St. Patrick of Ireland was a man who knew the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. Patrick opens his Confession, “My name is Patrick. I am a sinner, a simple country person, and the least of all believers.” Patrick would come to be known as the “Apostle of Ireland” as he preached Christ, traveling from county to county, planting churches. It is a coincidental but fitting providence that on March 17, the same day people commemorate Patrick, believers in Crossgar, Northern Ireland covenanted to be faithful to Christ in the face of apostasy and ecumenism with the beginning of a new gospel-preaching, evangelistic denomination. Their hearts were captive to Christ and they longed for others to know their Savior and Lord.
The inauspicious commencement of the Free Presbyterian Church in a remote town was used of God to spread the gospel to places like Kathmandu and Kilkeel, Tasmania and Toronto. This publication is dedicated to the work of the gospel under the North American Presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church. This presbytery owes a debt of gratitude to the founders in Northern Ireland whose vision has greatly impacted the work on this side of the Atlantic. Much of this edition of Current reflects upon this influence as we look back and look forward. I hope the articles serve as reminders why we exist as a denomination. You will read of the importance of standing against error, but specifically I ask you to consider the prominence of the preaching of the Word in the advance of the gospel. From its earliest days this denomination has had an evangelistic, missional heart. That heart is evidenced once more in the article by Miss Joanne Greer, Liberia. She presents her burden for the advance of the gospel among the children of Liberia.
I trust that, by God’s grace, we can continue to go forward preaching Christ as He is revealed in the Word of God. Yet, all of our efforts and resolve will come to nothing without the blessing of God. Dr. Ian Paisley greatly admired the work of Charles Hadden Spurgeon and often read his sermons. Spurgeon was known as a great preacher, but he was a great man of prayer. After his first visit to England, D. L. Moody was asked upon his return to America, “Did you hear Spurgeon preach?” He replied, “Yes, but better still I heard him pray.” What was true of Spurgeon was true of his congregation. Spurgeon’s autobiography describes his gratefulness for being blessed with a praying church. “I always give all the glory to God, but I do not forget that He gave me the privilege of ministering from the first to a praying people. We had prayer meetings that moved our very souls, each one appeared determined to storm the Celestial City by the might of intercession.”
Seventy years ago there were men and women who resolved to “storm the Celestial City by the might of intercession.” Will we take up the baton in our generation? Success in our labors will be measured as souls are saved, sanctified, and one day glorified. Such success is the work of God and will only come as the Spirit of God is poured out upon Christ’s church. To that end, let us pray earnest prayers.
C.H. Spurgeon on earnest praying:
“If you do not pray except when you feel like praying, you will not pray much, nor pray when you most need it. My brethren, when you do not feel like praying, you ought to pray all the more, and go to the Lord to help you to pray” (MTP 35:583).
“We must get rid of the icicles that hang about our lips. We must ask the Lord to thaw the ice-caves of our soul and to make our hearts like a furnace of fire heated seven times hotter” (MTP 13:79).
“It may suit a teacher of English composition to criticize your sentences, but God thinks much more of your desires than of the words in which they are expressed. It may be natural for a scholar to consider the accuracy of your terms, but God specially marks the earnestness of your soul” (MTP 48:483).