Faithful Heroes: Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon is an English Baptist Pastor who greatly influenced other denominations. He is often referred to as the “Prince of Preachers”.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834 in Essex, England.
His conversion on January 6, 1850, at the age of 15, is recounted as following:
“On his way to a scheduled appointment, a snow storm forced him to cut short his intended journey and to turn into a Primitive Methodist chapel in Artillery Street, Newtown, Colchester where, he claimed, God opened his heart to the salvation message. The text that moved him was Isaiah 45:22 – “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else.””
He began teaching Sunday School later that year and by the winter had preached his first sermon. “From the beginning of his ministry his style and ability were considered to be far above average.”
At the age of 19, he was called to the pastorate at New Park Street Chapel in Southwark. This was the largest Baptist congregation in London at the time. His abilities as a preacher made him famous and his sermons were printed each week.
He was not without his opponents and media attacks, but this did not stop his congregation from outgrowing their building. By the age of twenty-two, he was the most popular preacher of the day.
On January 8, 1856, he married Susannah Thompson. They would have twin sons, Charles and Thomas, the following year.
While he was preaching on October 19, 1856 at the Surrey Gardens Music Hall, someone yelled “Fire!” This resulted in a stampede which left several deaths. He was emotionally devastated by the event and often moved to tears.
In 1861, his congregation moved to a new building, which would seat five thousand. The church became known as the Metropolitan Tabernacle. He preached several times a week for the remainder of his life. His altar call was for anyone with questions to meet him in the foyer on Monday. Without fail, someone always met him.
He also wrote several hymns and worships songs.
He preached across denominational lines and supported missions. He founded the Stockwell Orphanage, for boys in 1867 and for girls in 1879.
Both Spurgeon and his wife struggled with illness in their later years. He died while recuperating at Menton, near Nice, France on January 31, 1892. He was buried at West Norwood Cemetery in London.
His son Tom became the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle after his father died. Spurgeon served as pastor of the Church for 38 years.
By the time of his death, he had preached almost 3,600 sermons and published 49 volumes of commentaries, sayings, anecdotes, illustrations and devotions.
In 1906, the William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri purchased Spurgeon’s 5,103 volume library collection. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri purchased the collection in 2006. Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and Spurgeon’s College in London, England also have a small collection of his notes and proofs.