Walter L. Wilson Converted
Church History Timeline… 1801-1900
In his book, The Romance of a Doctor’s Visits, Walter L. Wilson wrote, “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 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!”
On this day, December 21, 1896, when he was fifteen years old, Walter himself had converted to Christ. The next year, when he was sixteen, he began holding evangelistic street meetings.
Nine years later, having completed medical school, he set up practice as a doctor in Webb City, Missouri. But he recognized that it is not enough to heal the body. Many of his patients also needed healing of soul. And so he told people about Christ.
However, something was lacking in his witness. He did not have victory over himself or sin. A missionary asked him one day, “What is the Holy Spirit to you?”
“He is one of the persons of the Godhead,” answered Walter promptly.
“But what is the Holy Spirit to you personally?” asked the missionary.
Walter sadly confessed, “He is nothing to me. I have no contact with Him, no powerful relationship with Him, and could get along very well without Him.”
At a medical convention, he read a tract that one of his office nurses slipped into his briefcase. It pointed out that while Jesus had a body, the Holy Spirit had none. Christians are his body. He touches no one except through us. Dr. Walter Wilson believed. He prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to take charge of each part of his body. The very next morning, he sensed the Lord urging him to tell a drug store attendant about Christ. After a moment’s protest, he obeyed. Three people knelt and asked Christ into their lives on the spot.
Although never ordained, Walter led many to put their trust in Jesus, winning his audience with wit and homely stories that illustrated what it meant to be saved and how to know one was truly a reborn child of God. The busy doctor went on to found Central Bible Hall (later renamed Central Bible Church) in Kansas City and Kansas City Bible College (which became Calvary Bible College). He authored over twenty books, reared a large family and pioneered Christian radio.
Some men are able to master almost anything they touch; Wilson was one of them. When his father became ill, Wilson took over his dad’s tent-making business and developed camouflaging and waterproofing for tents used by the army in World War I. That is the kind of man Walter was–always useful to his fellowmen.
Dan Graves, MSL
- Dunlap, Reg. “Dynamic Spirit-Filled Living.” Sample Sermons. http://www.rfdministries.net/Sample_Sermons.html
- Gangel, Kenneth O. Walter L. Wilson; the beloved physician. Chicago: Moody Press, 1970.
- Moore, Waylon B. “The Most Important Verse in the Bible.” http://www.mentoring-disciples.org/theverse.html
- Ramsey, Wade K., grandson of Wlater L. Wilson. E-Mail (Feb 3, 2006). Corrections to story.
- “Walter Lewis Wilson.” The Christian Hall of Fame. http://www.cantonbaptist.org/halloffame/wilson.htm
- Wilson, Walter Lewis. The Romance of a Doctor’s Visits. Chicago: Moody Press, 1935.
- Various internet articles.
Last updated June, 2007