Pablo Beeson was born on this day (April 4) in 1848 in a small village in Switzerland. His parents professed to believe the Word of God, but his father was a Protestant pastor. As a university student, preparing for the Presbyterian ministry, Pablo became an assistant to Frederic Godet, who wrote a commentary on the Book of John and other books still used today. Pablo helped Godet in his fight to disestablish the Presbyterian church from its state church position in Switzerland. When that failed, Beeson joined others in starting the “Free Church of Neuchatel,” but his fidelity to liberty of conscience surpassed that of his friends, and he found himself alone.
During the Franco-Prussian War, he was arrested and confined to a tiny dungeon, condemned to pay 100 francs for his public preaching of Christ and distribution of gospel tracts. While in prison with little more than his Bible to keep him company he came to understand the precepts of the Lord’s church. When he was released, he traveled to Lyons, France, where he met a Baptist missionary and was immersed. This step further separated him from his former relations. His father disinherited him, and his mother wrote to him, “You will be a wanderer in the world without friends, and will be called a Baptist!”
For the next six years Brother Beeson traveled extensively preaching Christ, and with a few converts established a small church. After several of those church members moved to Argentina, they wrote to their former pastor pleading with him to join them. He did. He became pastor of a faithful little flock in Esperanza, Argentina.
Argentina was a Catholic nation. The priests and government established a law that only Catholically “baptized” citizens could inherit their parent’s property. Beeson, who had become friends with the editors of a powerful newspaper, began a letter-writing campaign which eventually overthrew that unjust law. Following that Bro. Beeson attacked the law which said that only Catholic marriages were lawful and only priests could bury the dead. One by one, Beeson with the help of others, began to bring to Argentina some degree of religious liberty. On one occasion Pastor Beeson was being hunted by the police until the Governor told the constabulary, “Ye had better leave him alone. This affair is going to raise a great disturbance.” Some time later, Pablo Beeson moved to Buenos Aires, organizing a Baptist church, and there he built the first Baptist meeting house in the Republic of Argentina.
A man of God from Switzerland opened the door for missionaries from America, and over time, liberty to preach the gospel came to that Catholic South American country.