When the Bible discusses the death of Abel it uses the phrase, “He being dead still speaks” (Heb. 11:4). Those righteous ones who have departed leave behind many treasures, and through them they speak to us. Perhaps no one in my lifetime has had the impact of Marshall Keeble. His parents had been slaves, and our dear brother grew up in deep poverty and with limited formal education. Through his preaching over 40,000 were baptized into Christ, and “Keeble stories” abound of his life and unique way of presenting the gospel.
A recent issue of Gospel Advocate has an article about him written by Amanzo Jones. I grew up hearing this dear brother, and my life has been enriched by hearing the many details of his life. This article relates a story I had never heard. Let me share it with you so you can see the power of truth.
Brother Keeble was once scheduled to conduct a meeting in a community where large crowds were expected, but the only building large enough to accommodate them was a large denominational church. Our brother sought permission to use the building. However, when the pastor agreed to the use of the building he gave one stipulation. Brother Keeble was not allowed to mention baptism. Everyone was so amazed that this great man would agree to this, and no one could believe that Marshall Keeble was going to do something he had never done—preach the gospel without mentioning baptism.
When the meeting began, the house was packed, and everyone waited to see what would happen, including the pastor who sat on the front pew. Our brother took his text from Acts 2:38 and said, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and do that thing that your pastor told me not to tell you, everyone one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall received the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Every time our brother quoted other scriptures about baptism, and there were many of them, he substituted the phrase used above (or a similar one) for the word baptism. Finally the pastor said, “Go on and tell them, Pastor Keeble. Go on and tell them.” When the revival ended large numbers had been baptized including the pastor and many of his church.
Brother Keeble died forty-three years ago, yet he still speaks to us. His down-to-earth presentation of truth has never been equaled. He lives in the heart of those who heard him.
When you are gone, people will tell stories about you. Think about this!