Recruits for World Conquests. By Lee Rutland Scarborough. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1914, reprint, Vol. 3 of Southwestern Library of Centennial Classics, Fort Worth TX, 2008. 145 pages. Hardcover, $100.00 for set.
In my few years on this earth, I have read thousands of books but Recruits for World Conquests surpasses them all as the most inspiring, evangelistic book I have ever read. This book is one of ten chosen as part of the Library of Centennial Classics of Southwestern Seminary. While the entire set comes at a great value, this one book is worth the price of the entire purchase.
Although the work is somewhat dated, this author has no critique to offer of the book but will provide a summary written with quotes from Scarborough in order to provide a taste of the book. This author sincerely desires that everyone would read this book.
L.R. Scarborough aptly titled this book since he wrote it in order to gather more recruits to win the world for Jesus Christ. He deterred wimps with a book appealing to the bravest of the brave. His sole purpose was to further the Kingdom of God throughout the world.
Scarborough began his work by pointing out the shortage of preachers for churches—a word we need for today as well. He blamed three institutions for this lack: the Christian home, the Christian school, and the churches. Concerning the home, Scarborough chided parents who lived as though their children belonged to them and not God. In some instances, parents find themselves opposing God by not encouraging a child to pursue the Lord’s work. His ultimate thrust for all three institutions was to emphasize the Gospel and encourage people to further the Kingdom. To that end, the second chapter offered advice on how to “call out the called.” Operating with the premise that while God calls people to Christian ministry, often earthly influences reinforce that call, Scarborough encouraged those who could to call out those whom God had already called.
In chapter three Scarborough encouraged every person to consider God’s call by stating, “in almost every church where the fires of evangelism burn at all and where God’s gospel truths have been faithfully preached, God is calling some young man to preach or some young woman to be a missionary” (32). He continued mentioning such things as the necessity of a call, the evidences of a call, and the excuses given to avoid a call. Scarborough challenged the called to respond and prepare for Gospel ministry.
In a chapter worthy for all preachers to read, Scarborough petitioned that those called by God live like it. He wrote, “If they are not consecrated they are not worth their salt. If they are pesky and pessimistic, if they are unspiritual and worldly in their habits they are not worth the rent of the parsonage in which they live” (56).
In addition to consecration, a preacher must master the main thing. Scarborough stated, “This leads me to say that the main thing in the Kingdom of God is the evangelistic spirit, the martial note and conquest tread. The winner must be an evangelistic builder and the builder must build evangelistically” (58).
As president of Southwestern Seminary, he encouraged evangelistic scholarship. “Paul is a living rebuke to the dry, spiritless intellectualism of much of our scholarship today. Paul was a scholar of the right sort. He had a compassionate scholarship. He knew Greek, Hebrew, philosophy, literature, history, and the profound things of all the schools of his day. . . . He preached the deepest doctrines with the hottest enthusiasm and in all of his sermon, whether teaching or evangelistic, ran the rich crimson fluid of the grace of God” (62).
In the next chapter, Scarborough addressed the importance of “The Preacher’s Compassion for the Lost” providing some ideas for obtaining evangelistic passion. As part of this compassion, the called “Stand in the Breach for the Lost” to which subject he moves next. He challenged the readers to have “Commanding Faith,” which is:
The kind of faith that takes an Abraham up out of a prosperous home-land and sends him adrift, looking for a promised land and makes him raise the sword of sacrifice over the dearest child of his heart in offering to God. It is the sort of faith that makes a Moses leave the royal courts of Egypt, and find more pleasure in the “afflictions of God’s people and the reproaches of Christ,” than in the pleasures of sin. It is the faith that makes dry land of the raging Red Sea and swollen Jordan, and topples down the granite walls of the Jerichoes (85–86).
In the final three chapters, Scarborough addressed what it takes to conquer the world for Christ. He encouraged the called to “Practice the Presence of God;” addressed “The Preacher and His Prayers;” and “The Preacher’s Power.” Scarborough stated of the pastor, “He needs power—power not his own, power from above. His power, like his salvation must come from God. He is to live in this world on the power from another world. It is as impossible for him to do the work committed to him in his own wisdom and strength as it is for him to make a Heaven or construct a hell” (105–06).
The concluding chapter, written by Charles T. Ball about Scarborough’s call to ministry, will bring a tear to the eye of sincere believers and challenge our spoiled, consumer driven culture to place our money where our faith is (or where it is supposed to be). Scarborough’s ailing mother, Martha, prayed for her son’s call early and often:
When the boy was three weeks old, he lay one day in his little crib, which had been moved out into the middle of the room away from the mother’s bed-side, because she would try to rock the cradle when she was too weak to do so . . . not being able to walk she crawled from her bed out to where the cradle had been placed, and steadying herself on her knees by the cradle with one hand, and holding both hands of her three-weeks-old boy in her other hand, poured out her soul to God that He would call this, her son, to preach the everlasting Gospel (113–14).
Martha continued to give, sacrificing money saved to build her a new house, to send young Lee Scarborough to get an education. After hearing Lee’s first sermon Martha asked her husband if he was happy they had used the money for the “house that was never built” to educate young Scarborough. He responded, “My dear, I did so much want to build you a home, but if the amount of money had been a hundred times what it was I would be satisfied and happy today if every dollar of it had gone into the preparation of our boy to preach the Gospel. . . . How thankful I am today that we made the sacrifice to equip our dear boy for the exalted work to which God has called him” (123).
I am confident that if L.R. Scarborough were to speak to us from heaven, he would urge us to a renewed emphasis on conquering the world for Jesus Christ and being good stewards of our time, talents, and possessions to further advance the Kingdom of God. It is my prayer that you will read this book and that God will send us more men like L.R. Scarborough.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary