Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, April 13, 2012

John Harper

A favorite sermon of mine from John MacArthur is one he gave in 1989 called Jesus' Passion for the Lost. It is a convicting plea for Christians to cultivate an evangelistic mind-set.

The concluding story John gives tells of Rev. John Harper, a pastor who was headed to Moody Church in Chicago on board the Titanic. According to his official entry at the Encyclopedia Titanica, he was traveling with his daughter Nina and a Miss Jessie Leitch to preach a series of revival services. (John's source says it was to be pastor of Moody Church, but I couldn't find a confirmation on that claim). Even in the midst of human disaster, he was thinking of eternity.

John Harper was called to pastor the Moody Church in the early 1900s. He went down with the Titanic. And W.B. Riley related the death of Harper. The story went like this, and I'm quoting from W.B. Riley:

"We have the history of John Harper's end, for survivors brought to harbor in safety told it to us. When the Titanic was struck by the iceberg that drove in her sides and sent the ship to the bottom, John Harper was leaning against the railing, pleading with a young man to come to Christ.

Four years after the Titanic went down, a young Scotsman rose in a meeting in Hamilton, Canada, and said, 'I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a piece of wood that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper of Glasgow on a piece of wreckage near me. He said to me, 'Man, are you saved?' 'No,' I said, 'I'm not.' He replied, 'Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you'll be saved.' And the waves bore him away, but strange to say, brought him back a little later, and again he said, 'Are you saved now?' 'No,' I said, 'I can't honestly say that I am.' He said again, 'Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.' And shortly after, he went down beneath the water. And there alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed, and I am John Harper's last convert.'"

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