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Book Review

Spurgeon: A New BiographySpurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892 was the great Victorian 'Prince of Preachers'. From his 6000-seater Metropolitan Tabernacle in London he exercised a wide influence, extended further by his prolific writing. Arnold Dallimore's Spurgeon: A New Biography (Banner of Truth, 1985, ISBN 0-85151-451-0) is concise but not skimpy. It left me deeply challenged, and often moved. Highly recommended. Here are a few snippets for you.

The failure of preachers he had heard to present the gospel, and to do so in a plain, direct manner, caused him throughout his whole ministry to tell sinners in every sermon and in a most forthright and understandable way how to be saved. (p20)

Spurgeon spoke out against the unthinking manner in which some Calvinists talk about a 'limited atonement'. He much preferred the term 'particular redemption'… In virtually every sermon he pleaded with them to recognise their lost condition, to know that Christ could save them, and to believe on him then and there. His preaching abounded with the free offer of the gospel to all mankind. (p67)

He preached with great confidence, with clear instruction and heart-felt pleading, but as soon as the service was concluded he hastened away to his vestry, there to groan out before God his sense of failure. (p77)

Spurgeon declared that the subject of divine healing was very much a mystery to him. He said he prayed about sickness just as he prayed about anything else, and that in some instances God answered with healing, whereas in others, for reasons beyond our understanding, he allowed the suffering to continue. (p141)

I mean to go on preaching Jesus, and his gospel, and you may be sure I shall not preach anything else, for with me it is Christ or nothing. I am sold up, and my stock-in-trade is gone if Jesus Christ is gone. He is the sum of my ministry, my All-in-all. (p167)

Spurgeon was ever a man of prayer. Not that he spent any long periods of time in prayer, but he lived in the spirit of communion with God. (p178)

Spurgeon wrote about five hundred letters every week. They were not dictated to a secretary but were the product of his own hand and were written with a pen that had to be dipped every few seconds into an ink bottle. (p197)

The atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Ghost is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into a fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren and maintain a confederacy with them! (p206)

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