Charles Haddon Spurgeon

charles_spurgeon

I just finished a biography of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore. It was written in the 1980s and I’m also going to assume that Dallimore is a strict Baptist since he was so down on Spurgeon’s cigar smoking and alcohol consumption. I can’t get there with you my Baptist brothers, so Southern Baptist friends, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry, I really, really enjoy my freedom in Christ to enjoy the occasional scotch. And pipe.

Spurgeon’s ministry was just incredible. I’m going to briefly sketch out my take aways from this biography and Spurgeon’s life. I started this post somewhat glibly, but the content of the book is eternally serious.

  • The gospel is the center. Spurgeon put the gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of everything. He wanted to preach ‘Jesus and him crucified.’ He did so and the result was thousands upon thousands of people coming to Christ, first in the U.K and then around the world through his myriad of writings, printed sermons, publications and pastor’s college. Every week, Spurgeon pleaded with his congregation to turn from their sins and believe in Christ’s atoning work on the cross. He wrote countless letters to non-Christians begging them to come to Christ. His entire life was spent in the pursuit of ‘Soul-winning.’ Which leads me to…
  • Gospel centrality and orthodox theology are inherently seeker-sensitive. If we believe in scripture, if we believe in the power of the cross to atone for our sins and we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, then the way forward is clear. We must present the good news of the cross to non-Christians. There is no excuse. The great commission and our royal priesthood (Matthew 28, 1 Peter) demands that we share the gospel. Not many did it like Spurgeon did. If we preach the word of God, if we preach the gospel, hearts will be changed. Not necessarily in the numbers that Spurgeon saw, but we can hope…
  • Heterodoxy (and the road the heresy) starts with ‘Did God really say…?’ Indeed, this is what the Devil asks Eve in the garden. Sprugeon was confronted with such a controversy when members of the Baptist conference in the U.K. that he was a part of denied the inerrancy of scripture and then made allowances for denying the resurrection. Spurgeon held fast to orthodoxy and refused to compromise essential principles. The conference wanted to maintain those members who had strayed theological. So Spurgeon left and he was criticized and attacked by many, yet remained immensely popular among others. The fear of man won’t save you from being unpopular and the lack of it won’t drive away the faithful.
  • Social justice is not mutually exclusive with orthodox theology. Perhaps no church has done as much for the cause of the city as Spurgeon’s church, The Tabernacle did. They built orphanages, bought books for poor pastors, trained men to be pastors who did not have the means, provided financial support for widows and the list goes on. However, Spurgeon never lost sight of evangelism and preaching the gospel. “Social justice” flowed out of a body of believers who put the gospel first and then the outflow of their faith was to work for the betterment of the city. All the while, they preached as well as clothed people. This is the model. Assistance from the Church without the gospel is a less efficient version of the Red Cross.
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