April 1, 2024 Show with Jared Payne on “Charles Spurgeon: The Early Years that Shaped the Prince of Preachers”



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This is Chris Arnzen, your host of Iron Sharpens Iron Radio, wishing you a happy April Fool's Day on this first day of April 2024, and I am officially today declaring that April's Fool's Day is to be a day commemorated for the folks that do not listen to Iron Sharpens Iron Radio.
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But we have as our guest today both a first -time guest and also we are welcoming back somebody who's already been a guest, but he's going to be my first -time co -host today.
First of all, we have Jared Payne joining us for the first time. He is founder of A Pilgrim's Coffer, and he's going to be addressing
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the early years that shaped the Prince of Preachers.
It's my honor and privilege to welcome you back to Iron Trip and Zion Radio, or should I say welcome you to Iron Trip and Zion Radio for the very first time,
Jared Payne. Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me on. And we also have co -hosting with me, someone who
I have had on the program before, Alex Wright, founder of Vessels for Christ Ministries.
It's great to have you back on the show, Alex. It's great to be here, Chris. And not only are we going to be addressing
Charles Haddon Spurgeon's early years, but we're also going to be announcing the printing of the newly retyped edition of the new
Park Street Pulpit sermons by Charles Haddon Spurgeon for the very first time in history.
So we'll be getting to that momentarily. But first of all, Jared, tell us about A Pilgrim's Coffer.
Yeah, so we, in earlier years, I worked as a corporate tax accountant.
So I did that for almost a decade. And in the Lord's providence,
I ended up leaving that work after a period of time. And it was a very organic thing in how our, you know, our work and our ministry kind of grew from an interest in theology, in a lot of these works, these great works that are done that so many are so many are familiar with,
Spurgeon being probably foremost as far as being well known by across the board.
But A Pilgrim's Coffer really started because as I was going to work through going through these volumes, sharing quotes, picking up things, that was the idea that this was this was my coffer.
This was my little where I was going to just a pilgrim was going to keep his his little treasures in one place.
And and I thought, well, if I'm going to go to the trouble to start collecting some of these items and working through things like this,
I'd just share it with everybody. So that's really the the beginnings of A Pilgrim's Coffer.
And it has since grown as our collection has grown. Our original
Spurgeon collection, along with a lot of other materials, we have started getting into a little bit of publishing.
Prior to this, we we worked on we had a Pilgrim's Digest that we did for a year that was kind of in the in the general gist of the
Old Sword and Trowels, really enjoyed doing that. I'm hopeful that one day we'll be able to get back to it.
But we really saw the need to go and start working on some of this retypesetting this
Spurgeon work. When you go back and you see originals, you see
Pilgrim Publications is the last one, you know, decades ago to have finished a photolithograph set.
And after a while, it just became apparent that this was a need for the church, that we are in 2024 now and that we that we need to be digitizing and getting, you know, correct editions of these for the future for pastors, seminaries, laymen and everybody, everybody that we can.
So just became something that was that was on our heart to do. And we finally decided that we would we would take it take up the project.
And how far along are you into this retypesetting of the new Park Street Pulpit Sermons?
So the volume that just came out is the is volume one, 1855. So these this is
Spurgeon Sermons, volume one of 63 total sermons. But the technical volume was the
New Park Street Pulpit, 1855. And the New Park Street Pulpit goes for six years, goes through 1860.
And then in 1861, the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built. And then you see the name change.
So a lot of people do generally refer to the whole set as the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. But the first six volumes are
New Park Street Pulpit. So we're just starting. We are getting ready to start on on volume two.
And our goal is in relatively short order that these are going to be coming out quite frequently.
So our goal is just out of the chute to be kind of at six a year, you know, five, six a year.
And then we're going to we're going to push the gas pedal as quickly as we can.
But I will not, you know, when you think about the Pilgrim Publications set, if for those who have them or know of them, that was a that photolithograph set took 12 years and they were photolithographing the the set.
So so we're retyping setting every line and making.
We are technically correcting some of the errors that came through in the original printing. But our goal is to make it a much quicker print publishing set than than that.
But if people will just bear with us a little bit, we will we'll be plowing through them as fast as we can without sacrificing the quality, because that's the most important thing.
We want to we want to do these right the first time so that people people are really happy with them and can, you know,
Lord willing, pass these volumes down to their to their family members as well. Well, I hope that when you said that you were correcting errors, you didn't mean by that theological errors that you think existed in the writings of Charles.
Oh, no, no. Because as you may as you may know, I'm not going to mention the name of the periodical or the the group, but there was an anti -Calvinist independent fundamentalist
Baptist group that some years ago, probably going on 30 years ago or more, reprinted sermons by Spurgeon.
And they actually had the audacity to change things to fit their soteriology and to not accommodate
Spurgeon's Calvinism. Yeah, that's a that's a travesty. Yeah, we would never do that because I'm right where Spurgeon is.
And the excuse was, well, now that Spurgeon is in heaven, he would agree with these changes.
That's that's that. And, you know, even from the historical aspect, you know, we think about all the volumes, which some folks know of some of that that Spurgeon had in his library, they weren't the vast, vast, vast majority.
Of course, we're not Baptist. You know, we we need to have great theologians, pastors.
We need to have their material, even if we don't agree with everything. And we need to just from a historical standpoint, we need to know what was written.
