Jim Graham 2
Meditation and Reflection

Rev'd Jim Graham (1931-2016): 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant'

 

The Rev’d Jim Graham, Pastor Emeritus of Gold Hill Baptist Church, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, has passed into Glory. The name may not be known to the Establishment, but the vitality of the man, the passion of his preaching and the depth of his faith have rippled through the Baptist fraternity and nonconformist movement for the best part of 40 years. His biblical expositions were fundamentalist; his sermons uncompromisingly evangelical; his love of the gospel was fervent, and his alliterative Scottish lilt quite distinctive. Jim Graham was a lover of Christ, and thousands upon thousands who experienced his ministry worldwide will readily attest to the truth that they know Jesus because Jim Graham introduced Him to them, and they got to know Him better because Jim Graham walked as best he could in the footsteps of his Lord and Saviour.

He left his mark on a generation of Charismatic Evangelicals: you may not have agreed with his precise theology, but no one could doubt his sincerity, grace and humility. Jim Graham was ordained for the ministry in 1956. He succeeded the Rev’d David Pawson as pastor of Gold Hill Baptist Church in 1968: “The concern of the church became the centrality of Christ; the authority of Scripture; the practical outworking of teaching through House Groups; the movement of the Holy Spirit in renewal; the importance of fellowship.” This was his mission and vocation. His lifelong passion was to preach Christ and Him crucified. He had little time for dead institutions, otiose dogma or liturgy: the Bible was his passion, and his love for the souls of men and women called him to the role of pastor. He was never short of time to listen, and he was never looking over your shoulder as he did so.

If you never heard him preach, here he is on ‘The State of the UK Church’:

It is easy in sorrow to incline toward hagiography; to exalt dead ministers to an unscriptural position, even to the point of instant sainthood. The Rev’d Jim Graham would want none of that. He was no priest; no mediator between God and man. He was just a pastor, preacher and teacher; a faithful lover of God’s Word. He stood fast on old principles: he never forsook the old paths. For him, nothing did more good to the soul of man than the fervent preaching of the Bible. In an era of ignorance, superstition and immorality, he was a man of prayer, goodness and light.

In the words of his children:

Psalm 100 states, ‘I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter his courts with praise’. Dad did this. His last few days were marked with a deep sense of thankfulness to those around him and to God. We are not surprised by this, as our father was a man of deep faith, enormous grace and overflowing thankfulness. He recently published a paraphrase of some of Paul’s epistles entitled ‘The God-Life’. It feels right to give dad the last word. He paraphrases part of Philippians 3 in this way:

I want you to know that a single priority and a clear focus dominates all that I am; I have firmly and securely closed the door on my past and now my eyes are riveted on that yet-unreached horizon and every sinew and muscle that I possess is now concentrated on getting there… When I get out of bed each day, I do so for one purpose: to love, obey and serve God and his people. So it is onwards and upwards for me!!

Goodbye, Jim.

Thank you.

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant..

O MERCIFUL God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the resurrection and the life; in whom whosoever believeth shall live, though he die; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall not die eternally; who also hath taught us (by his holy Apostle Saint Paul) not to be sorry, as men without hope, for them that sleep in him: We meekly beseech thee, O Father, to raise us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness; that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him, as our hope is this our brother doth; and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we may be found acceptable in thy sight, and receive that blessing, which thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce to all that love and fear thee, saying, Come, ye blessed children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world: Grant this, we beseech thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Redeemer. Amen.

  • len

    Great preaching. Sad to see the passing of preachers who stand on the Word of Truth and deliver it with such passion and conviction.

  • IanCad

    That sermon should be preached in every church in the country. It is wholly Christian and entirely non-denominational.
    Condolences to his family and flock.

    • Altesegel

      I’m a catholic and I agree thoroughly.
      God bless Jim Graham and all like him who
      proclaim the uncompromising truths of Christ

  • Martin

    I’m afraid the Charismatic Movement has done a great deal of harm to God’s Church. Much of what he is complaining of is the result of the Charismatic Movement, the replacement of Godliness by experience, of music for worship. God isn’t waiting on the sidelines for people to do something, but He will not bring His blessing to a people whose aim is their experience and not His glory.

    • chiefofsinners

      Why not join Cranmer in loving the pilgrim spirit in this man?
      None of us would see eye-to-eye with Graham on every point of doctrine, but one soul saved through his preaching is beyond price.
      If you can’t manage magnanimity, don’t malign him. Maybe just smile because he’s dead.

      • Martin

        CoS

        I’ve seen too much harm arising from the Charismatic Movement ranging from the Todd Bentley’s of this world to congregations seduced by pop music purporting to be worship.

        • chiefofsinners

          Harm also arises from dry, dead ‘worship’, from loving doctrine more than Christ and from Christians being quick to criticise one another.

          • Martin

            CoS

            And much of Charismatic worship is dry and dead for it isn’t worship of God.

          • grutchyngfysch

            Out of interest Martin, are you a cessationalist?

          • Martin

            If you mean, do I understand that those special gifts, given by God for the Apostolic Period in order that the Church might be created have ceased, yes, both Scripture and history teach us that they have ceased.

          • chiefofsinners

            Indeed it is. Let us each seek to worship God in spirit and in truth, whatever our traditions.

    • Anton

      It’s not charismatic vs evangelical. The true church is both, because the Bible says so. One can get repelled by the deadness of evangelical non-charismatic churches, and maddened by confusion between emotion and the Spirit in charismatic churches that do not relate their experience to scripture closely enough (especially in worship…), but it is vital to accept both facets and not default to one or other pole as if they are opposed. A congregation that was led by David Pawson and then Jim Graham has been blessed indeed.

      • Martin

        Anton

        I spoke of the Charismatic Movement, which is a heretical movement that started in the 1960s. I recall David Pawson, my parents used to listen to his preaching, as did I as a young Christian. The Lord was gracious enough to lead me away from the errors of such preaching and introduce me to the doctrines of grace.

        • Anton

          David Pawson is too charismatic for you? Most people find him too uncompromisingly evangelical. His 1000 sermons taking his congregation through 1/3 of the Old Testament and virtually all of the New, line by line, are just about the best Bible teaching I know. Anybody who writes this man’s ministry off as charismatic flather is in danger of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

          • Martin

            Anton

            I see you have resorted to the standard defence of the Charismatic, “you’re in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit”. Sorry I don’t buy that. I seem to recall someone referred me to one of Pawson’s sermons recently. I’m afraid I wasn’t impressed.

            The trouble is that Jim Graham didn’t realise that he was part of the problem.

          • Anton

            Martin

            It’s not a defence. Nor is it intended as an attack.

            Jim Graham is saying in that clip exactly the same as you in your complaints. What specific words from his personal ministry are heretical?

          • Martin

            Anton

            It has certainly been used on me as both a defence and an attack.

            The heresy lies in the Charismatic Movement placing the words of those styled as prophets on a par with Scripture and its reduction of salvation to the level of a choice by the sinner. Therein lies the problem.

          • Anton

            I should have said that I (personally) was not meaning it as either defence or attack.

            I ask again: What specific words of Jim Graham’s do you consider heretical?

          • Martin

            Anton

            As I said, the Charismatic Movement is heretical, in its devaluing of Scripture, its arminianism and its belief in a second blessing.

    • Paul

      I agree with you Martin but it’s wholly unfair to label Jim Graham and
      Gold Hill Church in the same vein as the Todd Bentleys of this world or the rock concert churches.

      You should probably visit them at some point; you’ll be hard pressed to find more solid Bible teaching in this
      country…..and their music, whilst slick and quite “professional” is
      certainly not designed to whip people into an emotional frenzy. Although like most western churches it’s still too “front led” I would say they do a pretty good job of encouraging a charismatic style whilst keeping things decent and in order.

      [By the way, for the record I’m not a member of Gold Hill Church]

      • Martin

        Paul

        I’d not find it hard to find better preaching. The likes of Geoff Thomas and Ian Densham are vastly better. One of the notable things about the Charismatic Movement is that it failed to call a halt to the excesses of the ‘Toronto Blessing’ and the likes of Todd Bentley.

        • Anton

          Failed to call a halt? We don’t do things like the Inquisition did. Plenty of us had reservations about Todd Bentley.

          • Martin

            Anton

            But no one expressed those reservations. The Charismatic Movement was strangely silent. Any attempt to address the excesses was met with the reply that we must not quench the Spirit.

          • Anton

            The charismatic movement is not a denomination with something like a pope at its head! There was plenty of concern at the time. I got clued up myself up after which I expressed reservations to friends, as doubtless others did. If you categorise anybody who expressed concern as non-charismatic, and everybody who stayed silent as charismatic, then you are at risk of propounding a circular argument.

          • Martin

            Anton

            The Charismatic Movement doesn’t need to have a ‘pope’, individual ministers could have stood up and spoken out. There were plenty outside the movement who did just that. But no one inside the movement ever openly and publicly expressed concern or called a halt.

          • Anton

            Not everybody is a public figure and in any case one should think carefully before criticising somebody without full facts, which took some time to come in. But I am concerned that your argument might be circular; please be careful not to define non-charismatics simply as those who spoke out.

            But we are in agreement about Todd Bentley. It is David Pawson who I am shocked to see you malign. Can you point to words of his that you consider heretical, please?

          • Martin

            Anton

            I think the videos of Todd Bentley’s were quite sufficient evidence to condemn him. It seems it took his adultery to raise any doubts about him.

            I’d say that David Pawson is seriously in error for believing that Christians must receive baptism in the Holy Spirit to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, I would point to that as the second serious heresy of the Charismatic Movement, after its arminianism. Someone recently pointed me to a video of him, and I was appalled by what he said. Unfortunately I don’t recall what it was about and no longer have details of the video.

          • Anton

            The spat between arminianism and calvinism plugs into issues deeper than most discussions of it. I refuse to call myself either. Re the first, could you define your terms?

          • Martin

            Anton

            It really comes down to whether it is God alone who saves or whether the human will has a part to play. The evidence from Scripture is that we cannot repent unless God first renews our minds.

          • Anton

            God alone saves but the human will is not just fallen but a very consequence of the fall. By defining terms I meant re baptisms.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Sorry, I don’t know what you mean.

  • Jackie Buie

    Jim has been one of the best biblical teachers I have heard, and in part his words spoke into my heart because he lived out what he said. As best as he was able he was authentic. He made people feel valued as Jesus did.
    I shall miss him a great deal, but he leaves Gold Hill, and many other churches a legacy of inspired teaching ( many sermons can be found in the gold hill website), and the memory of a life lived well to the end.
    He was ready to meet his Saviour and he said in the last weeks that his bag was packed and he was ready to go!
    There is a service of thanksgiving for his life on the 22nd July at Gold Hill starting at 2pm, which will also be streamed live.

  • carl jacobs

    I remember watching an obituary for Leonid Brezhnev from a broadcast on Soviet TV. It was hollow – a crust of many words that contained nothing of substance. He was alive. Now he is dead. There was nothing more because there could be nothing more. An atheist can never find purpose in either the life or the death of a man. He exists and then he ceases to exist. What happens in between is of no consequence whatsoever.

    Blessed is the weak man for he shall be made strong. Blessed is the poor man, for he shall be made rich. Blessed is the blind man, for he shall be given sight. Blessed is the dead man, for he shall be raised to life.

    • sarky

      And why is your life of consequence Carl?
      Because of god?
      I’m pretty sure that in the grand scheme of things, you’re as inconsequential as the rest of us.

      • Mike Stallard

        Because of God, everyone – even Carl – is consequential.

        • sarky

          Shouldn’t that be ‘despite’ god…

      • carl jacobs

        You’re the one who believes that man is a glorified chain of carbon, sarky. Not me. You’re the one who cannot distinguish between the death of a man, and the dismemberment of a benzene ring. Not me. You see man as inconsequential because you have declared him to be inconsequential. God is greater than the universe, and more than capable of watching even me.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Or is it that he doesn’t think that the chain if carbon is glorified?

    • Dreadnaught

      What happens in between is of no consequence whatsoever.

      Which is of course untrue.
      Men and women have shaped the human intellect since it found that rocks break coconuts more efficiently than fists – not that you’ll find reference to this little trick in the Bible but we know about it through learned and shared knowledge.
      From Aristotle and Plato to David Attenborough and Steven Hawking and many more ‘atheists’ besides, have contributed to humanity without believing in what you believe and were of course of great Consequence in their contribution to Life on Earth.

  • David

    It is very good that Cranmer brings us this tribute to the life of this wonderful pastor and preacher. Otherwise I for one would not have known of his great work.

    All who strive to bring men and women to greet Christ Jesus as their Saviour are indeed great blessings from God. The Rev’d Jim Graham clearly brought many to love God. Therefore we should give thanks to God for him, his life and work. His was a life well used.

    Glory be to God.

  • Mike Stallard

    I want to thank you for introducing this extraordinary man. The sermon of 8 minutes was true christianity – challenging and frightening and spurring me on.

    • David

      Same here, it spurs you on. His sentence something like, “don’t bring revealed Scripture down to the level of your experience”, which he said near the beginning, will always be with me.
      It directly counters what too many in the Churches are doing, echoing our surrounding culture’s refrain of “I feel that ……followed by an unbiblical statement”. They say it as if what they want is superior to God’s wisdom …. hah !

      • Maalaistollo

        Just as ‘I like to think that… ‘ is usually followed by a heresy.

        • David

          Indeed ! The worship of the self has crept into the Church. Sadly few Bishops and their like have the strength of belief to challenge and reject it. Without the humility to be guided by Scripture and those orthodox understandings of it, which have guided us from the beginning, they are simply heretics.

          But as history shows, the heresies will wither, whilst those that seek God’s Truth and remain connected to the vine, through Scripture, Tradition and the guidance of the Holy Spirit will flourish to form the future Church.

          • preacher

            Agreed David – that’s true revival, but it usually follows a very difficult birth, & much preparation through prayer.

          • David

            Day to day, month to month we are all too close to the trees to be confident about recognising the emerging shape of the new woods, of course. But whilst not claiming any special gifts for myself, other than just studying the signs constantly, and prayer, my feelings are that it is down that difficult and painful road that you point to, that the Church in the UK, and many other western countries, is likely to go. The heretic branches will wither and those that cling to God’s revealed Truth will, at first survive, and then flourish and grow. Let the glory be to God !

  • Inspector General

    Chaps like him should be offered CoE Bishoprics, or doesn’t it work that way…

  • chiefofsinners

    Here’s another good and faithful servant: Andrea Leadsom. Let those who have been wondering where Mrs Proudie has gone, wonder no more. She has cast off the crinoline of Cranmer, donned the bonnet of Brexit and emerged as the Christian candidate for the leadership. Cometh the hour, cometh the woman!

    • Anton

      We know little about her, and Cameron called himself a Christian. But against Theresa May who campaigned for Remain and is essentially another Cameronian, I’d prefer Leadsom.

      • chiefofsinners

        What are your known unknowns ?

      • James60498 .

        Cameron was almost a “Mayian”.

        Her comments about “the nasty party” came before anyone had even heard of Cameron.

        • Anton

          How I wish for a “nasty party” PM who will cut public spending – above all stop promoting family breakdown by subsidising its consequences via the Welfare State.

          • James60498 .

            Some of the lefty press seem to have already started on the Leadsom would return the Tories to being the nasty party.

            The BBC were digging at her last evening too whilst giving May an easy ride.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      No, I have been on holiday. I am back now. How nice of you to miss me!

      • chiefofsinners

        You protest too much, dear lady. ‘Welcome home’ (wink) and every blessing in your leadership campaign.

      • Anton

        I trust your Grand Tour was satisfactory and eagerly await the morrow…

  • Inspector General

    Breaking News…

    The next Prime Minister will be a Conservative.

    • … woman.

      • Inspector General

        No really. She’ll be a Conservative…

        • chiefofsinners

          She’ll be A Leadsom.

          • Pubcrawler

            Deo volente

          • chiefofsinners

            Stick to DV.
            Don’t mention CV.

        • James60498 .

          A Conservative. Yes.

          A conservative? Only a 50/50 chance of that.

  • Rasher Bacon

    Sounds like a good man has gone home, where we long to be.

    Jobs to do down here until then.

  • preacher

    I wish there were more leaders & pastors that spoke like Jim Graham. To hear this short extract is like water in a desert to me, refreshing & regenerating after some of the man centred, new age rubbish that I’ve had to listen to. Many Church meetings & ‘revival’ gatherings resemble superficial, fleshly knees ups without the awesome presence of God & true demonstrations of the Holy Spirits power operating to heal the sick & convict the lost to the danger they are in by rejecting The Lord Jesus.
    Thank you to our host for this submission. It will be hard to find anyone to fill Jim Graham’s shoes. Condolences to Jim’s family that they must release him for a time.
    P.

  • David

    Agreed with those who support Leadson. OK her depth of experience could be questioned, but if she sets the right objectives and ploughs regardless of the faint hearted ones, then as PM she can expect others to deliver it, and do much of the hard work. Leadson understands what Leavers and patriots want, and that’s the main thing for a PM.
    But a PM who does not set the right goals, and is not resolute, like May, who may be experienced, but at creating an appalling record, cannot possibly get us anywhere near our required destination; we are determined to secure an independent sovereign nation that trades globally, rejects this multi-culti gibberish and proudly reasserts its traditional approach to Faith, Flag and Family – All under God !