S. H. Hall remembers David Lipscomb

S. H. Hall remembers David Lipscomb

Samuel Henry Hall was born in Smyrna, TN 23 December 1877.  Baptized by F. W. Smith in a meeting at Rock Spring Church of Christ in 1892, he began preaching a few years later in 1896.  By the time he entered Nashville Bible School in 1902 he had been preaching about six years, had taught school, was married and had a young son.  While a student at NBS he roomed with H. Leo Boles.  When these memoirs were published, first in 1955 under the title Sixty Years in the Pulpit (privately printed by John Allen Hudson of Old Paths Book Club), Hall had lived in Los Angeles for five years.  Hall preached often in revivals and gospel meetings throughout his career, and earlier at Sichel Street Church of Christ, Los Angeles, from 1920-1922.  His brief stay in California came between two long ministries, first at West End Church of Christ in Atlanta from 1906-1920 and at Russell Street Church of Christ in Nashville from 1922-1950.  During his ministries in Atlanta and Nashville, both churches grew to considerable size.  West End Church in Atlanta grew to about 350 members (large for a Church of Christ in Georgia at that time) and Russell Street in Nashville, with over 1000 members, was among the largest congregations of any group in Nashville.  He served on the Board of Directors at David Lipscomb College prior to his move west in 1950.  Additional information is available at here.

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Excerpted from chapter 3 of S. H. Hall, Sixty-Five Years in the Pulpit, Or, Compound Interest in Religion. Nashville: Gospel Advocate Company, 1959. Pages 13-14. 

DAVID LIPSCOMB, whom I first came really to know after entering the Nashville Bible School.  When I entered that school[1] I had deep-seated prejudice against him because of the influence of the “A. McGary and Lipscomb controversy” over what was called “rebaptism” and “shaking them in,” the latter being the expression used by McGary against Lipscomb and the former the word used in speaking of those who stood with McGary.  My father was a regular reader of the Firm Foundation and took a radical stand for McGary’s side of the question, and it was through his influence that prejudice against Lipscomb found a strong place in my heart.  I took a class under Brother Lipscomb, primarily to give him all the trouble I could when such questions came up.

            But, let me state that this is where I got what I sometimes call “my second conversion.”  I found Lipscomb so everlastingly fair in all that he said about other religious bodies and those of our brethren who differed with him that it revealed something within me that was all wrong and led me to see how utterly wrong I was in taking a position and holding to it with bull-dog tenacity instead of studying the question with the sole desire to get the truth, even when it condemned me.  It was the influence of Lipscomb that planted, never to be rooted up, the following scriptures – Micah 6:8, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to lover mercy (kindness), and to walk humbly with thy God?”  Jeremiah 5:1, “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.”  To be absolutely just in representing others, never falsely accusing them, and to be as fair in stating their positions as you are in stating your own, was the lesson I got from Lipscomb—and it saved me.  For had I continued with the unfair and prejudiced way I had been handling questions with those whom I differed, I would have been lost—no doubt about this.  The awful danger of our “receiving not the love of the truth, that we might be saved” about which we are warned in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 had never dawned upon my heart.  Lipscomb planted that warning, and he lived what he tried to get over to his students.  He is the only editor—there may be one or two exceptions—who, occasionally, in his writing would take up some statement that he had formerly made and state, “I am sure I was mistaken in the position I took on this scripture and want to now correct it.”  He looked for his own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others.  Hw often did I hear him in the class, when some young preacher would start off on a tirade /14/ against the Baptist or Methodist on some position, gently say, “You are mistaken there—here is their position,[2] and he would give it exactly as their best scholars taught it.  All liars shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone, so the Book declares.  So far as I know, it is just as bad to lie about others by accusing them of believing something they do not believe as it is to lie in a horse swap.  If not, why not?


[1] 1902; he was twenty-four years old, married with a two-year old son, and had been preaching 6 years.

[2] Hall does not close his quotation.  It may end here or at the end of the paragraph.

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One thought on “S. H. Hall remembers David Lipscomb

  1. It do be interesting that Sam Hall’s ol’ daddy, down there to Smyrna, Tennessee, far closer to Nashville than to Texas, is “a regular reader of the Firm Foundation” and an ardent adherent of Austin McGary’s understanding of baptism. That testimony may help us to understand why McGary’s version became dominant almost everywhere among Churches of Christ in the twentieth century.

    How DL won Sam over to another way of thinking about controversial issues should interest us even more. DL’s practice of mercy and justice and his continuing quest for truth without regard to human pride are exemplary. DL’s soft answers not only turned away wrath, but they drew others to love what is true and to love him.

    God’s Peace to you.

    d

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