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Remembering Charles Spurgeon

Adeze Ojukwu

Reflecting on the lives of great leaders is very expedient, particularly at these perilous times of wars, conflicts and disasters, globally.

It is even much more so, due to the unfortunate dearth of noble and credible leaders, across societies.
The horrific polarization of the world is largely linked to bad governance and political crisis.

Other factors include exclusion, racism, political crises, injustice and excruciating poverty.

A new cultural revolution for equality and inclusion, particularly in governance, will definitely, contribute immensely, towards ushering in the much-needed peace and prosperity, in many distressed nations.

With the escalation of dictatorships, as well as the widening Global North-South divide, it is imperative to research and write about distinguished personalities, whose lives and legacies, have left a positive influence on humanity.

One of such historical figures is Charles Haddon Spurgeon, whose service-driven lifestyle, has continued to elicit great awe and admiration.

This tribute was drawn, significantly, from information from Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica and The Spurgeon Library.

Spurgeon was born in Kelvdon, United Kingdom(UK) in June 19, 1834 and died on 31 January 31, 1892.

He was an English Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of various denominations, among whom he is known as the “Prince of Preachers.”

He was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, and opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day.

He married Susannah Thompson on January 8, 1856. She would become his truest partner, deepest confidant, and “the greatest of all earthly blessings.”

Susannah described their life together as “two pilgrims treading this highway of life together, hand in hand and heart linked to heart.”

Reared a Congregationalist, Spurgeon became a Baptist in 1850 and, the same year, at 16, preached his first sermon.

“In 1852 he became minister at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, and in 1854 minister of New Park Street Chapel in Southwark, London.”

Our Daily Bread Devotional recalled the early years of Spurgeon’s struggles and conversion.

“As a teenager, Charles Spurgeon wrestled with God. He’d grown up going to church, but what was preached seemed bland and meaningless. It was a struggle for him to believe in God, and Charles, in his own words, “rebelled and revolted.”

“One night a fierce snowstorm forced the sixteen-year-old Spurgeon to seek shelter in a tiny Methodist church. The pastor’s sermon seemed directed at him personally. In that moment, God won the wrestling match, and Charles gave his heart to Jesus.”

In his words “Long before I began with Christ, He began with me.”

“In fact, our life with God doesn’t begin with the moment of salvation.”
His views reflected the message of Psalm 139:13 that God “created our inmost being,” knitting us together in our mother’s womb.

St. Paul also acknowledged this truism in Galatians 1:15. “Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.”

He re-echoed this in Philippians 1:6 “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”

According to Spurgeon’s official biography, he was pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel, renamed the Metropolitan Tabernacle, in London for 38 years.”

He was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and later he left the denomination over doctrinal convictions.

While at the Metropolitan Tabernacle he built an Almshouse, the Stockwell Orphanage and encouraged his congregation to engage actively with the poor of Victorian London. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him posthumously.

Spurgeon authored sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry, and hymns.

“Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. He is said to have produced powerful sermons of penetrating thought and precise exposition.”

“His oratory skills are said to have held his listeners spellbound in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, and many Christians hold his writings in exceptionally high regard among devotional literature.”

As a minister, the fiery evangelist said “even as we pursue holiness and fight sin, we have to keep the gospel central. We have to cultivate a deep awareness and sorrow over our personal sin and the temptations of our hearts. We have to live in dependence on God’s grace in Christ. And then we speak as sinners saved by grace. This is how our holiness becomes warm and attractive.”

“Apart from our own personal grasp of the gospel, all our efforts at piety and holiness will become a stumbling block to our own sanctification and ministry. The strange thing is that people don’t always notice ministerialism in their pastor.”

“The unspiritual people in the congregation won’t mind that their pastor doesn’t demonstrate any spiritual life before them. Even while the minister is just keeping up appearances, a church can have a growing budget and the congregation can be entertained. But in the end, as far as the pastor is concerned, it’s all external rituals and no spiritual life.”

“We’re all works-in-progress in the hands of a loving God. He leads us through our rebellious wrestling and into His warm embrace. But His purpose with us then is only beginning. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13). Rest assured, we’re His good work regardless of how old we are or what stage of life we’re in.”
His quotes remain quite popular among people. Here are few of them.

“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.”

“When your will is God’s will, you will have your will.”

“Nothing teaches us about the preciousness of the Creator as much as when we learn the emptiness of everything else.”

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.”

“Give yourself unto reading. The man who never reads will never be read; he who never quotes will never be quoted. He who will not use the thoughts of other men’s brains, proves that he has no brains of his own. You need to read.”

•Ojukwu, a journalist and published wrote this article, in order to contribute towards the campaign for godly leadership and Christian edification. Kindly send your feedback through:
adeze.ojukwu @gmail.com

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