Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rev John Russel

Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is known as the "Prince of Preachers". He was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, and opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day.
The Rev John Russel was born at Peckham, on the 20th September, 1864, and on the 22nd November, 1883 he passed from death unto life.
John never tired of telling and retelling of this experience that transformed his life resulting in him becoming a minister of the Gospel of Lord Jesus Christ. He accordingly sought admittance into Spurgeon’s College where he received his training for the ministry while the College was still under the guidance and inspiration of that great Prince of Preachers Charles Haddon Spurgeon himself.
He came to South Africa as minister to the Cradock Baptist Church. The present commodious church building at Cradock is a lasting memorial of his ministry there. He later served the Church at Wynberg for two periods of twenty and four years. He retired from the active ministry after seven years of fragrant ministry at Cambridge, thus completing forty-three years in the active ministry. After his retirement it was granted to him to minister for a while to the various Churches of the East London area especially at Porter Street and Macleantown.
John was elected to the presidential chair of the Baptist Union of South Africa in the year 1908. He also served the denomination as statistical secretary for seven years from 1927 to 1933, a task for which his love of detail eminently fitted him.
During his first pastorate at Cradock he met and married Miss Withers who proved a true helpmeet to him in his many labours. Theirs was a romance of fifty years. Having laid the earthly remains of his dear one to rest, he himself followed a few months later.
John had a message, he had a passion. "Preach Christ," he said to a fellow minister shortly before his death, "Preach Christ and His finished work, preach Him as the coming King." His great sorrow during his last days was that he would never again have the opportunity of proclaiming that glorious message in all its fullness and power. It could truly be said that God "made manifest the savour of His knowledge" by John in every place where he was called to labour. For him, the Gospel was nothing abstract, but tremendously practical, something worth living for, something to die with. Towards the end he loved to repeat the words which at his own request were sung at the funeral service held at the Cambridge Church:
"Jesus the very thought of Thee With sweetness fills my breast Bur sweeter far thy face to see, And in thy presence rest."
The Rev John Russel passed to his rest having left a fragrant memory that will linger long with those who knew and loved him. He was indeed God’s true gentleman.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

No comments:

Post a Comment