by Jeff Brown on February 19, 2021
June 11, 2021
“Here at Central Presbyterian, we believe that the Bible is the only infallible rule for faith and practice. When we don’t know what to do, how to act, what to believe, we go to scripture, and there God tells us, and what He tells us is always right. He never lies to us, he never misleads us. If we’re searching for truth, it’s here that it will be found.”
Dr. Andy Jumper shared these words from Central’s pulpit on January 13, 1991 as he began a sermon titled “The Impossible Command.” He was preaching from Matthew 5:43-48, a portion of the Sermon on the Mount. In these four sentences uttered 30 years ago, Dr. Jumper encapsulated an enduring characteristic of Central. One that has remained consistent for 176 years through various pastorates, cultural and demographic changes to the area, and even different physical locations for the church.
Through good times and bad, no matter what might have been happening locally or across the globe, Central has continued to hold high the Word of God, preaching the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ to all who might hear. Despite our own brokenness and failings, God has been faithful and merciful, and he has blessed this preaching of scripture. Over the decades, the Lord has worked in and through Central to spread the Gospel message through church plants, the mission field, and countless local ministries.
God’s faithfulness to His people and Central Church was of course the theme of last year’s 175th anniversary celebration. It’s hard to believe it’s been year already since that wonderful evening of celebration when we gathered at the Sheldon! As we used that time to reflect and give thanks to God for His steadfastness towards Central, it was good to also reflect on and be thankful for how He has blessed his people through Central’s preaching over the years.
The wisdom shared from Central’s pulpit over the years can be a wonderfully valuable resource. The faithful preaching of God’s word can, of course, always be a valuable tool in our own discipleship, but it also allows us to connect to our brothers and sisters who sat in Central’s pews before us. They provide a sort of continuity. And if you were blessed to be present at the time, these past sermons may evoke fond memories.
Our own sermon archive goes back to Dr. Dan Doriani’s sermons from December of 2008, but long-time Central member, elder, and former communications director, Bill Wichman, made preserving this wisdom a labor of love, and created an even deeper archive. At preservedwisdom.org, Bill has painstakingly converted boxes and boxes of cassette tapes to digital, and there you can find audio sermons all the way back to January of 1982! If you want to take an even deeper dive into the archives, there are written transcripts of sermons dating back to September 20, 1970, when Dr. Jumper delivered his sermon on Matthew 4:1-11 entitled “When There’s the Devil to Pay.”
We are all indebted to Bill for his wonderful work on this project. At Preserved Wisdom, in addition to Dr. Jumper’s sermon archive, you will also find the words of previous Central pastors Dr. Perry Mobley and Dr. Tim Brewer, as well as Dr. Doriani’s sermons from the years 2003-2008, which predate our own archive. The website also features an extensive history of Central, complete with a digital copy of “Stones of Remembrance,” a book detailing Central’s history from 1844-1994.
Especially during this present time when so many of us may feel isolated or alone, the resources available at Preserved Wisdom can be a profound blessing. We are deeply grateful to Bill for all of his hard work on this project!