Friday, January 26, 2007
On January 31, 1892, Charles Spurgeon died in Mentone, France while resting and trying to recover his health. For many years, Mrs. Spurgeon had been unable to leave their home due to her own physical problems, yet for the last few months of his life she was able to be with him in France.
Many biographies have been written about Spurgeon, yet, amazingly, no recent biography has been written similar to the recent biographies about Jonathan Edwards by Murray and Marsden. Perhaps there is an historian somewhere who is working on a new biography of Spurgeon which thoroughly incorporates previous biographies, his sermons and books for personal information, and what remains of his personal library [now located at Midwestern Baptist Seminary]. If no one is writing such a biography, then someone should.
Spurgeon became a Baptist through reading his Bible. Basically a self-taught man, he is teaching us today through his books, sermons, and life. His minisry was a balance of ministry to the soul and body, of evangelism and practical social work.
Dying relatively young at 57 [as did Tyndale, Calvin, Whitefield, and Edwards], the last years of his ministry especially are an example of fidelity to God and His Word when many others, including his friends, chose to compromise and “look the other way” as unbelief spread through the Baptist churches.
Spurgeon was something of a pioneer in England in many ways, but especially when he left the Baptist Union. Time has proved Spurgeon correct as the Baptist Union today is heavily involved in ecumenical work, social gospel emphases, and the World Council of Churches.
He also had strong words for those Bible-believing Christians who maintained their membership in the Anglican Church. Over 100 years later, the Anglican Church has deteriorated into more unbelief. Yet well-known men such as John Stott and James Packer insist on “maintaining a faithful evangelical witness” to the Church [John Stott: A Biography, p.347-348]. Men such as Spurgeon, Campbell-Morgan, and Lloyd-Jones have the Bible on their side while men such as Stott and Packer can only appeal to pragmatic patience. Although we benefit from Stott and Packer’s writings, those who control the Anglican Church smile approvingly as Bible-believers in Anglicanism keep giving their money.
It is ironic that many who admire Spurgeon refuse to follow Spurgeon’s example and leave unbelief to its own demise. Perhaps those who admire the “Prince of Preachers” should examine more carefully their reasons and motives for remaining in denominations which have continued to embrace liberal theology for well over 100 years with no sign of changing.
Side Note: I have about 90 books from Campbell-Morgan’s personal library, including his personal copies of The Expositor’s Bible. In the Genesis Exp Bib, Morgan made notes strongly disagreeing with the liberal views of Marcus Dods. Today, Campbell-Morgan would be shocked to find that some of his descendants are giving his personal library to the Chicago Theological Seminary which is associated with the United Church of Christ.