Volume. XXXiii, No. 15
Sunday, 07 October 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart: Rev Archibald Brown (Part 1)

Probably, most people have never heard of Rev Archibald Geikie Brown (1844-1922), who was born in London.  He was under the ministry of C. H. Spurgeon and has been known as one of his successors.  However, it is not an accurate description of him, though he ministered with Thomas, Spurgeon’s son, for a few years.  He was an intimate friend and follower of C. H. Spurgeon.  Iain Murray wrote a book about him, titled, Archibald G. Brown: Spurgeon’s Successor.  Faith Cook also mentioned him in her book, Sound of Trumpets.  The following is his brief biography, published by the Banner of Truth. 


“Desiring to become a minister, he entered Pastors’ College, and was sent, before he was nineteen, to start a Baptist cause at Bromley, Kent. He served this Church for four years, and then accepted a call to East London, where he erected the East London Tabernacle, and built up one of the largest churches in the land. Mr Brown held this charge from 1867 to 1896, gaining great influence by his luminous expositions of Scripture, his ardent proclamation of Christ, and his winning appeals to the consciences and hearts of his hearers. His name became a household word in East London, and the Tabernacle witnessed many memorable scenes—none, perhaps, more remarkable than the great Saturday evening prayer meetings which formed a fitting prelude to Sundays of grace and power.  At length, however, feeling the strain of the work, he removed from East London, and fulfilled faithful ministries at Chatsworth Road, Norwood, from 1897 to 1907, and at the Metropolitan Tabernacle from 1907 to 1910. During the next few years Brown conducted services in many centres, and undertook preaching tours in Australasia and South Africa. His last years were shadowed by affliction, and on 2 April, 1922, he fell asleep in Christ.”


The reason why I want to speak about him is to introduce you to one of his messages, “The Devil’s Amusement: The Church’s Task – Entertainment or Evangelization?”  Though it was preached more than a hundred years ago, his insight is evergreen even to us today.  It is provided by Andrew Necker in Christian News & Views Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 7, July 1997.  Due to the length of it, you will get the whole message probably in three or four articles.  Here it comes:


Different days demand their own special testimony. The watchman who would be faithful to his Lord and the city of his God has need to carefully note the signs of the times and emphasize his witness accordingly. Concerning the testimony needed now, there can be little, if any, doubt. An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross, so brazen in its impudence, that the most short-sighted of spiritual men can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate. Ever for evil, it has worked like leaven until now the whole lump ferments; look which way you may, its presence makes itself manifest. There is little if anything to choose between Church, Chapel, or Mission Hall. However they may differ in some respects, they bear a striking likeness in the posters that figure upon and disfigure their notice boards. Amusement for the people is the leading article advertised by each. If any of my readers doubt my statement, or think my utterance too sweeping, let them take a tour of inspection and study ‘the announcements for the week’ at the doors of the sanctuaries of the neighbourhood; or let them read the religious advertisements in their local papers. I have done this again and again, until the hideous fact has been proved up to the hilt, that ‘amusement’ is ousting ‘the preaching of the Gospel’ as the great attraction.  ‘Concerts,’ ‘Entertainments,’ ‘Fancy Fairs,’ ‘Smoking Conferences,’ ‘Dramatic Performances,’ are the words honoured with biggest type and most startling colours. The Concert is fast becoming as much a recognized part of church life as the Prayer Meeting, and is already, in most places, far better attended.


‘Providing recreation for the people’ will soon be looked upon as a necessary part of Christian work and as binding upon the Church of God, as though it were a Divine command, unless some strong voice be raised which will make themselves heard. I do not presume to possess such a voice, but I do entertain the hope that I may awaken some louder echoes.  Anyway, the burden of the Lord is upon me in this matter, and I leave it with Him to give my testimony ringing tone, or to let it die away in silence. I shall have delivered my soul in either case. Yet the conviction fills my mind that in all parts of the country there are faithful men and women who see the danger and deplore it and will endorse my witness and my warning.

