Fifty years is a long time, yet the writer can still remember seeing this visitor from England and still remember his voice as he concluded a most memorable talk on the atonement and especially his concluding words, “Brothers and sisters, I have used no notes; I have just spoken what was in my heart”; and we were convinced.

What can we say about a brother who would be reluctant to have things like this said about him? Nevertheless when it came time to bring about a solution to a very vexing problem, he was the right man at the time.

He was not large of stature and his speech was quiet, yet he held your attention. He did not have the fieriness of a dynamic orator, but the message stayed with you. He was an obvious student and lover of God’s Word; and his humility was real and his love of his Lord was there for all to see.

That is why Brother John Carter was the man for his times, a man for the task of impressing his brothers and sisters with the simple solution to a problem that had vexed the brotherhood for many years. Tragically some people did not accept the straightforward reasons he advanced.

But I do not think that his work was a failure, as his teaching is left on record so that those who have eyes might still see.

This selfsame problem has vexed Christendom since the 2nd century and “Christians” still philosophise about the nature of Christ but solutions elude them, being complicated by the errors of a reincarnated deity.

I started reading the expositions of Brother Carter as I was given books in Sunday school for prizes, and whilst they were helpful I did not come to really appreciate their depths until I had to teach others. Then I understood what Brother Harry Tennant once said about Brother Carter: “he provided food for the feeders.’’

It was some few years after my baptism that I learnt that division existed between some Australian brethren. I learned that the cause was a dispute involving the nature of Adam at creation, the effects of transgression, and the work of Christ. Several brethren tried to explain it to me but I nodded my head but did not really understand.

When Brother Carter came to Australia I attended those memorable talks on the Atonement and it was as if scales fell from my eyes. After that it took a lot of hard lessons to fully see it in the simple terms of our dear, gently spoken brother. He was a man who understood the subject and used Scriptures to bring out its depths. Though the Atonement is a profound subject, he was able to reduce it to terms the “lambs” could understand.

As we listened to him we saw something that impressed us. It was his sincerity of purpose. It not only endeared him to us but we felt we could place trust in his teaching.

If he were alive today he would not want us to write down such an article as this. Truly we must be careful in our praise of one another but we do have Scriptural warrant: “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine” (1 Tim 5:17,18).

To refresh my memory I have just listened again to the address that Brother Carter gave on his return to the UK after his visit fifty years ago. I did not realize at the time what a tremendous workload that he undertook. He gave talks, met with committees, AB groups, as well as individual brethren who had stated objections to the BASF. He was pleased when he understood what they objected to, for he also objected to the views of some of the Australian brethren of the Central fellowship.

These dissenting brethren dogged the steps of our brother’s visit all over Australia and made life very difficult for him. Even though he refuted their teaching with Scripture in his quiet and dignified manner, he was unable to break through their hard hearts.

This should not be seen as a failure of his task. In fact, quite a number of honest hearts were persuaded and united with their once estranged brothers.

In summary, he was a man raised for the task of uniting the majority of Australian brethren. The sad fact that some did not accept his well reasoned teaching did not detract from the magnitude of the task done in his service to the Lord. The clarity of his teaching can be seen in these words: “… there was a declaration of a divine purpose, as a condition upon which our sins are forgiven. It was because, Son of God as he was, that the Lord’s body was a body belonging to the Adamic race, dying because of sin, Adam’s sin. There is the inheritance, there is the entail” (Unity Book, p54).