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January 13, 2022

The Ordainment of Cecil Baker Egerton

Dr. Fred Fernando Brown

First Baptist Church

Knoxville, Tennessee

Sunday, December 30, 1951



                  At the direction of the church, a Council of Baptist Preachers met with Cecil Egerton this afternoon. I am going to ask the Clerk of our church, Mr. Russell Parrish, to read the report of that Council. Mr. Parrish:


The examination called for by action of the Church Conference of October 24, 1951, was convened by the Pastor on Sunday afternoon, December 30, 1951, in the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tennessee. After due and full examination of the candidate, Mr. Cecil Baker Egerton, the presbytery recommends that the church proceed with his Ordination.


Signed by:

Dr. Fred F. Brown, Pastor Emeritus

Rev. A.F. Mahan

Dr. Ramsey Pollard, Pastor Broadway Baptist Church

Dr. T.C. Wyatt

Dr. Henry J. Stokes, Jr. Pastor


                  Thank you Mr. Parrish. Is there a motion that this recommendation be received? Second. Those in favor please signify by saying “aye”. So ordered.

                  Now we come to the first speaker of the occasion, Dr. Ramsey Pollard, pastor of the Broadway Baptist Church of our City, who will bring charge to the church itself. Dr. Pollard.



                  Thank you, Dr. Stokes. It is a peculiar joy for me to be here at this occasion because of the long friendship with the Egerton family. Then always to rejoice with my friends at the First Baptist Church when a great spiritual victory has come into their hearts and lives. Certainly this church has a peculiar joy tonight. Not only is this an occasion that the candidate will look back upon with great love for many years, to come, but likewise this church is experiencing one of the greatest joys it can ever experience.

                  His father and mother and other members of this family have been loyal and devoted Christian workers here. Years ago, his grandfather was pastor of this church. So, therefore, this church has a peculiar joy and privilege tonight in ordaining this young man to the gospel ministry.

                  I would caution you, however, to remember that this is simply not a matter of joy, it’s a matter of terrific responsibility. I shall never forget that day, twenty-six years ago, when I was set apart to preach the unsearchable riches of Jesus Christ. I shall never forget that little building, it still stands there, in Tampa, Florida. That afternoon with Claude W. Duke and many other ministers of that vicinity came and put their hands upon my head and set me apart to preach the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

                  There are many churches, Cecil, I imagine, that you will have contact with in the years to come, but no church will ever take the place of this church in your life. I go back to Dallas, Texas to the church I grew up in, and OH, how I thank God for the memories of that church, how I thank God for the Sunday School teachers and for the Training Union Director, and for all the folks who had some part in my life there, and then you will never forget that first pastor. I was down in Tampa not long ago. I went out to that little white building, and I somehow felt that I was standing on sacred ground. I shall never forget that occasion. This church has a responsibility. Undergird this young man with your prayers, he will need them. Believe you me, it means something when a preacher is conscious of the fact that the people are praying for him. And as this young man continues in his preparation for the ministry, and as he will go wherever God leads him to go, I know of one thing that will undergird him and strengthen him as nothing else, and that is to have the consciousness in his heart that the people of the First Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tennessee, are bearing him yonder to the throne of God in their prayers. Keep on praying for him.

                  There are a lot of people who will pray for you Cecil; churches will pray for you; you will have people in your congregation wherever you go who will pray for you.

                  I well remember an old fellow in my church in Fort Worth, in my third church, he used to come back to the office and put his arms about me and hug me a little bit every Sunday morning, and he said, “Brother, I will be praying for you today.” Then the old fellow would sit over here and go sound to sleep all the while I was preaching, and after the services were over he would come by the door and shake hands with me and say, “Pastor, that was one of the finest sermons you ever preached.” Well, there are folks like that here, too; folks like that right herein the First Baptist Church, but I tell you, I thank God for people who pray, even if they do go to sleep sometimes.

