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The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors [Paperback]

By Thabiti M. Anyabwile (Author) & John Piper (Foreword by)
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Item description for The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors by Thabiti M. Anyabwile & John Piper...

From the faithful ministry of three pioneering African-American pastors--Lemuel Haynes, Daniel A. Payne, and Francis J. Grimké--readers will gain a fresh vision for their own ministry.

Publishers Description

The cliche is that those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. But Thabiti Anyabwile contends that it is not the mistakes we must study; it is the people who have overcome them. So he presents three of the most influential African-American pastors in American history who can teach us what faithful ministry entails.

Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833) reminds pastors that eternity must shape our ministry. Daniel A. Payne (1811-1893) stresses the importance of character and preparation to faithful shepherding. And Francis J. Grimke (1850-1937) provides a vision for engaging the world with the gospel. While they are from the African-American tradition, they, like all true saints, belong to all Christians of every background and era. Distinctive for its use of rare and out-of-print messages, Anaybwile's work is valuable as a reference as well as a devotional resource.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   191
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.86" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 2, 2007
ISBN  1581348274  
ISBN13  9781581348279  

Availability  0 units.

More About Thabiti M. Anyabwile & John Piper

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Thabiti M. Anyabwile (MS, North Carolina State University) serves as a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, and is the author of numerous books. He serves as a council member of the Gospel Coalition, is a lead writer for 9Marks Ministries, and regularly blogs at The Front Porch and Pure Church. He and his wife, Kristie, have three children.

Thabiti M. Anyabwile was born in 1970.

Thabiti M. Anyabwile has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 9Marks
  2. Gospel Coalition Booklets
  3. Profiles in Reformed Spirituality

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > World Literature > United States > African American > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( P ) > Piper, John
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Inspirational

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors?

Church History Is Not Just Dead White Males!  Dec 1, 2008
Pastor and author Thabiti M. Anyabwile understands that church history is not just about dead white males. In "The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors," he gives us samplers, appetizers of the legacy of three powerful African American preachers and pastors. As John Piper notes in his Foreword, Anyabwile strikes a blow against chronological snobbery and ethnocentricity.

Anyabwile chronicles the life, ministry, and preaching of Lemuel Haynes, Bishop Daniel A. Payne, and Francis J. Grimke. After a succinct but full-orbed historical introduction, Anyabwile provides several primary source sermons for each African American preacher, preceding each by contextualizing the setting.

The result is a captivating, eye-opening look at the historic legacy of African American preaching. In the hands and from the words of these giants of the faith, we come to understand the great heritage of Evangelical Black Preaching. While historically only Lemeul Haynes was known as "the Black Puritan," all three preachers exhibit the honorable traits of Puritan/Reformed pastors and preachers.

For an introduction to the African American legacy of the pulpit ministry of the Word, "The Faithful Preacher" is a beautiful read. For an introduction to the African American legacy of the personal ministry of the Word (soul care and spiritual direction), readers may find "Beyond the Suffering" a compelling companion volume.

Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of "Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction."
Opened my Eyes a bit and Stirred my Soul quite a bit  Jul 3, 2008
The reward for reading biographies is the otherwise unavailable portal into the lives of people with whom you are not familiar. In particular Christian biographies serve to help me evaluate my own life and pursuits by examining the course of others who similarly walked this narrow road. The one weakness in my personal biography reading has to be my personal preference to read folks that I am already somewhat familiar with. Thankfully in his book The Faithful Preacher, Thabiti Anyabwile introduces me to three men whom I have not previously heard.

Anyabwile's goal is to introduce his readers to three `pioneering African-American pastors'. When I first heard of the book I wondered why this specific book was written. Then I pondered further and wondered who he might have written about and what their impact was. My question as to why the book should be written was answered by my own ignorance of who these men might be.

The author introduces us to three men from different generations in American history. All of the men are African-American pastors who cared deeply about the biblical mission of the church. Anyabwile provides a brief biographical sketch of each man followed by some of their more impactful public addresses. The biographical overview is similar to what John Piper has done in his `Swans' series on church history.

The three individuals that we are introduced to are Lemuel Hayes, Daniel Payne, and Francis Grimke. They hail from different eras; Hayes in the early 1800's, Payne in the mid-late 1800's, and Grimke the early 1900's.

My personal favorite section dealt with Lemuel Hayes. This man was an African-American Calvinist, who was a pastor of a predominantly white church in Vermont, married to a white woman, and the father of over 10 children. I only point out the ethnicity here because it was so surprising to me in considering early American history. Furthermore, in reading Hayes' sermons I am struck with his seriousness ascribed to the ministry of the gospel. As someone who surely felt social pressure he stands as an example to fear the living God and his examination preeminently.

