Archive for October, 2008

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Alan Redpath

October 30, 2008

The following description is not so much of Alan Redpath’s (1907-1989) preaching, as of his ministry at the Chapel in general during the short years of 1962-66. They sum up something of the enthusiasm and energy that Redpath brought to the Chapel at that time.

“An invitation to come and meet the people in Charlotte Baptist Chapel and preach, and see how he felt, gave us all a foretaste of what was to come. Here was a man with “grip”, a powerful preacher, one who could tolerate no messing around, but a loveable man of God. By a large majority an invitation was sent for Dr Redpath to become our Pastor in March 1962. He accepted, and we waited with a certain bated breath until his appearance on the scene. We were not to be disappointed. Days of excitement were to follow fast and furious. Half nights of prayer, whole nights of prayer, early morning breakfasts and aggressive evangelism everywhere.

Coming to the Chapel which was already filled with people Sunday by Sunday and which had been so since the days of Joseph Kemp, Graham Scroggie, Sidlow Baxter and Gerald Griffiths, the only thing to do was to go outside. This he did with singular success. He wished to motivate the young people to win their contempo­raries for Christ; so we took over McVitie Guest restaurant for Saturday nights, and no-one was allowed in unless they brought in non-Christians – this was to be no Christians’ Saturday night out. Contact Club was a resounding success. The Pastor started Sunday evening services in Princes Street Bandstand, took over Mackie’s Tea Rooms in Princes Street, and, as a result, many were to be found in Christ.

The Sunday services were no place quietly to contemplate the purchase of a new car or fridge, but rather they were a soul-stirring experience to be up and about: “God wants a life of total commitment”: “God cannot use a rebel”: “Life in the Spirit and total surrender”: “You will get your rest when you get home to Glory”. The church was divided into zones, and we met for home meetings regularly. We installed television in the lower hall to accommodate the overflow.

Our Pastor had a great desire to reach out to the city at large with the good news of Jesus Christ, and he planned a city-wide campaign to be held in the Usher Hall. Stephen Olford, his close friend and fellow minister, was engaged as an evangelist, and good men like Philip Hacking of the Episcopal church and Rev Sewell, and many another, were welded into a great team. This was one of Alan’s many gifts – he could lead and work with others of various callings, if they could name the name of Christ.

The planning and praying was well under way when, to our utter dismay, and consternation, our pastor suffered a major stroke. He could not speak for a time, and could not walk. The future looked very black indeed. Much prayer was made on his behalf the world over, letters of support and ‘phone calls came in abundance. A visit from his close friend, Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones, when Alan was in a nursing home in great pain and discomfort, was a memorable experience. Lloyd Jones, himself a medical man as well as a minister, asked everyone to move out of the room for a time, and Alan tells how the dear man laid hold on the Lord for him as he lay and shook in his bed. The Usher Hall Campaign was a resounding success, but Alan was never to be the same again.

Recovery was slow but sure, and he preached again in the Chapel on Easter 1966, but he felt he just could not sustain the ministry in such a large church. When he announced his retiral from the pastorate to a full Court meeting, we were all deeply moved, and upon his retiral from the room we asked how we could honour such a man. Spontaneously it was moved that we should confer the title of “Pastor Emeritus” on him as the highest gift we could bestow from the church.”

(From “Obituary to Alan Redpath”; on additional CD to Revival in Rose Street)

Other Anniversary Posts

200 Years of Faithful Preaching; Christopher Anderson; Joseph Kemp; Graham Scroggie; Alistair Begg Audio – CC 200 ; Choice Begg Quotes; Weekend Pics; Sidlow Baxter.


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Gerald Griffiths

October 29, 2008

Gerald Griffiths (1921-) followed Sidlow Baxter as pastor of Charlotte Baptist Chapel during the years 1954 – 1962.

The following quote highlights Griffith’s ability to apply biblical truth to everyday life.

