Peace if possible. Truth at all costs. ~ Martin Luther

The Urgent Lesson of the R.M.S. Carpathia

RMS CarpathiaWhen I start talking about a ship called the R.M.S. Carpathia, a lot of people look at me blankly. “The Car.. what?”

Never heard of it.

On the other hand, if I say “Titanic” there is immediate recognition.  Probably the most famous, or infamous, ship in history. What if I told you that the story of the Titanic can never be fully told without talking about the Carpathia?

Come back with me to that fateful night when the Titanic, the ship that had been claimed “unsinkable”, went down in the freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. April 14th, 1912 …

There were two other large ships in the vicinity of where the Titanic sank.  They were the S.S. Californian and the R.M.S. Carpathia.  The closer of the two was the Californian.  She was close enough at hand at the time of the sinking to see the distress rockets, but the wireless operator had quit his post and so they never received the Titanic’s radio S.O.S calls. Captain Lord had retired and was awakened from sleep by a crewmember with a report of five white flares from a ship where the Titanic was known to be. But they thought it was just a party going on with fireworks, so the Captain merely instructed them to signal the other ship with their morse light, and never even thought to rouse their radioman. The Captain himself went back to his sleep.

Here’s what was determined in the investigation later: had the Californian responded to any of the distress calls or signals, ALL of Titanic’s passengers and crew might have been evacuated before they froze to death in the water.

Then there was this other ship, the Carpathia.  It was much further away from the Titanic, but it’s wireless operator was alert and heard her distress call.  He notified the Captain, who IMMEDIATELY gave the order to turn around and sail to the Titanic at full steam.  Being further away it took the Carpathia several hours to get there, and many people had perished in the meantime – but EVERY survivor who was saved that night was picked up by the Carpathia.  The diligence of that Captain and crew is the only reason ANYONE was saved at all.

How many Christians, how many churches, are like that first ship, the Californian?  The world is foundering – about to be lost for eternity – but we sail on our way somehow oblivious.  Blinded to their condition, they don’t even know to signal S.O.S., and so the Lord who loves them has done it on their behalf – calling to His people to go.

Every church should be like the Carpathia.  Every believer should be like THAT crew – we should leave everything to go immediately to rescue the perishing before it’s too late.

The S.O.S. 31 Day Challenge

Yesterday I wrote about the challenge we are issuing to all our church family at First Assembly, and to anyone else who will join us. Throughout the month of October will you commit yourself to not allow one day to go by without giving the gospel to at least one person – either by a personal witnessing conversation, or giving them a clear gospel tract.

We want this to be a great way for people to make a start in a life of personal evangelism. It doesn’t have to be terrifying – check out yesterday’s post for full details.

California or Carpathia? Which will you be?



  1. Martin MurphyNo Gravatar says:

    An excellent analogy in a sea of sinking sinners. I live an area where the largest population professing faith in Jesus, but I’m not sure which Jesus. Many of them did an altar call or matriculated into the membership of the church at some in the past. The church rolls are large, but the pews are empty. Many go to church, but few go to worship. It is a hugh mission field, but the first step is an apologetic to get them unsaved, so they may see their need for grace. I’m praying the Holy Spirit may use “The Essence of Christian Doctrine” to convict professing believers of their sin as it may be seen in the Law, and their need for the gospel of grace and the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Thanks so much for your comments.


  1. […] 1st, I’ll continue to post information and inspiration to help us all.  Watch out for: (1) “The Lesson of the RMS Carpathia”, (2) “D.L. Moody’s Pledge”, and “Interview With an Atheist” (COMING […]