Monday, February 6, 2012

Doctor Walter L. Wilson (1881 - 1969)


Doctor Walter L. Wilson of Kansas City, Kansas had a deep love for the Holy Scriptures.  Throughout his life he became a medical doctor, businessman, salesman, preacher, and winner of souls for Jesus Christ. He was born on May 27, 1881 in Aurora, Indiana. He was raised by his grandmother for his mother died the year after his birth. The Kansas City physician became a Christian in December 21,1896 when he was fifteen years old. He began to have evangelistic street meetings when he was sixteen years old. 

Nine years would pass when he completed his medical schooling and established a medical practice in Webb City, Missouri. He was educated at the University Medical College and Northwestern Medical College in Chicago.

Dr. Wilson realized that it wasn't enough to heal the bodies of his patients. He wanted to be the conduit through which Jesus Christ could heal their souls.

He worked at his father's tent-making while he attended college pursuing a medical degree.

After graduating from college; he opened a medical practice and married Marion Baker in 1904 the same year he received his medical license. Marion was the daughter of the tent-maker who worked for his father. They proudly raised a family of eight children: Elizabeth, Walter Jr., Margaret, Marion, Norman, Martha, Nathaniel, and Catherine. Marion died on September 25, 1962. He affectionately called his wife “Sweetheart” throughout their 58 years of marriage.

He was compelled to work full time in the tent-making business and his medical practice due to his father-in-law's failing health. He continued to work in this manner for 25 years from 1904 to 1929. During the First World War, he devised a method of camouflaging and waterproofing tents which greatly assisted the war effort.

Buffalo Bill Cody was another important customer for whom he provided canvas.

He diligently studied the Bible and applied himself to do as God had commanded throughout the inspired Word of God. He was concerned that his life did not bear the spiritual fruit which he believed it should be evident. Others assured him “not to look for results, but only to be busy at seed sowing.”

He continued to press on as a fine doctor and lay preacher. A missionary from France visiting his home in 1913 challenged him with a question: 

“What is the Holy Spirit to you?”

Wilson answered the missionary: 

“He is one of the persons of the Godhead, a Teacher, a Guide; the third person of the Trinity.”
The missionary exclaimed:

“He is just as great...just as precious, just as needful, as the other two Persons of the Trinity. But still you have not answered my question, What is He to you?”

Wilson replied: 

“He is nothing to me... I have no contact with Him, no personal relationship, and could get along quite well without Him.”

The missionary replied: 

“It is because of this that your life is so fruitless even though your efforts are so great. If you will seek personally to know the Holy Spirit, He will transform your life.”

Throughout the next year, Wilson was haunted by the missionaries words. Wilson sincerely desired to bear the fruit of the Spirit but feared becoming a fanatic. He feared he would give Jesus an inferior place in his life by exalting the Holy Spirit. It was through a close Christian friend who explained to him from the Bible that it was only by the Holy Spirit that Christ could be known intimately to him.

He attended a medical convention where he found a tract which an office nurse slipped into his briefcase. It showed that while Jesus had a body, the Holy Spirit had none. Christians are his body. The Holy Spirit utilizes each Christian to touch the people in whom God brings into our lives.

Dr. James Gray who would become president of Moody Bible Institute spoke on the evening of January 14, 1914. Wilson heard Dr. Gray preach a sermon from Romans 12:1. 

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

Dr. Gray asked: “Have you noticed that this verse does not tell us to whom we should give our bodies? It is not the Lord Jesus...He has His own body. It is not God the Father...He remains upon His throne. Another has come to earth without a body...God give you the privilege and the indescribable honor or presenting your bodies to the Holy Spirit, to be His dwelling place on earth.”

Wilson declared that he said to the Holy Spirit: 

“My Lord, I have mistreated You all my Christian life.I have treated You like a servant...I shall do so no more. Just now I give You this body of mine; from my head to my feet. I give You my hands, my limbs, my eyes and lips, my brain; all that I am within and without, I hand over to You for You to live in it the life that You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed of cancer...It is Your body from this moment on. Help yourself to it. Thank You, my Lord, I believe You have accepted it, for in Romans twelve You said, “acceptable unto God.”

One the following morning, two women arrived at his office selling advertising as they had done one other previous occasions. He had never spoken to them about Christ before; but on this occasion he did. Both women put their trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Dr. Wilson began to believe and pray asking the Holy Spirit to take charge of his life. The following day he was urged to speak to a drug store attendant about Christ. After a moment of protest, he yielded to the unction of the Holy Spirit. Three people knelt and asked Christ into their lives after he spoke to them.

This became the beginning of the mighty way in which God began to utilize Dr. Walter L. Wilson. Eventually, he became the pastor of the interdenominational Central Bible Church of Kansas City, Kansas in 1920. He became the co-founder and first president of the Kansas City Bible College which is now Calvary Bible College. Furthermore, Dr. Wilson established the Flagstaff Indian Mission to the Navajos. Dr Wilson traveled to the British Isles, Europe and the Near East becoming a much sought after Bible conference speaker. He became the author of a series of books giving instruction and encouragement to others in the work of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

At 82 years of age, Dr. Wilson married Ruth Selders of Kansas the year after his first wife's death. She had been a member of the Central Bible Church for forty years and an alumna of the Kansas City Bible College. Walter and Ruth enjoyed six years together until his death in 1969.

He became the author of over twenty books. Among the writings which he authored are these works: Soul Winning Stories, Miracles in a Doctor's Life, The Romance of a Doctor's Visits, Strange Short Stories, The Doctor's Best Love Story, Let's Go Fishing with the Doctor, A Sure Remedy Prescribed by the Doctor, Remarkable New Stories Told by the Doctor, Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types, Just What the Doctor Ordered, and True Stories Told by the Doctor.

Although he was never ordained, he led many people whom God brought into his life to surrender their lives to Christ. His wit and homely stories were an asset to illustrate what it meant to be saved and how one can truly know one is reborn of God. Furthermore, he became a pioneer in Christian radio starting in 1924. He spoke of various medical themes as well as hardware and carpentry but always giving a clear plan of salvation.

Dr. Wilson wrote the following statement in “The Romance of a Doctor's Visits:”

“How often people make the mistake of believing the facts without applying them to their own hearts! To acknowledge the truth of the Gospel is not sufficient, it must be applied to the soul and accepted personally in order to have real value. The fact that Christ is a wonderful Savior is a blessed truth. Each one, however, must come to Him personally and accept Him as his own personal Lord and Savior (John 1:12). To believe that a doctor is able to prescribe the proper remedy is only to acknowledge the truth of the facts. To engage the doctor to handle your own case, and to take charge of you and your disease, brings the application of the facts to your own life. Do not miss heaven by missing the Savior.”


Dr. Walter L Wilson testified:

“With regard to my own experience with the Holy Spirit, I may say the transformation in my own life on January 14, 1914, was greater, much greater than the change that took place when I was saved December 21, 1896.”


2 comments:

Jeff Crayton said...

Wonderful Bio of Dr. Wilson, thank you. He was my Great Uncle, though he died when I was 4 and I never new him. I new and loved his wife, Ruth ('Aunt Ruthie'), who had a profound spiritual impact on my family.
Ruthie went to be with the Lord about 10 years ago. Living with alzheimers for many years, much of her deep knowledge of the Bible stayed with her nearly to the end.

Joshua Daku said...

Thank you for taking the time to share this! It was a blessing to me. I first heard his name mentioned by an evangelist. May God give us more men like this! Gal.2:20