19 June 2013

Happy Birthday to Two Faithful Preachers

Today, two prominent preachers in the history of the Church celebrate their earthly birthdays. One of them has long gone to glory with his Savior, while the other continues his call and commission to preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2).

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, born this day in 1834, was and still is known as the "Prince of Preachers." Throughout much of his ministry, he fought against the "downgrade" of his time in what came to be known as the Down-Grade Controversy. Churches had abandoned sound doctrine in favor of teaching that was scratching itching ears and condemning precious souls to eternal torment.
Who was chiefly to blame for the decline? Spurgeon believed it was the preachers: "The case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith. . . . Germany was made unbelieving by her preachers, and England is following in her tracks." (Source)
In the words of Dr. John MacArthur, "The Down-Grade Controversy was a perpetual grief to Spurgeon until his death," yet the Prince of Preachers remained loyal to his
Lord, and never regretted the stand he had taken.

This introduces the second preaching great who today celebrates a birthday, John MacArthur. It often seems that little has changed in the visible church since Spurgeon's day. Yes, the methods and means of compromise have come along with the times, but pragmatism and liberalism ultimately look the same no matter the century. And throughout the years, Dr. MacArthur has not wavered, has never failed to proclaim the truth no matter the medium and has not ceased preaching the Word of God. Willing to stand up to controversial and compromising trends, MacArthur has addressed such issues as the Church Growth Movement, the Lordship Salvation debate and "Charismatic Chaos," a matter that he will tackle again at the upcoming Strange Fire conference. Like Spurgeon, and like all pastors and Christians who boldly proclaim the truth, MacArthur's service to the Lord has not been free of trials, but he models for the believer what it is to live one's life with the sole aim of pleasing God rather than men (Gal 1:10).

Neither of these men is to be worshiped or idolized, but the Christian nevertheless should thank God for them and for men like them who, though perhaps not as well-known, serve the Lord just as faithfully. They are indeed true models of faithfulness and humility.

*Video originally located here.

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