Who is Charles Spurgeon?

Portrait of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Alexander Melville (1885)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a Baptist preacher, humanitarian, and author.

He was a great supporter of the Reformed Baptist tradition and agreed with the philosophy of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. He was also a staunch opponent to the liberal tendencies of the church in the nineteenth century.

The records of history remember Charles Spurgeon as the Prince of Preachers.

Charles Spurgeon also wrote many books ( poetry, autobiography, books on prayers, etc.), and founded an orphanage for boys and girls that still exists today in the United Kingdom.

Early Life

Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834, in Kelvedon, Essex, England. He was born as an Anglican, and when Charles was only ten months old, his family moved to Colchester.

When he was fifteen years old, a snow blizzard blocked a road on which he was traveling and he found refuge in a chapel that was on his way. Waiting for the blizzard to calm down, Spurgeon read the Psalm that changed his life. The text was Isaiah 45:22 from the Bible.

At that moment, Spurgeon decided to become Baptist and he joined the Newmarket Church.

Although he didn’t have much formal education, he loved to read and eventually he became a teacher at Sunday school.

Just a few months later he became a pastor in a Baptist church in Waterbeach. Soon thereafter, many people recognized Spurgeon’s superior preaching abilities and love for religion.

Becoming the Prince of Preachers

In 1854, Spurgeon became the pastor in New Park Street Chapel.

His popularity among the local parishioners grew quickly during those years. At one point, more than 10,000 people came to listen to his sermons, forcing Spurgeon to move his speeches to bigger venues.

At this time, he also met several friends and supporters, among others was William Garet Lewis of Westbourne Grove Church. Lewis and Spurgeon went on to found the London Baptist Association.

In 1855, the first book of his sermons was published.

Spurgeon faced a lot of opposition as well and the attacks were mostly by the media of that time period. Press criticized Spurgeon because his sermons spoke directly to the people. But many believers loved him because of that.

On October 7, 1857, more than 23,600 people came to Crystal Palace to listen to Spurgeon’s sermon.

His published sermons are still bestsellers today, as they were in the nineteenth century.

In 1866, he published “Our Own Hymn Book”, a compilation of Hymns and Psalms.

Another hymn book “The Rivulet” caused controversy because of Spurgeon’s views on deistic theology. Spurgeon was against baptismal regeneration and because of that, he got more opponents.

In 1887, Spurgeon published “Downgrade,” an article in “The Sword & the Trowel.” The article caused controversy in the Baptist Union because Spurgeon criticized some Baptist beliefs and traditions.

Humanitarian Work

Charles Spurgeon stood in great opposition to slavery, causing many in the Baptist leadership to oppose him.

Spurgeon founded the Pastor’s college in 1857 which became Spurgeon’s College in 1923.

He was a supporter of James Hudson Taylor and China Inland Mission. Spurgeon helped him with financial donations and even encouraged some priests to apply for Taylor’s service.

He also contributed by promoting the evangelistic tool “Wordless book”, which priests used in teaching people of other cultures and languages the Gospel message.

In 1867, he opened an orphanage for boys. Since 1879, the orphanage now accepts the girls as well.

Personal Life and Death

Spurgeon married Susannah Tompson in 1856. The couple had two twin sons Charles and Thomas, who also became a Baptist preacher after his father died.

By 1892, Spurgeon had fallen ill. He had several health problems such as rheumatism, kidney problems, and gout.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon died on January 31, 1892, in Menton, France. His legacy still lives on today.

Charles Spurgeon Books

Charles Spurgeon Sermons

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