A LEGACY OF SOUL-WINNING: Carroll’s persuasive preaching leads his young wife to Christ
Editor’s Note: The following is part of an ongoing series examining the evangelism experiences of significant figures from Southwestern Seminary’s history. This story is taken from Dr. B.H. Carroll, The Colossus of Baptist History, a compilation of the observations of J.M. Carroll, brother of Southwestern founder B.H. Carroll, and others.
By all accounts, B.H. Carroll and his wife Ellen enjoyed an exceptionally happy marriage. But there was no moment as joyful as when her husband’s own preaching led Ellen Bell Carroll to accept Jesus as her Savior.
For two years after his ordination in 1866, Carroll taught school in Caldwell, Texas, during the week and preached on the weekends. He also taught a night school for soldiers returning from the Civil War. Both opportunities allowed him to sharpen his skills of persuasion.
Carroll had begun courting Ellen Bell during this time, and they were married in 1866. “It proved to be a God-made match,” J.M. Carroll writes. “They were both poor in this world’s goods, but God mightily blessed them as the years went by.”
B.H. Carroll’s mother, sister and brother lived with the couple in Caldwell. By then, Carroll was, by his brother’s account, a charismatic teacher. He had considered becoming a lawyer, but instead felt a calling to become a minister.
J.M. Carroll, who called his brother Harvey, recalls his skill as a preacher of the Word: “He seemed to be in a class all by himself. The pulpit was his throne, and he occupied it like a king.”
“During the time that we were with him, he held a great revival meeting of the church there,” his brother writes. One of the events of that revival touched J.M. Carroll deeply: the decision of Ellen Carroll to follow Christ after hearing her husband’s persuasive message of revival.
“She was led to God through his preaching,” J.M. Carroll writes. “I can shut my eyes now and see in my memory one of the happiest scenes ever imprinted there.”
Ellen Carroll had been under deep conviction for several days, he recalls. Suddenly, the Spirit of God consumed her heart, and she believed and called on the name of the Lord for salvation.
“The light had burst into her heart,” J.M. Carroll writes. “It shone out gloriously upon her face.
“She and Harvey were locked in each other’s arms, and the dear, sweet, ever-believing mother was trying to hug them both at once. Gracious scene.”
B.H. Carroll later baptized his wife, and his brother recalls that she proved herself a faithful Christian. “There were never many greater women,” he writes.