- Book Reviews
- About me
Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
Reading Biographies Together - Spurgeon (VI)
August 19, 2010
I’m a little bit bleary-eyed this morning. Let me explain. Yesterday I got up early and hit the road before 6 AM. I made my way to Hudson, Ohio, about 5 hours away, where I met up with Bob Bevington and Kevin Meath who, along with me, are co-founders of Cruciform Press. I then spent several hours recording the audio version of Sexual Detox, had dinner and then drove 5 hours back home. It was a really long day!
As I suppose you know, I released Sexual Detox as a free e-book about a year ago. However, since then it has been improved and expanded and edited and will be the first title we release through Cruciform Press. Stay tuned in September for that! We’ve got one book releasing each month after that (some written by authors you know, some by authors you don’t know) and they are looking really, really good.
But I digress. I am going to just jot down a very few thoughts about this week’s reading in Dallimore’s Spurgeon: A New Biography. I think that’s about all my tired brain will be able to handle. I’ll leave those who have read along to fill in the gaps (there are a few of you left, right?).
This week’s chapters looked to the daily life of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, focused on ten especially important years of Spurgeon’s ministry and then sought to introduce the man in a slightly more intimate way by looking to some of his personal characteristics.
One thing I enjoyed reading was the interaction between Spurgeon and Moody. Here was one of history’s greatest evangelists expressing his love and admiration for one of history’s greatest preachers (and vice versa). The two men had great respect for one another and did not feel the least bit of jealousy or competition. Their ministries seemed to complement one another very well.
I was also interested to read of Spurgeon’s changing preaching style and the reasoning behind the change:
By this time Spurgeon’s preaching had changed to some extent. During his first few years in London he had been full of physical as well as spiritual vitality, and that had been reflected in his speaking. He had moved about on the platfirm with unbounded vigor, had frequently dramatized what he was saying, and had given an oratorical flourish to many an element in his discourse. His manner was very natural, and the whole was characterized by his tremendous earnestness.
With the passing of the years his style had altered. As he had matured personally, there had come upon him a still greater determination to be able to say with Paul, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” He had become still more concerned lest by some oratorical gesture or some particularly striking statement he should draw attention to himself and should thereby cause his hearers to fail to see Christ. By 1875, in an effort to subdue the people’s tendency to be conscious of him as he preached, he had taken on a more conversational style of utterance, moved around very iittle during the sermon, and attempted to avoid anything that could look like mere human oratory, He prayed that as he preached he might be hidden behind the cross and longed that sinners should not be concerned with him but should look upon the Savior.
Spurgeon was conscious of his magnetism, of his power as an orator, and he deliberately dialed it back in order to ensure that people did not miss the message behind the messenger. That takes humility.
For next Thursday, please read chapters 18 and 19. Then we’ll have just one week left to finish up the book.
The purpose of this program is to read biographies together. So if there are things that stood out to you in this chapter, if there are questions you had, this is the time and place to have your say. Feel free to post a comment below or to link to your blog if you’ve chosen to write about this on your own site.