That one statement was what introduced my great grandfather to the gospel and is a big reason why my mom was raised in the church and why I was, too. A “Campbellite preacher” (so named because of Alexander Campbell, a leading figure of the 19th Century who pleaded with people to throw off the division of denominationalism and restore simple New Testament Christianity) was in their Mississippi community, preaching at the local school house. Several teenage boys, including my then 19-year-old great-grandfather, conspired together to stand outside and throw rocks at the preacher. The big talk apparently came to nothing harmful, but standing out there my grandfather was convicted by the preaching. As the result, he studied more deeply and carefully the Scriptures and found that the denomination he was a part of did not teach the same plan of salvation he read in the New Testament.
Plain, New Testament teaching and preaching, which faithfully and accurately handles the Scripture, has a profound effect on an honest heart. One who is already persuaded that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, who is convicted that it was faithfully transmitted through time, can see from gospel preaching what God’s will is for “matters of life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). Such allow the powerful Word to operate skillfully upon their hearts, being persuaded of its penetrating truths (Heb. 4:12). Even one who may start out angry at the messenger but who is “fair-minded” (cf. Acts 17:11) will “receive the word with all readiness, and [search] the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things [are] so.” Such an unprejudiced, open-minded attitude will serve such individuals well not only in learning how to become a Christian, but also in how to live the Christian life. We must keep an honest and good heart if we will be the “good soil” Jesus praises in His parable of the soils (Luke 8:15).
Whatever your age, position in life, race, education level, or physical address, are you teachable? Do you receive the word in humility (Jas. 1:21)? James says that your soul’s salvation is ultimately at stake. Whether it regards becoming a Christian or living the Christian life, keep an open and tender heart! You’ll be eternally grateful that you did. So may many of your descendants!