Preacher Feature: Charles H. Spurgeon
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834 - 1892) is known to this day as the "Prince of Preachers." Recognized quickly as a prodigy of sermon exposition, Spurgeon became pastor at London's New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) at the age of 19, where he served until his death 38 years later. Often controversial, Spurgeon lived a colorful, if not short, life; but his thousands of collected sermons and written works still inspire pastors and laity well into the 21st century. [Image on right: an early photo of Charles Haddon Spurgeon from the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.]
In his nearly 40 years of ministry, Spurgeon became the most famous preacher of his day. Some have estimated that over 10,000,000 people heard him preach; yet, he was much more than mere religious celebrity. As J. G. G. Norman notes in the New International Dictionary of the Christian Church,
He read widely and especially loved the seventeenth-century Puritans. A diverse author, he wrote biblical expositions, lectures to students, hymns, and the homely philosophy of “John Ploughman,” among other works. Preeminently he was a preacher. His clear voice, his mastery of Anglo-Saxon, and his keen sense of humor, allied to a sure grasp of Scripture and a deep love for Christ, produced some of the noblest preaching of any age. His sermons have been printed and distributed throughout the world. Two popular works still widely used today are Treasury of David and Morning and Evening, the latter a compilation of devotional readings.
Many do not realize that Charles Spurgeon’s legacy goes beyond his thousands of recorded sermons still read today. In 1868, Spurgeon founded Stockwell Orphanage, which still operates today as a child advocacy charity, Spurgeon’s Child Care. In 1856, Spurgeon opened The Pastors’ College in London. After his death, it was renamed Spurgeon’s College.
Above: Spurgeon preaching at Surrey Music Hall from Parade of Faith: A Biographical History of the Christian Church
Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a larger-than-life figure in his day; but even after his death, he continues to impact the lives of others—not only through his writings, but also through the institutions which he founded.