SAMUEL PORTER JONES
1847 - 1906
Sam Jones, a drunken ex-lawyer
and ex-schoolteacher who got converted at
the age of 24, went on to become the greatest
Methodist evangelist since the Wesleys, and
one of the greatest gospel preachers of all
Samuel Porter Jones was born
in 1847 in Oak Bowrey, Alabama; his family
moved to Cartersville, Georgia, when he was
nine. Showing promise as a young man, Jones
studied law after graduation and was admitted
to the Georgia bar in 1868. However, he began
to drink heavily and almost destroyed his
career and his marriage. When his father pled
with Sam on his deathbed to become a Christian.
Jones quit drinking and was converted.
He set out to preach the
unsearchable riches of Christ in 1872. And
what a preacher he became! God made but one
Sam Jones; no other American evangelist ever
used his methods or his language. Troubadour
to plain folks, he came out of the South with
a vernacular that startled audiences everywhere
and shocked them into salvation. He was called
"the South's greatest spokesman for God."
No man ever yawned under
his preaching. He had a devastating wit and
humor, a pet hate in liquor, and an undismayed
love for God and man. He blasted the hypocrite
mercilessly; he made the sinner--be he prince,
drunkard, or any careless Christian--see himself
as God sees him, and change his ways.
He often turned his homiletic
guns on church folk and even on preachers,
and they were better Christians for it. Blunt
and frank as Billy Sunday, he had the humility
of his small-town Georgia and the impact of
a consecrated cyclone; no town was ever the
same once he had passed through.
Will this earth ever hear
again the voice or throb of another like him?
When Sam Jones died of heart
failure on a train at Perry, Arkansas, October
15, 1906, America lost a prince among evangelists.