Thanks to faithful brothers like Curtis Love and Thabiti Anyabwile, I now have two copies of Henry Ferry's work "Francis James Grimke: Portrait of a Black Puritan." Not many have heard of Francis Grimke. I am sad to admit that I only came across him in my studies this past year. Yet there was a time when Grimke's name was practically synonymous with African-American church life. As one writer in 1912 put it:
Twenty years ago, when I was a sophomore at Yale, men spoke the name "Dr. Grimke," with respect and reverence. And they do today....Since the death of Bishop Daniel Payne in 1893 and Dr. Alexander Crammell in 1898, Dr. Grimke has remained the most potent figure in the Negro ecclesiastical world.
Unfortunately we are far too ignorant of church history. Our understanding of church history usually extends no further than our grandmother or great-grandmother's contribution to the Mother's Board and Missionary Society. Yet men like Grimke and Lemuel Haynes serve as gracious reminders that the truth of historical, reformed Christianity has been articulated by African-Americans for generations and generations. My prayer is that we would recover in our day this fire for biblical truth and be armed once again with a Christianity that exalts the glory and majesty of God, rooted in Scriptures and testified to by the saints made perfect. This was the ministry of Grimke. After he had read an address by John Calvin, Grimke wrote:
"As I laid it aside, more profoundly impressed than ever before with the character and work of John Calvin there went up from my heart the earnest prayer that when my life ends here that I too may be remembered because of some things I have said or done in bringing men face to face with life and its great and solemn responsibilities for which they must answer at the bar of God. To feel, as John Calvin felt, the sovereignty of God, and to get others to feel the same,...is a great achievement and will go on working for good long after we are gone."
May we all feel this same since of calling and duty.