Dr. Truett and Baylor Hospital
July 7th, 1963 @ 10:50 AM
DR. TRUETT AND BAYLOR HOSPITAL
Dr. W. A. Criswell
7-7-63 10:50 a.m.
I am glad to be unhurried in this hour. This is a great day for us. On the Sunday closest to the anniversary of the death of Dr. Truett, I always prepare a special address in memory and in honor of the greatest Baptist preacher we have ever produced, and in recognition of and in encouragement of some great denominational missionary, benevolent, educational enterprise into which he poured his life. I do that for two reasons. One, to keep alive among us the memory of our greatest preacher and pastor, who was God’s undershepherd of this congregation for forty and seven years. If ever a man deserved that tribute, that recognition, that memory, it is the illustrious and incomparable prince of preachers, George W. Truett. I do it for another reason: it gives his successor and your pastor an opportunity to speak concerning some of these great denominational enterprises. It needs to be done; it is right for the preacher to do it. For example, the Annuity Board of the Southern Baptist Convention was organized in this church. It is located, our neighbor, just across the street. And to speak of Dr. Truett and the Annuity Board is to present a facet of God’s work that is blessed and precious beyond compare. To speak of Dr. Truett and Baylor University down in Waco, that is now so blessed of the Lord in its branch and college in Houston, and of course, the ministry here in Dallas, to speak of Dr. Truett and Foreign Missions, Dr. Truett and This Great First Baptist Church, Dr. Truett and Evangelism; oh, and how many facets of the life of God’s people did he make shine and glisten and glow for God. Now today is the day of the anniversary of his death. He died nineteen years ago today; July 7, 1944. This is the nineteenth address I have delivered on Dr. Truett and some vital enterprise into which he poured his life. This is now the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of Baylor University Hospital. So with gladness and gratitude and personal delight, the pastor delivers this address on Dr. Truett and Baylor University Hospital.
As a passage from God’s Word, in nowise a text, least of all an exegesis, but just as a background of the Spirit of our Lord, one that we seek to inculcate among our people today, still ministering as our Savior ministered in this passage I read from the eighth chapter of the First Gospel:
And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, He saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.
And He touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
And when the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with demons: and He cast out the spirits with His word, and healed all that were sick:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
One of the most beautiful and moving of all of the passages in the Word of God: “And he healed all that were sick: that it might be fulfilled, that which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and He Himself, bare our sicknesses” [Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:4].
It’s no delight to God to see His people suffer. It is no gladness to heaven to see His children cut down. This is an oversowing of the evil one. God someday shall turn it to His glory. The disciplines of life and the sorrows and the sicknesses that waste us and bow us in the dust of the ground, these things God turns to His glory. But it wasn’t intended; it’s an interloper, it’s an intrusion. All of the sorrows and the tears and the heartaches of this life, God never intended it; it’s a curse because of sin. But lest we despair in our sorrows and in our infirmities, our Lord came to share them with us; and He bares them, just as though He Himself were afflicted as we are, weak as we are, infirm as we are, “Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” [Matthew 8:17].
Now, to begin; in the year beginning this century, in a home in Chicago, there lived a great financial magnate by the name of Philip Armour He was the head of the vast packing system that bears his name, Armour and Company. In that home there was born a little boy who was maimed, crippled. However wealthy or rich, whatever other delights and achievement, there was a sorrow in that home: the little boy, crippled. In those days, in Vienna, Austria, there was a professor of medicine by the name of Dr. Adolph Lorenz; and that man, Dr. Lorenz developed and perfected a technique of bloodless surgery, whereby he was able to heal crippled children. By manual manipulation and by fixation in plaster of Paris dressing, he was able to take a child with clubbed feet, or a child with a dislocated hip joint, or a child otherwise crippled, and make the child well and normal and whole again. Philip Armour heard of that matchless and unusually gifted physician, and he sent word and said, “If you will come to America and help me with our little boy, I will give you a fee of thirty thousand dollars, and otherwise minister in all ways that I can.”
Dr. Lorenz accepted that invitation to come to America. And it was as though the triumph of a king in its pageantry, in its moving pathos, when that famed physician came to America. The newspapers everywhere filled their pages with his presence. For one thing, it was an unheard of fee; thirty thousand dollars in those days was as a million now. And it was an unheard of thing what he had been able to do. He took that little child, and he restored the little thing to perfect normality and health and happiness again. Wherever he went, there the cripples congregated. I could not tell you the moving stories that even I have read, beside the things that actually happened in the triumphal course of Dr. Lorenz in America. I wish I had opportunity to recount some of them now; such a thing as a little child brought by a loving mother, who had not to pay, and when the little fellow was healed and the cast taken off, the mother asked the little boy, “What shall we give the great physician?” And the little boy had a little teddy bear that he played with, only thing the little child had; and he laid in the hands of Dr. Lorenz the little teddy bear, which the doctor kept as long as he lived, prominently on his desk. “Greatest fee,” he said he’d ever received. Just such things as that!
