On This Day: Spurgeon Dies.

What can we learn from the death of the prince of preachers?

Charles Spurgeon, one of the greatest preachers since Christ or the Apostle Paul, is unlike any other Christian figure in history. But what made him this way? What employed his unending courage to stand up for truth? Are you ready for the answer? He believed what he preached. He believed what he read in Holy Scripture. He lived out what he believed. He never compromised the truth contained within the Word of God.

Spurgeon’s Funeral Procession on this day, 1892.

1) Devotion

Charles Spurgeon was much more than a great preacher, though this might be his most famous characteristic. Yet, Spurgeon was committed to sound, biblical truth and its proclamation more than his own influence and popularity. Spurgeon’s popularity came from his commitment to the Lord and his Word. Spurgeon never wavered from the clear, understandable exposition of the Bible on a weekly basis. He never backed down when specific difficulty and controversies arose in his life. He simply stood on the Bible and never moved. Like the psalmist writes, “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season” (Ps. 1:3).

Spurgeon’s devotion to the Lord was founded upon the promises in the Bible. Spurgeon stood upon the truths on the Bible because it is the Scriptures themselves that provide faith to those who hear it.

2) Unashamed Commitment

Though I would disagree with Spurgeon on his Calvinism (and his treatment of Arminianism), his devotion to the Scriptures is what fueled his fight against Pelagianism (a view which I would deem as unbiblical) – specifically in the Downgrade Controversy. His fight against the departing from orthodox Christianity by those in the Baptist Union in England was one that every pastor and Christian ought to study. Spurgeon resigned and departed the Baptist Union because of their departure from biblical orthodoxy. Yet, he never resolved to compromise biblical truth for cultural acceptance. He wrote in his own magazine publication, The Sword and Trowel, “I would like all Christendom to know that all I asked of the Union is that it be formed on a Scriptural basis.”[1]

3) Unreserved Proclamation

Spurgeon was simply another breed of a preacher. I’m not sure there has ever been any other preacher like him other than Jesus or the Paul. He simply believed that God’s Word would do the work it would set out to do! My, oh my! We can learn from this as preachers and believers.

Reading his sermons, you find this truth to be made manifest – Spurgeon never compromised the content of his sermons. And though his ministry was given to thousands weekly (yes, thousands!), his entire goal for his preaching ministry was to preach the Word. Murray describes it this way: “He did not claim attention to his message because of its success but because of its divine authority.”[2]

Conclusion

The prince of preachers was more than a great preacher with millions reached; he was an ordinary person like you and me. If we can learn these three things from him, we will see the Lord work in great ways because we are dependent upon Him and his Word to do the work – not ourselves!


[1] Iain H. Murray. The Forgotten Spurgeon (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1973), 155.

[2] Ibid., 18.

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