Skip to content ↓

How an Emerging Church Pastor Inadvertently Changed My Life

Emerging Spurgeon

The Lord often works in mysterious ways. At least, he certainly has in my life, and this was exactly the case with my first real introduction to Charles Spurgeon. Of course I lived far too late to be introduced to him face-to-face, but I did come to know him through his sermons. Here’s how.

It was around fifteen years ago, at the point of my journey that had me wandering in a kind of spiritual wilderness between my early years in the Dutch Reformed tradition and my eventual home in the Reformed Baptist tradition. I had taken on a part-time position with a church in one of those brand-new digital-era roles related to the internet and social media. My job was to learn, master, and deploy all these amazing tools we realized were perfect for reaching the unchurched masses here in the Greater Toronto Area.

One day I was dispatched to an associated church to speak to their pastor who was interested in updating their website with some new information. I learned he had decided to make some significant changes to the structure and personnel of the church. He had been doing a lot of reading that had convinced him the time was right to embrace an updated and more relevant form of the Christian faith. He wanted something less institutional and more organic, something less structured and more egalitarian. He wanted to minimize preaching to maximize sharing. He wanted to move on from the church growth model to fully embrace the emerging model.

He and I spoke for some time while I jotted down notes. Then, as I stood to leave, he offered me a book. It was by one of the leaders of what was then just gaining fame as the emerging church. This was the book that had changed his life and was now motivating the sea change to his ministry. But that was not all he offered me. He pointed to a series of ten hardcover volumes, said he wouldn’t be needing them anymore, and asked if I’d like them. I took them as well. They were ten volumes of sermons by Charles Spurgeon.

I returned home to read that slim volume that advocated a whole new kind of Christianity. It repulsed me. I put it aside and started into those volumes of sermons which I soon learned advocated a very old kind of Christianity. They electrified me. Spurgeon called me to remember and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ. He called me to understand and enjoy sound doctrine. He called with me to have every confidence in the Bible. He changed my life and did it through simply preaching the Word of God.

In this unexpected way, the sermons of Charles Spurgeon, given to me by a proponent of the emerging church, were used by the Lord to transform my life.


  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 20)

    A La Carte: How to support the caregivers in your church / What we gain in following Jesus / The way we feel is not necessarily the way it is / The power and danger of habit / The man who introduced American Evangelicals to C.S. Lewis / and more.

  • Do Not Envy the Wicked

    Do You Envy the Wicked?

    It takes a long time for sinful instincts to become pure, for tendencies toward what is evil to be transformed into tendencies toward what is good, lovely, and pleasing to God. The man who quits drugs will still react when he catches a whiff and the woman who gave up alcoholism will still struggle when…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 19)

    A La Carte: The golden rule for hard conversations / Seven reasons you shouldn’t ignore beauty / The early church on entertainment / The uselessness of prayer / A thousand wheels of providence / Impossible, hard, and easy / and more.

  • Our Salvation Through Christ

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and this post is adapted from The Kindness of God by Nate Pickowicz (© 2024). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission. Just like the Old Testament, the New Testament teaches that this wonderful salvation is extended to us as a kindness. Paul opens his letter…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 18)

    A La Carte: The pursuit of (which) happiness? / Don’t hastily choose elders / The evangelistic nature of awe / What you read builds who you are / Till he was strong / A father’s threads of living faith / Logos deals / and more.

  • Lets Hear It For the Second Parents

    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…