November 21, 2017

A. T. Pierson on the London Tabernacle

Submitted by John Mincy

“This Metropolitan Tabernacle is a house of prayer most emphatically,” Dr. Pierson writes. “Here are numerous rooms, under and around the great audience-room, where for almost forty years this one servant of God has held forth the Word of Life; and in these rooms prayer is almost ceaselessly going up. When one meeting is not in progress, another is. This is a hive of bees, where there are comparatively few drones. There are prayer meetings before preaching, and others after preaching; Evangelistic Associations, Zenana Societies, and all sorts of work for God find here a centre, and all are consecrated by prayer. Before the preacher goes upon the platform to address these thousands, the officers of this great church meet him and each other for prayer as to the service; and one feels upborne on these strong arms of prayer while preaching. No marvel that Mr. Spurgeon’s ministry has been so blessed. He himself attributes it mainly to the prevailing prayers of his people. Why may not the whole Church of God learn something from the Metropolitan Tabernacle of London as to the power of simple Gospel preaching backed by believing supplication?

“Referring to this great church, one cannot forget also this divine mission as a standing protest against the secularising of the house of God by the attractions of worldly art and aestheticism. Here is nothing to divert the mind from the simplicity of worship and the Gospel; no attempt at elaborate architecture, furniture, garniture. A precentor leads congregational song without even the help of a cornet; prayer and praise, and the reading of the Word of God, with plain putting of Gospel truth—these have been Mr. Spurgeon’s lifelong ‘means of grace and weapons of war.

“This lesson has, in my opinion, a bearing on all work for Christ, at home and abroad. Our reliance is too much on the charms of this world, in drawing souls to the Gospel and to the Saviour. The Holy Spirit will not tolerate our idols. If we will have artistic and secular types of music, substituting unsanctified art for simple praise; if we will have elaborate ritual in place of simple, believing prayer, if we will have eloquent lectures in place of simple, earnest Gospel preaching, we must not wonder if no shekinah fires burn in our sanctuaries. If Ahaz is allowed to displace God’s plain altar by the carved, idolatrous altar from Damascus, we need not be surprised if God withdraws His power. Perhaps the reason why the work of God abroad shows more sign of His presence and power than our sanctuary services at home is in part this, that our foreign mission work has never been embarrassed as yet by those elaborate attempts at aesthetic attractions which turn many of our home churches into concert-halls and lecture-saloons, and costly club-houses. May God grant us to learn, once for all, that nothing in our mission work can make up for Holy Spirit power, and that Holy Spirit power itself makes up for the lack of all else. If the angel troubles the pool, there is healing in the waters; but if God’s angel comes not down, all the doctors in Jerusalem, with all the drugs in creation, cannot impart healing virtue.”[1]

  1. Accessed July 16, 2014 — []

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