Steven Lawson in London: Martyrs and Preachers


BINGHAM: Hi, I’m Nathan W. Bingham with Ligonier Ministries,
and we’re here in Smithfield as part of our English Reformation Study Tour. I’m joined by Ligonier teaching fellow, Dr.
Steven Lawson. Dr. Lawson, why are we here at Smithfield? What’s significant about this location? LAWSON: Well, this is a very memorable place, Nathan,
because this is where the first Marian martyr was put to death. His name was John Rogers, February the 4th,
1555. He was burned at the stake just right there,
because he preached the true gospel. He repudiated transubstantiation that was
being taught in the Catholic church as well as elements of it in the church of England. He took a bold stand, and it cost him his
very life. His example would lead the way for the others
who would give their life into death for the gospel. BINGHAM: Our location, just before here was Moorfields. I’m, I’m probably not saying that right with
the Australian accent. How am I meant to say it? LAWSON: You’re doing great, Moorfields. BINGHAM: Moorfields. Okay. We were there. That was a significant location because of
George Whitefield. Right now it’s under construction. It’s a bustling area, but it was once an open
field where Whitefield preached. Before we talk about Whitefield, what was
the state of the pulpit before Whitefield came on the scene? LAWSON: Well, the pulpit was dead. There was no preaching of the Bible, very
little preaching of the Bible, very little gospel. It was just the church had become a mausoleum. It had become a museum. Whitefield burst onto the scene preaching. Preaching like had not been heard, many would
say, since the days of the Apostles. He was a powerhouse of a preacher. He had to preach in the open fields because
the churches were shut to him, because he said even the ministers need to be born again. They did not take kindly to that, so he couldn’t
preach in church buildings anymore. He began to preach and open fields, but God
worked it for good because the church building could only hold five or 600. The fields could hold 30,000 and 40,000, and
so Whitefield preached the gospel. Moorfields was one of those places. 1743 he came and preached to some 30,000 people. He was electrifying London with his preaching
of the new birth. “You must be born again.” BINGHAM: He had microphones and a AV system
and all set up? How did he preach to that many people? LAWSON: It was just with his booming voice, a voice
that only God could give to a preacher. He could be heard for quite some distance. Even in Scotland, he preached once to as many
as 80,000 people from on top of a cliff. He was a powerhouse of a preacher spiritually,
but also vocally as well. LAWSON: Now you go around the country and around the
world teaching pastors how to preach with the Institute for Expository Preaching? LAWSON: I do. When you think of Whitefield, how has he influenced
your preaching ministry and it how you teach other pastors to preach? LAWSON: Great question. He has influenced me, and through me to others,
as I tell them about Whitefield, because he was an evangelistic preacher. Not only did he preach the gospel, but he
urged people to commit their life to Christ. That’s something that we need to recover today. Actually, moving beyond the indicative to
the imperative and commanding people to believe, and to repent, and to come to faith in Christ,
and to enter through the narrow gate. We need more preaching like this that goes
beyond just instruction to summoning the listener to come to faith in Christ. BINGHAM: Now, one final question for you, Dr. Lawson. What does the life and ministry of Whitefield
have to say to just a lay Christian about what it means to live as a Christian? LAWSON: Well, I would say this. He was the most gifted preacher of his day
and maybe any day, but I would say his godliness exceeded his giftedness. No matter how gifted he was, he was full of
love, and passion, and devotion for the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He had a heart that was a flame for God. That speaks to all of us no matter what it
is God calls us to do. The great commandment is to love the Lord
your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Whitefield is an example of this. Also, his humility, because he would sign
all of his letters, he would sign it, I’m the least and the last. He actually meant it. He saw himself as the chief of sinners who
had been saved by the grace of God. I think that’s an example for even for lay
people that we would walk with humility. Clothe ourselves with humility as we walk
before the Lord. BINGHAM: Well, thank you for your time, Dr. Lawson. BINGHAM: Always a pleasure Nathan Bingham. If you’d like to learn more about George Whitefield,
Dr. Lawson has written a book called, The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield. LAWSON: You need that book. BINGHAM: As part of the Long Line of Godly Men Series
published by Reformation Trust. If you’re interested in learning more about
upcoming study tours with Ligonier Ministries, you can express your interest and learn more
Ligoniertours.com.

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