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Whose faith follow: Robert Scott (1909-1979)

Taken from "They Finished Their Course".

Robert Scott came from a family that has provided assemblies with four generations of preachers. First, his maternal grandfather, Hugh Delaney, was an evangelist, after whom his brother Hugh was called. His father, Alex Scott, was one of three brothers who were well known amongst assemblies; his Uncle Robert was an evangelist and a masterly expositor of the Scriptures; while his Uncle Walter was known for his unusual sayings. His father was an able minister of the Word, as was his brother Hugh. His son, Alex, followed them in the next generation.

Robert’s father was a mine manager and Robert was born in Carluke, Lanarkshire. He was saved in Shotts while still a boy, being pointed to the Saviour by Miles Rhines, a converted criminal and drunkard. Robert was baptised when he was seventeen and received into Shotts assembly. Early on he was established as a young preacher, with a special leaning towards the prophetic word, and as early as nineteen years of age he gave, at a small Lanarkshire assembly, a series of addresses on the dispensations.

He commenced work as a miner but left this about the time of his marriage when he set up home in Glasgow where he and his wife were in fellowship in the assembly that met at Porch Hall. His wife was a faithful marriage partner, never hindering him in the Lord’s service, while she took the lion’s share of bringing up the children. At that time he was employed as a traveller with a boot-making company. With the coming of the Second World War Robert had to take up work of national importance and returned to being a coal miner. For a time after the war he took up window cleaning before obtaining work as a furniture salesman.

Robert Scott was one of the most able Bible expositors of his generation. Outwith Scotland he visited Ireland and England and made one trip to Canada. He had a photographic memory and did not need notes. He generally liked to stand with just a small Bible in his hand as the Word of God flowed from his lips. His method was to work down a passage, which he did in masterly fashion, holding the attention of his listeners as few others could have done using the same method. He was a rapid speaker and packed a great deal into few words. An excellent illustration of this was his concise phrase, "The qualification for glorification is justification". One friend commented that "He was the master of the terse statement: he seldom wasted words, and his insight into difficult sections, combined with his profound knowledge of the wider scope of Scripture revealed a deep knowledge of the Word of God".

He was never happier than when giving consecutive Bible teaching in series of meetings to assemblies large and small. He remarked at one New Year meeting that he had addressed an average of four meetings per week during the year that had gone, in addition to his daily employment. For nearly thirty-five years he gave an annual series of Bible addresses at the Coatdyke assembly for four or five consecutive Wednesdays. He was known to address three New Year conferences on one day, travelling between them by public transport. So full was he of the Word of God that it was not unusual for him to be called at short notice of a few hours to deputise for someone who was unable to fulfil an engagement, even if the prescribed subject would normally have required considerable preparation.

He was very busy in the Lord’s service and would have been busier and more widely travelled if he had given all his time to it as many urged him to do. He never took that step and combined a life of busy service with secular employment.

Robert’s last eighteen years were spent in the Maddiston area. In 1970 he suffered a mild stroke, as a result of which his public service was increasingly restricted. He was an overseer in the Maddiston assembly and proved to be as much at home in visitation as he was on the platform. His fireside meditations were impressive and memorable for the housebound.

His final year was one of painful illness, but a Christian doctor who attended him commented, "Mr Scott taught me much in his life, but in his death he taught me how a Christian should die".


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