Birthdays on December 27
The man who developed the "Twelve Steps" for Alcoholics Anonymous, Samuel Shoemaker was born in Baltimore. He became an Episcopalian clergyman and writer.
Birth of Benajah Carroll, an unusual man, who before his conversion, was a vocal atheist. From the first day he learned to read he had been a devoted student, reading whatever good books were available on the frontier of Texas. He had an amazing memory and could recall at will material he had read even years before, even to the point of giving the page locations! Eventually he was able to read 300 pages a day without neglecting his regular responsibilities (even claiming to read two lines at a time, the forerunner of "speed reading." Even as an unbeliever he had read the Bible through several times, and few men dared debate with him. Benajah attended an old-fashioned camp meeting at which the preacher challenged his audience to "make a practical, experimental test" of Christianity and to give Jesus Christ a fair trial. When asked for those to come forward who were willing to make the test, Carroll went. His action amazed and delighted his Christian friends, but he was carefull to explain that he was not converted yet; he was simply acknowledging that he would give Christianity a fair hearing. As he rode home, he stopped in the woods, got down on his knees and "had it out with the Lord." The Lord won! Ordained in November 1866, Carroll was called to the First Baptist Church of Waco, Texas, where he carried on an exciting ministry for 28 years. In 1908, at age 64 he became president of Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary which he helped start. An Interpretation of the English Bible grew out of Carroll's own teaching and preaching ministry. When completed this work covered 17 volumes.