The Faithful Pastor not only opened my eyes historically to some faithful ministers of Christ but also stirred my own heart unto greater faithfulness through their enduring witness in their sermons.
For Our Example and Admonition  Jul 20, 2007
What makes for a faithful preacher? To whom do we look for examples? The preachers to whom we usually look are the likes of John Calvin, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, and Charles Spurgeon. But, of course, there are many others to whom we can look. Thabiti Anyabwile turns our attention to three unexpected but fascinating examples of faithful preachers: Lemuel Haynes, Bishop Daniel A. Payne, and Francis J. Grimké. In this book, Anyabwile provides a brief biographical sketch of each of these men with samples of their printed sermons that have gone on in obscurity for far too long. This book is written for the church, pastors, and congregations alike. We all are responsible for the gospel ministry in one way or another. Of course, preachers will gain the most from reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have been dressing wounds from its sharp challenges over the past few weeks. I highly recommend this book to preachers.

The reasons Anyabwile notes for sharing the lives and works of these men are twofold. First, it was to assist young men in preparing for the ministry. "The best place to learn and prepare for the ministry," he writes, "is still at the feet of the Master Himself, and from His apostles. . . . But also available to us are `lesser' luminaries, men who are not apostles but who were faithful students and shepherds" (p. 14).

The second reason was that these were eminent African-American preachers who had maintained a "consistently high and biblical view of the pastoral ministry" (p. 15). In essence, these men can be called "puritans." They labored to cultivate and lead a "pure" church. "They committed themselves to sound theology in the pulpit, theologically informed practice in the church, and theologically reformed living in the world" (p. 15).
Lemuel Haynes (1753-1833)

Anyabwile ordered the book chronologically, so we begin with the life of Lemuel Haynes. Haynes was born in West Hartford, Connecticut, and was abandoned when he was five months old. He was raised as an indentured servant by a family in Massachusetts who cared well for him and instructed him in the Christian faith. Anyabwile notes that Haynes holds two "firsts." One, he was the first African-American to be ordained by any religious body in America. Two, he was the first African-American to be awarded an honorary master's degree.

Also of note is the fact that Haynes pastored an all-white congregation in Rutland, Vermont. This was not a first but a rarity. During his time with this congregation, he saw a tremendous amount of growth; but the time was also filled with many difficulties. In time, disagreements and a bit of prejudice resulted in the congregation's voting to discontinue their relationship with Haynes.

As a pastor, Anyabwile notes that to Haynes "their salvation was paramount" (p. 20).

Lemuel Haynes is a wonderful model of the "old ideas" that stand the test of time and point the way forward even in our day (p. 20).

After a brief biographical sketch, Anyabwile introduces the three sample sermons to follow.

The sermons included in this volume provide a glimpse into Haynes's understanding of pastoral ministry. In general, an eschatological expectation gripped Haynes's heart and mind. In each of the selections included here, the anticipation of meeting the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment motivated Haynes's instructions to his hearers. Haynes well understood that the bar of Christ, especially for the minister, would be a time of penetrating judgment, a time at which the heart and habits of the pastor would be laid bare and his just rewards made known (pp. 20-21).

The three included sermons are as follows:

* The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described, a Sermon, Delivered at Hinesburgh, February 23, 1791, at the Ordination of the Rev. Reuben Parmelee.

The text is Hebrews 13:17. The sermon is well ordered, textual, theological, practical, and full of clear exhortations to the preacher and to the congregation. The influence of George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards is clearly perceived from this and the other sermons.

* The Important Concerns of Ministers and the People of Their Charge at the Day of Judgment; Illustrated in a Sermon, Delivered at Rutland, Orange Society, at the Interment of The Reverend Abraham Carpenter; Their Worthy Pastor (1797)

The text is 1 Thessalonians 2:19. Also a must-read!

* The Sufferings, Support, and Rewards of Faithful Ministers, Illustrated. Being the Substance of Two Valedictory Discourses, Delivered at Rutland, West Parish, May 24, A.D. 1818.

The text is Acts 20:24. This is Haynes's farewell sermon to the church at Rutland. He had faithfully served this congregation for 30 years.

The sermons by the other men are fine, but these were my favorites. They read like true puritan sermons. I was deeply challenged, and you will be too.
Daniel A. Payne (1811-1893)

The story of Bishop Daniel Payne was equally exciting but for different reasons. Payne was born as a freeman in Charleston, South Carolina. Due to his status as a freeman, he enjoyed a thorough education. After his conversion, he sensed the call to be an educator of God's people. It was this desire, the unfortunate State legislation's closing of all black churches (1834), and the prohibition of educating slaves (1835) that sent him north where he received further education.

