Sidlow BaxterOctober 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)
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