Volume. XXXiii, No. 16
Sunday, 14 October 2018

From the Pastor’s Heart: Rev Archibald Brown (Part 2)

Here is some more of his biographic sketch by Iain Murray: “Brown was converted at the age of sixteen. A friend of his, Annie Bigg (later to become his first wife), invited him to an evangelistic meeting.  The speaker, Arthur Blackwood, asked if Brown were a Christian. When he replied, ‘no,’ the evangelist said, ‘how sad.’  This affected him deeply.  Brown was convicted of sin and then soundly converted while sitting under a tree.  Full of joy, he threw his cap in the air, which then got stuck in the tree.  His first act as a Christian was to retrieve his hat.

Brown trained for the ministry under C. H. Spurgeon at the Pastors’ College. He became great friends with the famous London preacher and stood with him during the Downgrade controversy. Spurgeon was no great fan of physical exercise, but he said that he would walk four miles to hear Brown preach.  Brown’s first pastorate was in Bromley, Kent. After that he served several London churches, ministering in Stepney Green Tabernacle, East London Tabernacle, Chatsworth Road Chapel and the Metropolitan Tabernacle. However, the ‘Spurgeon's Successor’ tag, while true, is a little misleading.  Brown was only pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle from 1907-1910, initially serving as co-pastor with C. H. Spurgeon’s son, Thomas. Brown's longest and most fruitful period of ministry was spent in the East End of London from 1866-1897.  Revival in the Stepney Green Tabernacle necessitated the building of East London Tabernacle to accommodate the large number of converts that had been added to the church.  Congregations of 3,000 people thronged to hear him preach. He appointed nine missionaries to reach into the community with gospel hope and practical help.  Brown was a fervent evangelist.  His ministry touched all kinds of people. The record of his converts includes prostitutes, thieves and other criminals.

The following is the continuation of his message, “The Devil’s Amusement: The Church’s Task – Entertainment or Evangelization?”

If ‘providing recreation’ be a part of the Church’s work, surely we may look for some promise to encourage her in the toilsome task.  Where is it? There is a promise for ‘My Word’; it ‘shall not return unto Me void.’  There is the heart-rejoicing declaration concerning the Gospel: ‘it is the power of God.’  There is the sweet assurance for the preacher of Christ that, whether he be successful or not as the world judges success - he is ‘sweet savour unto God.’  There is the glorious benediction for those whose testimony, so far from amusing the world, rouses its wrath: ‘Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’ Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they refused to? The Gospel of amusement has no martyrology. In vain does one look for a promise from God for providing recreation for a godless world. That which has no authority from Christ, no provision made for it by the Spirit, no promise attached to it by God, can only be a lying hypocrite when it lays claim to be ‘a branch of the work of the Lord.’

ii. But again, providing amusement for the people is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What is to be the attitude of the Church towards the world according to our Lord's teaching? Strict separation and uncompromising hostility. While no hint ever passed His lips of winning the world by pleasing it, or accommodating methods to its taste, His demand for unworldliness was constant and emphatic. He sets forth in one short sentence what He would have His disciples to be: ‘Ye are the salt of the earth.’ Yes, the salt: not the sugar-candy or a ‘lump of delight.’ Something the world will be more inclined to spit out than swallow with a smile. Something more calculated to bring water to the eye than laughter to the lip.

Short and sharp is the utterance, ‘Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.’  ‘If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.’  ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.’  ‘I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.’ ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ 

These passages are hard to reconcile with the modern idea of the Church providing recreation for those who have no taste for more serious things - in other words, of conciliating the world. If they teach anything at all, it is that fidelity to Christ will bring down the world’s wrath, and that Christ intended His disciples to share with Him the world's scorn and rejection. How did Jesus act? What were the methods of the only perfectly "faithful witness" the Father has ever had?

As none will question that He is to be the worker's model, let us gaze upon Him. How significant the introductory account given by Mark, ‘Now, after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the Gospel.’  And again, in the same chapter, I find Him saying, in answer to the announcement of His disciples that all men were seeking for Him, ‘Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also, for therefore came I forth. Matthew tells us, ‘And it came to pass when Jesus had made an end of commanding His twelve disciples, He departed thence to teach and preach in their cities.’ In answer to John's question, ‘Art Thou He that should come?’  He replies, ‘Go and show John those things which ye do hear and see; the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.’  There is no item in the catalogue after this sort. ‘And the careless are amazed, and the perishing are provided with innocent recreation.’

We are not left in doubt as to the matter of His preaching, for ‘when many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door, He preached the Word unto them,’ There was no change of method adopted by the Lord during His course of ministry; no learning by experience of a better plan. His first word of command to His evangelists was, ‘As ye go, preach.’  His last, ‘Preach the Gospel to every creature.’  Not an evangelist suggests that at any time during His ministry He turned aside from preaching to entertain, and so attract the people. He was in awful earnestness, and his ministry was like Himself. Had He been less uncompromising, and introduced more of the ‘bright and pleasant’ element into His mission, He would have been more popular.

Yet, when many of His disciples went back because of the searching nature of His preaching, I do not find there was any attempt to increase a diminished congregation by resorting to something more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, ‘We must keep up the gatherings anyway: so run after those friends, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow. Something very short and attractive, with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God, but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have a happy hour. Be quick, Peter; we must get the public somehow- if not by Gospel, then by nonsense.’  No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the Word, He simply turns to the twelve, and asks, ‘Will ye also go away?’” 

To be continued….


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  • Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Mathews Abraham.
  • Special thanks to Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham for ministering God’s word to our Holiday Bible Club; SS teachers, meal providers, volunteers, helpers & parents for making this event a blessed spiritual experience for our children.
  • Visitors to Alwyndor Aged Care, Hove, please use Dorsch St entrance.
  • Next Lord’s Day’s Adult Sunday School will be conducted by Rev Steven Tan: “Get a Hand on the OT,” a five-fold introduction to the Old Testament in 2 hours.
  • New Basic Bible Knowledge Class (in English) commences 28 Oct.
  • Missions Committee is planning a Missions trip to Cambodia (Jan) & Cebu (2-12 Feb). If interested, please see Elder Michael D Lee by today for Cambodia, and 31 Oct for Cebu (for planning purposes).
  • Precept Seminar on “How to Study the Bible” will be held on the following Lord’s Days: 11, 18 & 25 Nov @ 2:15 – 4:00 pm. Registration fee $10. All encouraged to come. Register with Sis Jun Lin by 28 Oct.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: VFG. Next week: YAF.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Holiday Bible Club: Rev & Mrs Mathews Abraham.
  • Visitors & church activities in the past week.



  • Children who attended Holiday Bible Club to grow in the Lord.
  • God’s comfort for Bro Barron Soh & family on the passing of his grandmother.
  • Missions: Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi (Phnom Penh); IBPFM missionaries.
  • Year 12 students: Exam preparation.
  • Upcoming wedding of Bro Nicholas Tiong & Sis Wendy Liang (S’pore).
  • Ebenezer BPC (Melb) – unity in doctrine & fellowship.




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