It is only during the past few years that ‘amusement’ has become a recognized weapon of our warfare and developed into a mission. There has been a steady ‘down grade’ in this respect. From ‘speaking out,’ as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony: then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she has tolerated them in her borders, and now she has adopted them and provided a home for them under the plea of ‘reaching the masses and getting the ear of the people.’  The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the Church of Christ that part of her mission is to provide entertainment for the people with a view to winning them into her ranks. The human nature that lies in every heart has risen to the bait.  Here, now, is an opportunity of gratifying the flesh and yet retaining a comfortable conscience. We can now please ourselves in order to do good to others. The rough old cross can be exchanged for a ‘costume,’ and the exchange can be made with the benevolent purpose of elevating the people.


All this is terribly sad, and the more so because truly gracious souls are being led away by the specious pretext that it is a form of Christian work. They forget that a seemingly beautiful angel may be the devil himself, ‘for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’ (2 Cor. 11:14).


Not Supported By Scripture


  1. My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in Holy Scripture as one of the functions of the Church. What her duties are will come under our notice later on. At present it is the negative side of the question that we are dealing with. Now, surely, if our Lord had intended His Church to be the caterer of entertainment, and so counteract the god of this world, He would hardly have left so important a branch of service unmentioned. If it is Christian work, why did not Christ at least hint of it? ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,’ is clear enough. So would it have been if He had added, ‘and provide amusement for those who do not relish the Gospel.’ No such addendum, however, is to be found, nor even an equivalent for such, in any one of our Lord's utterances. This style of work did not seem to occur to His mind. Then again, Christ, as the ascended Lord, gives to His Church specially qualified men for the carrying on of His work, but no mention of any gift for this branch of service occurs in the list. ‘He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers - for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.’ Where do the ‘public entertainers’ come in? The Holy Ghost is silent concerning them, and His silence is eloquent.


By now, all of us must have seen the relevancy of this message to us and to contemporary churches that have brought entertainment elements into Christian ministries and services.  Rev. Brown outcried against these wrongs more than a hundred years ago as warnings. 


His message will be continued next week.





Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



  • Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Mathews Abraham.
  • Holiday Bible Club starts tomorrow. Thanks to parents who have registered their children & invited friends to this important church event.
  • Special thanks to all who have signed up for the hospitality roster for Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham & family.
  • Visitation to Alwyndor Aged Care, Hove, next Lord’s Day @ 2:30 pm. If you wish to participate, please inform Sis Sally Teng or Bro Zach Liang.
  • New Basic Bible Knowledge Class (in English) commences 21 Oct.
  • Missions Committee is planning a Missions trip to Cambodia (Jan) & Cebu (2-12 Feb). If interested, please see Elder Michael D Lee by next Lord’s Day for Cambodia, and 31 Oct for Cebu.
  • Precept Seminar on “How to Study the Bible” will be held on the following Lord’s Days: 11, 18 & 25 Nov @ 2:30 – 4:00 pm. Registration required. Non-refundable flat fee of $10/ person for 3 days. Register and pay (exact amount, please) to Sis Jun Lin by 28 Oct.
  • Daily Manna (Adult & Junior) available in the foyer. Donation $1/ copy.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: AFG. Next week: VFG.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • IF Retreat: Rev Edward Paauwe & encouraging messages; organisers, participants & wonderful fellowship.
  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.



  • New Pastor for our church.
  • HBC & Seminar Speakers: Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham; teachers, helpers & children.
  • Missions: Rev Sun Sokha (Phnom Penh).
  • Year 12 students: Exam preparation.
  • Upcoming wedding of Bro Nicholas Tiong & Sis Wendy Liang (S’pore).
  • Unity & Fellowship of Australian B-P Churches.
  • Those affected by earthquake & tsunami in Sulawesi.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041