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 Spurgeon 100 years later -spence

[img]http://members.aol.com/pilgrimpub/chs_coat.jpg[/img]

[b]Spurgeon 100 years later[/b]
[i]David Spence[/i]

What possible chance of success would a 19-year old country boy have if he assumed the pulpit of a tradition-rich but dying church located in a large metropolitan area during a skeptical time in world history? The boy was Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the city was London, and the era was the second half of the 19th century. Anyone making a purely rational assessment of young Spurgeon's chances for success would have to say, "There is no way this venture can succeed!"

When Spurgeon arrived in London on December 18, 1853 for his trial sermon, he was a raw, country preacher who had only been a Christian for about three years. His only previous experience was a two-year stint as pastor of the little Baptist Church at Waterbeach. But London was a far cry from Waterbeach! You would have thought that sophisticated, worldly London would have made short work of this teenaged preacher. On his first night in London, Spurgeon stayed in a boarding house where the regulars kidded him unmercifully about how London would devour this little country preacher.

The New Park Street Church had been one of the great churches of England. Previous pastors included some of the greatest men among early Baptists. In recent years the church had fallen on bad times, and although the building seated about 1,200, less than two hundred were present for Spurgeon's trial sermon. To make matters worse, the community around the church was undergoing socioeconomic changes, and the only way to reach the church from the heavily populated northern part of London was by a toll bridge across the Thames. There was little hope that the church could last much longer.

The later half of the 19th century was a difficult period for churches. London was heavily industrialized with people working such long hours that little time was left for church activities. Science and reason seemed to leave little place in life for religion.

Now what would you give for Spurgeon's chances of success. Well, here's what happened in the next 30 years: such crowds came that the church's facilities were soon inadequate; the great Metropolitan Tabernacle was constructed to hold the thousands who came to hear Spurgeon each week; over 10,000 people joined the church; a pastors' college was founded; an orphanage was started; dozens of mission churches were established; volumes of sermons were published...

Through the one hundred years since Spurgeon's death, many students of preaching have tried to discover HOW he did it. Jay Adams attributes much of Spurgeon's success to his striking illustrations, his ability to surprise the hear with the unexpected, and his appeal to people's senses [Jay E. Adams, Sense Appeal in the Sermons of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975) pgs. 32, 35-36].
In his biography of Spurgeon, Ernest W. Bacon points to the following factors in his success: the power of the Holy Spirit, sound doctrine, a first-hand religious experience, a passion for souls, devotion to the Bible, and the preaching of Christ [Ernest W. Bacon, Spurgeon: Heir of the Puritans (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1967) pgs. 172-175].

Dr. Craig Skinner of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary attributes much of Spurgeon's success to his fresh style, his uncommon clarity, his ability to provide solid doctrine upon which people could base their lives, and an ability to link his sermons to his hearers' needs. [Craig Skinner, "The Preaching of Charles Haddon Spurgeon," Baptist History and Heritage #19 (October 1984) pg. 16]

The people who actually heard Spurgeon preach offered interesting evaluations of his success. The Times said that he put old truth into new dress. The Daily Telegraph reported that his secret was his zeal, his earnestness, and his courage. The Daily Chronicle wrote that he was indifferent to popularity and had a genius for commanding an audience. The Pictorial World expressed the feeling that it was Spurgeon's extraordinary earnestness that endeared him to the people. The Speaker recorded that Spurgeon not only had great oratorical powers but that he also was absolutely sincere and straight-forward. The Referee, a sports paper, said, "He had no Sunday voice" (a "Performing" or "Acting" voice) [W. Y. Fullerton, Charles H. Spurgeon (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966) pgs. 262-267].

In a very humble reply to one who asked him of his great success, Spurgeon replied —
"MY PEOPLE PRAY FOR ME"


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2006/11/27 22:53Profile
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 Re: Spurgeon 100 years later -spence

Whew, reading through this a sense of foreboding hearing the mentions by the scholarly as to what CHS success might be attributed to ... and not that this is a particular dig at the learned, only for instance something like; " [i]... and an ability to link his sermons to his hearers' needs.[/i]" being a result, not an attrition, a [i]HOW[/i], that now has become the manner of replacement, the later minus the former ... But he himself comes to the rescue and saves this from becoming a mere commentary and supposition;

Quote:
In a very humble reply to one who asked him of his great success, Spurgeon replied —
"MY PEOPLE PRAY FOR ME"



Indeed, "The Boiler room" as he made it known, those praying for him ... Strange that no mention was made of his own praying, especially one who wrote so much and so well about it. Much has been made mention of the "Boiler Room" and the accompanying praying

100 years later, 100 ... Recall that quote of "What will it matter 100 years from now?" as an antidote towards the many things that can occupy our attention ... on the other hand, sometimes it can be down right chilling;

[i]Except the Lord endow us with power from on high, our labour must be in vain, and our hopes must end in disappointment.

