Laboring in the Ministry and the Military
by Rev. David T Myers
Not many of our pastors today have a calling in both the ministry and the military, but James Hall served in both callings during his life. Born August 22, 1744 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania to Scot-Irish parents James and Prudence Roddy Hall, they migrated to North Carolina via the Great Wagon Road. Settling among other Presbyterians near what is now Statesville, North Carolina, young James received a local education. Influenced by his many Scottish Presbyterian neighbors, the young man received a call to God’s service. But home duties, specifically having to take over home duties due to the bad health of his father, delayed that calling, as this oldest son became the “father provider” to the family until his brothers would come of age.
Later then in his life, he entered the College of New Jersey in Princeton, New Jersey where he studied theology under John Witherspoon, graduating in 1774. He even continued after graduation at the school under the same tutorship of this most famous theologian. Returning to North Carolina in the 1775 – 1776 period, James Hall began his life time ministry at Fourth Creek Presbyterian Church, after being licensed to preach by the Orange Presbytery.
In those days, one’s calling included being physically enabled to fight various enemies who would remove your influence. And so, shortly after his licensing to the Lord’s work, he and his congregation went to war against hostile Cherokee natives who were killing and threatening the life styles of these early Americans. Rev. Hall served as chaplain of the military unit, ministering to the spiritual needs of these frontier soldiers. After successfully removing the danger, James Hall returned to his spiritual charge and was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1778.
However peace was not soon to occur, for this was in the midst of the American Revolution. British forces under Lord Cornwallis moved into the area, ready to do battle against these upstart Scot-Irish immigrants. James Hall became the commander-chaplain to his congregation’s military wing. He fought at Cowans Ford, North Carolina, exacting many losses on the British troops before being forced to retreat.
After the Revolutionary war was over, Rev. Hall continued to minister the Word of God, overseeing a two-year spiritual revival in his charge. One hundred and forty people joined the congregations of his three charge calling.
Fourteen trips of missionary work in 1793 among the lower Mississippi valley extended the gospel to that area. James Hall died in 1826.
Words to Live By: James Hall was a Christian man and minister who believed a life in service to the Lord Jesus was not wasted work in life. Look to your own spiritual life, dear subscriber. How much are you accomplishing for your Lord and Savior where you are right now? Prayerfully meditate on that question, and resolve to work for Christ and His kingdom anew, via your family life, your church life, and your work life where God has placed you. Only one life will soon be past; only what is done for Christ will last.