“The application of spiritual truths to personal experience and conduct was a marked feature of Gerrald Griffiths’ ministry of the Word. His knowledge of Hebrew and Greek preserved him from straying into bypaths of interpretation, and Scottish minds responded readily to his deep interest in reformed theology, especially Puritan theology. His acquaintance with the broad structure of systematic theology, as distinct from Biblical theology, gave his teaching a balance and proportion that maintained the true reformed emphasis. The application of spiritual truth to personal experience and conduct was a marked feature of his ministry of the Word.”

(Ian Balfour in Revival in Rose Street, p 292)

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Sidlow Baxter

October 28, 2008

Ian Balfour reflects on the inimitable Sidlow Baxter (1903-1999):

“The adjective most often applied to Graham Scroggie’s pulpit ministry was ‘dignified’; the corresponding description of Sidlow Baxter was ‘charming’. It took the congregation a little time to adjust to the more relaxed and genial style of their new pastor; as mentioned earlier, Graham Scroggie had a great sense of humour, but would not use it in the pulpit.

Sidlow Baxter introduced one Sunday sermon with the words: ‘My dear friends, this morning I am going to preach about three seconds’ – pause for reaction, which was incredulity and curiosity, as expected – ‘the Second Birth, the Second Blessing and the Second Coming.’ Although he invariably preached in a three-quarter-length frock coat and clerical collar, his natural charm came through; he had a fresh and warm popular appeal, and the Chapel was usually crowded at both services on Sundays. When all the pews were filled, the boys in the congregation were asked to give up their seats and to squat on the pulpit steps or even in the pulpit itself. Many men, now long past retiring age, still speak fondly of those evenings when they perched precariously at the preacher’s feet.”

(Ian Balfour, Revival in Rose Street, p 236)

Other Anniversary Posts

200 Years of Faithful Preaching; Christopher Anderson; Joseph Kemp; Graham Scroggie; Alistair Begg Audio – CC 200 ; Choice Begg Quotes; Weekend Pics.

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Weekend Pics

October 27, 2008

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Some Choice Begg Quotes

October 27, 2008

“On that day, when we are included in that scene, there will be no preoccupation with our buildings or with our history, because we will be consumed with the vision of Christ in all His wonderful fulness; and with that vision glorious our longing eyes will be blessed.”

“You see, what these scattered and beleaguered believers needed in the first century is actually what we need. They didn’t need a lot of self-help literature. They didn’t need books on how to bring up your teenagers. They didn’t need books on how to fix your finances. What they needed to know was that Christ had triumphed, that what he had done as a substitute had received the Father’s approbation, and that the significance of literally everything was tied to the fact that Christ was a triumphant Saviour! “

“The promise that God made to Abraham that through his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed (which finds its great fulfillment in these dramatic scenes in Revelation) is really the story of all that God has done and is doing in his world. And the significance of 200 years in the scope of eternity, the significance of the history of a church like this, can ultimately and only be understood in relationship to these things.”

“Our lives are like ruined castles in the Highlands of Scotland. We drive around and look through the morning mist; if you squeeze your eyes together you can imagine what that ruin looked like when it was in full swing: when all the windows were in place, when the lights were on inside, when with the skirl of the pipes the laughter ensued and the laughter emanated across the hillside. But its all gone now. But there is a majesty to it; there is a glory to it. Its a ruin. But its a glorious ruin. That’s what the bible says men and women are: glorious as made in the image of God…. and yet ruined as a result of our rebellion against God.”

“The great lie of silly attempts at contextualizing Christianity for post-modern people is to suggest that God is simply very kind and to neglect to make clear that He is also fearful. For without the reality of His fearfulness, the kindness is an irrelevancy. And people who can think figure that out!”

“One of the reasons for so many empty churches in the British Isles is the equivocation from pulpits – is the inability of those who should know better to speak with the same kind of clarity that the Scriptures give us to speak. To prepare to be humble, to be honest, to be kind and yet to be clear.”

