Tuesday, November 01, 2005

C H Spurgeon is prophesied over ... !

It is of considerable interest to me when church history flags up key events where the supernatural power of God is manifest. To me, this buttresses the argument against cessationism. Many are familiar with the times in Spurgeon's preaching when he would stop and identify people in his congregation and reveal the 'secrets of their heart's' however I was amazed to find this - the following account from the first volume of the Banner of Truth autobiography. This is in Spurgeon's own words:

"The story of Richard Knill's prophesying that I should preach the gospel in Rowland Hill's Chapel and to the largest congregations in the world has been regarded by many as a legent but it was strictly true.

On three sucessive days he taught me and prayed with me; and before he had to leave, my grandfather had come back from the place where he had gone to preach and all the family were gathered to morning prayer. Then, in the presence of them all, Mr Knill took me on his knee and said; "This child will one day preach the gospel and he will preach it to great multitudes. I am persuaded that he will preach in the chapel of Rowland Hill, where I am now the minister".

He spoke very solemnly and called upon all present to witness what he said. I was made to promise that when I preached in Rowland Hill's Chapel, that hymn ("God moves in a mysterious way") be sung. Think of that as a promise from a child! Would it ever be other than an idle dream?

Years flew by. After I had begun for some little time to preach in London, Dr Alexander Fletcher was engaged to deliver the annual sermon to children in Surrey Chapel; but as he was taken ill, I was asked in a hurry to preach to the children in his stead. "Yes" I replied, "I will, if you will allow the children to sing 'God moves in a mysterious way'. I have made a promise long ago that so that hymn be sung".

And so it was, I preached in Rowland Hill's Chapel and the hymn was sung. My emotions on that occasion I cannot describe, for the word of the Lord's servant was fulfilled ... Did the words of Mr Knill help to bring about their own fulfillment? I think so. I believed them and looked forward to the time when I should preach the Word".

Ref: C H Spurgeon: Autobiography: Volume 1 - "The Early Years". Banner of Truth, Edinburgh (1994) - pp27 to 28.

There is little I need comment on, other than it seems clear that it is no problem whatsoever to C H Spurgeon that God may in His divine sovereignity speak outside of but alongside His Word. He does not have a problem (as many 'open but cautious' brethen do today) with predictive words of prophesy. He does not have a problem with a call for those words to be weighed. I think that this account should make many of us sit up and take note.

Those of us charismatics who have been familiar and happy with the gift of prophecy for some years should question whether we have the faith to give such solemn predictive words should the Spirit give them. Or does fear of man or getting it wrong make us shrink back? Those cessationists who do not believe that God still speaks outside of His Word should ask why then such a great Prince of Preachers and man of the Word did not feel that the authenticity of the Word of God was in any threat whatsoever from this prophetic word given. Furthermore more glory was actually brought to God by it being given and proved true.

No comments: