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 chapter 30 of With Christ After the Lost, written by Southwestern’s second president and namesake for both Scarborough College and the seminary’s Chair of Evangelism, L.R. Scarborough.[1]

A young woman in a college revival “held out against God,” resisting the pull of the Holy Spirit. She refused to give up her love of worldly pleasures. 

Her friends pled with her, using “every possible argument and persuasion.” But she remained stubborn and obstinate. She would not let go of her sin. 

In such instances, L.R. Scarborough says that evangelists must explain to “the pleasure-loving” individual the unavoidable choice between Christ and the world. He cites two biblical bases for this claim: 

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

During the last service of the revival, Scarborough, that night’s preacher, approached the young woman. 

“Mary, you love the pleasures of the world, […] don’t you?” She answered, “Yes.” 

“Do you love your mother?” Though abrupt, this question accomplished what Scarborough intended—it “brought back her mother to her, her love, her consecrated life and high teachings.” The young woman’s eyes filled with tears as she answered, “Yes, better than life.” 

“Now,” Scarborough said, “suppose you had to choose between your mother and [these worldly pleasures]. Which would you give up?” 

“As quick as thought, unhesitatingly,” the young woman affirmed that she would give up the latter, Scarborough recalls. “Now,” he said to her, “you must choose between Christ and this love of a worldly pleasure.” 

Scarborough held out his hand and said, “Which will you choose, Christ or sin?” 

The woman “saw it plainly,” Scarborough says, and “with a wholehearted surrender gave herself joyfully to Christ.” 

Having recounted this story years after the fact, Scarborough notes that, at the time of his writing, the woman was still following Christ and “finds more pleasure in His service and companionship than in the ‘tents of wickedness.’”

Scarborough concludes, “We should patiently lead the young back from the soiling pleasures of the world to the joys of Christ’s service.”

 

[1] L.R. Scarborough, “How to Win the Pleasure-Loving,” in With Christ After the Lost: A Search for Souls, rev. and exp. by E.D. Head (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1952), 199-202.