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)
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