This week marks an historic occasion in the life of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. We are privileged to host Dr. John MacArthur for our first Charles Spurgeon Lectures on Biblical Preaching. Dr. MacArthur will deliver lectures on preaching in chapel on Tuesday and Wednesday, as well as preach a special community service on Tuesday evening.
I am grateful for the opportunity to host Dr. MacArthur as our inaugural Spurgeon lecturer, and I am praying the week will prove not only historic for our institution, but truly consequential for Christ’s church. Why is Midwestern Seminary holding the first annual Charles Spurgeon Lectures on Biblical Preaching, and why am I honored to host Dr. MacArthur as our inaugural lecturer?
Why the Charles Spurgeon Lectures?
No name is more synonymous with preaching than Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Providentially raised up by God, Spurgeon pastored the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England, during the Victorian Era, when Great Britain spanned the globe as the world’s leading empire—thus adding to Spurgeon’s global fame and influence. Spurgeon was a gifted pastor, author, apologist, leader, visionary, and school and ministry administrator. Yet, he was first and foremost a preacher. All of Spurgeon’s auxiliary ministries flowed from his pulpit, and his weekly sermons were transcribed and dispensed around the world. Arguably, in the history of the church, there is no name more rightly-associated with preaching in the English-speaking world than Charles Spurgeon.
Spurgeon’s global influence, famed preaching ministry, pastoral legacy, and contemporary relevance all intersect in a singular way at Midwestern Seminary. We are privileged to own Spurgeon’s library, which includes more than 7,000 of his books, artifacts, pictures, letters, paintings, accouterments, and even his desk. Midwestern Seminary is an inheritor and a steward of Spurgeon’s legacy. This is a legacy we steward not only for ourselves, but for the Southern Baptist Convention and the church at large. Central to this stewardship will be an annual preaching lectureship dedicated to Spurgeon’s legacy and to strengthening pulpits around the world.
Why Biblical Preaching?
The health of a church rarely rises above the health of its pulpit, and the strength of a church’s witness rarely surpasses the strength of its pulpit. The church—and the world—needs convictional, Christ-centered, biblical preaching. Thus, though it would be appropriate to host lectures on many facets of Spurgeon’s ministry, given the urgent needs of the church—and the world—it is especially appropriate to host lectures on preaching.
Tragically, not all are convinced of the necessity of biblical preaching. Yet, the church that forsakes the pulpit will find itself forsaken of God, and the seminary that forsakes the pulpit will be so forsaken as well. Midwestern Seminary exists for the Church. At the very heart of this mission is to strengthen the church by training preachers and teachers of God’s Word. We rightly-honor Spurgeon and best serve the church by holding the Charles Spurgeon Lectures on Biblical Preaching.
Why John MacArthur?
When it comes to biblical exposition, John MacArthur might well be this generation’s gold standard. Since 1969, Dr. MacArthur has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif. For nearly 45 years, he has preached verse-by-verse through the Bible, most especially the New Testament. Enter the study of any evangelical pastor and you will most likely find Dr. MacArthur’s commentaries on the shelf. Like few others, Dr. MacArthur has championed biblical exposition from his own pulpit, and through his many books and commentaries, Grace to You radio ministry, and the Master’s Seminary & College.
Throughout his ministry, Dr. MacArthur has borne the mantle of the prophet. Over the decades, he has proven a prophetic witness—calling the church to hold high biblical exposition, sound ecclesiology, the Lordship of Christ, biblical complementarity, and, once again in recent days, Dr. MacArthur has called attention to the many liabilities and dangers associated with the Charismatic movement. In a very real sense, Dr. MacArthur is an Ephesians 4:15 minister, faithful to speak the truth in love.
In fact, faithful might be the best word to describe Dr. MacArthur. Throughout nearly 50 years of public ministry, he has proven himself faithful as a preacher, pastor, evangelist, husband, father, and college and seminary president. Dr. MacArthur has served for nearly a half-century in public ministry—and more than 44 of them pastoring the same church—without even a whiff of moral turpitude or ministry scandal. Faithfulness seems in short supply these days, and Dr. MacArthur is a model of faithful biblical ministry to which a young generation of ministers can look.
So, I invite you to celebrate a bit of history with us in Kansas City this week. While the evening service on Tuesday is already over capacity, you are welcome to attend chapel on Tuesday or Wednesday at 10 a.m. Additionally, all services will be live-streamed and available for free and simultaneous viewing at mbts.edu.
Yet, more importantly than celebrating this historic occasion at Midwestern Seminary, I beg of you to join us in celebrating the preaching of God’s Word, to renew ourselves once more to the centrality of the pulpit, and to join me in praying that God will raise up a generation of convictional, biblical preachers and teachers of God’s Word who will thunder the truth and awaken his church in revival and spiritual renewal.topicsChurch & Ministry, Church History, Preaching