It’s true. Charles Spurgeon had a love-hate relationship with Christmas. Here’s the context.
Last Tuesday, the vote was clear: America is a divided nation.
We are racially divided. We are spatially divided.
We are divided between population centers and rural counties. Between coastal cities and fly-over states. We are divided between progressive and traditional, left and right, Baby Boomers and Millennials.
Evangelicals are divided too. Some saw Trump as the lesser of two evils. Others believed voting for Trump was unconscionable – evidence of moral compromise. Some voted for third party candidates while others quoted Charles Spurgeon, “Of two evils, choose neither” and refused to vote altogether (Spurgeon’s quote actually has nothing to do with politics).
Charles Spurgeon awoke one morning during a general election to find his estate painted blue (the color of the Conservative Party, or the Tory Party).
In his sermon that evening, Spurgeon said, “It is notorious that I am no Tory, so I shall not trouble to remove the paint; perhaps those who put it on will take it off when it has been there long enough to please them.”
In our own country, the battle between the red and blue states is decided today. Yet we must be careful not to once again vandalize Spurgeon by painting him blue or red.
D. L. Moody once said to hear Spurgeon preach was a blessing, but to hear Spurgeon pray was even more impressive (Autobiography 4:71).
On October 21, 1928, the spirit of Charles Spurgeon was raised from the dead.
Or so the clairvoyant claimed.
In July 17, 1887 Augustus Strong and John D. Rockefeller visited Charles Spurgeon at his home in London.
After two hours, the leading Baptist theologian and the wealthy U.S. tycoon uncovered the secret of Spurgeon’s ministry: “He seemed to be a man of prayer” (Crerar Douglas, Autobiography of Augustus Hopkins Strong, 300).
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Even Superman had to fly above the clouds to escape the deafening screams of the people.
Spurgeon sought his own space, too – his sacred space in France – away from the fog and smog that settled over his city.
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David once said, “There is only a step between me and death” (1 Samuel 20:3).
Charles Spurgeon almost took that step many times.
Spurgeon’s favorite book was The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan.
It’s the story of a man named Christian who woke up one morning to find a burden on his back.
He reads in a book his city would be destroyed, so he sets out on a pilgrimage. The road is seldom smooth. He falls into a mud-pit of despond, climbs a hill called Difficulty, fights a dragon, meets friends like Faithful and Hopeful, crosses a river called Jordan, and eventually arrives at his destination – the Celestial City.
Charles Spurgeon was riding in a carriage with his American friend William Hatcher.
As they approached his orphanage, Spurgeon pointed out the window and said, “Yonder is my bank, where I get my money for taking care of my family of 500 children.”
Hatcher looked but saw no bank.
“There it is,” said Spurgeon, pointing to a plaque.
The words on the plaque read: “Jehovah Jireh” (the Lord will provide).
Charles Spurgeon could have been one of the richest millionaires in London.
Instead, he died poor.
Are you stressed out?
So was Spurgeon.
For most of his ministry, Spurgeon wobbled between illness and anxiety. He burned most of his calories preaching, teaching, writing, visiting, and giving himself to what his wife called the “multiplied labors of his exceptionally busy life” (Autobiography 2:16).
What if I told you Spurgeon’s beard (or lack thereof) launched his ministry?
On April 23, 1888, Charles Spurgeon was betrayed by his brother, James. Read More ›
Charles Spurgeon took the gospel more seriously than he took himself.
His family and friends witnessed his wit and said:
Spurgeon “never went out of his way to make a joke, — or to avoid one” (Autobiography 3:361).
“His fun was so natural, so spontaneous, and so hearty” (Autobiography 3:361).
Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation 154 years ago today, promising liberty to some 3 million enslaved black men and women.
Charles Spurgeon also fought the evils of slavery:
“[The] hope of deliverance seemed far away, it was God that gave an Abraham Lincoln, who led the nation onward till ‘Emancipation’ flamed upon its banners” (MTP 29:243).
If you haven’t fallen in love with a dead person yet, you really should try it.
They say love makes you fall “head over heels.” But for me, it happened the other way around. I fell in love with Charles Spurgeon heels over head.
It all started when my father took me on a pilgrimage to England. We visited the chapel in Colchester where Spurgeon was converted, the river in Isleham where he was baptized, the Tabernacle in London where he ministered for nearly forty years. We saw Spurgeon’s tomb, his college, his house, and a dozen other haunts inhabited by the Victorian preacher.
Everything changed after that.
For the past century, Charles Spurgeon’s strengths have often overshadowed his weaknesses. His biographers are largely to blame, painting the preacher as a superhero incapable of vice or vulnerability.
Yet warts reveal as much as dimples do.
Spurgeon had both. He experienced seasons of success, but he also harbored hidden faults — secret sins that sought to undermine his ministry.
Charles Spurgeon’s ministry was marked by physical and mental wounds.
But there was a deeper grief – a sharper barb – that stung the preacher and his people: sin and shame.
