John MacArthur Preaches from Calvin's Pulpit. Click on image for full-size photo.
At the moment, John MacArthur is in Europe leading a Reformation tour. He had the privilege this week of preaching in Geneva from Calvin's pulpit. Someone e-mailed the picture above. Click on it and you'll get a fuller version, showing a video crew. If the video is of sufficient quality, we plan to use this sermon on a "Grace to You TV" broadcast within a few weeks.
Incidentally, my other chief pastoral and theological mentor, Charles Spurgeon, spoke in Calvin's Pulpit in 1860. That was the only time in his entire ministry when he wore clerical garb of any kind. It was a Geneva gown, identical to the one Calvin wore. He said this about that experience:
That glorious man, Calvin! I preached in the cathedral. I do not think half the people understood me in the Cathedral of St. Peter's; but they were very glad to see and join in heart with the worship in which they could not join with understanding.
I did not feel very happy when I came out in full canonicals, but the request was put to me in such a beautiful way that I could have worn the Pope's tiara, if by so doing I could preach the gospel the more freely. They said,"Our dear brother comes to us from another country. Now, when an ambassador comes from another country, he has a right to wear his own costume at Court; but, as a mark of very great esteem, he sometimes condescends to the manners of the country which he visits, and wears the Court dress."
"Well," I said"yes, that I will, certainly, if you do not require it, but merely ask it as a token of my Christian love. I shall feel like running in a sack, but it will be your fault." But it was John Calvin's cloak, and that reconciled me to it very much.
I do love that man of God, suffering all his life long, enduring not only persecutions from without but a complication of disorders from within; and yet serving his Master with all his heart.
Judging from the above picture of John MacArthur, the keepers of St. Peter's cathedral at Geneva no longer require visiting speakers to wear the Geneva gown.
I stood in that pulpit once for a brief moment, but not to preach. The cathedral was closed to visitors and therefore empty, because it had been used earlier that day as a venue for some important couple's wedding. My friend John Glass (a pastor in Geneva) talked the groundskeeper into letting us in for a brief look. The groundskeeper graciously allowed us access to the pulpit for a quick photo, then hurried us out. It was a great moment, though.
(Chris Pixley, eat your heart out.)