Charles Haddon Spurgeon

The first experience I had with Charles Spurgeon was in his devotional book Morning and Evening. My mom gave it to me when I was a junior in college and it completely changed how I studied God's Word. In the book there is a verse for the morning and evening of every day of the year. Each verse is followed by an exposition/devotion by Spurgeon. The beauty of his work is every devotional thought points to the cross, regardless of where the verse is found or how long it is. Since then I have read several of his writings and have grown to love his heart.

I am currently taking Baptist Heritage at SWBTS and one of the requirements is a research paper on a Baptist hero from a list of eight. Spurgeon was on the list and without hesitation I chose him and started my research. I've been overwhelmed by the example he has set for pastors of all generations regardless of cultural happenings. He was extremely and simply focused on two things; prayer and gospel centered preaching.

Spurgeon fervently prayed for revival. He knew if true revival was going to come it would only come from the hand of God. Soon after becoming the pastor of New Park Street Baptist Church in South London, at the age of 24, revival came. Several historians will say the growth came to New Park because of Spurgeon's tremendous preaching skills but this view overlooks his zealous prayer life. In response to the great movement of God Spurgeon said…

“The times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord have at last dawned upon our land. Everywhere there are signs of aroused activity and increased earnestness. When I came to New Park Street Church, it was but a mere handful of people to whom I first preached, yet I could never forget how earnestly they prayed. Sometimes they seemed to plead as though they could really see the Angel of the Covenant present with them, and as if they must have a blessing from him. More than once we were all so awe-struck with the solemnity of the meeting that we sat silent for some moments while the Lord’s Power appeared to overshadow us; and all I could do on such occasions was to pronounce the benediction, and say, ‘Dear friends, we have had the Spirit of God here very manifestly tonight; let us go home and take care not to lose his gracious influence.’ Then down came the blessings; the house was filled with hearers, and many souls were saved.”

Prayer was at the core and Spurgeon knew that full well but another key contributor to the revival was gospel centered preaching. Spurgeon said…

“Sound doctrine and loving invitation make a good basis of material, which, when modeled by the hand of prayer and faith, will form sermons of far more value in the saving of souls than the most philosophic essays prepared elaborately, and delivered with eloquence and propriety.”

It seems he took 1 Corinthian 2:1-5 to heart. He believed in the life giving power of scripture and believed it alone had the power to free dead souls from the bondage of sin. He said…

“There is a style and majesty about God’s Word, and with this majesty a vividness never found elsewhere. No other writing has within it a heavenly life that works miracles and even imparts life to its reader. It’s a living and incorruptible seed. It moves, it stirs itself, it lives, it communes with living men as the living Word. Solomon says concerning it, ‘It shall talk with thee.’ You need not bring life to Scripture. You should draw life from Scripture.”

As a young minister of the gospel I hope to have half the confidence in God’s saving power as Spurgeon. He truly believed in the sovereignty and providence of God. We must remove ourselves completely if we expect God to move in our lives, our families, our churches, and our world. I think if Charles Spurgeon was to charge young preachers today he would give the same charge Paul gave Timothy.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Timothy 3:16-4:5