Sunday, August 3, 2008

Great Preacher in a Great Church


Services had just begun in the old famed Westminister Chapel on Buckingham Gate next to the Buckingham Palace where the Queen family lives much of the year near downtown London.

Every visit we have made to London we visit this church and have never gone but what we were blessed. The people were always friendly and welcomed us openly. It has always been a church for us to take spiritual refuge from our weary days.

On our last visit, my thoughts turned to the old greats who had pastored this church, which became a precious reminder of the gospel ministry in Great Britain. Such men as Martin Lloyd-Jones, G. Campbell Morgan, with R.T. Kendell, it’s recently retired pastor; thrilled me with the echoes of former sermons still seemed to bounce off the walls like vibrations trying to find a place to lie.

I could faintly hear Jones preaching from Ephesians or see Morgan in his Friday night teaching sessions. But one former pastor seemed to flood these out as I remembered John Henry Jowett. How could one church, or people, be so fortunate to have had such pastors? Generally only one area has had the opportunity to have a pastor of such fame. But in one church so many! How rare!

Jowett, like Morgan, was a Congregationalist and considered by his own generation to be the greatest preacher of his day. A strong believer in missions and Sunday schools he worked in every channel of church growth. I could see his work everywhere I turned, but remembered him most by one of his statements. "In all our preaching we must preach for verdicts. We must present our case. We must seek a verdict, and we must ask for an immediate execution of the verdict. Our ultimate object is to move the will, to set it on another course, to increase its pace, and to make it sing in the ways of God's commandments."

I conceded that day to his view, "To preach for verdict."

Very few verses in the Bible make a stronger cry for decision and change than the following: 2 Chron. 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

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