April 19th: A Notable Day in Church History

*** This was meant to be posted yesterday but life happens sometimes and it is instead posted a day late 🙂

Today happens to be Good Friday which is one of the three biggest Christian celebrations of the calendar year. Christmas is the day that God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity took on flesh and lived amongst human beings. Christmas gets an entire season to itself in our western context, but would be ultimately insignificant without the celebration of Good Friday. Good Friday is the day the perfect Savior willingly went to the cross the die for the sins of anyone who will repent of sin and believe in Him for salvation. Jesus was born in order that He would die on the cross as a sinless atoning sacrifice to purchase His elect people out of sin and death, and to Himself. Yet, without the resurrection of the dead all Christian faith is in vain! 1 Corinthians 15:13 reads “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom He did not raise if it is true that the dead or not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. So, you see, just as Christmas is nothing to celebrate apart from Good Friday, so Good Friday is nothing to celebrate apart from Easter. And Easter can be celebrated with believers’ eyes transfixed on the future, because Easter cannot be separated from Christ’s ascension to His throne in heaven where he has been granted “all authority,” and to Christ’s return and consummation of His Kingdom with His people.

But, April 19th is a notable day in church history for a few other reasons too. One reason is because this is the day the great reformer, Philip Melanchthon died. Melanchthon is the lesser known out of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and himself, however, his contribution to church history is outstanding and worthy of equal celebration! He is the author of the Augsburg Confession, the reconciler of the Zwinglians and Lutherans, and one of the greatest minds in the history of the Church! On this day in 1560, Melanchthon died.

But, there is even another reason why this is such a notable day in the history of the Church, and it’s because on April 19th, 1854, Charles Spurgeon was installed as the pastor at New Park Chapel in London. Charles Spurgeon is now known as “the prince of preachers,” but upon his installment on this day many years ago he was merely 19 years old, and had only been a Christian for around 4 years! At the time of his installment, New Park was the largest Baptist church in all of London! It was at New Park Chapel that Charles Spurgeon found fame for his powerful preaching of the Bible. Spurgeon’s preaching style was attacked by critics during his day, but it has served as the example for Reformed Baptist preaching ever since. The influence of Spurgeon on today’s New Calvinist movement and the rise in Reformed theology cannot be understated! He has influenced the likes of Martin Lloyd Jones, John Macarthur, R.C. Sproul, Alistair begg, Al Mohler, and many others from the reformed and baptist traditions.

The influence of Charles Spurgeon has had a lasting impact, and even though I personally was born 100 years after his death I can say I am now a pastor in the tradition of Spurgeon. You see, Spurgeon was a pastor of pastors who even founded a Pastor’s college to train up young men to be pastors. Pastors would come to the Pastor’s college for training, and then would end up being sent throughout the United Kingdom. Then, from the United Kingdom many were transplanted to the United States, and thus the rise of the influence of Spurgeon begun! By the time of the third generation of the reformed influence in the United States, following in the footsteps of the 1689 London Baptist Confession, the pastors looking up to Spurgeon are the pastors I now look up to myself. You can almost think of Spurgeon as the Great-Grandfather of modern Calvinistic, Reformed, Baptistic preaching– and I thank God for that.

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