Having joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), he went to work reforming "the character and educational quality of the African-American pastorate" (p. 78). His labors met with a great deal of opposition at first. However, other leaders came to his side and helped to convince the rest of the great need for an educated pastorate.

I love the quote Anyabwile included by Francis Grimké regarding the state of the church at that time because its criticism, though originally directed toward the African-American church, should be considered by all preachers of all times lest it be true of them.

Up to this time, any ignoramus who imagined that he was called to preach, [or] who thought that the Lord had need of him, felt that it was his right to be ordained, or at least to be licensed; and no objection was interposed by the church, under the impression that if a man opened his mouth the Lord would fill it (pp. 78-79).

Payne was later elected to be the bishop of the New England Conference (1852). With this new responsibility, he expanded his vision of an educated pastorate to include an educated church. "In 1856 he led the AME Church in securing and dedicating Wilberforce University to the `grand work of Christian education' and served for thirteen years as the school's president" (p. 80).

The selected sermons included here are as follows:

* Who Is Sufficient for These Things? (1852)

The text is 2 Corinthians 2:16. This sermon was preached at the general conference as an opening address. It was at this conference that he was elected bishop.

His conclusion is this: "Who is sufficient? I answer, the man who makes Christ the model of his own Christian and ministerial character. This man, and he alone, is sufficient for these things" (p. 89). This is a powerful message!

* The Christian Ministry: Its Moral and Intellectual Character (1859)

The text is 2 Timothy 2:2.

He argues, first, that the moral character of a minister is this: "they must be faithful men" (p. 90).

In the second point of his sermon, he elaborates upon the fact that ministers must be intelligent. Here we see his burden for an educated pastorate.

Here's a notable quote from this section:

Let us examine the qualifications of every man who asks admission into the ranks of the ministry; let us try them by the discipline of our church and by the Word of God. To this end let us see what the discipline teaches and what the Word of God commands. Hear the discipline: "Have they gifts as well as graces for the work? Have they, in some tolerable degree, a clear sound understanding, a right judgment in the things of God? A just conception of salvation by faith? And has God given them any degree of utterance? Do they speak readily, justly, clearly?" Such is the distinct, unequivocal declaration of the discipline (p. 97).

* The Divinely Approved Workman: Semi-Centennial Sermon (1874)

The text is 2 Timothy 2: 15, 24-25. Anyabwile introduces this sermon as "an attempt to set down a more full summary of his views on education and the ministry as he approached retirement" (p. 104).

Note of a couple of factual errors:

There are a lot of dates to follow in this biography, and a few are confused. Having been born in 1811, Payne would have been 18 when he opened his first school in 1829. Anyabwile says that he was 19 (p. 76). The math doesn't add up. More significant is the date of his death on page 81. The first complete sentence reads: "At the age of eighty-two, Daniel Alexander Payne himself died on February 24, 1911." The year when Daniel Payne died was 1893.
Francis Grimké (1850-1937)

The third preacher is Francis Grimké, who was born of a slave mother in Charleston, South Carolina. After Emancipation, Grimké moved north to further his education. He studied at Lincoln University, Howard University, and then Princeton Theological Seminary. At Princeton, Grimké studied under Charles Hodge and received "a thoroughly Reformed understanding of the Christian faith grounded in a high view of the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of the Scriptures" (p. 114).

After graduation, Grimké entered a lifelong ministry at 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. He remained there, except for a brief pastorate in Jacksonville, Florida, for the six decades.

In Francis Grimké, Anyabwile offers the reader an example of a preacher whose

hard-won victory over injustice supplied a tenacity for tackling the difficulties of the world. In the history of the Christian church, most men have been swept to one or another extreme of this tension--preferring either a full embrace of the world to the detriment of the gospel ministry or retreating into "Christian" seclusion and absconding from the affairs of the world. Francis Grimké offers a case study in how to hold this tension without being torn in two (p. 116).

Anyabwile describes Grimké as one who "dedicated himself to expositing the role of the church in the world" (p. 117). As he preached the Scriptures he spoke out against ignorance and demagogism. He charged the Christian community to "both reform the church and the men who lead her and to reform society with the gospel of Jesus Christ and Christian witness" (p. 117).

From reading the sermons supplied in this book, it is very clear that Grimké was a man of the Word and that as he called sinners to repentance and faith he also called Christians to righteousness and moral responsibility. As Anyabwile summarizes this preacher's burden, he says, "Grimké offers us one model for preserving and emphasizing the primary calling of preaching the gospel with Christ-centered activism in important social concerns" (p. 118).