Those things don't need to change. And it's always a very sad thing when people start going through and trying to edit those things or make commentary on on things.
Unfortunately, Spurgeon is is so well known. That and I'll admit
I'm not the the the premier Spurgeon historian by any stretch.
You'll never hear me saying that. I I've been fortunate enough to go through a lot of material.
But there's some there's some guys out there that have gone through way, way more material than me. But that having been said,
I notice very frequently when when that I see things about Spurgeon anecdotes or quotes or this that there's a lot out there that gets that gets has been twisted or has been evolved over time.
And so we have to be we have to be very careful in how we do that. But no, I want these sets to be to be exactly like they were intended to be.
If you go to the publisher's preface in the front of these volumes, you will see me lay out our methodology for these.
And so it we make sure that in the printing errors, whether we're very much some of them very, very minor, but whether we're talking about punctuation or occasional misspelling, we cross reference these diligently.
And if we aren't sure, we don't touch anything. So it is it is our goal to have this be the most accurate.
And and the default is leave it alone. Don't touch it. But I will say we're absolutely absolutely not
Americanizing the spelling. So that's that is one thing that you will see in a lot of the smaller modern editions that have been and by modern,
I mean since the 40s or 50s, because a lot of those sets which were not full sets, they were partial sets, you know, 10 volumes, 20 volumes max.
Those tended to come from some of the earlier American reprints where a lot of that a lot of that spelling got changed.
And so we go we're going with the originals, the Passmore and Alabasters. And so we think that people are going to be happy.
We you know, we welcome people to if they want to cross check us on on with what we have in the original.
But I can tell you personally with the amount of hours that I've put into just this volume one that that we think people are going to be real happy who are looking for a a true but clean and crisp retype set volume.
We think that they're going to be really happy with these. Amen. Well, now, Alex Wright, if you could please tell us about Vessels for Christ.
Yeah, so Vessels for Christ is a we're a parachurch ministry. We focus on helping pastors financially with resources overseas.
Most of the work we're doing is in Myanmar and Central America. We were doing some work in India, but some things have happened and we're kind of shifting gears.
But we basically want to help those brothers and sisters in Christ and those churches that just what we want to help them with whatever they may need.
Just get it getting the gospel out to the unreached areas in Myanmar and Central America, the prosperity gospel, the word faith, the
NAR movement, the new apostolic reformation. Your listeners would maybe know of Bethel Church or IHOP.
That stuff is very prevalent in Belize where we're doing work. So we work with the brother
Nate Stewart there. He's a missionary and he's sharing the true gospel down there.
And actually, he has a few more solid brothers that have come up alongside him to evangelize that area.
One, you may know of the church he came from. I can't think of the brother's name right now, but he was going to Tim Stephens Church, the pastor.
Who got arrested in Canada. Oh, yeah. During the covid stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Tim Stephens. So he was attending there and he's now there.
Is that church affiliated with James Coates Church? I'm not sure if there's any affiliation.
I know I know James Coates and Tim Stephens know each other because I know Tim Stephens is going to master's
MacArthur's College. But yeah, so a brother from his church has come down.
So there's some really good stuff happening there. Feel more solid Bible teaching, sound doctrine is being promoted there in Belize and then in Myanmar.
Latest update is just the military is still ravaging that country. They're forcing the citizens.
The military has been decimated, so they're forcing 5000 citizens to be drafted every month now going forward.
So anyone from the ages of, I believe, is 25 to 35 are at risk.
And that includes believers and pastors and are at risk of having to join the military, almost like a
David or sorry, a Daniel situation where it's like he has to, you know, be a part of that.
That military and those pagan people, those godless people, and just trying to encourage pastors and believers there in that regard.
But believers are still, unbelievers are still getting converted in Myanmar. People are getting baptized and we're just continuing to do what
God's called us to do and help those brothers overseas. That may not be thought about a lot.
And I understand that Vessels for Christ is going to be the recipient of a percentage of the monies coming from sales of the new edition of the new
Park Street Pulpit. Yeah, that's correct. Jared has been kind enough to donate a portion of the sales from the show today.
If anyone mentions your name or Iron Sharpens Iron or Vessels for Christ in the notes section when they order one, a percentage of the sales will go towards our ministry.
So we are very grateful to a Pilgrim's Coffer and Jared for offering that to us. And the website for a
Pilgrim's Coffer is a pilgrim's coffer dot com, a pilgrim's coffer dot com.
The website for Vessels of Christ or Vessels for Christ, if you want more details, is
Vessels for Christ dot org, Vessels for Christ dot org.
And God willing, we will be repeating that information toward the end of the program.
Well, we have a tradition here, Jared, whenever we have a first time guest on this program, we have that guest give a summary of their salvation testimony, including the kind of religious atmosphere, if any, in which they were raised and what kind of providential circumstances our sovereign
Lord raised up in their lives that drew them to himself and saved them. And I'd love to hear a summary of your testimony, since you are a first time guest, unlike Alex, who has already done this in the past.
Yeah, absolutely. No, I was blessed to grow up in a in a wonderful family that we were we were raised at church every time the doors were open.
It was generally Southern Baptist, you know, was the atmosphere here in North Carolina.
And so that's I would say that's the majority of the churches down here. Of course, we have quite a bit of IFB as well.
But the. Yeah, I was. The summer before I turned seven,
I went to the pastor at the church. There I told my parents and I said, look,
I think that I I believe in Christ, I believe that he's my savior. I believe that I'm to live for him.