This is but the threshold of our labour: our inmost longing is to call out a people who shall be the Lord's separated heritage. A new theory has lately been started, which sets forth as its ideal a certain imaginary kingdom of God, unspiritual, unscriptural, and unreal. The old-fashioned way of seeking the lost sheep, one by one, is too slow: it takes too much time, and thought, and prayer, and it does not leave space enough for politics, gymnastics, and sing-song. We are urged to rake in the nations wholesale into this imaginary kingdom by sanitary regulations, social arrangements, scientific accommodations, and legislative enactments. Please the people with the word "democratic", and then amuse them into morality. This is the last new "fad." According to this fancy, our Lord's Kingdom is, after all, to be of this world; and, without conversion, or the new birth, the whole population is to melt into an earthly theocracy. Howbeit, it is not so.[/i]

'and prayer'

[i]Brethren, what a work we have to do! What a work we have to do! Unless the Spirit of God comes to sanctify these surroundings, how can it ever be done? I am sure you feel the necessity of having a truly praying people. Be much in prayer yourself, and this will be more effectual than scolding your people for not praying. Set the example. Draw streams of prayer out of the really gracious people by getting them to pray whenever they come to see you, and by praying with them yourself whenever you call upon them. Not only when they, are ill, but when they are well, ask them to join in prayer with you. When a man is upstairs in bed, and cannot do any hurt, you pray for him. When he is downstairs, and can do no end of mischief, you do not pray for him. Is this wise and prudent? Oh, for a pleading people! The praying legion is the victorious legion. One of our most urgent necessities is fervent, importunate prayer.[/i]

"Brethren, may the Lord give us [i]great humility of mind![/i] It ought not to be an extraordinary thing for us to accept what God says. It ought not to take much humility for such poor creatures as we are to sit at the feet of Jesus. We ought to look upon it as an elevation of mind for our spirit to lie prostrate before infinite wisdom. Assuredly, this is needful to the reception of power from God."

[url=http://www.spurgeon.org/misc/aarm11.htm]The Preacher's Power, and the Conditions of Obtaining It[/url]


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Mike Balog

 2006/11/28 7:59Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
In a very humble reply to one who asked him of his great success, Spurgeon replied —
"MY PEOPLE PRAY FOR ME"



This is an awesome statement. One need only look as far as the content of the volumes of materials that he saturated himself in to see how God had so answered their prayers. In him the Lord brought to life the reality of Himself. An age of reason? What could be more unreasonable than to neglect so great salvation? No doubt it was the unction of God that took hold of the peoples hearts.

Thanks for sharing this!


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/11/28 8:25Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
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 Re:

Quote:
The old-fashioned way of seeking the lost sheep, one by one, is too slow: it takes too much time, and thought, and prayer, and it does not leave space enough for politics, gymnastics, and sing-song. We are urged to rake in the nations wholesale into this imaginary kingdom by sanitary regulations, social arrangements, scientific accommodations, and legislative enactments. Please the people with the word "democratic", and then amuse them into morality. This is the last new "fad." According to this fancy, our Lord's Kingdom is, after all, to be of this world; and, without conversion, or the new birth, the whole population is to melt into an earthly theocracy. Howbeit, it is not so.



This is a powerful quote Mike. One I shall no doubt use as it describes our times so well. I often say- we don't have time to wait on God, but then again, what are we in such a hurry for? Where are we going? I think in our times the folk have been somehow conditioned to feel like they are ready to leave the service as soon as they are arrive and can't wait until it is over with. It is like they are having to 'endure' it as if they were children standing in a corner or something. Where does this sense come from? No doubt it is the spirit of this age and it will be the ruination of everything of we dont first deal with what it is doing to make everything rush, rush, rush...


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/11/28 8:31Profile
enid
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 Re: Spurgeon 100 years later -spence

We should realise that the thing that made Spurgeon succeed was the very thing that we fail at today-PRAYER.

Spurgeon asked prayer from his people, and they obviously prayed for him, hence his success.

We fail to pray, hence our demise.

Thank God for examples like Spurgeon that can encourage us to press toward the mark, and to help us to understand that all that we see around us is not all that there is, namely, the world to come.

God bless.

 2006/11/28 8:37Profile





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