How Doc Brown Got Upstairs

Written on: February 27, 2021

Article by: George Mansfield

If you lived during the fifties and if you happened to be hooked on country music, in all probability you became familiar with an old country doctor who lived and practised in a small town in the western U.S.A. Not only did Doc Brown make a significant contribution to society through his medical profession, but, as he worked among the people he loved, his services were rendered at a pitifully small fee, making plain his real “reason for living”.

The problem was, that even at this nominal charge, there were many who could not pay. He simply wrote I.O.U. on all such accounts and hoped for a brighter day. That day of improvement did not arrive. In it’s place came the time when he would have to move from his office on Main Street and take up his practice in a tiny Rook over the livery stable. One kind town person cared enough to remove Doc’s sign, modify it and nail it to the door of the livery stable. It now read: “Doc Brown has moved upstairs”.

Nobody lives forever; not even this gentle man who had given so much of his life in service for others with small remuneration. Doc Brown died. The wagon loads of mourners moving along behind the casket must have stretched down the road a quarter of a mile. As the preacher completed his kind and true words at the grave side, not a dry eye was to be seen.

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It seems that as death was approaching, the doctor, knowing that these folks would never be able to pay their debts, wrote across each I.O.U., Paid in full”. As expected, money for an elaborate headstone with an appropriate epitaph was not available, so the towns people did what they thought fitting. They placed the old doctors sign at the head of his grave. Passersby would now know for certain, that “Doc Brown has moved upstairs!”

The inference that this wonderful man went to heaven is not to be questioned by anyone. The suggestion as to the reason behind his “going to glory,” bears some scrutiny.

If Doc Brown “Moved Upstairs” then —

He must have had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Jesus.

It alone is the “power of God for salvation.” (Rom. 1:16). It tells of a man “who knew no sin,” yet, because we are sinners, God “made him to be sin on our behalf, that we might be the righteousness of God in him.” (II Cor. 5:21).

Doc Brown must have lived long enough to accept by faith the grace of God.

The gospel tells of a gracious plan by a great God who gives grace to all who ask, seek and knock. This must be received by faith (see John 3:16 and Eph. 2:8). Faith is the natural response of a humble seeker for truth.

This kind, country physician obeyed the gospel.

If he is now with God then this is a fact, since Jesus is the “source of eternal salvation to all those who obey him.” (Heb. 5:9). Obedience to the good news includes doing all that the Giver of that good news requires in His Word. To be remiss in this area spells destruction (see 1 Pet. 4:17 and 1 Thess. 1:18).

Old Doc Brown was baptized in water.

Jesus only promised salvation from sin (thereby making one a subject for heaven) to those who both believe the gospel and are baptized into Him. (see Mark 16:15,16). The Ethiopian nobleman, after having this life giving message revealed to him, asked, “Here is water, why can’t I be baptized?” (ACTS 8:36). The element needed for this baptism was, as he said, “water”. (see also ACTS 10:47).

Since Doc Brown “moved upstairs,”

  • His “move” came as a result of Christ’s atonement and not doc’s attainment. “Jesus paid it all.”
  • The gospel that was preached to him bore fruit for it alone is the “seed of the kingdom” (see Luke. 8:11).
  • The response made by this fine man culminated in his “burial and resurrection. “He was “raised to walk in newness of life.” (see Rom. 6:1-7).

The same medicine prescribed for Doc Brown by our Great Physician is available today.

Would you consider these important facts?

  • Do not trust in your own good deeds to move you “upstairs”. Heaven is a matter of atonement through Jesus and not our personal attainment.
  • Without Jesus in our lives we have nothing to offer to God. But in Christ, our offerings of faith and obedience are fully accepted.


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