Well, in 1903, at the American Medical Association meeting in New Orleans, Dr. Charles M. Rosser, of the city of Dallas, attending that meeting, re-formed a close friendship with Dr. Lorenz, whom he had already known, and urged Dr. Lorenz to come to the city of Dallas, “For,” said Dr. Rosser, “I have started a little medical school in the city of Dallas, and I have a little hospital, The Good Samaritan Hospital, located at Gaston and College, which is now Hall.” And he said to Dr. Lorenz, “Would you come and visit us in the city of Dallas, and stay for as long as you will? And would you,” said Dr. Rosser, “would you let us say to the people, they may bring their cripples, and let us say to the physicians of the state of Texas, come and see this marvelous thing whereby the cripples are healed?” Dr. Lorenz accepted that invitation. He came to the city of Dallas. He stayed a week. And the cripples from all over the country—can you imagine that? Just like it was in the Bible. And the cripples from all over the country were brought to the great physician. And the doctors came from all over the state and looked to see the marvels wrought by that great medical professor.
Well, when it was over, they had in the city of Dallas a banquet of loving tribute and appreciation to Dr. Lorenz. In the providence of God, the last speaker of that banquet of tribute and appreciation, the last speaker was the young pastor, thirty-six years of age, the young pastor, been here six years, the young pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. And that eloquent young man, who brought an address that evening that simply overwhelmed the people who were there, he closed his address with these words: “With our magnificently growing city, with our young, though promising, medical school, with our splendidly equipped medical profession, I raise the question: is it not time to begin the erection of a great humanitarian hospital, one to which men of all creeds and those of none may come with equal confidence?” There’s a background for Dr. Truett’s saying those particular words just that way. It electrified the people. They stood and applauded.
And the next day, Dr. Truett received a telephone call from Colonel C. C. Slaughter. Wish I had time to speak of Colonel Slaughter. When people come into my office, many times I receive the greatest compliment of my life: right back of my chair on the window sill is a picture of Colonel Slaughter, it’s been there ever since I’ve been pastor of the church, and when I moved over there, I placed it there. And people will come in and ask me, “Who is that man? Is that your father?” Oh, I say, “I wish I could say so.” Oh, what a man. What a glorious man, the cattle baron of Texas, greatest cattleman the state ever produced. First white child born in the state, Colonel C. C. Slaughter, whose four girls, here when I came to be pastor of the church, meant so much to us in this ministry. One of his daughters gave us that beautiful building across the street, Mrs. Minnie Slaughter Veal. God bless the memory of Colonel Slaughter, who with his wealth helped build these great institutions in the state of Texas.
The next day, the next day Colonel Slaughter called the young pastor, George W. Truett, and said, “I heard your address last night; moved by the appeal. It is time for us to build that hospital!” And Colonel Slaughter offered fifty thousand dollars to begin the appeal for the great healing institution. Dr. Truett took it to the state. He took it to the executive board. He took it to the state mission office. He took it to the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He took it to the churches; he took it to the people. You see, there were no Baptist hospitals in the Southwest; there were only two that we’d ever begun. About 1888 there was one started in St. Louis, the Missouri Baptist Hospital. About 1901 there was one begun in Atlanta, Georgia. But in this great, vast, extensive Southwest, the idea was unknown and unthought of, much less realized. Dr. Truett took the idea of building a great Christian healing institution to the people.
Now if you’ve ever heard Dr. Truett plead for a cause, as I’ve heard him plead for Baylor University, plead for the foreign mission enterprise, there wasn’t anyone, ever, ever, that could lay the cause of a great institution on the souls and hearts of the people like that incomparable preacher. There was a response, immediately, and the Baptist Memorial Sanitarium came into existence; our first institution of healing in this vast, growing Southwest. They took over, bought Dr. Rosser’s little medical school out there. They bought Dr. Rosser’s little Good Samaritan Hospital out there. And it was not long until all of these things began to flourish under the dedicated minister, and under the incomparable and eloquent appeals of the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.
In 1920, the name was changed from The Baptist Memorial Sanitarium, to Baylor University Hospital, because for the medical college to receive an “A” rating, they had to have a university related hospital in which the interns and the teaching ministries could work. So the name was changed in 1920, and has continued thus until this day, except that now we have built around it a tremendous medical center that honors God in so many and glorious ways.
