Roger Rusk was born in Atlanta, Georgia into a Christian home in 1906. He first joined the church under the preaching of Evangelist Billy Sunday around World War I.
He grew up in a middle income neighborhood as an average teenager. His mother was a school teacher and taught him to read and write before he went to school. He left school at the end of the sixth grade to work in industry. He entered school again in the seventh grade and then attended Atlanta Tech High School. He graduated from a four year program in just three years. It was at this time that he started reading material that created doubt concerning his Christian faith. Upon graduation he went to work at Western Electric Company. He started living an undisciplined life and made things miserable for his family.
He then attended an institute run by the Presbyterian Board of Missions located in North Georgia. While there he earned additional credits in preparation for college. One night while returning from a basketball game a group of students started singing the song “I’m Praying For You.” This song reminded him that his mother was praying for him, but he didn’t realize that others were also praying for him. He arrived at his dormitory in a state of emotional upheaval that he didn’t understand. He looked up Ed Ross, an advisor to the boys and asked him to go with him out in the woods to pray for him. Ed Ross prayed and was in a great agony of spirit for him. Roger had a million questions in his mind, but soon realized that his own agony of soul was a personal conflict with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He finally gave in and began to cry. He cried for a great long while. He completely surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ with no resistance left. A great peace came over him. In his own words, Roger Rusk recalls his Christian conversion experience as follows:
“Then I saw Him. Jesus appeared to me standing with an overwhelming view of His love, patience and compassion. He was just standing there. I couldn’t see His face or where His feet touched the ground. His presence was so overwhelming, I just couldn’t resist. After a while the vision passed. I found myself lying on the ground with the dirt and leaves from the forest floor in my mouth. He literally knocked me down and made me eat dirt that night. How long I lay there, I don’t know. I had this unusual experience of coming back into my body after this ecstatic experience with the Lord. After lying there so peaceful for so long, I got up and shook myself off. I then returned to the boys dormitory.”
The boys in the room woke up and Roger shared the good news of his new found salvation. All 25-30 boys were awaked. They all gathered in a meeting room and had a prayer meeting rejoicing over Roger’s experience. Soon the whole school was aware of what had happened. Everyone rejoiced and sang songs at the breakfast table the next morning over the good news of Roger’s conversion to Christ. Soon a preacher was called in and a week of meetings were held for more rejoicing over the fact that “Roger Rusk had become a Christian. ” He had a new found life in Christ. There were also physical consequences such as his hair turning from red and kinky to straight and black; a mole on his lip disappeared and his eyes improved so that he did not require eyeglasses for the next 15 years. Roger recalled; “The Lord Jesus marked my body so that I would never forget what He did for me. This was the crowning experience of my life to meet the Lord Jesus the way I did.”
Roger Rusk went on to become a public school teacher for thirteen years. He then became a professor of physics at the University of Tennessee for twenty eight years, where he held the distinguished position of Emeritus Professor of Physics. He was also a member of many professional associations such as the American Physical Society and the Tennessee Academy of Science. In his commitment to his Lord and Savior, he was a life-long student of the Holy Scriptures and wrote extensively on Biblical subjects. Some of his writings have appeared in Christianity Today including the article “Seven Guidelines to a Christian Interpretation of History. ” (This article is from the introduction to The Treasures of Joseph and your Editor has taken the liberty of selecting the title for TKC)
Written by Charles A. Jennings
Editor’s Note: When I first received a copy of Roger Rusk’s book “The Other End of the World” I couldn’t help but reflect on the possible journeys of two brothers, Roger and Dean Rusk. In my mind, Dean, the former Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, was obviously anchored to political Babylon, while Roger, also highly successful, was given the gift of being touched in a special way by the Lord Jesus Christ and blessed through knowing his identity as an Israelite. His testimony, as so inspiringly recorded by Charles Jennings comes from the booklet “The Treasures of Joseph” compiled by Truth In History Ministries, P.O. Box 808, Owasso, Oklahoma 74055-0808.