Some of Doc's Last Written Words
This is a written response dated somewhere in the latter half of 2015 from Dr. Peter S. Ruckman to a certain John Davis at Time for Truth News over in England. Apparently, Bro. Davis had sent a letter inviting Dr. Ruckman to contribute an article for their publication, and what he got in return is some extremely valuable insight and wisdom from a 94 year-old, decorated “war veteran,” still active in the Lord’s Army. It is transcribed and reproduced here from a recording of Bro. Davis as he read it to a congregation in England. As far as I know, it represents some of Dr. Ruckman’s last written correspondence before he went home to be with the Lord in April of 2016.
Dear Bro Davis,
I’m getting the material you’ve been sending me and I appreciate it very much. You are one of the last, true blue King James men left in England.
I got your invitation to write an article to contribute to your upcoming publication. You wrote, “He can put whatever he likes in it and choose his own subject; we wouldn’t edit a word. Or he could pick any of the following titles…”
To respond to the topics in the list of the titles you sent could run anywhere from 10 to 120 pages, so I thought I would answer each of them as shortly as I could to give you the information.
[On the most important thing he has learned.] The most important thing I have learned is that I am unable to guide and conduct my life intelligently. Only God can. I do not have the wisdom to know what is good and bad for me…but He does.
[On regrets.] If I had my time all over again, I would not have looked at some of the dirty stuff I looked at, and would not have done some of the pornographic sketches and stuff I did before I got right with the Lord.
[On his relationship with the A.V. 1611] Nobody taught me the Authorized Version was anything. I learned it by reading it. A stolen copy at that. I stole it out of a drunk’s room when I was under conviction and going to the Catholic church. I learned the Bible by myself in dealing with it, arguing with it, fighting with it, and going against it. While doing this, I lost about 5 pounds a week for four weeks. I saw that thing say things that could not be taught in any school in the world. By the time I went to Bob Jones University in 1952, I had read it through six times. As a consequence, when I came in there, without knowing it, I was “loaded for bear.” I’ve been loaded ever since. I have had no one help me. The people who’ve tried to figure out who taught me what I believe have never been able to decide anything except either God taught me, or the devil taught me, because I couldn’t have learned it any place else. Nobody in my home was a Bible believer; not my father, mother, brother, sister, uncle or aunt. Nobody at the University of Alabama where I went to school ever talked to me about any version of the Bible. Nobody where I went to school at Kansas State Agricultural College ever told me anything about the Bible. When Hugh Pyle led me to Christ, we didn’t discuss the Bible at all, or any version at all. What I learned, I learned reading It through 150 times.
[On the hardest thing in life] The hardest part of my Christian life, for me has been to keep my eyes on Jesus Christ, and remember that I must give account of myself to God, and nobody else. You’re always dealing with people and getting caught up with people in all kinds of mix-ups. For example, I’ve been taken to court four times. I’ve had my life threatened two or three times, and a loaded weapon was involved. With those things going on, it’s awful hard to keep your mind on the Lord. But that’s where I know it should be.
[On what he would change if he could] The answer to that is very simple. I wouldn’t change ANYTHING I’m doing right now, except I could do it better if God would give me some eyesight. If I could change anything right now, I would want my eyes changed so that the macular degeneration wouldn’t get in my way, and I could do the reading I used to do, the writing I used to do, and the painting I used to do; and if I could get enough of my youth back so I could still play hockey and throw a mullet net. I can do none of those things. I would change all of them if I could.
[On the subject of seriousness with God] I’ve always been serious with God since I came to know Him. And it was knowing Him that scared the fire out of me, and got me saved in the first place. I’ve always considered from that day forward that He is my Final Authority in all matters, and that He has given me a Book that I can look to as the absolute authority in all matters of faith and practice.
