Published July 14, 2015
"Carl White's Legacy"
What would be your reaction if someone spoke to you verbally from beyond the grave? It would get your attention, wouldn't it?
Well, this isn't quite that. But what follows comes close. Rev. Carl White, father of long-time Gospel music record executive Chris White, passed on to Glory earlier this year at age 95. He had pastored full-time for more than 60 years. And at his funeral service, those in attendance were surprised to see and hear a message Rev. White had previously recorded specifically for the occasion. And you can clearly hear this pastor's heart in what he said.
As the writer of Hebrews said of Abel's record of faith, "through it he, being dead, still speaks" (Heb. 11:4). Rev. White still speaks. And I truly hope the spirit of Rev. White's message, transcribed below, is how we can each be remembered when our time comes.
"Good evening, folks.
"I realize that this is kind of an unusual service, but I wanted to say how I wanted to express my appreciation for you that have come tonight to pay your respect for me and my family. For this I'm eternally grateful. I want to thank you ministers who have chosen to come tonight as many of you worked with me over the years, we've had good services together and we've had several funeral services as this together. And we've had, I look back over our time and cherish it very much..
"I've been to Hillcrest [Church] roughly sixty years; I've enjoyed my ministry there. I've had one book called my textbook, and that's the Bible. I've had one basic message to preach and that is salvation by grace through faith. And in order for you to reach heaven and the glory that God has in store for you, you must understand the need of bring born again. I've preached this message over and over and I want to take this last opportunity tonight to invite anyone who might be here that's never accepted the Lord.
"So many people say, well, what is that?' It's simply this. In the book of Romans 10 it said if the word is nigh thee in thy mouth, even the word that we preach, that if thou will confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved. And that's how simple salvation is. And through the years I've preached salvation by grace through faith and Christian growth as my messages from one day to another.
"Now, some say, Oh, Carl finally died.' They're wrong. I've just changed environments. You say I'm dead when I'm in the presence of Jesus? He told a thief on the cross, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." The apostle Paul said, "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." And that's where I am. And you say I'm dead when I've entered into that eternal rest that God has for us. Hebrews 4:9 said there [remained] therefore a rest to the people of God and I've entered into that rest. It's a rest from a troubled mind. It's a rest from a sense of failures. It's a rest from periods of disappointment. It's a rest from the temptations and trials that we endure through life. So I've entered into that rest and I'm happily doing what the will of God has made for me to do. No more bodily suffering.
"Am I dead when there's no more suffering? Can you say I'm dead when I've been reunited with loved ones gone? No, I've just slipped from time into eternity. Did so through the door we call death. The Bible said eye hasn't seen, ear hasn't heard, neither entered the heart of man the things God prepared for those that love Him. But for us to get those and enjoy that, we have to step from time into eternity. And that's what I've done. From time, through the door we call death, into eternity where I can enjoy all of the good things that God has in store for us.
"I'd like to sum my life up as the Apostle Paul did. Not that I would put myself on his level, but it's true of every Christian. Paul said, "I've fought a good fight, I finished my course, I've kept the faith. Therefore there's a crown of righteousness laid up for me. But not for me only, but to all those that love [His appearing]. That includes me. And you, if you'll just accept the Lord.
"And so I want to close this service out tonight by the story that I heard of an old man who was down in the Mississippi River. He was fishing. A little boy came down and sat down and said, Do you mind if I sit down with you? I'd like to talk to you awhile.' They sat there all afternoon, and late in the afternoon, a riverboat came around the bend in the river and started blowing its horn. You know how loud those things sound. And the little boy jumped up and ran over to the bank. The old man said, Son, you don't think that big boat's gonna stop and pick a little boy like you up, do you?' To his surprise, it did. The boat pulled over, gangplank was lowered and a man said, Come on, son. It's time for you to go to your new home up the river.' That's just what death is. The other afternoon, the old ship of Zion came around the bend in the river of life. Captain Jesus saw me sitting over there on the bank, tired. Worn out. Weary. And He pulled over and let the gangplank of grace down. He said, Come home, Carl. It's time you come to your new home up the river. Your loved ones await you.'
"Therefore I can say to you tonight here, death means nothing more than, for a Christian, getting on the riverboat of life and going to your new home up the river. And I want to say to you, I appreciate again your being here tonight, and I want to say good night to all of you. And I'll see you in the morning. God bless you."
An online video of this message recorded by Carl White is available at https://vimeo.com/122781349
* See Hebrews 11:4
Note: The above, transcribed from the video, has been slightly edited for space and clarity. Used by permission.
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