And so I think that I need to be baptized. And so I was baptized in not long after in 1993.
And the Lord has shown just great mercy and the providence that he has led me through.
In the years following that, there were certainly many years in this in this day and age, the college years going through where, you know, it's it was a very.
You know, for lack of a better word, it was, you know, somewhat depressing because there's just so little of a
Christian atmosphere and Christian fellowship to be had.
I went to a college and got my master's and got my undergrad, my master's in accounting and did those things came up right when a lot of the housing, you know, the housing crisis was going on there kind of in 07, 08.
So I was interested in business and I went to school for for for that, knowing that I needed a job.
You know, I kind of kind of grew up where it was like, hey, when you go to college, you know, you try not to come home, like get a job, start working kind of thing.
And so and so that's what we did. And the Lord just just looking back, there's just so much of his gracious hand in all of it that led me to my wife.
I just it's one of those things that can't be thankful enough for in all that he's done.
But a notable thing that I will that I will particularly mention is while I was, you know, each of these these stages in my life,
I look back and there's so much to be thankful for what he taught me, what he led me through, what he brought me to.
And I will say as a as a Baptist, but as a, you know, unabashed
Calvinist, that's what I'm going to be called anyway. So but the when
I was when I was working and this is probably been about.
I would say it's probably been at least a decade ago now or really close to it, if not.
I had a friend that I worked with and he was he was older than me.
And but I would always talk, you know, theology with people. But I say theology loosely because in the atmosphere that I grew up in that I think is is still probably, you know, without trying to talk poorly about anybody, you know, that is probably the norm for, you know, a lot of your
Southern Baptist churches. And, you know, there was so little substance as far as doctrine, as far as technical doctrine, as far as understanding ecclesiology and soteriology and these things.
I had not heard even by that point. I'd heard very, very little of that.
And especially, you know, from the pulpit in one form or another.
And so the Lord was providential to put a co -worker and still a friend of mine in my path.
And we I can still vividly remember the conversations that we had, but particularly when when he brought up the doctrines of grace and he walked through those and I said,
Daniel, I don't disagree with anything that you've just said.
But I have one question, and it is why have I never heard that at my church or the churches that I've been to?
And so that I can I can certainly point to and say that really jumpstarted my interest in going back and starting to dig in the historical and the doctrinal and the theological older materials and directly led to my, you know, trying to build up my library.
And I just I would not be I would not be here. I would not be doing what I'm doing if it weren't for that.
And just the mercy of the Lord has been so great to put the people in my path that he has,
Alex included it. I met Alex out at a conference in it was in Conway.
It was that that grace that GBTS was doing out there a number of years back now.
And group of friends happened to be going to eat together, met him there. And we've been we've been friends and talking ever since.
And so it's Lord has just been so kind in that. And I've I've been afforded meeting so many people, even to this point, that.
Dear brothers and sisters, some of whom I've never met, and I just didn't know that it could you know that there could be the joy and the love that there is even amongst those that we don't get to physically spend a lot of time with.
But, you know, with all the negatives that there are for social media and Internet and all sorts of things, you know, there are certainly some wonderful opportunities.
And so I'm thankful to have been able to to meet with and get to be friends with a lot of these folks.
But just most importantly, I think the the, you know, under truly understanding the
Lord's hand in salvation, understanding what he has accomplished for us and the assurance that he gives that we need to understand from the gospel truth and the whole counsel of God that we see all throughout
Scripture from Genesis to Revelation, I think is it's such a reassuring thing that we can look to Christ and we can be thankful each and every day for what he's done and and know that it is not on us every day to be to be unsure, to uncertain, but that we can enjoy and love that we can labor for the
Lord each day and just praise him in a in a world that that has so many so so much negativity and so much that, you know, people that we that we kind of want to throw our hands up and walk away with.
I think, you know, looking at at guys like Alex and and those working internationally, the, you know,
HeartCry and Paul Washer and all sorts of guys in this and the things that you hear, there are there are wonderful, amazing, miraculous things going on in in a lot of the world.
And I just I just hope that, you know, we can not let the the condition of the
United States, which we've got a lot of missionary, you know, quote, quote, missionary work to do to do here in the in the
US. But I hope that people, you know, get up every day and know that, you know, when we when we think things are as terrible as they are, what that that's not as much of a problem as as it is opportunities for us to share the gospel and to grow the kingdom.
Well, we have to go to our first commercial break now. If you'd like to join the conversation with a question of your own about the early years of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, please send your questions to Chris Arnzen at gmail .com,
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Doug McMasters here, former director of pastoral correspondence at Grace to You, the radio ministry of John MacArthur.
In the film Chariots of Fire, the Olympic gold medalist runner Eric Liddell remarked that he felt
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I've been a frequent guest on Iron Sharpens Iron Radio, and I highly recommend this show, but today
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We're now back with our guest today, and my co -host, if you've just tuned this in today, my guest is
Jared Payne, founder of A Pilgrim's Coffer, and my co -host today is
Alex Wright, founder of Vessels for Christ. We are discussing Charles Adams Spurgeon, the early years that shaped
The Prince of Preachers, and if you could, please, because it's such a fascinating story,
Jared, tell our listeners, even though I've told this story myself on this program, tell our listeners about Charles Adams Spurgeon's salvation as a teenager.
Yeah, so that happened, I believe it was 1850. There's a couple books out there, old books that talk about the disputes of the dates, but it was during a snowstorm.
His family was congregational, and in a snowstorm, he stopped in Park Way as he was heading to church into a little
Methodist church, and there was a pastor who, another somewhat disputed discussion, but it was kind of one of the
Methodist circuit pastors, for lack of a better term, that would go around and would also fill in, but would work through churches in that part of eastern
UK, out there where Kelvingdon and the little towns were, and he, his name was
Robert Eaglin, is who some of the, Danzy Sheen was a, was one of the students that was in the pastor's college, and he was actually a
Methodist, so it was, he was one of the very few that came through that, one of the few notable that wasn't a
Credo Baptist, and, but he actually did some labors to go back and try to find out who that was, and they, he all but nailed it down completely to a pastor named
Robert Eaglin, and the story goes that it was just a very, very simple sermon on look to Christ and live out of Isaiah, and Spurgeon just said that, you know, he felt the
Spirit of the Lord come over him there, that he'd been, was born again. He, of course, came from a very devout family.
His father was a pastor, his grandfather was a pastor, but if you go through his autobiography or even many of the other biographies out there, great biographies, that, you know, you'll see how, how he talks about wrestling with his, wrestling with his faith and, you know, ultimately his salvation to the point where he didn't believe that he was, that he was saved, and that is the pivotal moment that he said just really, really gave him a true belief in his salvation that Christ had died for him, and so, just so much fascinating information.
It makes it a little bit fun to dig through because everything wasn't as well documented as things are today, so you get to, you know, if you get into digging deep with, into Spurgeon material, you do get into a lot of different topics and discussions about what facts were, so it's interesting.
I won't go down too many rabbit holes on that. Not that I, again, not that I'm the foremost expert on this stuff, but there's a lot of interesting things.
I think they even mentioned, like, with the pastor Robert Eaglin, who they're pretty sure that that's undoubtedly who it was,
Spurgeon, in later years when they brought it up to him, said, no, I think I would have, no, I think, you know,
I think they showed him a picture of him maybe, and he said, no, I don't think I'll know him until I see him in heaven, and so Spurgeon never mentioned his name, didn't know, didn't ever go back, but it's fascinating stuff to go through.
Spurgeon is just, his entire life is an obvious series of providential events and uses in his life, and so it's really interesting to go back and try to frame him in his day and try to understand some things about him that, you know,
I think sometimes we have more of a modern view of him, and because of our affinity and our, you know, what we do know of him, you know, there's, we don't think of him maybe in the way that his peers and, you know, fellow
Londoners and so on and so forth viewed him, especially out of the gate.
So it's, you know, Spurgeon was a small guy, well, I should say short in stature, but, you know, but a little bit kind of wide, a little bit broad and wide, but he was a, you know, five foot four, he was a short guy, you know, you read a lot of the material early on, you get into newspapers, you get into, because so many people were jeering at this kid, you know, he came to London at, what, 19, and so not only is he getting knocked for how young he is and how he must not be wise enough to say some of the things he's saying, and, you know, there's always the case that I think, you know, you see people mature as you read them and as you see their life play out.
But early on, yeah, he took a lot of criticism, it is even physical, you know, people talking about describing him in the newspapers, you know, how his forehead looked and his teeth look kind of, you know, protruded past his lips, and it's amazing the things that they would go through, you know, but he was a short, you know, country preacher as far as a lot of Londoners were concerned, and, you know, him coming out of the gates at that age and being, you know, very dogmatic about the doctrines of grace and Calvinism and, you know, rocking the boat with hitting baptismal regeneration really hard and some of those things, so he definitely started the fireworks.
Now, other than the Church of Rome, who was at this time predominantly,
I'm assuming, in England where he was from, maybe even more? Yeah, so it would have been the
Church of England. The Church of England was promoting baptismal regeneration? So this,
I'm assuming this was the Oxford movement, since it was the 19th century, that was trying to drag the
Church of England back into Rome, or at least to be more accommodating to Romish doctrines, those that would have been opposed to the 39 articles of religion, which are very
Protestant? Yes, well, like, you know, like, Puseism and some of those things, that's exactly what...
The Tractarian movement? Yep, yep, and so, you know, you had guys who, from across the board, like, you know, even
Ryle and guys like that, who, you know, in many ways were, you know, were mutually supportive, but yeah, there was a lot of Romish behavior in the
Church of England, and Spurgeon spent a lot of time writing on these things, or at least making commentary on them.
You know, he goes out and makes concerted efforts to plead with, you know, his brothers and sisters in the
Church of England to say, you know, read your 39 articles, read your 39 articles.
It's Calvinism, right? It's the doctrines of grace are right there. You can't get around, and so he, you know, he was never obviously shy about his convictions, and, you know, that would even in some ways come to a head when you had the downgrade controversy later, which, you know, was real, real difficult on him, but he, but yeah, he really had to push back.
England was very, was still very, was very high Church.
