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Tuttle-isms- A Thank You to Dr. Tuttle

Published Date: July 1, 2015

Dr. Tuttle is a well known and well loved professor who has given much to both his students and the Asbury Theological Seminary institution.  With respect to this, we reached out to his former students to compile a list of Tuttle-isms for which he is well known.  We were both overwhelmed by positive feedback about him and blessed by an extensive list of Tuttle-isms to share with others.


Kevin Barnes (M.Div., 2009) shared Dr. Tuttle’s “Do something, even if it’s wrong.” and states:

“I heard Dr. Tuttle say, “Do something, even if it’s wrong,” in the “Ministry of Evangelism” course. I had to wrestle with the notion that God would be okay with me doing something for Him that He hadn’t personally given the official stamp of approval, as long as I prayed and sought the advice of others. I originally believed that I should act only after receiving God’s official “go-ahead.” Dr. Tuttle challenged me (more than he could ever know) with that one little sentence.

I work in the vocation of ministry full time, and I still seek God’s guidance on a regular basis, but I am no longer shackled by my desire to receive the divine “Do it.”  Some wonderful, Kingdom-expanding ministries have begun as a result of Dr. Tuttle pausing from his sentence, looking at each person in the class, and saying, “Do something even if it’s wrong.” My understanding of evangelism has a mantra, and I can thank Dr. Tuttle for giving it to me.”


Mary D’Angelo, an alum of 1998, had the opportunity to work with Dr. Tuttle as an ATS staff member. Mary provided us with the most extensive list of “Tuttle-isms” including context, (52!):

  1. “It’s a mistake to fear the enemies of God.” (This is from Joshua, Caleb, and the others who spied on the promised land and returned with a bad report.)
  2. “I really don’t need anything, I just want to look at you.”
  3. “God is a stickler for details in times of transition.” (Regarding Uzzah who steadied the Ark (when it was about to fall of the cart), and who died as a result of disobeying God.)
  4. “Serves you right!” (what Tuttle always says whenever something good happens to you.)
  5. “How’s your soul?” or “Do you love the Lord?” (when abruptly stopping people in the hallways)
  6. “Is everyone in here saved?” (what he asks after entering a room)
  7. “Can you come back later; I’m not here right now.” (The story goes, a student stood in the doorway of Bob’s office.  When Bob realized someone was there, he looked up, and said to the student…)
  8. “God has a lot more invested in you than you do.”
  9. “Lord, give me eyes to see and to love others as though they were my own children.”
  10. I don’t know what I’m talking about.”
  11. “Make sure no one gets saved ’til I get there!”
  12. “You’re a sinner son, probably the worst of all! As sweet as you are.” ( the whole time, he’d be holding the hand of that person.)
  13. “You can’t know what the Bible means until you first know what it meant.”
  14. “If you ask a 4 to 8 year old to pray for rain, he/she goes inside to get an umbrella.”
  15. “I hope He blesses your socks off!”
  16. “Can we talk?”
  17. “I am a tongue talkin’ Methodist! You’re not going to hold that against me are you?”
  18. “You’ll get a knee jerk.” (if you were placed in a situation beyond your comfort zone)
  19. You put the pressure on by taking the pressure off.”
  20. “I went to bed in black and white and woke up in technicolor. I wanted to eat grass because it was my favorite color.” (part of his “saved” story)
  21. “If you get singled out, you get picked off.”
  22. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news, bad news, good news.”
  23. “We may both be wrong but we can’t both be right.”
  24. “The core of the Gospel: Jesus is Lord.”
  25. “Truth has never changed to accommodate what I believe truth to be.”
  26. “I assume the Holy Spirit is at work in everyone, everywhere.”
  27. “Everyone the world over has a need to measure up to some kind of law.”
  28. “Tell me about yourself.”
  29. “God loved before God created. God redeemed before God created.”
  30. “Sin is that which separates us from God, ourselves, and those around us.”
  31. “You’re a joy to my soul.”
  32. “Get over it.”
  33. “God, make me sensitive to opportunities for ministry.”
  34. “God takes the initiative in the drama of rescue.”
  35. We should rejoice just as much when God closes doors as when God opens doors.”
  36. “Most people are not accustomed to being listened to as though they have something interesting to say.”
  37. “There ain’t no justice in this world but there’ll be plenty in the next.”
  38. “You don’t have to die to go to Hell.”
  39. “God is no respecter of persons.”
  40. “If you can’t say ‘No,’ your “Yes” is meaningless.”
  41. “Try to turn your back on sin by turning your back on sin; It’ll eat your lunch. The minute your mind goes rote, you will be having thoughts in the middle of the Lord’s prayer.”
  42. “It’s easy not to sin right now because you’re looking at me. But, I do things in front of God that I would never do in front of you.”
  43. “Don’t go in with all the answers before you know what the questions are.”
  44. “What is freedom for some is bondage for others.”
  45. “Ask God to take away the deep seated resentments. We can’t give it away. If we could give it away, we wouldn’t need God.”
  46.  “Sometimes, I have to lower the history tapes so I can hear the voice of God.”
  47. “God doesn’t have to imagine how we hurt when he hurt. He has been here. The suffering didn’t begin on the cross; it began in the manger.”
  48. “Don’t give me a Jesus with a fifth gear.”
  49. “If someone is hungry, what are you going to do? Unless you are a brick, you’re going to feed them.” (“Brick” is used in a variety of circumstances.)
  50. “Your sphere of influence includes those who most easily relate to your ministry.”
  51. “I wouldn’t change a minute of my past. I wouldn’t live it again, but I wouldn’t change it. It is apart of who I am.”
  52. “I meet people all the time who make 4 times as much as me. Within 30 minutes, they all want to be me.” 


Rev. Fred Vanderwerf was impressed by Dr. Tuttle’s article, God at Work in the World as printed in World Mission in the Wesleyan Spirit and edited by Darrell Whiteman and Gerald Anderson.  He quotes and explains Tuttle-sims;

  • “Cosmic fluff” – the name for the “location” that many Christians incorrectly think we will be absorbed into by rejecting this world.  Meanwhile God is this world affirming.
  • “Stabbed Christianity in the vitals”  – when explaining what Wesley originally believed about the mystics. Wesley, Tuttle argues, later changed his mind.
  • “Even if it looked like a grapevine, if it produced apples, call it an apple tree.”
  • “If Gandhi is not in heaven, he’s giving the devil fits and Hell is a better place.  I can imagine the devil calling Saint Peter about once a week and asking, ‘can you take this man off my hands? He clearly doesn’t understand the principle. He’s driving me nuts.”
  • “My believing in the uniqueness in faith in Jesus Christ, doesn’t make me right, but it sure makes me an evangelist.”  – in response to how can you be so narrow-minded as to assume the uniqueness of faith in Christ.
  • “If you could convince me that Jesus Christ is not who he said he was and is, I am a dead man.  Flesh would not cling to bone any longer. You could gather me up in a basket.  That’s just how much of me is at stake.”
  • “Heresy is born when little minds try to solve big paradoxes.”


We thank everyone who contributed to our compilation of Tuttle-isms for this article and extend a blessing of long life and godly encouragement over Dr. Tuttle.  May his sayings continue to inspire others to the kingdom of God.  Asbury Theological Seminary is truly blessed in its staff and the network of continued connection that they weave.


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