Today in the Church’s History

As the Reformation began spreading over Europe, authorities in Amsterdam sought to limit its effect. When a Protestant rally was announced on an estate outside the city, the city gates were shut to prevent people from attending. But many people swam out through the canals or escaped through small passages in the wall. Multitudes forced their way out when the gates were opened to let the milkmaids into the fields for the morning milking. By 11 o’clock, the city rulers gave in, and the gates were opened for all to attend the meeting. Over 5,000 people gathered to hear Pieter Gabriel preach a four-hour sermon from Ephesians 2:8–9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. … ” It helped establish the Reformation in Holland.

This Scripture also became the text of an unusual tag team sermon by Reverend James Spurgeon and his grandson Charles. The younger Spurgeon, who was just beginning to preach, had been invited to speak at a certain church, but due to the trains he was late. At length, James stood up and started the sermon in his place, choosing Ephesians 2:8–9 as his text. When Charles arrived, James interrupted himself, saying, “Here comes my grandson. He can preach the gospel better than I can, but you cannot preach a better gospel, can you?”
Charles mounted the pulpit and began right where his grandfather had left off. A few minutes later, when Charles was speaking about human sinfulness, James whispered, “I know most about that.” Charles sat down, and James took over and finished that point; then he turned the pulpit back over to his grandson. As he resumed, Charles could hear his grandfather behind him, “Good! Good! Tell them that again, Charles.”
For the rest of his life, whenever Charles read or preached from Ephesians, chapter 2, there came to him with recurring force his grandfather’s words, “Tell them that again, Charles! Tell them that again.

Robert J. Morgan

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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