J.N. Hall was ordained to the gospel ministry on this day in 1872. Hall had a keen mind and eloquent manner of speech, enabling him to be greatly used of the Lord. While editing different Baptist journals throughout his life, he preached an average of a sermon a day. Also when he was traveling, he was often asked to engage in debates – something which was popular at the time. He would face the Campbellites, the Methodists and whoever was bold enough to confront him.
An infidel club in western Kentucky had made great strides in their region, constantly challenging the local Christians and making life miserable for Baptist pastor, who was not well-equipped for debating. Realizing that by refusing to face his Satanic opponents, he was doing a disservice to Christ and his community, he gave the club a challenge – if they brought noted agnostic Robert Ingersoll to a debate, he would invite J.N. Hall. The leader of the infidels accepted. When Ingersoll declined to come, they obtained the services of the President of the Free Thought Association of America, a man named Putman. Hall, too, was invited, accepting the proposed date.
As the hour approached, the auditorium was full and city dignitaries were present, but Bro. Hall had not arrived. The Christians were in despair. Putman announced that Hall was afraid to face him. Then despite not having the advertized debate, since he had been paid he announced that would take the following two hours to destroy Christianity, and he began to preach his unbelief. As it happened, Bro. Hall was providentially delayed and arrived the next morning. He asked the leaders from both sides of the issue if it would be acceptable for him to speak that night. Permission was granted.
Hall then privately met with Putman and asked for the main points of his message, then he went to his room for prayer. At 7:00 pm. Bro. Hall used the same pulpit, speaking for two hours, totally decimating the message from the night before. At the conclusion of the meeting Putman declared he had a pressing meeting in New York and could not stay to answer his opponent.
Brother Hall, then took the opportunity to retake the pulpit to preach the gospel of Christ. His closing point was “What Think Ye of Christ?” At the conclusion he invited his hearers, including the infidels and heretics, to repent before God and to trust Christ. Forty-two people were born again that night. The backbone of atheism was broken that night, and a revival of truth swept through the region.