When Charles Haddon Spurgeon first went to Park Street church in London, he was nineteen years old. There he found a church with a seating capacity of fifteen hundred but with an attendance of under two hundred. Nine years later the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built to accommodate the crowds which came to hear him preach; his sermons were published in newspapers around the world; a school had been established to train pastors; and a colportage business was started to print evangelistic booklets. It was said that over 23,000 people had heard him preach during those years.
During Spurgeons 38 years as pastor of the MetropolitanTabernacle, his congregation included 6,000 worshippers and added 14,000 members. Clearly the Metropolitan Tabernacle was one of the most influential churches of the 19th century.
In 1972, however, seventy-five years after Spurgeon retired, some pastors visiting his church counted only 87 worshippers for the morning service.
What had happened to this once great church? How did they lose their influence? Many explanations could be given. London had changed. People had changed. The church did not keep up with the times. It should have moved to the suburbs.
In simple terms the church had somewhere along the way, lost its focus.
We are always only one generation away from irrelevancy and extinction!
contributed by Ralph Juthman
Leonard Ravenhill (1907–1994) was an English Christian Evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He is best known for challenging the modern church (through his books and sermons) to compare itself to the early Christian Church as chronicled in the Book of Acts. His most notable book is Why Revival Tarries which has sold over a million copies worldwide.
"The only reason we don't have revival is because we are willing to live without it!"
"Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility."
"If weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere."
"Men give advice; God gives guidance."
"Are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for?"
"A sinning man stops praying, a praying man stops sinning"
"The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising."
"The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity."
"My main ambition in life is to be on the devil's most wanted list."
"If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified."
"Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy"
"The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”
"In the early church they were always amazed, in the modern church we want to be amused."
C. S. Lewis’s on why we should read old books:
" Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period...
We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, "But how could they have thought that?"—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness, but we shall certainly increase it, and weaken our guard against it, if we read only modern books.
Where they are true they will give us truths which we half knew already. Where they are false they will aggravate the error with which we are already dangerously ill. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books."