February 25: Rev. Charles Tennent

A Plain, Good Minister of the Gospel
by David T. Myers

Our subject this day is Charles Tennent. Some readers might respond with, “Don’t you mean WilliamTennent, founder of the Log College?”. Or, of course you meant to say, “Gilbert Tennent,” the Presbyterian firebrand in the New Side, Old Side Presbyterian schism of the mid 18th century in the colonies? While both of these more Tennent’s were better known, and relatives of our subject, we wish to think on the Rev. Charles Tennent today.

Charles Tennent was born in Colerain, Ireland on May 3, 1711 in the home of a Presbyterian pastor by the name of William Tennent. At the tender age of seven, he emigrated to the American colonies with his parents and three brothers. Like the rest of the children, he was home schooled as well as received his theological training at the famous Log College. Graduating from there, he entered the Presbyterian ministry, becoming the pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Whiteclay Creek, Delaware.

After only a short time there as under shepherd, the great revival in the American colonies under the preaching of Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield took place. Especially when the English Anglican Whitefield came to Whiteclay Church to preach the gospel, revival came to the Presbyterian Church of Charles Tennent. It was said that Whitefield assisted Charles Tennent with the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper one Lord’s Day, while also preaching from the pulpit for four days the Word of God. What an auspicious start to the pastorate did Charles Tennent have!

Charles was described as a “plain good preacher,” and “not distinguished for great abilities.” But still God used him to do extraordinary things for the gospel.

He closed out his ministry in a Presbyterian church in Maryland, and went to be with the Lord on this day, February 25, 1771.

Words to Live By:
Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 1:26 – 29 are a worthy application for our meditation. “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong, and the base things of the world, and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.” (NASV)

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