Church of Christ
Mission USA

The following article was first a report I did while at Memphis School of Preaching; then revised for a chapel sermon.  I have lost the report and therefore all the references, so this article comes from the sermon I preached on 10-30-87.  

Great Lessons: In view of my articles on the Holy Spirit notice that Samuel was coming out of error.  This is true of all the restoration preachers.  We should remember this when we read of some of them who held to the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  We should remember this when others would use them to try and convince us of the personal indwelling.  As you know (you who have read my former articles) I do not believe in the personal indwelling of the Holy Spirit and full well believe it came from the denominations as I have not seen it in the Bible.  However, I am open minded and do want the truth in all things, but in corresponding with some present day leaders of this movement I still see no Bible proof.  I desire with all of my heart to follow nothing but God, which we do by following His Word.  I trust that is your desire also. 

There are many good lessons in this brief report on Samuel Rogers.  Watch for the influence of parents; willingness to change when needed; dedication; desire of the people for truth; everlasting good that can be done by our influence even after we are gone.  See what else you can find.

Samuel Rogers

by Perry Sexton

The Lord did not choose Israel because they were great in number; the Lord said: "...for ye were the fewest of all people" (Deut. 7:7).  I did not choose to speak on Samuel Rogers because he was the most popular preacher of the restoration nor because he was the greatest, but because he is among the least known, yet he did much in the kingdom of the Lord and left good examples for all to follow.  Jesus said: "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free" (John 8:32).  Throughout the ages men have searched for truth.  Throughout the ages truth has been the common bond of God's people.  During the reformation there were those who tried to lead men to the Scriptures.  The restoration plea was to turn people back to the Bible only.  So it is today, the common bond of truth is what brings us here today.

The birth and early life: Samuel Rogers was born in Charlotte County of Virginia on November 6, 1789. His father, Ezekiel Rogers emigrated from England and settled in Virginia.  When Samuel was four years old his father moved the family to Central, KY just southwest of Danville.

Samuel's religious influence came early by his mother, Rebecca (Williamson) Rogers, a woman of strong mind and deep devotion to the Christian religion (at that time a Methodist) but later she came to the knowledge of the truth.  Before leaving Virginia she had Samuel christened by Bishop Asbury.

Through the years the mother taught the Bible to her children as best she knew how.  Later a Baptist preacher by the name of Music moved into the area and convinced her that immersion of adults in water was the only Christian baptism.  A Methodist minister afterwards moved into the area by the name of Parker, he was unable to convince her that sprinkling was baptism.  So it is seen that Samuel’s early influence in religion was that of Methodist and Baptist. 

In studying the restoration we need to keep in mind that they were coming out of darkness, they had not been taught the whole truth.  Many things that the restorers did we cannot approve of today.  Samuel, in looking back over his life saw many changes he had to make as he came into a fuller knowledge of the truth.

Samuel’s next religious influence came at the age of 23 when he married Elizabeth Irvin in 1812.  She was after the strictest sect of Presbyterianism, that is, until her family met Barton W. Stone during the 1801 meeting at Cane Ridge.  Stone was able to convince the Irvin family to renounce the Westminister Confession and follow the simple teachings of the Scripture.  Through the past influence of his mother, his devoted wife and the preaching of Stone and Reubon Dooley, Samuel obeyed the gospel as far as was known at that time.  Certainly there should be a hall of fame for women for the great influence they have had in the kingdom.

Samuel served in the war of 1812 during which time he became very indifferent toward the religious life being a new convert.  But soon after the war, due to the influence of his faithful wife and the exhortation of Reubon Dooley, Samuel once again took up the cross.

Beginning of his work.  In those days gospel preachers were very scarce so when Dooley would travel for months at a time preaching, Samuel and others would fill in for him.  On one occasion when Dooley returned and saw Samuel’s talents he questioned him closely and pronounced him as "one of God’s sent," as they then believed that one was called separate and apart from the Word.  Samuel insisted that he was not qualified, never having attended school but three months, and having no early advantages, he said he was just too ignorant.  But Dooley was able to persuade Samuel by saying: "The Lord's ways are not like our ways; nor his thoughts like ours; and that God had chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise...."  I am sure that the some 7,000 he baptized were glad he decided to preach the gospel, not to mention the good that was accomplished through the many preachers he converted, such as Ben Franklin.

Education: Although Samuel was only afforded three months of formal schooling, in which he learned to read and write, in his travels of preaching he carried books to study and came to use the choicest English, and well versed in logic and rhetoric.

