Monday, May 21, 2018
A Bio on Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon is regarded as one of the greatest Baptist preachers and authors of all time. R.C. Sproul said in a Q&A session that his favorite Baptist was Spurgeon. Many of his book are still read to this day, but there are still many people who don't know much about the man who has been called the "Prince of Preachers."
This bio is from Life in Christ: Lessons from Our Lord's Miracles and Parables, Vol. 1:
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834, in Kelvedon, Essex, England. He was one of seventeen children in his family (nine of whom died in infancy). His father and grandfather were Nonconformist ministers in England. Due to economic difficulties, eighteen-month-old Charles was sent to live with his grandfather, who helped teach Charles the ways of God. Later in life, Charles remembered looking at the pictures in Pilgrim’s Progress and in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs as a young boy. Charles did not have much of a formal education and never went to college. He read much throughout his life though, especially books by Puritan authors. Even with godly parents and grandparents, young Charles resisted giving in to God. It was not until he was fifteen years old that he was born again. He was on his way to his usual church, but when a heavy snowstorm prevented him from getting there, he turned in at a little Primitive Methodist chapel. Though there were only about fifteen people in attendance, the preacher spoke from Isaiah 45:22: Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth. Charles Spurgeon’s eyes were opened and the Lord converted his soul. He began attending a Baptist church and teaching Sunday school. He soon preached his first sermon, and then when he was sixteen years old, he became the pastor of a small Baptist church in Cambridge. The church soon grew to over four hundred people, and Charles Spurgeon, at the age of nineteen, moved on to become the pastor of the New Park Street Church in London. The church grew from a few hundred attenders to a few thousand. They built an addition to the church, but still needed more room to accommodate the congregation. The Metropolitan Tabernacle was built in London in 1861, seating more than 5,000 people.
Pastor Spurgeon preached the simple message of the cross, and thereby attracted many people who wanted to hear God’s Word preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. On January 9, 1856, Charles married Susannah Thompson. They had twin boys, Charles and Thomas. Charles and Susannah loved each other deeply, even amidst the difficulties and troubles that they faced in life, including health problems. They helped each other spiritually, and often together read the writings of Jonathan Edwards, Richard Baxter, and other Puritan writers. Charles Spurgeon was a friend of all Christians, but he stood firmly on the Scriptures, and it didn’t please all who heard him. Spurgeon believed in and preached on the sovereignty of God, heaven and hell, repentance, revival, holiness, salvation through Jesus Christ alone, and the infallibility and necessity of the Word of God. He spoke against worldliness and hypocrisy among Christians, and against Roman Catholicism, ritualism, and modernism. One of the biggest controversies in his life was known as the “Down-Grade Controversy.” Charles Spurgeon believed that some pastors of his time were “down-grading” the faith by compromising with the world or the new ideas of the age. He said that some pastors were denying the inspiration of the Bible, salvation by faith alone, and the truth of the Bible in other areas, such as creation. Many pastors who believed what Spurgeon condemned were not happy about this, and Spurgeon eventually resigned from the Baptist Union.
Despite some difficulties, Spurgeon became known as the “Prince of Preachers.” He opposed slavery, started a pastors’ college, opened an orphanage, led in helping feed and clothe the poor, had a book fund for pastors who could not afford books, and more. Charles Spurgeon remains one of the most published preachers in history. His sermons were printed each week (even in the newspapers), and then the sermons for the year were re-issued as a book at the end of the year. The first six volumes, from 1855-1860, are known as The Park Street Pulpit, while the next fifty-seven volumes, from 1861-1917 (his sermons continued to be published long after his death), are known as The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. He also oversaw a monthly magazine-type publication called The Sword and the Trowel, and Spurgeon wrote many books, including Lectures to My Students, All of Grace, Around the Wicket Gate, Advice for Seekers, John Ploughman’s Talks, The Soul Winner, Words of Counsel for Christian Workers, Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, Morning and Evening, his autobiography, and more, including some commentaries, such as his twenty-year study on the Psalms – The Treasury of David. Charles Spurgeon often preached ten times a week, preaching to an estimated ten million people during his lifetime. He usually preached from only one page of notes, and often from just an outline. He read about six books each week.
During his lifetime, he had read The Pilgrim’s Progress through more than one hundred times. When he died, his personal library consisted of more than 12,000 books. However, the Bible always remained the most important book to him. Spurgeon was able to do what he did in the power of God’s Holy Spirit because he followed his own advice – he met with God every morning before meeting with others, and he continued in communion with God throughout the day. Charles Spurgeon suffered from gout, rheumatism, and some depression, among other health problems. He often went to Menton, France, to recuperate and rest.
He preached his final sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on June 7, 1891, and died in France on January 31, 1892, at the age of fifty-seven. He was buried in Norwood Cemetery in London. Charles Haddon Spurgeon lived a life devoted to God. His sermons and writings continue to influence Christians all over the world.
Other works on Spurgeon:
Spurgeon on the Christian Life by Michael Reeves
The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon by Steven Lawson
Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles
Spurgeon's Sorrows by Zach Eswine