So much of it was high Church, and so you either had, I think when you see his approach, which
I'm not saying he crafted it this way, but the approach is, you know, trying to relate to the common man and the working class man, and really trying to relate to them, and he took time to read volume, you know, books on, you know, sea life and nautical terminology and things, and it would show up later when you would find comments about those down at the, you know, at the shipyard in London who would come and hear some of his sermons and say, how in the world does he know some of these things better than, you know, a lot of people that they're surrounded with, and so there was just his, you know, his
John Plowman's works that he did, you know, which was, those type of things show up in a lot of his, a lot of his sermons, but the agrarian kind of aspect, the, like I said, just the rural working class, he really did not want any of those to be, of those folks to be overlooked, and he wanted to relate with those as well as possible, but he also, the way that he preached and the substance that he brought to the doctrines and to the time that the, you know, maybe some of the upper classes were hearing in the high church environments, but were not hearing these biblical truths and these, you know, expositions preached with the spirit.
They weren't preached in power. They were being read, you know, that's why he had a problem with, particularly in that time with, you know, the
Book of Common Prayer and these things. You know, you can find him saying good things about some of the content that's in there if you'll read other things, but the problem is you just have to look at everything in its time period and see what was the issue.
Today, somebody wouldn't go, you know, like I wouldn't expect if he was around today.
It's not going to go, the Book of Common Prayers is just a real, it's a real problem, because today that's not, but back then, you know, you had high church, you had them coming into the pulpit and just reading, just dry, this was just so rampant across particularly the
UK, you know, coming in and just reading dryly off the, and then reading prayers obviously, and it was, you know,
Spurgeon really labored to preach with the power of the
Spirit, and that's why I think so many of his sermons are as long -lasting as they are, and that's why you still hear commentary over the years of, you know, people being saved reading his material and things like that.
By the way, we have to go to our midway break right now. Don't go away, we'll be right back. It's such a blessing to hear from Iron Sharpens Iron radio listeners from all over the world.
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chrisorensen at gmail .com. Give us your first name at least, your city and state, and your country of residence if you live outside of the
USA. And forgive me if you said this, I may have missed it, but what kind of theological atmosphere was
Charles Haddon Spurgeon raised in? Was it a congregationalist or an Anglican home? Yes, it was congregational.
That's what I thought. The church he was, yeah, in Kelvedon, yep. And it was not Baptistic. It was a
Paedo -Baptist home. Yes. Yes, it was. And that's where you get the quote, which
I'll butcher, but from, you know, his mother referencing that she didn't know when she asked for, you know, when she prayed for her son to be saved, that he would wind up being a
Baptist. And, you know, his reply is something along the lines of, you know, God often exceeds what we ask for.
So it was just a funny thing, but yeah, that was certainly going to be more common to have your church of England, which, you know, kind of what we call
Anglican and stuff today, and your congregational churches did have Methodists and stuff.
And especially as you got out there, you know, in the Welsh area, which of course we know. Yeah, the
Calvinist Methodists. Yep, yep. And so, of course, that's where Lloyd -Jones came out of and all that.
So, but yeah, the Baptists, you know, your nonconformists like that, you did have, you know, a fair amount of your nonconformists over the years, even, you know, from the
Ages of Bunyan and stuff, but persecuted, always dealt with that through the years, and then
Baptists, you know, kind of continued to get that. But I think I would have to look into that maybe a little bit better before I would want to make some strong claims, but I think that, you know,
I think that Spurgeon certainly, you know, gave a lot of credence to, you know, wonderful Baptist churches and congregations and spurred a lot of growth, and the amount of pastors that they put out and evangelists and missionaries is almost unreal, and it would probably be difficult.
I don't know that I've ever seen somebody try to accurately nail that down, but with a lot of the pastors' college reports and the information that they would get for the sword and trowel to try to keep up with the labors of the people who would come out of the college, it's a pretty astounding amount.
So between the pastors' college graduates, the coal portage association that he started, it's really difficult to assess the impact of Spurgeon just on the
UK and the, you know, the areas, the mission areas, the mission field that the
UK was, you know, primarily going to in that period, you know, where especially a lot of the areas where, you know, the
British had historically ruled and had connections, but even just with the
UK, it's a very difficult thing to accurately speak to outside of saying that it's almost incalculable.
Hey, Jared, do you mind if I elaborate on something? No, Alex, go ahead, because we mentioned we were talking about the, you know, the preaching that was common in England, in Victorian England, and, you know, a lot of what
Spurgeon was a stark contrast to that, you know, immediately coming on the scene, and so I think
Alex had some good… Yeah, so I think we have, yeah,
I mean, I still see some of this issue today of this dryness in preaching. Chris, have you ever interviewed, did you ever get to interview
Richard Owen Roberts? No, I don't believe I have. If I'm mistaken about that,
I apologize to him, but right now I can't remember. Okay, he has some great sermons.
He actually, I think he had spoke at G3 in the past, some of the first conferences, but he did a sermon where he was talking about the difference between preaching and teaching.
You know, you don't want to be like these Anglicans that Jared was describing in the
Church of England, just dryness, just monotone, just line after line after line.
You want to have the spirit -filled preaching, the experiential preaching, the preaching that, you know, really gets to you, and I think that's so important.
And I think that's, I'm thankful for Jared producing these sermons and other people that have done the work on Spurgeon, because I think that's why so many of us are drawn to him.
He had that spirit -filled, and he had the unction from the Lord, and he could just, it was like a composer with an orchestra.
He could just weave in and out of the text and get people stirred up, not in a false sort of out there, you know, false type of charismatic way, but in a genuinely godly demeanor and a genuinely godly manner.
And that's why I really appreciated him, but I just kind of wanted to touch on that a little bit.
Sure. And there's nothing that I love more than passionate, energetic preaching—bold, powerful, thunderous preaching.
