Preaching in Historic Pulpits

If someone told me 5 years ago that I would have the opportunity to preach in some of the most historic pulpits in America I probably wouldn’t have believed it. In one sense there is nothing special about a building, but in another there is a sense of awe that great men of God have preached Christ in these very pulpits through the centuries.

The pulpit at Tenth Presbyterian Church was held by such men as H.A. Boardman, William Brenton Greene, William Breed, Donald Grey Barnhouse, James Montgomery Boice, and Philip Graham Ryken. In our own day, visiting preachers have included J.I. Packer, Sinclair Ferguson, Eric Alexander, John Gerstner, R.C. Sproul, etc.

Independent Presbyterian Church has been pastored by such noteworthy ministers as Daniel Baker, Willard Preston and Terry L. Johnson. Visiting Ministers, who have filled the pulpit there, include John L. Girardeau, Benjamin Morgan Palmer, and D.L. Moody.

Midway Congregational Church, while somewhat lesser known than the two churches mentioned above, nevertheless has a rich history. It was built in 1755 and has been the home of such well known Calvinist Congregational ministers as John Osgood, Moses Allen, Abiel Holmes (father of Oliver Wendell Holmes), and Cyrus Gildersleeve. Among the well known ministers who have preached there was C.C. Jones, the famous Southern Presbyterian of the mid-1860’s.

Last Sunday night I had the privilege of preaching at Midway Congregational Church. It was a joint service for Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Brunswick, Ga. and New Covenant Presbyterian Church (a PCA church plant) in Richmond Hill, Ga. The Rev. Jim Wilkerson and I led the service. Here is the sermon I preached. The text was Matthew 27:11-26 and the title, “Three Verdicts for Jesus.”

I have had the enormous privilege of preaching in these three historic, Reformed churches, but the one thing I am continually reminding myself is that there is nothing spiritual about the buildings–it is the people God has called to worship Him in these places that matter. We are the Temple of God in whom the Spirit of God dwells. While I am encouraged as I read the annals of history concerning the ministers who preached in these places in bygone centuries, I am reminded of the urgent need for the Gospel to be preached everywhere in our own day. The fact that the Gospel is still proclaimed in these places is a testimony of God’s grace and covenant faithfulness. But we must continue to faithfully proclaim His word in whatever location He calls us to minister in.

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