Curtis Porter As I Knew Him
For no less than 35 years I have been closely associated with W. Curtis Porter. I considered him as one of my very best and most intimate friends. He has been in my home a number of times. I have moderated for hint in several debates, and have heard him preach the gospel many times, and I have kept up with his writings almost from the time he began writing.
As A Gospel Preacher
Curtis was not a great orator — he never claimed to be. But he had no trouble expressing himself. In the first place, he studied that Book, the Bible, until he knew what to say and then he said it without any fear or shame so far as men are concerned. He knew the truth as well as any man; he loved it; he lived it; he preached it; he wrote it as few men do. He knew well that this restless, shaky, uneasy world needs the pure, unadulterated gospel of Christ to effect a cure for its ills. Nothing else would do it. He gave his life for the truth of God and was happy in doing so. In spite of his physical sufferings he seemed to be one of the happiest men I have ever known — happy, of course, in what he was doing for the Cause he loved more than anything else in this world.
He never tried to do the work of the elders, the deacons nor the church, but he did try to "do the work of an evangelist," and of an individual Christian. He had the highest regard for Paul's instructions to gospel preachers, and he honored and respected them by humbly obeying them.
His Behavior In Debates And Elsewhere
In his many debates Curtis Porter was never concerned with defending what the church of Christ teaches, but he was seriously concerned in teaching the truth as revealed in God's word. He knew as well as any man that it would be impossible to defend what everybody in the church of Christ teaches. He also knew to his sorrow that some of his own dear brethren became the victims of false teachers who "crept in unawares," "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ." This, no doubt, grieved him more than any other one thing. Just a few years ago most of those same brethren knew, believed, and loved the truth and stood by him loyally as he fought for it, but now — now, many of them sneer at the same truth they once fought for. Of course this grieved Curtis Porter as it has many of us who still believe the truth. But in spite of all this his faith never waned in the least, but it did grow stronger in the Lord and His word. While he was one of the best and most successful debaters he never seemed to realize it, nor did he ever try to make it a personal victory. He was a humble and God-fearing man in the pulpit and elsewhere. In fact, a few brethren felt that he was not proud enough of his ability as a debater, preacher and writer, but Curtis Porter was the type of man who tried to keep himself behind the Cross of Christ and keep Christ and His word in the fore ground. He never sought the glory, honor and praise of men; he rather resented it.
He saw modernism rise up and make its inroads in the church, but not without a fight. No sooner had it shown its evil head than Porter was there with the sword of the Spirit ready for battle. He hated and detested modernism because of its evil effects, but he did not hate the promoters thereof. I have no desire to leave the impression that Curtis Porter was a perfect man. I know better and you do too, but I can say he will be hard to replace.
I have never seen Curtis angry, but I have, in debates. seen him present the truth with so much force, power and simplicity that his opponent would come to his feet fighting the air, while right before his face was the crushing smile of Curtis Porter — no, not a smile of contempt or scorn, but a smile of sympathy and understanding. In fact, I saw him smile one man to shame. He was indeed a great and good man, but the greatest thing about it — he didn't know it.
Yes, I have lost one of my best friends. But the Cause of Christ has also lost one of its best friends and one of its most able defenders. This man of God will be sorely missed. May God give us a legion of such men — :nen with the knowledge of the truth, men who believe the truth, men who will fight for the truth as did he, men who love the truth and the souls of men so much that they are willing to place themselves on the altar of sacrifice for the greatest Cause this world has ever known.