And I know that Spurgeon, from what I've read, had a serious problem with tepid, weak, quiet preaching.
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I mean, and I think that it's just important today to have those guys that are really, you know, you have
Sunday school where you're learning about the doctrines of grace or, you know, what have you, or you have seminary -level classes, but that's not preaching.
Preaching is, man, it's, you're relying on the power of the Lord, the power of the Holy Spirit. And you might have a manuscript, but it's like, you know, there are some things that people need to hear during that Lord's Day service that God will just speak through you.
And I think it's so important today because it's still, even in the 1800s to now, there's still a lack of that going on today.
And that's something I pray more that we have preachers that are more like Spurgeon and more like Richard Owen Roberts and others that preached like that.
And I do have to add a caveat. I did not mean to cast dispersion on those that are very passionate but have softer voices.
There are people who, there are men who are very gifted pastors and preachers and orators who have softer voices than some of our more loud
Reformed Baptists do. But they are equally passionate. Passionate doesn't always mean that you're extremely loud.
And what I'm speaking about is people who lecture rather than preach all the time.
And when they're lecturing, they look just as disinterested in what they're saying as the hearers are.
So I just wanted to make a careful distinction there. Well, I think—oh, sorry,
Jared, I was just going to say—I think that distinction is good because I had a friend at a church near us, and we had attended this church for a little bit, but every time he left and me and my wife left, we were like, yeah, we learned a lot.
But it didn't really, you know, it didn't really convict us or impact our spirit, you know.
And there's something to be said about that, of going into a service and just learning a bunch and gaining knowledge, but not really, you know, letting the
Holy Spirit speak to you, you know, and letting the Holy Spirit, you know, convict you and fill you up.
And I mean, I know that in some Reformed Baptist circles today, it's like you've got to be careful about using some of that terminology, but it's true.
It's biblical, you know. Yeah, and I think that that's, you know, a great point, and I say all this humbly as a layman because you're probably going to have plenty of pastors listening, and so I certainly don't want to impose any of my views as being inherently absolute.
But, you know, I think that that distinction that we have between preaching and teaching, this is an important emphasis on why
I believe that elder -led churches is the biblical model, in that we have some who are given gifts of, you know, greater gifts of preaching, and some who might be better teachers.
And they're both necessary. They're both extremely useful. They're both something that we don't want all preaching and no teaching, because we can preach and lead people to the gospel, but have them understand technically none of it, and we get in just as bad a shape as if we teach and teach but we don't have any spirit -filled preaching.
We don't have any strong means to evangelistically preach, and we want to make sure that those who are sitting in the pews, we know that there is a possibility that some of them are not born again, even among those who, you know, may have membership in some churches.
And so we want to constantly be preaching the gospel, but we also need to be teaching to help understand these things.
And I think that, you know, in modern times,
I believe that that can sometimes be an issue because of our tendency toward our model.
Maybe that's, I'm sure it's abroad, and it's not just, you know, it's international to some degree, but, you know, particularly here in the
U .S., when we think about years back, and when we read historical accounts, and we read the biographies of these great preachers and missionaries, and we think of how so many of them were raised up in their churches, you know,
I think that my desire is that we would, from a local church basis, as we raise up together our church family in knowledge and supplication, and we strive to have those sitting in the pews know substantially the same amount of doctrine as those preaching, right?
We don't want to be, you know, harking back to the days of Rome, where you've got an all -knowledgeable priest up there, you know, reading in Latin, and nobody else can read, and they're just having to listen to what he's saying.
And, you know, we do have some of that in some of our churches, where it's kind of a, you know, we go to church to be told what to think, or told something that makes us feel better, but some church bodies, you know,
God forbid, but we know that it's true in some instances, just really don't understand much about the gospel to any depth.
It's very thin, and we don't know much doctrine, we can't piece things together, and this is where you get all these notions that, you know, well, the
God of the Old Testament's different than the God of the New Testament, and he, you know, all these sorts of things, because they're not taught to understand, and so my desire is to see more of the churches from a local basis working, you know, growing up pastors from inside, and determining what, you know, what gifts we think that the
Lord has given people. You know, and I certainly don't mean this as a blanket on many pastors.
I'm just saying, we do know that there are some who become pastors who might not have the gift for that.
They might not have the gift for preaching, but they have a great gift for teaching. Maybe they need to be teaching more than, you know, than the opposite.
So, but that's why I think that it's really important to have, you know, elder -led churches where we can have this, you know, those who are gifted with preaching, teaching, and some bodies don't have, you know, some bodies are very small, and they're not afforded that, and the
Lord will provide, and we just remain faithful, and he will bring up those amongst us as we labor, but I just say that to say, you know, that preaching, teaching distinction, sometimes it, like Alex was saying, it does really get conflated, and, you know, we need to have times where we emphatically preach spirit -filled gospel messages, and we also need to, you know, be able to spend the time to teach doctrine and understand more things, but we need to make sure we don't put those in the wrong place.
We need to make sure that we have the gifts of that, and that we're not, you know, mishandling our gifts or misattributing them, because it's a beautiful thing, the
Lord working in the body of believers and uniquely gifting people for the suited roles that he has, and there's many wonderful gifts outside of preaching and teaching, so I think that's going to get talked about more than anything, obviously, but I think people need to really, really change how we look at the many other gifts that God gives outside of preaching and teaching that are ways to serve.
