Archive for the ‘Forgotten Spurgeon’ Category

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I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this biography, though the author insists throughout the work that this is really not a biography of Spurgeon per se, and was written to fill in the gaps that is often left out concerning the real Spurgeon that is contrary to the popularized image of Spurgeon according to the perception of mainstream Evangelical  and some biographies out there.  In commenting about the deficiency of some of the biographies about Spurgeon, this work notes how some of the popular biographers have not grasp or understood the significance of the theology that have driven Spurgeon.  Spurgeon in his life was a man of God that was not only a gospel preacher to the masses but also a man of God who would take a stand for the truth of God’s Word.  Throughout his lifetime, the “forgotten” Spurgeon was involved with three major controversies which the book discusses about, concerning baptismal regeneration, hyper-calvinism and the Down Grade Controversy.  A fascinating fact that I was not aware of before reading this book was the author’s observation that in the baptismal regeneration debate, Spurgeon did not expected much support from certain religious quarters which ironically did affirm and supported Spurgeon’s concern, while in the Down Grade Controversy Spurgeon expected support from certain quarters (Evangelicals) that in the end not only materialized but turned out to be against him.  Even his own brother who was a minister disagreed with him and readers might be shocked to learn of this contrary to the image of Spurgeon as always being popular.  It is the down grade controversy which most people remember of the three, but knowing what the others were about also allow readers to better situate Spurgeon in his context, and perhaps a more balance understanding of Spurgeon when it comes to controversy.  Perhaps the part of the book that I found most fascinating what the closing chapter that talked about the fate of Spurgeon’s church after his death.  It was a painful thing to hear of how those who took up the ministry after him including his son, moved away from the theology that Spurgeon has embraced.  It is probably the most sobering part of the book for me, as I think back to campus ministries that I have been involved with in the past that has been so strong biblically and numerically only to have it handed off to others that eventually would not agree with your distinctives or emphasizes (and even hostile against it, or disregard what precious truths that has motivated the first “generation”!).  It was saddening to read this last portion of the book.  I cannot help but to think of the historical lesson here as it relates to our day and age.  This is the second work that I read by Iain Murray, the first being his most recent work on John MacArthur.  I think Murray is a great biographer, and I can’t help but to think about Grace Community Church after John MacArthur, or any other famous pastor for that matter (John Piper, C.J. Mahaney, etc).  The ending of the book allow me to have some soul searching of whether or not as a young pastor, my goal should be to become a famous great preacher.  It made me think about how some people follow preachers just for the sake of the man’s fame rather than really seeing the man’s theology coming from the Scripture itself.  The real tests at times, seems to come about after a man’s death and his ministry/church carries on without him; where will the direction go?  Will the saints still be faithful to what is biblical?  Who will take over and will they be able to fill the mighty shoes left behind, while being faithful to the Word of God and have the ability to lead the body?  It makes me think much about the issue of a Christianity that is driven more by personality and charisma though those that lead are orthodox; as in the case of the Hebrews escaping Egypt in the Exodus, people have an uncanny way of making their own idols even in the midst of God’s great works.

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