You must read his sermons. They are rooted in Scripture, Christ-centered, and full of gospel relevance even for today's readers. Here is a list of the included sermons:

* The Afro-American Pulpit in Relation to Race Elevation (1892)

Various texts are used. Here is a scathing criticism of the Afro-American pulpit in his day. This sermon could be preached and applied even to some of our own white, fundamentalist churches today.

The ideal of religion that is held up in our pulpits and that is cherished by the people must be in harmony with the facts as revealed in the Word of God if it is to have an elevating and ennobling effect upon their everyday lives (p. 131).

* Christianity and Race Prejudice (June 5, 1910)

The text is John 4:9.

On top of the Central Union Mission Building in this city, near Seventh Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, is a great sign. It consists of a star, and under the star in large letters are the words, "Jesus the light of the world." It is illuminated by electricity and night after night flashes its message to passersby. It may be all right to put up such signs, but that is not the way to teach men that Jesus is the Light of the World. The way to do it is not through colored electric lights but through life--by living the religion that we profess, by showing in our daily walk that He is our light, that we are walking in the light, are being transformed through His influence into likeness to Him. Thousands of such electric signs scattered everywhere, piled up to heaven, are not worth as much as one life that is being saved by Christ, commending Him to a sinful world (p. 152).

* The Religious Aspect of Reconstruction (February 19, 1919)

Various texts are used.

* Christ's Program for the Saving of the World (February 28, 1936)

The texts are Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15.

The reason there has not been more progress in saving the world is because we have not been doing what we have been directed to do. We have not been preaching the gospel and teaching the people out of the Word of God as we ought to have been doing. And things will never be any better until we swing in line with the plan as here laid down by Jesus Christ. Under this plan every evil now afflicting both old and young will be reached and effectively reached (pp. 179-180).

What we need most of all is a faithful, courageous, consecrated ministry that will stick close to the Word of God in all its ministrations and in dependence upon the Holy Spirit to make effective the Word preached and taught (p. 180).
Well Worth Reading  Mar 27, 2007
The Faithful Preacher is a book full of surprises and in the Foreword John Piper says this book serves as a blow against chronological snobbery and ethnocentricity. I would tend to agree. Despite having read a fair amount of church history and many biographies I had no idea that there were many "black puritans." I had no idea that in the 18th century a black man could marry a white woman and pastor an all-white congregation for over three decades. I had no idea that the eminent theologian Charles Hodge had taught African Americans and prepared them for a life of ministry in Presbyterian and other Reformed churches. I suppose I had little idea that the early history of the Reformed church in the United States had many significant African American leaders. This book has tackled my ethnocentric view of this period of church history.

To do this, [the blogosphere's own] Thabiti Anyabwile has turned to three prominent African American preachers of days past. He says "those who have gone before us, old friends with old ideas, have left us a proven track record of faithfulness and fruitfulness." The old friends he turns to are Lemuel Haynes, Daniel Payne and Francis Grimké.

For each of the book's three subjects, Anyabwile provides a brief biography, a reflection on some of the accomplishments of their lives, and a selection of some of their most important sermons. The biographies are somewhat reminiscent of what John Piper has done with his The Swans are Not Silent series, moving beyond mere biography and looking instead to meaning and church-wide impact. His first subject, Lemuel Haynes, who lived from 1753 to 1833. Anyabwile focuses on Haynes' emphasis on viewing the pastoral ministry from the vantage point of eternity and the accounting that pastors will give to the Lord. For Payne (1811 to 1893) he shows how Payne instructs us on how importance of preparation and education, both in intellect and character, affect both the minister and his flock. And for Grimké (1850-1937), he describes the challenge this minister has left us to remember that the church and pastor, as they confront the world and the world's problems, is first and foremost to teach and to live out the gospel.

In the lives and ministry of these men you will see men who model what it means to be faithful preachers. Anyabwile chose them principally because of "their consistently high and biblical view of the pastoral ministry. They greatly esteemed the privilege and responsibility of caring for God's people, of cultivating and leading a 'pure' church, and of dedicating one's self to representing Christ before a dying world. They were puritans. They committed themselves to sound theology in the pulpit, theologically informed practice in the church, and theologically reformed living in the world. They saw Christ in all things and endeavored to see Him glorified before all people."

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Faithful Preacher and am glad to recommend it. It is an interesting read and one that focuses some long-overdue attention on men who were faithful preachers and who have much to teach the church even today (and perhaps it would be better to say especially today).

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