                  Pray for him, pray for him; undergird this young man, undergird him with your prayers. I don’t know where God will take him to. It may be in some little humble church, it may be in some great church, it may be yonder on the foreign mission field, but wherever he goes, remember that you have stock in this young preacher, and wherever he goes he needs your prayers. Undergird him by praying for him, and undergird him by continuing in the marvelous fashion you have already set, giving the carry-on-the-commission program of Southern Baptists. Sustain these missionaries with your gifts. Undergird him by seeing to it that this church, great in its history and marvelous in its potentialities even yet, see to it that this church keeps in such a spiritual frame of mind through the years yet to come from the womb of time that other young men and other young women will hear and answer the call of God for special service. God bless you.



                        Cecil, it becomes my good pleasure and duty according to due and ancient form to deliver to you a charge. Ramsey has delivered to this church a marvelous charge, but there comes to you a charge, and I would simply remind you that from time immemorial God has always used his ministers in a marvelous way. There was a time in the dateless past when there was only one man on earth on whom God could count and that was his preacher of righteousness. And since the days of Noah, other men have followed and God has used them. Noah successful only in leading his own family to God but through the influence of the years to come other ministers have followed.

                  God looked down upon a wicked city, an ignorant city, and it seemed that city must be condemned, and God selected one man, not two, just one man. And he said, “Jonah, you go to Nineveh and preach unto that city, the kind of preaching that I did thee. Jonah had a hard time getting there, but when he arrived in the city he preached as God directed him and the whole city bowed in sackcloth and ashes, showing what God can do with just one man, and through the Old Testament and the New Testament, God wonderfully used his men.

                  In the fullness of time God wanted to introduce this son, his only begotten son, the redeemer of the world. Well, he could have done it any way he wanted to. He could have had some monarch of some ancient city usher him down the street, but instead God chose a country Baptist preacher to introduce his son to the world and stand by his side in the midst of the Jordan waves and bury him in the baptismal waters. And Jesus paid the greatest compliment to a preacher than he did to any other person. No greater man was ever born of woman than John. Jesus loved the preachers. He had a group to follow him and he charged them, many of them perhaps we would not have selected, but Jesus did, and they followed in the instructions that he had given them, and now I charge thee in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Cecil, to follow the examples of God’s great ministers found in the bible, and example of the great ministers since the days of the New Testament.

                  There are many of them. The name Egerton has been mentioned. That Honored Pastor of this church, your own grandfather; the sweet admonition that has been handed down to you, what a heritage it is. And the instruction that you had and still having from your own good father and mother, I charge thee to obey them. I charge tee to follow the instruction of the man under whose ministry you accepted the lord Jesus Christ, who is to bring your ordination sermon tonight.

                  And the instruction of this Ordaining Council and many other men who have and who will touch your life through the years to come. I charge you to follow. I charge thee to be a good minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Preach the word, comfort the people. Be ye ready at all times, instant in season and out of season. Then, I would charge thee to be a soul winner, have a deep and abiding conviction for the lost. You will find them everywhere.

                  Dr. Moore, the news came to him that he was going to be made a bishop, and I heard him say, the greatest honor that my church can bestow on me is to make me a bishop, but I’d rather not be a bishop if by becoming one I would lose my compassion for lost souls. Have a compassionate heart for those for whom Christ died, and for those whom Jesus has called you to deliver the message of redemption.

                  I charge you above all to follow the example of him, The Lord Jesus Christ who said, “as the Father has sent me, so send I You.”

                  God Bless you, Cecil.



                  As Pastor of First Baptist Church, it is my privilege to present to you, Cecil, this leather bound Bible. Its binding will in time become worn and bruised, its pages one day will be wrinkled and brittle, but its eternal message, the message of God, who made himself known to men in Jesus Christ, will ever be adequate in pointing the way to one who is the only Savior, and the one Lord of the redeemed.