We are not meant to be a body of believers with gifts inside a building one to two nights a week.
That is where we go to fellowship. That is where we go to praise our God, to praise our
Savior, and we are edified there, and we grow in grace with the sacraments, but the church leaves those doors, and the church is out in the world, and so for those who aren't pastors, for those who don't have necessarily gifts of preaching and teaching, there's more opportunities to impact for the gospel with people who have other gifts or people who just labor faithfully that don't have some of these gifts, and so I think we need to, you know, maybe get back to looking at how the body is meant to labor for the kingdom in this world and, you know, really start making sure that we're not viewing the church as an activity or viewing the church as a date on the calendar because that's not what we're—I don't believe that's how we're called to be, and we're really meant to, if I can use it in these terms, in these senses, we're meant to be edified by our preachers and then walk out the doors and the rest of the week be little preachers as it may be, right?
Amen. Well, we have a question from CJ in Lindenhurst, Long Island, New York, and CJ asks, if I'm not mistaken, the challenges that Charles Spurgeon had over, on the one hand, the downright controversy, and on the other hand were the hyper -Calvinists and the strict
Baptist denomination, but I was wondering what were the challenges that he had early on in life?
And actually, I'm sorry, I misread this. CJ says that he's almost certain that the challenges of the downright controversy, on one hand, and the hyper -Calvinism of the strict
Baptist denomination, on the other, occurred later in his life. I missed that part of the sentence.
Occurred later in his life, but what were some of the challenges that happened to him earlier on in his ministry?
So was he correct in that, that the downgrade and the hyper -Calvinist controversies were later in his life?
I mean, again, like I said, I don't want to pretend to be the all -knowing information source on Spurgeon, but I would say, you know, that there was certainly, probably leaned that way earlier on, you know, from a lot of what
I gather, you know, the – he was so – like if you pick up volume one here, and in some of these early – through,
I would say – I'm not going to put an end date, but I know even the year that they opened the tabernacle, one of the first things they did was to go through the five points of Calvinism in one service with the church.
So he was – you tend to see more overt doctrine hitting the five points of Calvinism thing in those younger years, but he did not back away from that.
You never see him backing away from Calvinism. But, you know, of course, because of the heritage that, you know, some of the
Calvinists had, and even the particular Baptists, as time went by, you know, your opponents, you continue to pull in detractors, and that's kind of what you're going to get, is he knew some of the things that Gill said, right?
And he knew some of the things like that that, you know, you can read about in Ian Murray's book on hyper -Calvinism and those things.
So, yeah, later on, I think that that became something that he answered more frequently in regards to having him being so evangelistic and kind of having to clear the air on some of those things.
I love Gill, he loved Gill, you know, and he – one of the great things to me and for me is the breadcrumbs and the commentary that he left on other works.
So you can go and you can find the things that he said about those. But early on, you know, of course, he was dealing with the way that he was being kind of treated coming into London, being so young, being so dogmatic on these issues that I think, you know, warranted a strong response because of the state of the churches, particularly in London, that were visible.
And so he called a lot of flack on those. But there were – you can see the tides start changing, even in the newspaper printing and the articles in so many of the magazines.
There were many, the Baptist Messenger and ones like that, that were right with him, you know, were
Baptist Calvinists from the get -go and supported him. And you'll find others that – a lot of the articles that they would have every month, you know, would have pastors writing in things that were, you know, kind of chastising
Spurgeon and saying he's too young and he's not wise enough to be talking on these things and all this stuff. But that lasted a little while, but once they saw the fruits, the content of his speaking and the fruits of his labors, you know, a lot of that kind of subsided.
And he dealt with the challenges really through the tabernacle being built were just the hordes of people that he was coming to see.
And then, of course, you know, you had very sad events like at Crystal Palace where he had the trampling, where I think one or two folks died.
He borderline got depressed over that. I don't think it was borderline.
I think it was – Well, I say borderline compared to the downgrade controversy.
The downgrade – the Crystal Palace he bounced back from.
Okay. But, you know, when somebody yelled fire and they got drowned. But the downgrade, you know, depending on who maybe you read an assessment by, the downgrade, you know, some will argue never really left him.
And briefly define the downgrade, even though it's not really since we're primarily talking about his younger years.
Define the downgrade so they know what you're talking about. Well, in the Baptist Union, you know, you got to think in the time period that they're in, the
Victorian time period, they're dealing with higher criticism starting to come into the whether it be from, you know,
Germany and different places, but even in England, you've got
Darwin in that time period, right? So you've got all these issues that the society is really talking about and bringing to the forefront.
And then the church is having to deal with this. So you had those issues. And among that, even within the
Baptist Union, you were having, you know, you had both general and particular
Baptists in the Baptist Union, but you were starting to deal with the denial of some of these necessary gospel doctrines coming up in the
Baptist Union. And I don't want to draw any comparisons at all.
You know, I probably would be speaking out of place by saying this, but, you know, even like some, you know, some of the issues we might see to a very much smaller extent, maybe like in the
SBC and some things they're doing. You were dealing with these things where they were kind of getting some lines drawn, but it was even more so on particular doctrine.
And Spurgeon just got to the point where he didn't think that they could be in an association claiming the same gospel with some of these things being denied.
