to avoid suggesting that the Son is not now subject to the Father.

No essential change in Christ’s nature is indicated in this passage. He will always be as He has always been. The relationship between Christ and God the Father as described in this passage is the same as elsewhere. The Son is always submitted to God transcendent. This is due to the human existence in which God humbled Himself.

The word translated “then” (tote, as opposed to eita in verse 24) need not mean “thereupon” or “thereafter.” It can mean “at that time,” with no idea of a point of origin. [3] It may mean that the state of things at this time will be as described. What is presently true continues to be true into eternity.

Even though hypotagesetai (“will be subjected”) is a future passive indicative, this may still indicate only that this is how things will be in the future. If hypotagesetai is read as a future passive indicative, it means in the future Christ’s subjection will be accomplished by someone outside of Himself. But this future passive indicative may function as a middle instead of a passive, with the subject represented as doing something for, to or by himself. [4] This is the same status that the Son of God assumed during His days on earth.

Jesus is not just an historical figure. He will continue to exist throughout eternity in His human existence as well as in His deity. This means that all human beings will continue to exist, for Christ’s essential humanness is no different than our humanness. Because He stands in solidarity with us, we stand in solidarity with Him. If He had discarded His humanity at death, not only would He not have experienced bodily resurrection, but neither would we have any certainty about our future.

1 See Gordon D. Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987), 760.
2 This is from the perspective that “God the Father” is a reference to God transcendent, the Son of God is a reference to God incarnate, and Holy Spirit is a reference to God immanent. In the final analysis, however, God is One. The same God who is transcendent is incarnate and immanent. The KJV has, “God, even the Father.”
3 F. Wilbur Gingrich, Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1965), 219.
4 See A.T. Robertson, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1934), 809.

Bishop Timothy Dugas

On October 20, 2017, I wrote the following letter to Bishop Timothy Dugas. Although he is now absent from the body, he is present with our Lord (II Corinthians 5:8). In an attempt to express my love for Brother Dugas, I am sharing my letter with you:

Dear Brother Dugas:

It is with sincere thanksgiving that I express my appreciation to you for your pastoral care during the past ten years.

When Judy and I, along with my mother, moved to this area in 2007, you greeted us in such a way that we immediately felt at home and knew that The Sanctuary would be our place to belong. Although you and Mary were suffering in a way we had not experienced, both of you loved us, demonstrating what it meant to live a life of faith and trust in God. When Mary departed from this present world to be with Christ, you continued to model that life of faith before us with consistent transparency.

Your personal illustration of how to suffer in a way that glorified God, refusing to fall into despair, was such a help to me when Judy was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer. Your sensitivity to us, your spiritual care, and your visits to our home with your wife Deanna helped us to survive this experience. After Judy passed away, you were there to help me through those dark days. I am so grateful.

Now Susan and I are richly blessed with the privilege to continue to receive spiritual nurture from your ministry. Your ministry is not limited to words, although your words are encouraging and edifying. What you say flows from a life deeply rooted in genuine faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, regardless of the circumstances you have encountered.

Many years ago, when we were in Stockton, Jerry Renison was hospitalized, facing the amputation of a foot. Without planning it, Brother Kenneth Haney and I arrived at his bedside together. As we talked about what his future held, Brother Renison said something that had a profound influence on me. He said, “I guess faith is different things to different people, but for me, faith is knowing that God will do what is right for me.” His words were as if God had spoken to me.

Susan and I are praying for you and your family as you once again walk into a future that calls for trust in God in the face of uncertainty. We know you will show us how we should live as we too confront the unknown.

With Grateful Hearts,

Daniel and Susan Segraves