Samuel’s work: In looking back on his work, Samuel said: "We thought of nothing short of counting all loss for Christ.  We did not look for salary, passage, or anything of this kind.  We went without purse or scrip, and often without our meals because we had nothing to buy it with: and had to swim rivers because we had no money to pay the ferrymen."  Today some preachers receive full time pay for full time work in the kingdom but are selling insurance and vacuum cleaners on the side for more money.  We need to be knocking on doors with souls in mind and not dollar bills.  Again Samuel said: "We were seeking souls, and not fortunes; we were endeavoring to consult the interest of the Redeemer’s kingdom, and not our own interest."  He further said: "We then delighted in the law of the Lord; now we delight in the eloquence of the preacher.  Then the chief object was to please God; now it is to please the multitude."  Which way is it for us today?

Such men indeed were truly dedicated to the cause of Christ: the great sacrifices made both financially and that of being apart from their families; the heartbreak of the husband, wife and children being separated for months at a time.  On one occasion Samuel was away for six months; normally his travels would take 2 to 4 months.

Samuel’s travels: His travels of preaching the gospel took him to several states:  Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and Ohio.  Keep in mind this was done on horseback or on foot.

Work at Clinton County Ohio.  During one of his trips while preaching at Clinton County Ohio, Samuel was so impressed with the people that he decided to move there.  The people were literally hungering and thirsting after the word.  At the close of this meeting many of the people were reluctant to leave, they were like sheep without a shepherd.

Upon returning to Kentucky and telling his wife of his decision to move, as usual she was behind him 100%.  She was ready to make the move; "counting all things but loss for Christ," as she said it.  Time after time she gave him such support.  Thank God for such women.

Samuel established the Antioch Church in Clinton County, one of the oldest in the state of Ohio.  Samuel continued his travels of preaching as he labored here for 27 years.

Afterwards Samuel moved to Indiana and worked for 5 years during which time he converted the Joseph Franklin family, simply by going through the New Testament studying with a honest and open mind, marking any Scriptures they disagreed on.  At the end of the study they found that they had marked none.  Four of Franklin's sons became gospel preachers, of which Ben Franklin became famous.

Later Samuel said of Ben: "...if I had done no more for my master than to be instrumental in giving to the world Benjamin Franklin, I would have no reason to be ashamed."

Samuel had two sons and a grandson that became preachers.  Notice the advice Samuel gave them: "Go on; never mind hardships, never mind adversity; these cannot keep you out of heaven."  How many parents would give this advice to their children today? How many even encourage their children to be preachers of righteousness?  I heard one young man preach; afterward I heard another ask him if he was going to be a preacher.  He turned up his nose and said: "I have better things to do."  Perhaps the parents had somewhat to do with this attitude.  There is no greater work on earth than to preach the gospel of Christ and to be true elders and workers in the kingdom.  Have we forgotten that the fields are yet white unto harvest?

During Samuels’s years of preaching he faced much opposition from the denominations; slanders; false accusers; threats of various kinds.  On one such occasion, in Samuel=s early days of preaching, Dunlavy and other leaders among the Shakers visited Samuel to try to win him over to the "silly teachings of their Ann Lee" as Samuel put it.  Two attempts were made by the main leaders of the Shakers to win him; Samuel stood courteously but firmly upon the word of truth, and came out of these trials stronger and more zealous than before.

Samuel indeed was very zealous in the Lord's vineyard; he was always busy in the work.  Samuel was the second preacher to carry across the Mississippi the doctrine that the Bible and the Bible alone is a sufficient rule of truth and practice.  Thomas McBride was the first.

At age 84 Samuel goes into Missouri one last time holding meetings a week and two weeks long saying: "farewell till we meet in a better land."

Samuel Rogers is hardly known today and perhaps in just a few short years will not be known.  But this is no surprise, for thousands are of such.  In Hebrews chapter 11 the writer points out that time would fail him to write of the multitude, the heroes of faith.  Think of those after the cross that have died for the cause, we do not even know most of their names, and so it is with many like Samuel Rogers, but God knows their name for He is the keeper of the "book of life."

His son John Rogers writes of him: "The concluding years of my beloved father were his happiest.  Being quite deaf and almost blind, he gave himself to meditations upon things divine.  His hope grew brighter every day....When informed that he had but a few moments to live, he was exceeding joyful; and turning his almost sightless eyes upward, he said: ‘Is it possible that the old pilgrim is so near his journeys end? 0, to think that in a few minutes I shall meet my Father, who has led me all the journey through; and Jesus, my blessed Saviour:  and that I shall so soon be with the soldiers of the cross who have gone before;’... and closing his own eyes, he slept the blessed sleep."  I hope and pray that I can meet brother Samuel Rogers in a better land.  ♥