By John M. Trokey
On the evening of December 21, the gentle spirit of the amiable Luther G. Roberts took its flight to the better world.
During the last two years, brother Roberts’ health rapidly declined (mainly because of Parkinson’s disease). He became conscience of his failing health in 1977 and saw it was -best to “retire” from full-time work with the North Freeport church, Freeport, Texas, which he did in September of 1977. From that time until his death, he lived with his beloved and devoted wife Christine in Refugio, Texas.
The last nine months or so were especially hard for him. It is difficult to describe the anguish and heartache he felt in not being able to communicate with those he loved. But, he faced the inevitable with great courage and confidence. And, oh how he loved and appreciated his beloved Christine. She was an ever-present help and joy at his side. No one has ever been blessed with a more loving and sacrificing wife.
Dean Bullock, long-time friend and co-worker, conducted the funeral December 24, 1979 in Refugio, Texas. He spoke of the life-long service brother Roberts rendered to the Lord and His church. Brother Bullock’s main topic was 2 Timothy 4:6-8, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” He related how well this correlated with the life and service of Luther G. Roberts.
Born near Wildersville, Henderson County, Tennessee, February 28, 1903, he was raised by godly parents, whose primary concern for their children was their education. Luther grew up on farms in Henderson County and attended such “country” schools as Cross Roads, Sandy, Long Sought, and Wildersville. In the fall of 1918, his family moved to Henderson, Chester County, Tennessee. Here he attended Freed-Hardeman College grade school part of 1918-19; and then from 1919 to 1923, he attended Freed-Hardeman College High School. In the fall of 1923, at the invitation of A.G. Freed, he entered David Lipscomb High School and graduated in the spring of 1924. After being out of school for some two years, he again entered Freed-Hardeman College in January of 1927 and finished Junior College work in the spring of 1928. Some of his teachers during this period were A.G. Freed, N.B. Hardeman, L.L. Brigance, W.H. Owen, E.H. Ijams, W.E. Morgan and M.S. Mason. He completed his work for his B.S. degree at West Texas State College, Canyon, Texas in 1930.
Luther did his first “local work” with the church in Canyon, Texas. From there he moved to Post, Stephenville, San Angelo and Amarillo, Texas. In the fall of 1943, he moved to Abilene where his first wife Anna served as Dean of Women, while he devoted his time wholly to meeting work. From Abilene he moved to Dallas then to Pampa, Texas. In February of 1948 he accepted the invitation to work with the church in Clovis, New Mexico, where he stayed four years, then, he moved to Corsicana, Borger, and again to Amarillo, Texas. From Amarillo he moved to Salem, Oregon where he preached for ten years and did some of his most satisfying and profitable work. Anna died at Salem in December of 1965. He married Christine Evans in 1967 and, in 1968, they moved to Tucumcari, New Mexico. From Tucumcari he moved to Freeport, Texas, where where he preached until he retired to live in Refugio, Texas, in September of 1977.
Ira A. Douthitt, under whose preaching Luther was persuaded to obey the gospel and by whose hands he was baptized, used to tell of Luther’s conversion and subsequent life as a gospel preacher to his audiences to emphasize what the value of one life can be for the cause of Christ. It would be impossible to conceive of the many people brother Roberts’ life has influenced for good. His direct preaching and his association with people have led thousands to know Christ and what it means to be a Christian and to reverence and obey Christ. This good influence is yet with us and will continue on and on.
Luther preached in half the states and Canada. He engaged in debates to uphold the banner of truth. He was editor of The Preceptor magazine from May 1955 through April 1956. He edited The Oracles from January 1961 through January 1963. The Oracles was dedicated to fight against institutionalism and liberalism, especially in the Northwestern states.
His preaching was characterized by clearness, forcefulness, and was always marked with emphasis on the scriptures. He spoke in a most pleasing manner with precise diction, good grammar and complete sentences. The greatest aspect of his preaching was his love for the truth and an uncompromising spirit.
Luther worked tirelessly in an effort to serve Christ in the things that would promote the kingdom of God upon the earth. His devotion to the cause of truth had been unquestioned. He stood with the truth when it was not popular to do so, especially at the time institutionalism became an issue.
We extend our sympathy to sister Roberts and his son John T. Roberts of Salem, Oregon. The exceeding great and precious promises of God are theirs; their husband and father rests from his labors and his works will follow after him.
Truly the life of Luther G. Roberts is a song to be remembered. The song is ended but the melody lingers on.
Truth Magazine XXIV: 5, p. 92
January 31, 1980