[On his relationship and position with the Lord] The answer to that is, I call myself the Lord’s Junkyard Dog. I consider myself to be a servant of God, period. And that is it, that is all. On my desk is a wooden plaque sent to me by some Christians in the Philippines. It sits on my desk and says, “Peter S. Ruckman, God’s Servant.” And that is where I stand with the Lord, all the way. As to whether I’m a good servant, or a bad servant, or a mediocre servant, that is His business. I call myself the Lord’s junkyard dog because a man who didn’t particularly care for me told me once that I have the personality of a junkyard dog. It struck me as being just proper. It didn’t bother me at all because he didn’t know I came from an army family of four generations, which included Major Generals, Colonels and Captains. He didn’t know the bunch I came from in the infantry were called “dogfaces.” To prove it we were all given dog tags. So I've always assumed my job for the Lord was to stay in the junkyard where they threw away an old Book nobody wanted. And when the Lord put me in here, He told me I’m His servant, I’m His junkyard dog…back there with the stuff people have thrown out. He said, “Take care of my Old Book they’ve thrown out. If anybody climbs over the fence and tries to use it that doesn’t believe it, bite the seat of his britches out.” So that is what I’ve been doing now for 62 years.
[On “things I love and things I hate”] I’m not a very good hater. I don’t hate anybody enough to kill them. Sometimes I might have wished that maybe somebody would do it for me…! I do hate nearly every member of the National Education Association for taking the Bible away from three generations of children, then teaching them sodomy in the primary grades. After they teach them about sodomy, abortion, easy divorces, and race-mixing, they fail to teach them how to read or write. It has produced generations of young people with no character at all. I also hate all of the so-called “modern versions.” Something like 220 corrupt English versions. I know they must hate my Book, because they have changed it in more than 35,000 places, which is more than one change per verse. If you take all of the changes that have been made in the RSV, the NRSV, the ASV, the NASV, and the NIV—just those—you would have 35,000 alterations from the King James text. I hate that junk, and consider it to be stuff you would use for the cat to sit on, or the birdcage. Things I love? If anyone would judge me by my actions or my conduct, it would be pretty obvious. I love my wife and am true to her and try to treat her right and take care of her needs so she doesn’t have to get a job. I love all my children, although some of them did not turn out the way I would want them to be. But I love all my children, ten of them; and all my grandchildren, twenty of them; and all my great-grandchildren, eight of them. Although I don't get along with a couple of the sons, or one or two grandchildren, I don’t hold it against them, and don’t bear them anything like “hate.” Then, I love the Book. And of course, you know what Book I’m talking about. The Bible says, “Charity rejoiceth in the truth.” The best thing I have on this earth, aside from the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is the Book that He left me. He said, He that is of God heareth God’s words.” He said, “I came into the world to bear witness to the truth.” If a man even attempts to keep the first commandment, to love God, the next item he would have to love would be what He said—the truth. And that is what I love. I love the truth, even when it is against me.
[On what we are “heading into” on the world stage.] If, when you address me, you mean we Americans, I say that we are heading into a holocaust under marshal law by a world dictator. I would say that the casualties from where we are headed to would make Hitler’s holocaust look like a spring picnic. I believe that America hit rock-bottom in 1901 when she exchanged the King James Bible for the ASV, and then went down about a foot under the muck when FDR came in, in 1933. I believe that he was a genuine communist/socialist just like Obama, and that when he put his supreme court together he got in as many communists as he could get in, and they’ve been with us ever since. We are not “heading into” something right now; we are IN IT. This is the last generation, as it is described in the book of Proverbs. This is the last generation before the devil’s son—the son of perdition, the seed of the serpent, the man of sin—shows up. I wouldn’t give us two years before he shows up. That’s only a guess, so I don’t know that; but I would give it about two years. We are living in these last days before the rapture. I believe we should “occupy” till he comes. One day Martin Luther was asked what he would do if he knew the Lord was coming tomorrow night. He said “I would go right on hoeing my little ol’ patch of potatoes.” I would go on trying to do something for the Lord, even though I’m not capable of doing it like I did before, because of my bad eyes. I still do what I can, although I’ve had to give up nine classes at the school. I’m still teaching five Bible classes and broadcasting on two radio stations, and I don’t know how many places with the Drawing Men To Christ.