Now, when I came to Dallas in 1944, after the death of the great pastor, the first thing I was confronted with was an appeal on the part of Baylor University trustees, that the First Baptist Church in Dallas give $200,000 toward building a memorial building to Dr. Truett on the Baylor campus here in Dallas, the Truett Memorial Hospital. Well, you would have to know where I was fetched up. You’d have to know what it was to look upon a dollar as being bigger than a wagon wheel to realize what $200,000 sounded like. I could not imagine it. I could not conceive of it. But that was the first thing I met when I came to be pastor of this church. They were asking our church for $200,000! Now the church was far smaller then than it is now; didn’t have a budget then of but about $180,000 a year. Two hundred thousand dollars; well, I looked at the chairman of the deacons; he never flinched, $200,000. I looked at the other brethren; they never batted an eye, $200,000, “Why certainly, the First Baptist Church in Dallas will give the $200,000.” And we did it by the grace and help of the Lord God. And along with a multitude of other Christian people and worthy citizens, we gathered the money and built that glorious Truett Hospital building that now is so used of God to bless the hurts and for the healing of humanity.
Oh, that glorious healing institution! When I came to Dallas, in those days, I can never forget another thing about Baylor: they had a field hospital with the Fifth Army. They were with those soldier boys who hit the beaches at Anzio. They stayed throughout the entire battle with that Fifth Army; had a field hospital that’d take care of about nine hundred wounded men. And those volunteers in that field hospital were manned by our doctors and our nurses and our technicians, and our staff from Baylor University Hospital here in the city of Dallas. Oh, in those days, when we were fighting for liberty and for life, I felt in my soul an indescribable gratitude to our Lord for the worth, and merit, and virtue, and godliness, and dedication, and patriotism of our Baptist hospital here in the city of Dallas. And if the time were ever to arise again, when our beloved nation had its back to the wall, fighting for the liberties and the blessings and the Christian faith that God has bestowed upon us, you would find that institution true to the heritage they have received from these noble men of God who have gone on before and who gave it birth in the earth.
Now, may I speak of our hospital today? Oh, what things God hath done with His dedicated people and leaders at Baylor University Hospital. For one thing, it is a magnificent teaching institution. Dr. Truett, for example, said, “Never let it be said,” quoting Dr. Truett, “Never let it be said that Baylor Hospital has become just another boarding house for the sick. The science and knowledge of man must combine efforts with the Great Physician, to render the ultimate in service to God and mankind.” Not just a place where we can board those who are ill, but a place where the finest genius, the finest research of which men’s minds are capable of, to study, how can this man be healed, what is the answer, what is the answer to this devastating disease? When we have a funeral service for a child who’s been cut down with leukemia, I bow my head and say, “O Lord, we’re here at this service for comfort. Lord, help me to say words, and help me Lord not to break down and cry.” Well, God never has yet heard that prayer, not one time. When I stand, and some of you here, here the little boy four and a half years old, about a week ago, four and a half years old, in the home one of the most devout couples in our church, that sweet, sweet little boy, four and a half years old, lying there still and cold in death, leukemia taken away his little life. Oh, isn’t there somebody somewhere, some way that can find an answer to that dread killer? Is there not? Is there not? Well, out there at Baylor Hospital there are dedicated physicians working day and night, seeking an answer to that dread disease.
The international order association of hematology, the study of blood diseases, was organized out there at Baylor. The great American Association of Blood Banks was organized out there at Baylor. This system of community of shared hospitalization called the Blue Cross was organized out there at Baylor. The finest genius and dedicated wisdom of which man’s mind is capable of is poured into that institution out there at Baylor. You can take a wall as big as the front of this auditorium here, and place on it the multifaceted teaching, healing ministries of that great institution. There’s not a Baptist in the earth that could not stand up with pride and gratitude for our great hospital here in the city of Dallas.
Now, Boone Powell, our administrator, sent me some statistics; and they amaze me, they amaze me. It’s hard to believe that that little Good Samaritan Hospital of Dr. Rosser, under the guiding genius of Dr. Truett, and in the philanthropies of Colonel Slaughter, who before he died, by 1919 when he died, by that time, from 1903 to 1919, had given more than a half million dollars to the institution; and Mrs. Veal’s philanthropies continue forever in these trusts she has built in the Baptist Foundation. There are more than twenty million dollars invested now in that place; and not a penny of it from the federal government. Amen. God be praised. Not a penny of it from the federal government. It is our institution that we have encouraged our people and our friends and the citizenship of Dallas to build. Not a penny of tax money is in that institution. Last year more than thirty-five thousand patients were admitted. Last year more than, just about eight thousand, lack just ten, eight thousand babies born out there in that hospital. Tell you, when you look for the population explosion, why, don’t go to India, go to Baylor Hospital and just gaze. Out of all of the church related hospitals in the United States, Baylor is first in the number of patients admitted, and it is first in the number of babies that are born. Pretty soon we will receive out there the one millionth patient. Think of that. The one millionth patient received into the portals of that great institution. Takes about a million dollars a month to run it. Oh, there is so much, so much!
