“For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” – 2 Corinthians 13:8
A Snapshot of the Life of Charles Spurgeon:
Born: June 19, 1834, in Kelvedon, England
Died: Jan. 31, 1892, in Menton, France
Often called the “Prince of Preachers.” Spurgeon was converted on January 6, 1850, in Artillery St. Primitive Methodist Chapel in Colchester, while visiting during a snowstorm. He heard a message on Isaiah 45:22. He was baptized soon after. He began to preach at age 16. Spurgeon pastored Waterbeach Baptist Church in Cambridgeshire (1852), then took a small church, New Park Street Church in London (1854). In a few years, it was the largest Baptist church in the world and a tourist spot, also. He married Susannah Thompson on January 8, 1856, who became an invalid at age 33. Moving from Exeter Hall, he began using Surrey Garden’s Music Hall in 1856, which seated 10,000. His Metropolitan Tabernacle opened in 1861 (age 27), seating nearly 6,000 and was filled. He wrote many books, founded a pastor’s college (1861) called Spurgeon’s College, then an orphanage (1867), published many sermons, and opposed liberalism all his life. He edited The Sword and the Trowel and published The Treasury of David (1865), an exposition of the Psalms. In 1887, contending for the truth of the Bible, he left the Baptist Union during the Downgrade Controversy (Spurgeon leaving the Baptist Union because of liberal inroads). He last preached at the Tabernacle on June 7, 1891. During his tenure there, he added 14,692 members to his church, and by his death, the church had 5,307 members (many had moved, died, or discontinued). His wife died October 22, 1903.” – (Excerpt taken from the Reese Chronological Encyclopedia of Christian Biographies. Used by permission.)
A Spiritual Application for Our Lives:
The many volumes written on Charles Spurgeon would span entire bookshelves. His preaching and expositions are arguably the most consulted theological writings outside the Scriptures. Thousands of pastors and preachers have gleaned richly from Spurgeon’s careful studies of Scripture. His command of the language, knowledge of Scripture, and wide reading made for interesting, insightful, and convicting messages. However, the power of Spurgeon’s life did not begin in the mind of Spurgeon, One far greater than Spurgeon was at work all along.
Charles Spurgeon was a remarkable young man. He took his first pastorate at the age of 16; over the next 2 years, the congregation grew ten-fold. But the strength of Spurgeon was never in his own ability, knowledge, wisdom, or cunning – his real power rested in the power of God in his life.
His mighty prayer life can still be observed by the continuing impact of his ministry. His unyielding surrender to the Lord’s will in his life, at times, brought tremendous strong criticism. Yet, insight can be gleaned by reading Spurgeon’s prayers such as:
But above all, give us spiritual help. Give us wisdom, which is profitable to get. Give us the absence of all self-seeking and a complete yielding up of our desires to the will of God. Help us to be as Christ was, who was not His own, but gave Himself to His Father for our sins. So may we for His sake give ourselves up to do or suffer the will of our Father who is in heaven.
Surely, this is a prayer our loving Father will answer. May our hearts be just as fixed to do the Lord’s will.
Even in the midst of great controversy, Spurgeon exemplified a total commitment to the truth of God’s Word. In response to attacks over his refusal to join a group he viewed as compromisers, Spurgeon issued this wonderful guiding principle:
“I am quite sure that the best way to promote union is to promote truth. It will not do for us to be all united by yielding to one another’s mistakes.”
Surely, this conviction arose from many hard years of unyielding defense of the truth of God’s Word. Spurgeon thundered forth the truth in a bold, yet winsome manner. While most of his critics are long forgotten, Spurgeon is remembered because he was a man of the Word.
At times, you may be called upon to take a stand for the truth of scripture. May I encourage you to prayerfully and firmly stand for God and His Word? Others may speak against you; yet, Christ will stand with you (2 Timothy 4:16-18). For, when you have “made Jesus [your] all, [you] shall find all in Jesus.”
A Suggestion for Further Reading…
The Shadow of the Broad Brim – Richard Day; 2002, Crown Christian Publications
Morning and Evening – Charles Spurgeon (This is a marvelous daily devotional)
*Any of Spurgeon’s commentaries and sermons are profitable. The Treasury of David (1865) is one of the richest and most widely read of his works.