WHY MIGHT SPURGEON TEACH US?
Throughout the years of my pastoral ministry, I often turned to Charles Spurgeon, and he helped me. But why? That is the first question to consider. What is it about Spurgeon that makes him such a model saint for modern saints? I offer seven reasons.
1. Charles Spurgeon was a preacher.
Spurgeon preached over six hundred times before he turned twenty years old. His sermons sold about 20,000 copies a week and were translated into twenty languages. Today, his collected sermons fill sixty-three volumes, currently standing as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity.
Even if his son Charles was biased, his assessment is close enough to the truth: “There was no one who could preach like my father. In inexhaustible variety, witty wisdom, vigorous proclamation, loving entreaty, and lucid teaching, with a multitude of other qualities, he must, at least in my opinion, ever be regarded as the prince of preachers.” Spurgeon was a preacher.
2. He was a truth-driven preacher.
We should not be interested in how preachers deal with adversity if they are not first and foremost guardians and givers of unchanging biblical truth. If they find their way through adversity by other means than faithfulness to truth, they will be no help to us.
Spurgeon defined the work of the preacher like this:
“To know truth as it should be known, to love it as it should be loved, and then to proclaim it in the right spirit, and in its proper proportions.” He said to his students, “To be effective preachers you must be sound theologians.” He warned that “those who do away with Christian doctrine are, whether they are aware of it or not, the worst enemies of Christian living… [because] the coals of orthodoxy are necessary to the fire of piety.”
Two years before he died he said,
Some excellent brethren seem to think more of the life than of the truth; for when I warn them that the enemy has poisoned the children’s bread, they answer “Dear brother, we are sorry to hear it; and, to counteract the evil, we will open the window, and give the children fresh air.” Yes, open the window, and give them fresh air, by all means…But, at the same time, this ought you to have one, and not to have left the other undone. Arrest the poisoners, and open the windows, too. While men go on preaching false doctrine, you may talk as much as you will about deepening their spiritual life, but you will fail in it.
Doctrinal truth was at the foundation of all Spurgeon’s labors.