[On “missing out”] What did I miss out on? Whatever it was, I didn’t miss it. And I don’t miss it now. In my coming up, I was put through just about every kind of thing you could imagine, except I never got involved with drugs or sex perverts. But if there is anything else—sports, art, music, literature, travel, study, liars, crippled people, sick people, dying people, trucks, farms, gardening, painting, writing, playing musical instruments, going around the equator 75 times, 40,000 miles a year for fifty years, the study of religions, the study of philosophy, the study of psychology, raising children, raising animals, teaching men how to kill each other, bartending, life-guarding, dance bands, bluegrass bands, jazz combos, the mafia, the bank robbers, the kidnappers, the world leaders, cooking, sewing, plowing, tilling, teaching, studying, fishing, hunting, sickness and good health, preaching, teaching, witnessing, court procedures, divorce decrees, marriage licenses, and etc., etc., etc. I’ve already been in the Ozark's. I’ve already been in the Rockies. I’ve been on top of the Zugspitze [Germany’s highest peak]; overseas in Glasgow, Scotland; the Blue ridge parkway, and the Smokey Mountains. I’ve seen sunrise and sunset over Honolulu; sunrise and sunset over Manila, Philippines; sunrise and sunset over Tokyo; and sunrise and sunset in Nuremberg, Germany. I’ve been in the Ukraine, and in Russia; Bombay and Hyderabad in India; and then in and out of an average of 20 motels a year, for more than 50 years. That includes taxicabs and buses and tickets and checking in and checking out; eating from the menus of restaurants in 50 states. If there’s something I missed, I wouldn’t be interested in going back to find it. If I were to die before the Lord came, you should put on my grave, “God gave him a full cup.” And it ran over a long time ago.
[On his thoughts on life.] My present thoughts on life are thoughts I got right before the time I got saved—the 14th of March, 1949. At that time, I was ready to quit. At that time, I was looking for a gun to kill myself, and wound up stealing a Bible instead. My thoughts on life are that I’ve found life to be a tremendous adventure—good and bad; rotten and wonderful; blessed and cursed. I find life to be, from an individual standpoint, an outstanding example of God giving a sinner break, after break, after break that he didn’t deserve; and reward, after reward, after reward, that he didn’t earn; and has let not handfuls of purpose, but barrels full of purpose fall his way. For what reason, I know not. I just know that none of them were earned or deserved; they were given. Growing old has been a rotten experience, and gets more rotten every day. When I got saved, I was ready to quit then. I knew something back in 1949, which most Christians don’t learn even if they live to be a hundred years old: I’ve learned that the answers are NOT down here. They’re “upstairs.” People make fun of us and say, “You’re always talking about that ‘pie-in-the-sky’…” You bet your booties it’s “in the sky.” You say, “How do you know?” I’ve looked. And don’t tell me that Ruckman hasn’t looked; don’t give me that. When I was 28 years old, I knew that the answers were not down here. I knew all the problems; I just didn’t have any answers. I painted a whole series of paintings when I was drunk called “Psychopathic Symbolisms,” and I’ve kept about fifteen of them. When I show them to people, they think I was saved when I painted them because they are the Biblical view of what I’m talking about…but I wasn’t saved. I was drunk and unsaved. But I knew the problems before I was 30, and I was ready to quit at 28. I’m ready to “quit” right now. I know where the answer is—it’s upstairs; it isn’t down here. There may be blessings ahead, or troubles ahead, or pain ahead, or whatever ahead; but I know one thing—“it ain’t down here.” My prayer in the morning is, “Even so come Lord Jesus,” and at bed at night it’s, “Even so come Lord Jesus.” I talk about it (in jest, of course) and kid people about it, but I want to ask the Lord when I get to heaven if He didn't make a mistake in waiting so long. Now of course, I won’t know what I’m talking about, and He will know what He’s talking about and what He’s doing. He always knows what He’s doing. He is always right, and I know it. But there is one thing that God could not do: He could not come too soon for Pete Ruckman. I would say that if He came tonight it would be awfully late for me, because I’ve known all along that the answer was not down here. I knew that as an unsaved man. I must confess that sixty-two years of living with the Lord was a “sight better” than the twenty-eight years I lived for the devil. I still know that there is nothing ahead down here but hospital beds and graves for any of us. The best is yet to come, and it doesn’t come until He comes, or until we go to Him. That is my look on life.
May the Lord bless you, and keep up the good work.
Sincerely In Christ,
Dr. Peter S. Ruckman.