Born in 1916, Batsell Barrett Baxter received much of his education during the Great Depression. Educated at David Lipscomb College and Abilene Christian, he received his doctorate at the University of Southern California in public speaking. Education in Christian schools and graduate education in speech led him to both preaching and teaching, first at Pepperdine College and in 1945, long-term at Lipscomb.
Preaching was Baxter's life. He preached for the Hillsboro church, Nashville, from 1951 until his death in 1985, and became one of the best-known preachers among churches of Christ. Equally important, he was a regular on college lectureships. When area-wide meetings became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, Baxter preached in a number of them.
In 1959, the Highland church, Abilene, Texas, appointed Baxter speaker on the Herald of Truth nationwide television program. Dan Harless, co-worker at Hillsboro, said of Baxter: "He has in his voice the quality of quiet urgency which I think is unsurpassed in the ministry today." More than 150 television stations carried Baxter's message.
Brother Baxter was one of the greatest preachers I have ever heard. I was privileged to hear him often during the time I lived in Nashville. It had been the practice of the Hillsboro church to make available to their membership mimeographed copies of the sermons presented at their church, and I had kept a couple of dozen of these over the years. Then a few months ago I asked for and eventually received copies of all they had that were delivered by brother Baxter. Combined with my own copies, I then had a total of 290 of his written sermons. Since these were all old mimeographed copies (or copies of copies) of poor quality, I could not scan them into readable graphic form without using high resolution, which resulted in excessively large file sizes. And so I had to use an OCR program to convert them to word-processing documents. Then for several weeks I corrected the tens of thousands of errors caused by the poor originals. After correcting them as best I could I sent the Hillsboro church copies of them all, in both Word document and pdf form. It is my understanding that they plan to post them on their Web site at www.hillsboro.org.
Although brother Baxter was a brilliant man whom I have the greatest admiration for, I must admit that as I read through the three-quarters of a million words of those sermons, I found myself disagreeing with a few things that he said. Few of those things, however, dealt with anything of doctrinal significance. Most of what I disagree with in some of those sermons deals with matters of judgment and opinion. The great bulk of what brother Baxter said there is rich with information that is, to borrow Paul's words, "useful for instruction, for reproof, for correction, for discipline in righteousness" (2Timothy 3:16). It is my hope and prayer that these results of his labor will continue to bear much fruit for the Cause of Christ.
You can find more of his work at other Web sites by doing a simple search on any Internet search engine.