(Here’s part of a series that has already included Charles Spurgeon and Alexander MacLaren ).
He was the envy of the preachers of his day. The great F.B. Meyer once confessed as much! Morgan joins Moody and Spurgeon in never having any Bible college training. He was discovered by Moody and many feel the Lord sent him to teach the Bible to the massive amount of converts that came from the great revivals of that time period.
You might have had your doubts about him earlier on as after preaching a trial sermon to enter the ministry as an ordained Methodist preacher, he bombed out. A dejected Morgan wired his Dad to tell of his failure. His wise father wired back: “Rejected on earth–accepted in Heaven.” That was a close call to losing a mighty preacher that over time just became something hard for the Methodists to live down! He rose to fame just after Spurgeon and others of that golden age of preaching passed off the scene. Still, he was of their ilk.
Though he didn’t have formal training, he decided that to be the preacher he should be he should master the English Bible. Of course in his studies he referred to language works, but the task that lay heavy on his heart was opening up the Bible in the English language. His laser focus reaped huge dividends as he opened up God’s Word for the masses. Like the other great masters his work ethic in the Word would shock most of us who preach the Word today. He didn’t just look for a sermon to fill his given slots, he was compelled to get at what the Lord was saying. Likely, this is the exact point where his success and our failure meet.
His great strength was synthesis–how the thing before us fits the larger context of God’s Revelation to us. Frankly, he would see obvious things that everyone else would miss. I don’t mean forced points designed to make the speaker appear exceptionally intellectual and brilliant, but things that upon reading we can’t imagine why we hadn’t already noticed it.
He was a man on the go. Some have criticized him for a “nomad ministry.” Perhaps he won’t go down as one of the greatest pastors ever, but the harshest critic would be hard pressed to deny his amazing and God-blessed preaching skills. He could literally mesmerize an audience with nothing but the Bible. Strangely, he almost never used an illustration. We don’t have to ditch illustrations like him, but that might suggest that the Bible carries more punch on its own than most think. He was at his best in the Gospels, preached less on doctrine and more on Bible stories and passages. He, like a few others, shows us the latent power of expository preaching. If only we could catch a little of what he had.
There’s a few biographies on him like the one by Harries. Jill Morgan’s “A Man of the Word” gives us the best impressions of his method. Don Wagner’s “The Expository Method of G. Campbell Morgan” teaches well as does Morgan’s own “Preaching”. He is at his best in the volumes on each Gospel, Acts, the Corinthian letters, and Jeremiah. The best of his sermons to read are in the 5 combined volumes, or 10 volume set called “The Westminister Pulpit.” Any of his books are worth having. In a word, I’d call G. Campbell Morgan spellbinding!
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