Charles Haddon Spurgeon


"Charles Haddon Spurgeon, by common consent is acknowledged to be the greatest preacher since apostolic times. He combined the preaching power of Jonathon Edwards and Whitfield with the organizing power of Wesley, and the energy, fire and courage of Luther. In many respects, he was like Luther and in many others, like Paul." (B.H. Carroll - Founder of Southwestern Baptist Seminary)

"I read and heard Spurgeon's sermons before ever becoming a preacher. I have read everything by Spurgeon I can get my hands on, and advise my students to do likewise." (Dwight L. Moody)

Charles H. Spurgeon was born in Kelvedon, Essex. Spurgeon's conversion to Christianity came in January 1850 at the age of fifteen. On his way to a scheduled appointment, a snow storm forced him to cut short his intended journey and turn in to a Primitive Methodist chapel in Colchester where, in his own words: "God opened his heart to the salvation message."


He preached his first sermon in 1851 and, from the beginning of his ministry, his style and ability were considered to be far above average.


In 1852, he became pastor of the small Baptist church at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, and in 1854, after preaching three months on probation and just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, was called to the pastorate of London's famed New Park Street Chapel, Southwark (formerly pastored by the Particular Baptist theologian John Gill). Within a few months of his call his powers as a preacher made him famous.


Spurgeon in his late twenties.The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall. In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000 all in the days before electronic amplification. At twenty-two Spurgeon was the most popular preacher of the day.


In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed purpose-built Metropolitan Tabernacle at Elephant and Castle, seating five thousand people with standing room for another thousand. Some say that the Metropolitan Tabernacle is considered the first modern "megachurch."


Spurgeon was a Baptist and a Calvinist, but is still known to non-conformists of many denominations as the "Prince of Preachers" in the tradition of the Puritans and especially highly regarded amongst Presbyterians and Congregationalists, although he differed with them over the issue of baptism (in 1862, Spurgeon alienated many evangelicals when he preached against infant baptism, even though he was a staunch Calvinist).


Spurgeon's sermons were published in printed form every week, and enjoyed a high circulation. By the time of his death in 1892, he had preached almost thirty-six hundred sermons and published forty-nine volumes of commentaries, sayings, anecdotes, illustrations, and devotions.


It is said that on the death of missionary Dr. David Livingstone, a discolored and much used copy of one of Spurgeon's printed sermons was found among his few possessions, along with the handwritten comment at the top of the first page "Very good, D.L." He had carried it with him throughout his travels in Africa.


In 1856, Spurgeon married Susannah, daughter of Robert Thompson of Falcon Square, London, by whom he had twin sons, Charles and Thomas. His widow and sons survived him. He suffered ill health towards the end of his life, afflicted by a combination of rheumatism, gout, and Bright's disease. He often recuperated at Mentone, near Nice, France, where he eventually died in 1892.

Adapted from Wikipedia article on Spurgeon.
See our sermons page.