Growing In Godliness Blog
“Gospel for All”Categories: Author: Larry Coffey, Baptism, Church, Salvation
Gospel for All
By Larry Coffey
The Bible clearly teaches the gospel of Christ is available for everyone who seeks it. While reading a book on the life of Walter Scott, a preacher in the early 19th century, I noted two good examples of this fact. Scott moved to Carthage, OH, a small village near Cincinnati and lived there 13 years. When he moved there, the village was described as flourishing with drunkenness, profanity, idleness, and neglect of the public and private duties of religion. The single redeeming feature was a Sunday school where an incident of interest took place on Scott’s first visit.
In one of the classes was a bright girl about 13 years old, who, along with others, had to find the answer to the question, “What shall I do to be saved?” She searched her Bible and found the answer in Acts 2:38. When the day came for the class to answer the question, she was the only one with a ready answer. With a feeling of childish triumph, she quoted the passage: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Rather than receiving the teacher’s approval, she was disappointed to learn she had not given a satisfactory answer. Soon the class was over and the superintendent asked the same question. She rose and quoted Acts 2:38, but her answer was not approved again. She cried and wondered why her answer was not accepted. Just after this, Scott preached in the village school house and the little Sunday school scholar was present. To her surprise his text was the very passage she had read in Sunday school. Her response to his lesson was a request to be baptized. Her example caused six men to step forward and be baptized at the same time.
These proved to be the first fruits of a great harvest. Many more soon also obeyed the gospel. Among the converts was one who had long held in the village an unenviable notoriety—a poor fellow who was regarded as the most hopeless of an exceedingly irreligious and immoral population. He was a clever, dissipated good-for-nothing by the name of Parker. When it was announced in the village that a strange preacher was to be there to hold a series of meetings, for reasons unknown, Parker decided to attend. After a few nights of sitting on the back row, he came forward to be baptized. Needless to say, Walter Scott looked upon him with surprise and astonishment.
After Parker’s conversion, he made this statement: “I was as great a sinner as any of you; a drunkard, a gambler, poor, miserable, and wretched. But now I am redeemed from my former ways and have become a man.” As far as was known, both Parker and the 13-year-old girl remained faithful the rest of their lives. The cases mentioned show that the gospel can be brought to the comprehension of a little child and its power can be felt by one as wicked as Parker. Walter Scott’s labors resulted in planting a church that had 200 members within about two years from his first visit.