“Nowhere in this city will anyone have a problem with a T-shirt that simply says on the front ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Wear it proudly. People will ask for one! Do not wear the complete verse; you may get it ripped off your back. ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me.’ That is the gospel. That is Paul’s message in Athens. That is the tireless, undying message that is to be brought to bear if we are going to reach our cities for Christ. May it be that when we are long gone – it Christ tarries and doesn’t return – that in 200 years time from now the city of Edinburgh will resound still with the praises of the truth of the glory of Jesus that in Christ alone our hope is found.”


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Alistair Begg Audio – Charlotte Chapel 200th

October 26, 2008

Morning Sermon - “The Vision Glorious” (Rev 7)

Evening Sermon – “Some Strange Ideas” (Acts 17)

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Graham Scroggie

October 25, 2008

William Graham Scroggie (1877- 1958) was preaching minus the frills. For example, while possessing a vibrant sense of humor outwith the pulpit, his sharp wit was usually restrained within its vicinity. Instead words like ‘dignified’, ‘forceful’ and ‘intense’ are the adjectives more often reserved to the great Keswick expositor.

Two brief quotes help capture what it would have been like to sit under Scroggie’s preaching. The first comes from a visitor from South Carolina in the United States:

But great as these preliminary experiences had been we soon found that the climax was yet to come. The highest point reached was the powerful message delivered by the scholarly pastor, Dr W. Graham Scroggie. He is one of our greatest preachers. He is dignified, calm, and forceful in his delivery, combining all the powers of the orator with an intense earnestness and a firm conviction that he had come to deliver God’s message to that congregation. We knew that he came to us from God. His heart seemed to be fired with a passion for the lost. He knew they were lost. He realized something of the true nature of sin. He knew that the power of Christ could make men alive again. He compelled us to believe and know it for ourselves as he continued his pleading with us. It was a powerful challenge to Christians to join with Christ in the greatest work in the world. It was God’s call to our hearts. After the benediction every person sat quietly in the seat for a moment before going out into the busy street. As we left our seats the choir sang those familiar words that seemed to be echoing in our hearts:–We have heard the joyful sound: [full verse quoted] Jesus saves! Jesus saves! As we came to the ground floor and plunged out into the rains and gloom, the words of the fourth stanza came as a shout of victory:–Give the winds a mighty voice, [full verse quoted] Jesus saves! Jesus saves! It was a real worship hour that means much to our hearts as we face the week of work.

A second description comes from a Presbyterian minister visiting from Glasgow:

The sermon was the climax. The subject was ‘Faith Without Works’, a hackneyed theme. The treatment was an extraordinary blend of the Bible expositor, the cold logician, the man who knows the world he lives in, and the irresistible evangelist. He disposed of apparent contradiction between Paul and James (as I knew he would), but in his own way, and in the Bible way – taking the passage as it stood and illuminating it with many revealing remarks. There were moments of humour as when he said that ‘God did not turn us all out like Morris cars’, but each with our own individuality. Through all, the intensity grew until at last in the preacher’s plea for practical Christianity, we were caught up in the sweep of a spiritual passion which was more than any mere eloquence. It was great preaching – the only worth-while preaching – Bible truth, careful thinking, and illuminating expounding linked to the needs of the hour in a passionate final appeal.

(Both quotations come from the chapter “Sunday’s with Graham Scroggie” found in the new book “Revival in Rose Street” by Ian Balfour)

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Joseph Kemp

October 24, 2008

Joseph Kemp (1872-1933) came to Charlotte Baptist Chapel during its lowest ebb, led it through a revival in 1907, and left it for New York in 1915 as a prayer-fueled, evangelistically-focused church.

So what were some of the marks of Joseph Kemp’s preaching? In two words: it was evangelistic in focus and experiential in flavor. With regards to Kemp’s evangelistic emphasis, James Scott (Kemp’s assistant for five years) wrote:

The evangelistic note is never absent from his preaching. All the branches of the Church’s activities – prayer meetings, tract distribution, Sunday school, open-air meetings, kitchen meetings, advertising, etc. – have one aim in view, and that the salvation of the lost. … During the years 1907 to 1911 inclusive, eight hundred and fifty names of persons have been registered as having accepted Christ, an average of one hundred and seventy per year. We do not suppose this figure represents all who have been saved in our meetings, for we are often hearing of friends being brought to Christ whose names have never been handed in.