                  As Baptists, we believe that the Bible is the revealed word of God, written by men with divine inspiration and under divine guidance. In fidelity to its message, your preaching should ever have its roots deep in those sources of truth which are wider than the measure of the mind of men.

                  From its inexhaustible contents may you constantly draw for your message of interpretation of the will of God for those who hear. And I would read to you one selection.  It’s found in the Book of Joshua. (Chapter 1, Verses 8 and 9)

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

                  And as the trowel is to the brickmason, and as the multiplication table and the compass are to the mariner, may this be the guide and source of inspiration in your ministry.

                  The preacher for the occasion is Dr. Fred F. Brown, Pastor Emeritus of this church. Dr. Brown.



                  As I thought of this significant occasion this afternoon, I found my mind running back across the thirty years that I have known you, and I tried to recall the names of those with whom I had been associated on similar occasions. I think this church, and the friends gathered here with them, would like to hear those names, and I read them, recognizing that there are some inaccuracies because there were no records before me as I tried to think these up together. J.C. Massey and Dick Houston, both of whom are deceased; William Hamilton, Vaughn Flenniken, Swan Haworth, Orin Bishop, Wallace Rogers, Jimmie Sharp, Spurgeon Paschall, William Parrott, Luallen Queener, Judson Jackson, Leonard Richardson (who is now past of a Presbyterian Church in Texas, don’t know just what happened to Leonard, but this church ordained him), Stephen Jackson, Leonard Pedigo, Billie Wallace and now Cecil Egerton, with Arthur Bruner in theological school, who has been licensed and not yet ordained. You will be interested to know that this group is scattered over eight of our southern states and one of them is in Brazil.

                  As we come to the ordination of Cecil Egerton, you can understand that my emotions are those of affection and pride, and of confidence, and I am reading just one verse of scripture, the 20th verse of the fifth chapter of Second Corinthians:

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

And before I read the text I ask you to spend some time with the word “Ambassador,” simply having in mind that this formal occasion right as it is, with the scriptural background, that with all the influences that have touched your life, in the home and in the church, yet back of them all you have been chosen by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. You go as an ambassador to represent him and his interest, wherever God’s spirit may lead you.

                  And now for you and for my own heart, and for my brother preachers here, I reread just this expression “in Christ’s stead” – “in Christ’s stead,” in His stead, in spirit and in character. In the beginning was the word, and the word was made flesh and dwelt among men. Truth must always be incarnated; character and spirit must wear flesh. We have a beautiful flower that we call the carnation because it is flesh colored, and the reincarnation of the spirit of Jesus is left to those of us who are his followers. And in a very definite way to those of us who are his ministers in his stead, in spirit, and I read that he looked upon the multitude and was moved with compassion, saw them in all they sin and suffering; all of thy defeats and failures; all of the triumphs and joys, people just like ourselves, men and women and children, and he was moved with compassion. I read of him that he lingered as he looked over the City of Jerusalem, and finally cried out, “Oh, Jersualem, Jerusalem, how often I looked down at thee as a hen gathereth her brood, the mother heart of God, reaching out through a blind sinful city.” I read of him that he stood by a grave and wept. His gentleness, his unselfishness, his spiritual insight, his moral courage – in his stead. Many masquerade as ministers of Christ, but if they display any sense of egotism, any attitude of selfishness or self-importance, they are contradicting everything that the expression “minister of Christ” means, and Jesus has a word for it – “hireling” – “hireling.”

                  For several years before his death, Dr. George Truett’s church asked some minister of the South to write a message in their church paper on the occasion of his anniversary. Dr. Truett’s impact upon the world is in all probability, or was greater than that of any Baptist of this generation. The year before. The year before a certain minister whom I know was to write that. The Editor of the Dallas News wrote in his paper editorially on Dr. Truett’s anniversary. He says, “We tried to discover the secret of his power. There is that magnificent physique; there is that marvelous poise; there is that wonderful voice, like the murmur of many waters or the notes of an organ; there is that personality that no man can define or analyze. But you haven’t found it until you remember that he embodies the spirit of Christ.” So when his son-in-law came to write his book, he wrote one chapter that this friend of mine wrote in that paper, “Man of God.” “Man of God, Man of God in his stead.”

