george George Campbell Morgan was born in Gloucestershire, England, on December 9, 1863.
He was to become – to quote Warren Wiersbe – “perhaps the greatest Bible teacher of his day in the English-speaking world,” despite the fact that his trial sermon for the Methodist ministry (on 2 May, 1888) was a disaster and they knocked him back!
Morgan, who was a schoolmaster before his ordination, had a tall imposing presence and an ideal speaking voice, which assisted him in his preaching and teaching gifts. He persisted with his intention to preach effectively and proved himself vastly superior to the original assessment of 1888.
He travelled to the United States where he worked closely with D.L Moody and his son William in their evangelistic work.
Meanwhile, in London, the large and famous Congregationalist Westminster Chapel, had become a white elephant. No-one was interested in filling the pulpit and plans were discussed to sell the building and establish multiple smaller buildings.
Morgan accepted the invitation, thus saving the chapel from extinction. His life-long friend, the Reverend Albert Swift, came with him as co-pastor. With a good team around him, Morgan quickly built up a strong following and a remarkable ministry, from 1904 to 1917.
Morgan suffered a debilitating illness in early 1917 and, to the dismay of the congregation, announced his resignation.
In 1933 Morgan returned to England to attend a conference and the then minister at Westminster Chapel, Dr Hubert Simpson, approached him about sharing the pastorate. Simpson’s health was a problem and so he sought to share the workload.
The new partnership began but Simpson soon had to retire, leaving Morgan at the helm once again, at the age of 70. Morgan realised that a second pastorate in the same church was problematic, so he addressed that with the church. Second time around the church did not engage in as much social activity, consistent with most other evangelical churches.
Once again Morgan drew a large congregation, so renovations were undertaken. But the physical strain took its toll. It is seen as inspiration that Morgan chose a young Welsh preacher to assist him, and in 1943 he handed the church over to the very able Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.
The writings of Campbell Morgan are still in print. His biography, A Man of the Word, was written by his daughter. Many others have written about his illustrious career.
He went to his heavenly home on 16 May, 1945. At the memorial service in Westminster Chapel, Dr Lloyd-Jones, a Calvinist, said of his predecessor, an Arminian: “We differed theologically, but we never discussed that; we believed in the same final authority of this Book. If one of us was a little bit Calvinistic in his preaching, the other was also Calvinistic in his praying! So we never quarrelled at all, and we just said nothing more about it” (David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Volume Two, by Iain Murray, page 133).
This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com