Weekend Reads: Pastors past and present pointing to Christ


The Face of Jesus Christ

By Archibald Brown

Banner of Truth Trust

The famous Metropolitan Tabernacle did not vanish at the death of Charles Spurgeon; in fact, it stands in London to this day, and is still a true church with many members. But the pastor who succeeded Spurgeon at the end of the 19th century has been nearly forgotten by history, and though his sermons were once in great demand, they have been long out of print. His name was Archibald Brown, and the editors at the Banner of Truth Trust have reprinted 22 of his sermons, chiefly on our Lord Jesus, in The Face of Jesus Christ: The Person and Work of Our Lord (2012).

Brown’s sermons are worth reading. Like Spurgeon, he tends to preach on tiny portions or even fragments of a particular text, but his flights are always biblical and his exhortations always pious—and practical. The reader will detect the spirit of Victorian England on every page, particularly in the frequent mention of mothers, children, and other saintly people. But Brown never preaches the gospel of sentimentalism, domesticity, or moralism; his is the good old-time religion, tinged with fundamentalism and enamored of Jesus Christ.

Brown’s preaching is unashamedly exemplary. He is not afraid to call his listeners to imitate Christ—not, indeed, to earn favor with God, but to celebrate favor freely given. All his preaching has one great object: “I only wish I could make this text blaze away before your eyes, as it has before my own.” Here is the secret of the power in these sermons: They were preached to the preacher first, and changed him, before they were ever delivered from the pulpit.

Archibald Brown was a man utterly stricken with the beauty and glory of his Lord Jesus—and his sermons are infectious.

Christ’s Glory, Your Good

By Ryan McGraw

Reformation Heritage Books

God promised eternal life before the world began, it says in Titus 1:2. To whom did He promise it? Obviously, to the Son of God, the eternal second person of the Trinity. Ryan McGraw, an Orthodox Presbyterian Church pastor in Sunnyvale, Calif., launches his 116-page treatment of salvation from this runway and takes readers on a theologically packed flight through scriptural truth. Starting with the eternal preexistence of the Son, through promise and incarnation to the reigning Christ who now sits at the right hand of the Father, McGraw not only sketches the doctrinal points drawn from each segment of Jesus’ life, but skillfully applies those truths to the practical goal of meditating on the glory of our Redeemer. God promised eternal life to Christ, who by His obedience earned it not only for Himself, but also for all the elect as His seed. How glorious!

Devotional theology in the best Puritan tradition, Christ’s Glory, Your Good: Redemption Planned, Promised, Accomplished, and Applied (Reformation Heritage Books, 2013) includes a welcome ecclesial focus. Have you meditated on the glory of Christ revealed in your church’s weekly worship? Have you recognized that leadership—i.e., pastors, elders, and deacons—is one of Christ’s primary gifts to His people?

The work originated as a gospel tract (“with no page limitations”), and McGraw is not shy about driving his points home. Whatever your pet sin, you will find that Christ’s glory directly addresses it—and holds out hope for even the most wretched reprobate.

This book(let) is neither a hyper-specialized monograph nor a table-breaking multivolume systematic theology book. It describes, in small compass, the whole work of the whole Christ and the whole Godhead, bringing redemption to the whole person as part of the whole church within the renewing of the whole world. For that wide-ranging vision alone, McGraw is well worth reading: He shows you Christ’s multifaceted glory. 

Caleb Nelson
Caleb Nelson

Caleb is the pastor of Harvest Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Gillette, Wyoming.


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