And I'll give you a prime example, and you've probably not heard this, but there was, you know, what was difficult on him was some of the guys that he was friends with, some of which he had even had written articles for his
Sword and Trial magazine and done things like that, like a William Landles, you know, really getting after him for what he's saying about the
Baptist Union and withdrawing because he was such a formative, you know, force, so to speak, for the
Baptists. And the amount of flack he caught, even a friend like, you know,
Alexander McLaren, I think when they went to vote the Baptist Union, they kind of voted to whether they wanted to give a response, you know, just give a full response, a partial response or no true response.
And, you know, some of them like McLaren just didn't want a response because they were friends with Spurgeon and didn't want to be outwardly chastising him, you know.
So there was a lot of issues, but the example, a good example is one of the pastors, I believe it was a pastor who sided with Spurgeon on pulling out of the
Baptist Union, went to an event after the fact and heard another pastor who was on the opposite side say,
I'm not going to quote it exactly right, but I'll paraphrase it, that he had, that that pastor had more in common with a
Mohammedan than he had with Spurgeon. So if that doesn't kind of give you the contrast of some of the things,
I mean, there's great resources to go read all the details on the doc, you know, what was really being discussed.
But that should tell you right there that, you know, the gospel and Christ, who they were talking about were, there was some just such a difference that Spurgeon just didn't think they could be in an association claiming, you know, unity.
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Every Christian who's serious about the deformed faith and the Westminster standards should have and use the eight -volume commentary on the theology and ethics of the
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It is much more than an exposition of the larger catechism. It is a thoroughly researched work that utilizes biblical exegesis as well as historical and systematic theology.
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It's such a joy to witness and experience fellowship with people of God like the dear saints at Hope Reformed Baptist Church in Corham, who have an intensely passionate desire to continue digging deeper and deeper into the unfathomable riches of Christ in his holy word, and to enthusiastically proclaim
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Doug McMasters here, former director of pastoral correspondence at Grace to You, the radio ministry of John MacArthur.
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We're now back with our guests, and we have been discussing the younger years, the earlier years of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and if you could, highlight some of those challenges that he had as a younger pastor, because he already went through the downgrade controversy.
Yeah, so as a younger pastor, you know, like I said, I think that his—I think that that transition that he had coming to London was formative, and everything leading up to that, you know, he was a pastor at a church in Waterbeach, which is just outside of Cambridge, and he was just there a few years before he got invited to come to London.
And now, the new Park Street Chapel is—it was built by John Rippon, so if you've ever heard of Rippon's selection of hymns, that is, if you go to Spurgeon's Our Own Hymn Books that he had printed not long—once the
Metropolitan was open, they had, you know, that is largely Rippon's hymns, plus some hymns like Spurgeon wrote, and some of those things, but Rippon, you know, he took probably,
I believe it was a lot of like Olney hymns, probably some Hart's hymns, and things like that, and you have
Rippon's selection, which is still—which is the basis of quite a bit on the hymnal side, but Rippon's the one who opened the new
Park Street, and so the challenges, you know, that stick out to me that he faced were, you know, coming into London, his age, that was not very characteristic at all of the average, although he did have, you know, younger pastors, but coming in and immediately having such, you know, a sizable congregation, and then a following, a lot of people wanting to see him, you know, likely from,
I don't want to say an amusement standpoint, just out of a curiosity, that's why he had so many outside the congregation after word spread coming in to hear from him.
So you had his youthful dogmatism that was getting a lot of pushback, especially as he preached and wrote some small tracts.
So in other words, Spurgeon was also in a cage -stage Calvinism at one point?
Well, I'm trying to think if I would make that claim quite—I really, to me, it comes off like he was setting a real foundation for his pastorate, and going through those doctrines of grace, and so you see that early on with new
Park Street, but, you know, you don't really see it drop off, but you see his, you know, the first sermon in 1855's new
Park Street pulpit is on the mutability of God, and you get a lot of comments as you go through the sermons on, you know, with references to Calvinism, Armenians, and then, you know, stuff like that, and but then when they opened up, like I had mentioned before, when they opened up the tabernacle, he immediately goes and has, which is 1861, so six, you know, six years later, from the 1855 sermon books that we're talking about.
Of course, he was already at new Park Street, I think he first came to preach there in 1853,
I believe, but, you know, once they open the tabernacle, that's one of the first things that he does is have some guys, including his brother, come in and preach on one of the pillars of Calvinism, and so, or the five points of Calvinism, so it was really interesting how that worked out, and so I don't know if I would say,
I don't know if I would say he was caged stage, but I would say that the issues shifted later, and so, you know, he was always, he always had his focus on powerful spiritual preaching and evangelism, but, you know, he was, because of the circumstances, the way that it worked out, he was wading through a lot of criticism just on his personal character, and everything, and him being a boy preacher, and coming in, and immediately after he came to new
Park Street, just within a few years, in the 1855, in our first volume, like that we've reprinted, you'll see him go to and start preaching at Exeter Hall.
They were already having to add space in new Park Street, and he had not been there long at all.
And brother, we are out of time, want to make sure that we give your website again. For those of you interested in the new edition, the newly retyped edition of the
New Park Street Pulpit, go to a pilgrimscoffer .com,
a pilgrimscoffer .com, and also to visit the website of my co -host,
Alex Wright, Vessels for Christ. Go to vesselsforchrist .org,
vesselsforchrist .org. I want to thank you both for being on the program today. I want to thank all of our listeners, and I want you all to always remember for the rest of your lives that Jesus Christ is a far greater