The “Big Pew”and Error in the Pulpit.

A Mr.Perry who was an eye witness of the Welsh revival told of how the Welsh churches(chapels)detected error from the pulpit.

He said that in the chapels there was what was called the “Big Pew.”Twelve deacons would sit on the Big Pew.

Under the pulpit which was elevated,there were two chairsfacing the congregation,one on the left side and one on the right side.Two deacons with spiritual discernment would occupy the two chairs facing the congregation.They would listen to the doctrine and preaching to discern if it was sound.They were there to detect truth and error in the pulpit.

I asked Dr.Ed.Moore who was pastor of a church in Wales for several years if he could verify this story of the Big Pew.Here is his answer.

Bill, the man is right on the money. They still have them in some of the Churches now but they call them the big seats. I think you saw them in one of the Churches we visited. Ryden would call men down if they crossed doctrinally with church teaching. A friend of mine had deacons call him down while in the pulpit. It was and is a different world there brother.

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8 Comments on “The “Big Pew”and Error in the Pulpit.”

  1. Greg Says:

    Wouldn’t be great if we had a few men in our churches who could be really trusted to know doctrine well enough to call a preacher in error down?
    I think it is wonderful when a man will just point out where a preacher isn’t clear so as to later clarify and avoid misunderstanding and error.
    IN Christ Alone,

  2. About ten years ago I preached for a week at a church in Wales.Dr Ed. Moore told me that the schools there taught their students to debate.Each night after I preached a group of young men in the church would ask questions about the sermon.They were not hostile but they would not hesitate to take issue with something you may have said.
    In one sermon I said that I appreciated the fact that the church there did not give a public invitation at the end of the sermon.But I said that in our church I gave a public invitation.
    They challenged me as we met after the sermon as to why I gave a public invitation if I did not feel that it was theologically correct.In a nice way they were calling me inconsistent(a hypocrite).They were not impressed when I explained that it was a tradition in the Baptist churches in the U.S.They laughed at my explanation.If we had members like that..we would probably be more disciplined in our preparation and delivery.I actually enjoyed their friendly but blunt comments.

  3. Good to be back to the hottub!

    I’ve never heard of this practice before…but it sure does make sense. It’s amazing how people can sit in the pews and not ever think about or question ANYTHING that we pastors are saying.

    Good post, Bill!

  4. Quinn Hooks Says:

    Interesting concept, Bill. I didn’t know this about Welsh churches. It looks like it is good for accountability in the pulpit and would encourage a pastor to study very carefully for the sermon.

  5. David,
    Sometimes we easily mis-understood by the people in the pew.

    When I preached a sermon on Luke.16,I attempted to give an illustration on ‘phantom’pains.I said,”People who have had their legs amputated often cry out in unbearable pain,my legs are killing me.”
    I once asked a dear lady in our church who had both of her legs amputated if her feet ever itched(even though she had no feet).She replied,”Preacher,if I knew where my feet were buried,I would go and dig them up and scracth my feet right now.
    In the sermon on Luke.16 I said,”The man in hell did not have a tongue,mouth,feet or hands but he thought he did(phantom pains).A woman who heard me say that began a campaign to get rid of me.She caused me to have real and phantom pains.She said to all who would listen,”The preacher does not believe the Bible.It is written in red that the man in hell lifted up his eyes and the preacher said that he didn’t have any eyes…he just thought he had eyes.”
    Well,I stayed on for 6 more years.The lady is dead now and wherever she is,she thinks she has eyes,but her physical eyes are in a grave.
    The application to this comment is,”Let’s keep it simple brethren.”

  6. pastorinthewoods Says:


    We have a “big pew” but it is not in teh front. However, these “chosen” people never try to correct my theology(I would appreciate that more). Instead they complain and seek correction on all sorts of “church” issues. The sign message, the announcement I made, the flowers are too short or too high, the piano is too loud, the choir is not singing loud enough, etc.. I would welcome the fact that someone would value my preaching as much as teh minute issues of chruch life1

  7. pastorinthewoods,
    You are having phantom pains below the belt.

  8. pastorinthewoods Says:


    I would to God it were phantom.

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