                  We say re present him. Don’t slur it – we re present him. He was here and presented himself once. We present him again. We re present him – in his stead – in our ministry. I read of him that he went about doing good. I read of him that he said, “I am among you as one who serves.” I read of him that he said, “I came not to do mine own will but the will of Him who sent me;” and as you go to the golden pages of this book, wherever you see Him, you see a humble, modest divine servant.

                  I read of him, that Jesus, knowing that the Father had delivered all things into his hands, that He came from God and went to God; after he arose from supper, He laid aside his garments and took a towel and girded himself and began to wash the disciples feet. The Lor d of all Glory washing the dusty feet of some farmers and some bishops. His religion is the religion of a tower. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who being in the form of God thou it not robbery or a thing to be grasped after, to be on equality with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man, and being bound in fashion of the mind, he became obedient unto death, even the death upon the cross.

                  Wherefore the seven steps from the throne of God to a Roman Cross. Wherefor God also had highly exhaulted him and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

                  Speaking of being confined to my home for two weeks, and during that period I had been rereading the lives of the men who planted Christianity in the modern world, beginning with Carey, going on through Duff, and Livingston, and the Judsons and Morrisons and Yates, Albert Swietzer, men, many of whom when they passed out the Nations lowered their flags to half-mast and publicly said that their services had meant more to the world than every army that ever marched the field, or every king who ever wore a crown. Some things in common to all of them.

                  They were men of prayer, they were men of this book, they literally saturated their souls with this book. They were men of faith. As expressed by Robert Morrison, I believe it was, who, as he went out was asked by the Captain of the ship, “Mr. Morrison, do you really expect that you will be able to save some of the Chinese?” He said “Oh, no, sir, but I know that God will.”

                  I think of Carey there in his living room as he breathes his last, and young Duff, this brilliant young Scotch Presbyterian who loved him like a father, came into the room, and the scene is described of how they talked, and finally Dr. Carey said, “will you pray,” and in his prayer Duff just naturally called Dr. Carey’s name, Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey. The prayer finished, he started out when in his frail, feeble dying voice Carey called him back. He said, “Duff, just when I am gone don’t say anything about Dr. Carey – Dr. Carey. You talk about my Savior.” And that is what we are asked to do, in his stead, in our ministry. In his stead, in our message, that’s what he’s talking about definitely here. In his stead, in our messages. Jesus spoke upon the profoundest things that had engaged human thought. He talked about God and life and duty, and he talked about sin, about its ruin, and its reach and its cure. And Jesus talked in language that a child could understand. To him religion was light and life and love, and rarely ever do you find Jesus using a word of more than one syllable. But if your father and the other lawyers will excuse me, it is the lawyers in the New Testament who use the big words. They are the ones who talk about justification, the big words; but Jesus used words that a child could understand.

                  I found myself at an assembly two years ago, an assembly of preachers, some two hundred there speaking on the vocabulary of Jesus, and all at once I said, “Jesus was monosyllabic.” Well, somebody ought to have thrown a book at me. The idea of a preacher standing in a pulpit talking about Jesus being monosyllabic. And he found his illustrations for the most part in the background of their lives. He would look into the faces of farmers who had left their tools and their tasks and had gathered about him, and he’d say, “Why, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a sower that went forth to sow, and you can see their faces brighten and their shoulders straighten as they say, “Why he knows all about my life out there on the farm; the hardship of it, the monotony of it, and has gone there to find an illustration for Kingdom truth.” He would look into the faces of women who had come from their homes and he would say, “Why the Kingdom of Heaven is liken unto three measures of meal that a woman, and so forth.” And you can see a new light in their faces and in their eyes as they say, “Why he knows all about my life in the home and he knows about my kitchen, and has gone there to find an illustration for Kingdom of Truth.” All his words, not many of them left to us. Those that we have you could put into a little pamphlet and yet marred as they are by translators, they are like the bits of marble in the hands of Phidias, beautiful to look upon, and that live through the ages, and are the most significant words that this world has this evening.