Discussing the experiential nature of Kemp’s preaching, one visitor commented:

I shall attempt no description of Mr. Kemp’s sermon; it is quite enough to say that it was about knowing Jesus in a real sense; and when I add that it inspired one with an intense longing to get into closer fellowship with the Master, I indicate sufficiently the character of the address. Here was a man speaking out of his own experience, not giving us something taken from a book, and we were all brought into living touch with the Christ of whom he spoke. What a touching charm lay in that story of the two little Scots boys. ‘Dae ye ken Jesus?’ asked the one. ‘Ay, I ken Him’, was the reply. ‘Ah, but dae ye ken Him to speak to?’ There was deep pathos, too, in that incident associated with Dr. Pierson’s last Keswick. Mr. Kemp was there, and so was the Rev. John McNeill. At the close of an address in which our departed friend had made Divine truths to burn with a new beauty, Mr. McNeill came up to some Scottish friends and, with tears streaming down his cheeks, said to them, ‘We have seen Him to-day.’ Mr. Kemp made us see Him, too. And whenever a preacher so holds up Jesus Christ before the gaze of men as to create in them a longing to follow and serve Him, he is fulfilling his ministry.

(Both quotations come from “Revival in Rose Street” by Ian Balfour, p 137-8)

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Christopher Anderson

October 23, 2008

Christopher Anderson (1782-1852) was a man used mightily of God at the outset of Charlotte Baptist Chapel. To cite a few bare (yet startling facts) about him:

  • he was the first pastor of CBC and began his pastorship aged 25
  • he lost his wife and all five children to illness during his ministry
  • he oversaw the purchase of Charlotte Chapel’s first buildings in Richmond Court and then Rose Street
  • he pastored the Chapel for 43 years, during which time there was relatively small (though mainly ‘conversion-‘) growth
  • he had a wider ministry beyond the Chapel: doing many ‘tours’ of Ireland and England, and in days when travel was difficult visited places as far afield as Denmark and Germany
  • he died only 6 months after leaving his official CBC charge

To try and encapsulate what it might have been like to sit under Anderson’s preaching, let me share two quotes. The first quote is from Ian Balfour (author of Revival in Rose Street) and summarises several basic aspects of Anderson’s preaching:

His aim in the pulpit, never lost sight of, was to gather in and to build up... His manner of speaking in the pulpit was easy and sometimes animated, but generally slow, solemn, and impressive, and evidently he held the attention of the hearers. When he became animated, he made use of considerable gesture, never strained or unnatural; sometimes so expressive that, as a hearer once said, ‘he made his hands speak.’ The address in the evening almost invariably was directly evangelistic. Contemporary appreciations that, however, generally refer to later periods of his ministry, specially commend his power in expounding Scripture and applying its lessons to the routine of daily life. Mr John Walcot, whose memories of Mr Anderson go back to the years between 1840 and 1850, wrote- ‘His preaching was to me a continual feast. It was quiet, thoughtful, conversational, and earnest. His great power was in opening up the Scriptures and in making the truth bear on the conscience and the life.’

The second quote comes from an ‘outsider’ to the Chapel, and presents the general feel of being in attendance under Anderson’s preaching:

We have several times in the evening attended the little chapel in Rose Street, and ever, we must say, with renewed satisfaction. It belongs to the Baptist persuasion. It is one of those solitary, quiet nooks, in which ambition finds no room to play vagaries, and whose pastor and flock, with evidently reciprocal regard, are content to meet, apart from all worldly stimulants, to fit themselves for eternity. The preacher speaks under felt responsibility, with solemnity; and the people listen as those who feel the deep privilege of such instruction. The place itself seems almost hallowed. The style of the interior is severely simple; its dimensions symmetrical but small. During service the silence maintained is of a nature so striking, as to make the rustle from the turning over of the leaves of the Bible itself impressive; all this is, in our eyes, strikingly becoming. Religion, as seen here, is becomingly reflex – is felt to be in accordance with what propriety might ex­pect. Here you may observe earnest listeners, because humble inquirers, too sincere evidently in their object to care for assumed forms. All this too, we must add, is of a piece with the decorum, almost reluctance, with which the congregation separate, so very unlike what we are accustomed to witness in most cases. We are no Baptist; but to those of our own brotherhood, in all kindness we would say, – Go and see; there is much there to be learned.

We have as yet said but little directly of the minister; but in looking over what we have written, we believe we have substantially said much. He it is that, in a great measure, has moulded his little flock into what has so much pleased us in exterior, and sure we are that his highest and more exclusive duty has been as faithfully performed. That his mind is of no common order, and capable of vast labour and research, his late work on the ‘Annals of the English Bible’ incontestably proves.

As to his pulpit exhibitions….are more conversational dialogues than studied discourses, betraying a close and intimate aquaintanceship with the Divine Record, and we do not know that we can give a juster idea of their peculiarity, than by the quaint fancy that we can imagine him in his feelings and habits, to be more familiar and at home amongst the patriarchs and their modes of life than he is with those among whom he lives. It is therefore from that grey and far-off land, that his mind speaks, and truly ‘the voice is solemn’, for its lessons come to us with reverence, and we feel its call to humble obedience, knowing that the authority dare not be challenged.

(Both quotations come from “Christopher Anderson’s Preaching”, found on the additional disc appendices to “Revival in Rose Street”)

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200 Years Of Faithful Preaching

October 23, 2008

200 years of God’s faithfulness. That’s what Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Edinburgh celebrates this weekend. What an opportunity! A small corner of God’s ‘big C’ Church has three days to reflect thankfully on their past, resound praise joyfully in the present, and dream ambitiously for God’s glory in the future.

However, when we say 200 years of God’s faithfulness, we would surely submit that one evidence of that faithfulness has been the gift of faithful preachers. Over two centuries, a line of godly and gifted men have (by God’s grace) left behind a legacy of saints equipped, a people prepared for works of service.

Over this next week, I’m going to try to capture something about the preaching of some of these Christ-exalting men:

  • Christopher Anderson (1808 – 1851)
  • Joseph Kemp (1902- 1915)
  • Graham Scroggie (1916 – 1933)
  • Sidlow Baxter (1935 – 1953)
  • Gerald Griffiths (1954 – 1962)
  • Alan Redpath (1963 – 1966)
  • Derek Prime (1969 – 1987)
  • Peter Grainger (1992 – date)

(ps. this is not an exhaustive list of pastors at Charlotte Chapel. For the complete story, you can read Ian Balfour’s new and comprehensive book, Revival in Rose Street).

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Surprising Spurgeon # 5 – ‘Forced’ To Preach

October 22, 2008

In reading Spurgeon biographies previously I had heard the story of deacon Vinter’s ‘scheme’ to first have Spurgeon preach a sermon. Apparently, however, this was not the first time Charles had felt (quite literally!) ‘compelled’ to preach.

Spurgeon reflects on his first Sabbath-school opportunity (and then his first sermon?):

“Before I thought of going to a Sabbath-school to teach, someone called – asked me – begged me – prayed me to take his class. I could not refuse to go; and there I was, held hand and foot by the superintendent, and was compelled to go. Then I was asked to address the children; I thought I could not, but I stood up, and stammered out a few words. It was the same on the first occassion when I attempted to preach to the people – I am sure I had no wish to do it – but there was no one else who could, and the little congregation must have gone away without a single word of warning or invitation. How could I suffer it? I felt forced to address them, and so it has been whatever I have laid my hand to.”

(Eswine, p 26)

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John MacArthur – Preaching Q & A

October 20, 2008

“Keeping Preaching Fresh” (Straight Up Conference)

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