“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ~ Acts 4:12
Charles Spurgeon, known as the “Prince of Preachers” still today, saw his duty as a preacher stationed in London like that of a soldier called to man his post no matter what. Primary in this duty was the declaration of the substitutionary and atoning death of Jesus Christ upon the cross. As Steven Lawson points out, “Spurgeon clearly saw it as his chief assignment to point sinners to the atoning death of Christ.” The great Baptist preacher had a gospel focus like that of the Puritans before him and Calvin before them. We could keep going of course all the way back but the point is that a preacher is called to preach and the essence of what he preaches is Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:42). Like Spurgeon, the preacher (and there are implications for all Christians) must see himself as a soldier manning his post:
“I received some years ago orders from my Master to stand at the foot of the cross until He came. He has not come yet, but I mean to stand there till He does.”
Elsewhere, Spurgeon declares with greater emphasis this vital duty:
“As the Roman sentinel in Pompeii stood to his post even when the city was destroyed, so do I stand to the truth of the atonement though the church is being buried beneath the boiling mud-showers of modern heresy. Everything else can wait, but this one truth of God must be proclaimed with a voice of thunder.”
The Church needs such preachers and preaching today more than ever. If we are to remain a pillar and buttress of truth, then there can be no compromise. We should pray for such men and such gospel focus in the pulpit. The saying is certainly true, “As the pulpit goes, so goes the people.” However, this is not just for preachers. While it is beneficial to have and pray for faithful preachers, every Christian needs this sort of conviction. Not only are there many false teachers and preachers prowling around seeking to devour unsuspecting sheep with deception and lies out of selfish ambition, but our world grows increasingly hostile to the gospel. Intolerance of substitutionary atonement and imputed righteousness is mounting. Hostility and impatience is growing towards Christ-centered preaching which is deemed either boring, offensive, irrelevant, intolerant, or even hateful. We have no need to be surprised but we do need to be prepared to stand firm in the grace of God declaring boldly and unashamedly the good news of Jesus Christ found in the whole counsel of God. At the heart of serious-minded, warm-hearted Presbyterianism is this solemn charge to proclaim Jesus as the Christ until He returns or calls us Home. May the Lord strengthen us and help us to man our post with strength and courage.