As one reads the early history of our Baptist forefathers, one of the continual similarities that is observed is their lack of formal education. How could men of such little academic accomplishment achieve so much? A case in point is the life of Samuel L. Straughan of Virginia, who was born in July of 1783.
His friends recognized the call of God upon his life, but it was not until March 20, 1806, that he was ordained. On that very day he received a unanimous call to the Wicomico Baptist Church, which was a small flock of perhaps two dozen people. Straughan, however, was soon to rank among the leading Baptist preachers in Virginia, for the church quickly increased to nearly three hundred members. The next year he was called also to pastor the Morattico Baptist Church. The spirit of revival invaded the congregations, and the man of God with little formal training was pastoring two prospering churches.
The secret of Straughan’s success seems to have been his insatiable love of the Word of God. He majored on the theme of the atonement of Christ, but his message was saturated with the Scriptures. He committed large portions of the Bible to memory, and so much of it did he quote in the pulpit, that it was not uncommon for hearers to count the passages in a single sermon, and they would often reach nearly a hundred. Pastor Straughan was mighty in the Scriptures and it is obvious that education can never replace the illumination of God’s Word!
David L. Cummins and E. Wayne Thompson, This Day in Baptist History