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Faith of our Fathers Pastor’s Spotlight: RG Lee, part 4


In honor of R. G. Lee's preaching style I will wrap up my posts on him by attempting to steal his oratorical style and give his thoughts on certain subjects (the last post will be sound clips from his preaching). The title of the post is "I love R. G. Lee because…"

First, I love Lee because he loved Jesus. He preached on Jesus more than anything else. Sermons like, "Christ Above All, Jesus Above All, I Love Jesus Because, Things Unthinkable From the Viewpoint of the Cross, The Face of Jesus Christ, etc." demonstrate Lee's love for preaching the subject of Jesus. Jesus is the "theme of the Bible" according to Lee. "If you take Jesus out of the Bible it'd be like taking heat out of fire, melody out of music, blood out of the body and expecting health…" Lee said that in Jesus "all the hieroglyphics of the OT types find their keys." Jesus is the hero of the Bible and he was the love of Lee's heart, so Lee preached Jesus more than anything else. He told his wife on their honeymoon night, "Dear… you're not first in my life. I love you very, very, very much. Else, I would never have asked to marry you and asked you to take my name. But Jesus is first in my life. I love him more than anybody whose name I've ever heard, more than anyone I've ever known." I love Lee because he loved Jesus. He preached Jesus with power and eloquence. He told of how Jesus was co-existent, co-equal, and co-eternal with God. He said, "In eternity Jesus rested on the bosom of his father with no mother. And in time Jesus rested on the bosom of his mother without any earthly father. And God, who in Eden's garden took from man's rib a motherless woman, in Bethlehem's cow stalls took from the womb of woman a fatherless man. And have you ever heard of somone who was just as old as his father and younger than his mother?" He preached the person of Jesus. He preached the work of Jesus. As a young pastor I love Lee because he loved Jesus. In a day when many are turning to other topics in their preaching, I am grateful for a man who preached about King Jesus, who is the theme of the Bible. If we fail to preach him, then we fail to preach God's book.

Second, I love Lee because he loved the Bible. He said that his mom "seemed to have a prophetic outlook. And she told me, 'Son, you're going to be a preacher in a day when a lot of people won't believe the Bible. But I'm asking you to believe the Bible like I believe the Bible. And I believe it all, though I don't understand it all.' And I believe the Bible just like my mother believed it… It's the book my father touched with reverent hands. It's the book my mother stained with grateful tears." Also, Lee believed the Bible "like Jesus believed the Bible." Jesus said, "Search the scriptures… for they are they which testify of me, for Moses wrote of me." And Lee indignantly said, "These people who bow Moses out of his Pentateuch and steal from David his psalms… forget if they ever knew that Jesus is the theme of the Bible, from the first verse to the last." And Jesus "didn't deny one miracle of the OT and accepted without the any question its doctrine." He said that he wished God would bring Dr. Carroll out of the grave to cut loose over the modernistic teaching of our day. As a young preacher, I love RG Lee because he loved the Bible and defended it with all of his energy in a day when many would not. He said, "I love our Southern Baptist insitutions, all of them. But I want to ask a question. Are our people being given the Bible as the Bible ought to be given to them?" He lamented the teaching in some schools that denied the supernatural. He believed every word of the Bible and preached it as true. In a day when some "evangelicals" believe that "inerrancy" is not the best word to use when describing the Bible, in a day when some believe that inerrancy claims more for the Bible than the Bible claims for itself, in a day when some look with contempt on the "faith of their fathers," and in a day when some believe the battle for the Bible is won, I am grateful for a man who stood forth in his era as a herald of God's Book. May his example encourage preachers of every generation to fight for the truth of the Bible, because false teaching crops up in every generation.

Third, I love RG Lee because he loved the lost. Lee was a soul-winner. He told the story of a church where the pastor preached a sermon entitled "Rescue the Perishing." Then, the choir director arose and sang a solo, "Rescue the Perishing." Then, the choir stood to sing the special, "Rescue the Perishing." Finally the entire congregation stood to their feet and belted out, "Rescue the Perishing." After the service a young man who had been a Christian for only a few weeks went up to the pastor and said, "When do we start?" The pastor looked at him strangely and said, "What do you mean?" The young man replied, "I mean when do we start?!" "Start what?" asked the pastor. "Rescuing the perishing?!" said the young man. The pastor replied, "Oh, that was just a sermon. That was just a song." Lee asked his congregation, "Is it just a song to you when we sing 'I Love To Tell The Story?' Is it just a sermon to you when we talk about soul-winning? I ask you , answer me!?" Lee encouraged pastors not to "despise the visitation path." He said, "Some people look down on a door-knocker or a bell-ringer. But I WAS A DOOR-KNOCKER. I WAS A BELL-RINGER, AND THE SPIDER DIDN'T SPIN NO WEBS IN MY BAPTISTRY NEITHER." He talked about Paul who "encompassed the earth with truths of gospel redemption, who put out the altar fires of Diana, who lit a gospel lamp in the palace of the Caesars, and left a trail of gospel-glory across the Gentile world… This same Paul the Bible says, 'taught publicly and from house to house.'" I love Lee because he loved the lost. In a day when so many are groping about in darkness, young preachers can be grateful for the example of a man who took winning souls seriously.

I love R. G. Lee because of his love for Jesus, his love for the Bible, and his love for the lost. His example to me as a young preacher inspires me. Lee told a story in one of his messages at the SBC Pastor's Conference, when he was speaking to young preachers about faithfulness and rewards in ministry. Dr. Lee met a boy and asked him, "Son, are you a Christian?" The boy said, "No sir." "Son, do you go to church?" said Lee. "No Sir. My dad hates churches and hate preachers. He says if I go to Sunday School he'll whip me for it." Dr. Lee told the boy that he wanted to come to his house and talk to the boy's dad. "Oh, no preacher, I wish you wouldn't do that. Dad won't treat you right." Lee went anyways. The man met him at the doorway and screamed, "I don't want no preachers around here. I know who you are. Get outta here! I'll skin you alive boy for lettin that preacher come here." Then, Lee said that "the man screwed up his face as though he was going to spit on me. He spit down at my feet." Later on, Lee "won that boy to faith in Christ, and he snuck away from his father to be baptized." Later on, the boy got sick, and the dad called Lee, "Preacher, I never thought I'd do a fool thing like this, but my boy's sick and I don't got no money to get him in the hospital. Will you help me?" Lee got the boy in the hospital, and he was put in an oxygen tent. Lee went to visit the boy. The boy said, "Preacher, would you reach down in here and kiss me? I want the same lips that told me about Jesus to kiss me." Lee did it. Then, the boy died. Lee said, "Later on, I won that father to faith in Christ. That is reward enough for me. I don't have to wait for heaven to get rewards. I had it!" That story has stuck with me. Where do I look for my rewards? Do I find my rewards in the lives changed by the gospel of Christ? Lee did. I want to as well.

I love RG Lee for many reasons, and these are just a few. Lee preaches to us young preachers and older preachers from beyond the grave. He says keep loving Jesus. He says keep loving the Bible. He says keep loving the lost just like he did. He said he would do it until "those holy blessed pierced hands which opened up the gates of grace to me shall open up the gates to glory. And we shall see some faces long since lost. And best of all, see Jesus!"

(Quotes are taken from sermons: I love Jesus Because, Christ Above All, Pastors Faithfulness and Rewards, Quit Ye Like Men, and Things Unthinkable From the Viewpoint of the Cross)