Dr. Sinclair Ferguson was the featured speaker for Taylor University's recently-concluded Second Annual Charles Simeon Sermons. The series began in 2004 with John Stott as the inaugurating expositor, and seeks to reflect Charles Simeon's legacy of excellence in Bible teaching.
"This is the kind of event for which students come to Taylor," Campus Pastor Randy Gruendyke said. "The Simeon sermons are not happening at State U. this week or any other week for that matter."
Gruendyke said offering the Simeon Sermons helps the community recognize and appreciate Bible exegesis, and the shortage of good Bible exposition is a problem in theological education and pulpits across America.
"If they use the Bible, they use it as a launching pad that sends them into the atmosphere of some topic that they want to address," Gruendyke said. "That topic is often times understood in a therapeutic fashion, a moralistic fashion or a pragmatic fashion, but not necessarily in a Biblical fashion. They may begin with the Bible, but once they leave that launch pad, they don't often return to the Bible."
Ferguson challenged his audience to go to scripture when confronted with a difficult situation rather than to the latest book by a Christian author.
"Read this book. The first 20 get it free," he said with an air of sarcasm. The audience laughed, realizing the first 20 to arrive at Ferguson's sermon on Thursday night would receive one of his books free.
"It was very clear in Simeon's sermon that it was not his personality but the word of God that left its impact," Ferguson said.
Dr. Ferguson began the week's sermons by looking at our needs, God's provision and our experience of reconciliation through 2 Cor. 5: 9-21. On Wednesday, he discussed transformation in Christ using Col. 3: 1-17. Speaking of ambition for Christ he interpreted Phil. 3: 1-21.
Thursday he exposed opposition to Christ in Eph. 6:10-20. He completed Friday, speaking about Rom. 8: 9-32 and communion with Christ.
Dr. Ferguson is a systematic theology professor at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and serves as editor for The Banner of Truth Trust. He also speaks all over the world and teaches a Sunday school class of 170.
He has authored books for children and adults, including "Taking the Christian Life Seriously", "The Big Book of Questions and Answers About Jesus" and "Let's Study Mark."
The sermons' namesake, Charles Simeon, pastored Holy Trinity Church in England for 54 years. Simeon practiced and taught the art of Biblical exposition in the early 19th century.
"He was a lifelong bachelor and one of his greatest burdens was for university students so there's something very appropriate about the fact that the sermons here at Taylor are entitled the Simeon Sermons," Ferguson said.
Simeon's legacy influenced the founding of the University and College Christian Fellowship, the Church Missionary Society in England and the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship in the United States.