With Christ—Thomas Robert McCullagh
Thomas Robert McCullagh, well known and beloved evangelist, went to be with Christ on November 15th, 1968 after many years of fruitful ministry. He was born in Mucklagh Drum, Co. Monaghan, Ireland, in 1905, one of a family of seven children. His mother died when he was only seven, leaving him to be cared for by his father and oldest sister. After leaving school he joined the police force. One day a tea pedlar stopped him to ask, “Is your soul saved?” and “Are you a Christian?” When told “Of course I’m a Christian” the pedlar unceremoniously declared “You are on the road to hell and don’t know it.” Tom wished he had never seen the pedlar, for his words kept ringing in his ears, and he could get no rest, night or day. Something had to be done. A Gospel tent was pitched about six miles away and Tom attended the meetings there every night. Brn. Wm. Rogers, of Omagh, and George Alexander were the preachers. In six weeks the tent was taken down and Tom still had no peace. Soon the tent was erected again at another place nearby. Meetings continued for seven more weeks, making thirteen weeks in all. The last night came, and Tom had learned one thing —he was on the way to hell and now knew it, — and was in intense misery. In his bedroom he tried to pray, using the words of the so-called Lord’s Prayer. When he came to the words “Thy kingdom come,” said Tom in telling the story, “God shut my mouth and all I could say was “God, be merciful to me a sinner. I opened my Bible and read that beautiful verse, John 3:14: ‘As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…’ and for the first time in my life I saw that Christ was lifted up on the Cross for ME. I believed it and was saved at 9.30 p.m. on October 25th, 1923.” He was baptized in the Brooksboro River (after the ice had been broken) on February 4th, 1924.
Very early in his Christian life, Tom developed a keen desire to reach others with the good news of salvation. He had a brother in New York whom he longed to tell about his Saviour, so in 1924 he crossed the Atlantic to New York. In 1930 he moved on to Nebraska, where he obtained employment, worked by day and, with Roger Greer, preached in homes and schools in the evenings. God blessed his word and souls were won to Christ. In 1931, at the invitation of Bro. Chambers, he went to Denver and, with Brother John Walden, preached in schools and in the open air in various places in Colorado. Souls were saved and continue to this day. Later he began work on the Kansas prairies and in Arkansas, where Miss Florence King, of Sturgis, Michigan was serving the Lord. They became engaged and on Nov. 17th, 1934, were married in Sturgis. The happy couple returned to Arkansas. In 1936 the assembly now meeting at 73rd Street, New York City, commended our brother to full time service for the Lord. Soon they moved to Springfield, Mo., where, with Brother John Elliott, Tom served the Lord happily and saw encouraging results. In 1948, when he and Brother Leonard Lindsted had seen the Lord’s hand in blessing in Guthrie, Okla., Tom moved there to help establish the young Christians. After a year the assembly was formed in Guthrie. Tom and his family continued to live in Guthrie. Eventually he was stricken with the disease that terminated his earthly sojourn, but while any degree of strength was left him he continued to serve the Lord in every way possible to him, among other things continuing to prepare tapes for two radio programs.
Not only in the places already mentioned, but in many others in which he labored from time to time, there are many who cherish our brother’s memory, as the one who led them to Christ or helped them on in the heavenly way. He was a simple but forceful preacher of the Word, and the Day will declare the full results of his faithful ministry.
Many came from a considerable distance to the funeral, which was very well attended, and conducted by Brethren Lindsted, Elliott, Parmer, Vande Krol and Martindale. Attention was drawn to three thoughts in 2 Corinthians 5 to which Tom had often referred, and which were seen to be happily true of him. By grace he was “in Christ,” is now in glory “with Christ,” and for many years had been a faithful “ambassador for Christ.”
Surviving our brother are his wife, two daughters, two sons, five grandchildren, two brothers and three sisters. These will surely appreciate the prayers of the Lord’s people.