So you’re interested in learning more about Charles Spurgeon but don’t know where to begin. Here are ten must-read biographies to get you started:
Carl F. H. Henry was right to call Charles Spurgeon “one of evangelical Christianity’s immortals” (Carl. F. H. Henry in the foreword to Lewis Drummond, Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers).
In his twenties, Spurgeon pastored the largest mega-church in Protestant Christendom. London’s most cavernous buildings could hardly accommodate his crowds – and one of them even collapsed. American tourists returning from England were greeted with two questions: “Did you see the Queen?’ and ‘Did you hear Spurgeon?’” (A. P. Peabody, “Spurgeon,” North American Review 86 , 275). Truly, the memory of his ministry has become immortal.
But Spurgeon himself was very much mortal. The preacher was anything but bulletproof. In fact, for most of his life Spurgeon nursed deep wounds and struggled to cope with a myriad of emotional and physical maladies.
Charles Spurgeon wore many hats. He was a husband, father, evangelist, author, abolitionist, editor, and college president. By 1884, he had founded sixty-six ministries in London: two orphanages, a clothing drive, a nursing home, a ministry to policeman, and dozens more. But Spurgeon is best remembered as a preacher. Helmut Thielicke said he combined two things: oxygen and grace (Encounter with Spurgeon, 19). His sermons had broad appeal. He spoke in the language of the working-class and packed his sermons with colorful imagery, sharp wit, and illustrations taken from ordinary life. Read More ›
Have you ever wondered what Charles Spurgeon’s voice sounded like?
After Spurgeon’s death, Edison-Bell Record Company recorded a two-minute audio clip of his son, Thomas, reading an excerpt of his father’s sermon. But Thomas’s voice was was “not quite that of Charles Spurgeon, not quite so strong and not quite so musical” (Fullerton, 167). Besides, Thomas took after his mother in countenance; his brother, Charles Jr., favored their father. Read More ›
Charles Spurgeon is one of the most popular preachers to tweet, meme, quote . . . and misquote. Here are six sayings falsely attributed to the “Prince of Preachers.” Read More ›
Charles Spurgeon abandoned his fiancée on a Sunday afternoon. After lunch, a carriage took the betrothed couple from Susannah’s house in St. Ann’s Terrace to Kennington where Charles would preach. Susannah recounted the event: Read More ›
Capping more than 10 months of construction and preparations as well as years of dreaming and planning, the seminary community celebrated the dedication of the Spurgeon Library with a ribbon cutting and official naming ceremony on Oct. 20, 2015.
Accompanied by Bill and Connie Jenkins, who donated $2.5 million for the project, President Jason Allen and his wife, Karen, cut the ribbon to officially open the library and then unveiled a plaque honoring the couple by naming the building that houses the library as “Jenkins Hall.” Read More ›
“If the author had never written anything else it would have been a permanent literary memorial.” These words, written by Susannah Spurgeon, reference the ambitious publication that became her husband’s magnum opus – a commentary on the Psalms. Read More ›
Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen announced on Aug. 10 the acquisition of a preaching rail from First Baptist Church in Weaver, Ala., which was used by British preacher Charles H. Spurgeon during his ministry. The rail, which is a piece of furniture that functioned much like a modern-day pulpit, was used by Spurgeon during his 19th century ministry and will now be prominently featured in Midwestern Seminary’s newly completed Charles H. Spurgeon Library. Read More ›
On the evening of New Year’s Eve, 1891, Charles Spurgeon delivered a brief speech to a small group of friends in Mentone, France. “We have come so far on the journey of life,” he said, “and, standing at the boundary of another year, we look back.”
For the 57-year old London pastor, there was much to look back upon. In less than four decades, Spurgeon had preached in person to an estimated ten million people. He had published more words in the English language than any Christian author in history. Fifty-six million copies of his sermons were in circulation, many having been translated into more than forty languages. Read More ›
Apr 22Spurgeon Almost Quit
At the age of twenty-two, Charles Spurgeon almost quit the ministry.
He and his wife, Susannah, had been married less than one year. Their sons, Charles and Thomas, were infants. After three years in the big city, Spurgeon’s ministry had solicited envy from his opponents, admiration from the evangelicals, and criticism from the press. Susannah often hid the morning newspaper to prevent Charles from reading its headlines.
The evening of October 19, 1856 commenced a season of unusual suffering for Spurgeon. His popularity had forced the rental of the Surrey Garden Music Hall to hold the 12,000 people congregated inside. Ten thousand eager listeners stood outside the building, scrambling to hear his sermon. The event constituted one of the largest crowds gathered to hear a nonconformist preacher — a throwback to the days of George Whitefield. Read More ›
The entirety of Christianity hangs upon a single word – incarnation. Literally translated “into flesh,” incarnation speaks to the unique moment in history when Jesus Christ was made visible. “The infinite,” Spurgeon once preached, “has become the infant.”
In the spirit of John 1:14, when the “Word became flesh,” we at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are excited to announce our recent partnership with Petru Botezatu – a Romanian artist who will make visible for us the life and legacy of Charles Spurgeon. Read More ›