                  And Jesus would talk about himself. Sometimes take time off and study the “I ams” of Jesus. I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the resurrection and somehow there is no reaction, that those are the words of their devotion; those great “I ams” on his lips fit like the atmosphere that was made for our lungs.

                  And sometimes he will talk about his cross. I see him when he is opening the door of the Kingdom to a man of prominence, and leadership and scholarship, and as they talk on and on, Jesus seems to bend closer to him and say, “As Moses was lifted up in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life;” and then gives him the reason for all of it; “for God so loved the world.”

                  I see him on another occasion when the Greeks came with their wistful yearning cry, “Sir, we would see Jesus.” And he seems to turn away from them and he puts one foot on Calvary’s slope and begins to move toward it, and as he goes he tells them now the principle of that cross is illustrated out there in nature. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except the corn of a wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.” As it dies the great forces of the universe of God come to see it.

                  The soil and the law of gravity , and the moon and the sun all gather about it as it does, and it stabs its way to the sunlight, first the grain and then the bloom; the one restored, the other laid, the stalk, the tassel, and again the gold of newly made grain. So life by death, the reaper passes away, shall rise again at last, which is the service of the sod to render God the things of God, and then having given this illustration he takes a step closer to the cross, and as he does, a shudder seems to pass over his soul, and from the depths of his soul, “Now is my soul troubled and what shall I say. Father, save me from this hour.” Shall I ask God if there is some other way, “But for this cause came I unto this hour. Father glorify thy name.” Then came there a voice from Heaven saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Then you have the voices, the mistaken interpretation of their voices, then you have the interpretation of Jesus, and “If I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me.” This he said signifying what death he should die. Jesus preaching the force of Christ that we are drawn to.

                  Were there time, I would say that there is a reason we are here this evening. Everything about Jesus is glorious, his life marching down the century. His lfe stands out like a great white mountain peak, but not because of his life are we here this evening. Miracles will stand before them in all, but the winds and the waves crouch at his feet like dogs at the speak of their master, but not his miracles. When we stand before the great, wonderous cross of Christ we are drawn to it.

                  Excuse me, I used to try to preach on the street, and it taught me a lot of things. It wasn’t easy, nothing in my training, experience, and bothersome at times. How can you hold a hurrying group on the street. Well, I learned this. Any time you talk about the cross there will be a hush of reference. I don’t care where it is, I don’t care who is talking. It may be some Salvation Army man that breaks the King’s English and violates the very conventionalities of which we associate this gentleman, but when he tells the story of the cross there will be a hush of reverence there. Jesus preached this cross.

                  The final word as this man who injected his ministry in yours and mine as being one in which we take his place in his stead, as he thought about it you will find in the general context here that a shudder passed over his soul and from the depths of despair he cried out, “Who is sufficient for these things?” Then the answer came, “Our sufficiency, our sufficiency, is of God, and so, and so, you have found him.” I am determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. At the intellectual set yonder at Athens, at the commercial set yonder at Corinth, at the center of philosophy yonder Ephesus, always where you are, always the one message of a crucified Christ.


“I know of lands that are sunk in shame,

         Where stout hearts faint and tired,

But I know a name, a name, a name

         That can set those lands on fire.

I know a life that is lost to God,

         Bound down by things on earth.

But I know a name, a name, a name

         That can bring that life new birth.

I know a soul that is soiled by sin

         Which no man’s heart can cure.

But I know a name, a name, a name

         That can make that soul all pure.

 There is none other name hidden under Heaven among men whereby we can be saved.


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