I want to speak of its religious ministries. One of the things I’m proud of, the three preachers that were on the board here when I came, Dr. Bassett of the Cliff Temple Baptist Church, Marshall Craig of the Gaston Avenue Church, and then I was added to the board upon the death of Dr. Truett, the three of us who were preachers on the board, we began to appeal for a chaplain, and began to appeal for a religious service in the hospital. And we never let up, just never let up, never let up. Didn’t have any money the board said. Well, doesn’t matter whether you got any money or not, just keep on pecking at it, just keep on mentioning it, just keep on pleading for it, just keep on, just keep on. That’s what we did every time we had a board meeting. Well, we say, “Now, just before we have the benediction, may we say, when we’re going to get us a chaplain in this hospital? Now before we dismiss, now just when are we going to do that?” Well, finally to get rid of us they hired a chaplain to come to Baylor, just to quieten down the scene. Ah, listen, Boone, there’s no reason for that hospital except as we minister the love, and grace, and forgiveness, and hope, and blessing of the Lord Jesus; otherwise, just let them all go to Parkland, let them all go to Parkland. There’s only one reason to be in the business, just one: that’s the love of God, the love of God. This is something of Jesus, this is a reflection of the spirit of our Lord. That’s why we have a hospital. Like we have the church, preaching the grace of Jesus; like we have a school teaching the Word of Jesus; as we have a hospital now, healing in the name of the blessed Lord Jesus—oh, it is an astonishing thing! Now just look, and then I’m through.
Last year they had 566 professions of faith in Baylor Hospital. Last year they had 2,427 daily religious services in that hospital. Think of that. See the Supreme Court says you can’t even read the Bible, you can’t pray, you can’t, oh I don’t know what all…when the federal government gets a hold of you and your institution, you don’t know anything of the beginning of the end of what may come. O God, let us have these institutions, and God help us to keep them alive and ours! Think of that, in that hospital out there, 2,427 services, daily religious services, in that hospital. It’s just astronomical! There were 73,490 bedside visits made by our chaplain and his staff. There were 509,718 pieces of religious literature, tracts and things of the Lord, placed in the hands of these who are ill. There was a Bible given to every little boy and girl born out there in the hospital. We had 7,990 births out there, and every one of them got a Bible. These are just some of the many ministries of that blessed institution.
Now I want to close and make an appeal. And may God bless the message with a harvest. This is God’s work, just as though I had preached an evangelistic sermon. Now I want to close.
There went out there to the hospital a man, a young fellow in the prime of his life, went out there to the hospital, a young fellow. He had his little suitcase; and when he was assigned the room, and the nurse there to help him prepare for the operation that lies ahead, why, when he opened his bag there’s a picture there. First thing the man did, he took out the picture and put it on the dresser. It was a picture of a dear and loving wife and three little children. Set that picture there, turned to the nurse and said, “Nurse, see, that’s my wife, and these are my three little children. Nurse, I’m counting on you to pull me through. Get me well. Keep me strong.” That is repeated a thousand times a thousand times. “Oh, pastor, so much depends upon me; I must get well. I must get well.” So I pray, “God make him well, raise him up.” I pray for the physician, “Lord, may his fingers be deft with the genius and the gift of God. Lord, bless the nurse and the technician and the ministries of healing that make this a great place for God. Lord, make him well, make him well.”
Usually I’ll make an appeal, and remember, when the Lord answers prayer and raises you up, give your life anew and again to the Lord. Many a man forgets it, many a man forgets it. Many a man will say to me, “Preacher, if God will raise me up, I’ll give Him my life.” God will raise him up; he doesn’t give his life to the Lord, he forgets it. Many a man does. Breaks your heart to see it. But there’s many a man and many a one of us here today who have been through those deep valleys, those experiences of darkness and wonder, and the Lord has lifted us up and raised us and sent us back; and we have remembered. God bless my life and my testimony and my word of witness, and God keep us in the will and work of our Lord till my last and latest breath. Has God done some gracious thing for you? Has He? Has He? Has God blessed you? Oh, man, what an opportunity the Lord gives us to share in His work and in His service, even now, even now.
We’ve gone beyond our time. While we sing our song, while we sing our song, while we make appeal, somebody you this day give your life to Christ [Romans 10:9-13]; come and stand by me down here at the front, “Here I am, preacher, and here I come.” A family you, putting your life with us in the fellowship of this dear and precious church, you come, you come. Or just one somebody you, while we sing our song, while we make our appeal, make it now, make it now, come now, while we stand and while we sing.