Birthday: June 19, 1834
Died At Age: 57
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Charles H. Spurgeon
Born Country: England
Born in: Kelvedon, Essex, England
Famous as: Baptist Preacher
Spouse/Ex-: Susannah Spurgeon
mother: Eliza Spurgeon
children: Charles, Thomas Spurgeon
Died on: January 31, 1892
place of death: Menton, France
Diseases & Disabilities: Depression
Founder/Co-Founder: Stockwell Orphanage, Spurgeon's College, Spurgeons
Who was Charles Spurgeon?
Charles Spurgeon was a British Particular Baptist Preacher and an author. He had no formal education, but this was in no way an encumbrance to his significant preaching career. He was well-read in Puritan Theology, Natural History and Latin & Victorian Literature. His sermons were always gripping and held the audience engrossed from the very beginning to the end. He had a unique style and demeanour that kept his listeners in rapt attention. He was known to be fully prepared before his sermons but all he carried was an outline sketch during the delivery. He was also an eminent writer whose work includes autobiographies, commentaries, prayer books, sermons, hymns and many more devotional writings. His books were riveting and engaging. At the time of his death, he had preached nearly 3,600 sermons and published 49 volumes of commentaries, sayings, anecdotes, illustrations and devotions. Although, Charles had so many followers, he was controversy’s favourite child. He was attacked by the media time and again. To learn more interesting facts about her, read on.
Childhood & Early Life
Charles was born on 19 June 1834 in Kelvedon, Essex. He spent his childhood and early teenage years in Stambourne, Colchester, and Newmarket.
He accidently turned to a Primitive Methodist Chapel in Colchester. This happened all by chance. He was on his way to someplace else, when a snow storm cut short his journey and his life was impacted heavily by a salvation message that read ‘Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else’.
He was admitted to the Church at Newmarket in 1850. He was baptised on 3rd May 1850 in the river Lark, at Isleham. At the end of the same year he moved to Cambridge and became a Sunday school teacher.
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Charles preached his first sermon in 1850-51 in a cottage at Teversham. He was actually filling in for a friend.
In the same year, Charles was appointed as a pastor of a small Baptist church at Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, where he published his first literary work.
In 1854, when Charles was barely 19 years he was called to pastorate on to the largest Baptist Congregation in London. This was called the New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
Charles befriended many pastors which included William Garrett Lewis of Westbourne Grove Church, an older man who along with Spurgeon went on to found the London Baptist Association. Very soon Charles became famous as a preacher at Park Street.
His first sermon at ‘New Park Street Pulpit’ was published soon. Eventually his sermons were published every week in print.
Charles gained fame and the same time was criticized immensely. Controversy always surrounded him. For instance his book on Hymns ‘The Rivulet’ aroused controversy because of his critique of its theology, which was largely deistic.
In another instance, he preached a sermon entitled ‘Baptismal Regeneration’, objecting to Anglican teachings on the sacramental power of infant baptism. Over 350,000 copies were sold but the furore led to Spurgeon's withdrawal from the Evangelical Alliance, an ecumenical association of Dissenters and Evangelical Anglicans.
In 1856, Charles was highly disappointed and depressed during his preaching at Surrey Gardens Music Hall. The story goes that someone created a panic by alerting ‘Fire’ and hell broke loose. Panic followed causing a great stampede that left several injured and dead. This incident had a long-lasting effect on him leaving him devastated.
On October 7, 1857, Charles addressed a whopping 23,654 people at The Crystal Palace, London—the largest crowd ever that he had preached. Just two days before his sermon, Charles decided to go to the place to test the acoustics and cried in a very affirmative voice ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’. These powerful words were overheard by a workman in the gallery who was impacted by it and found peace after a season of spiritual struggling.
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In 1861, the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed purpose-built Metropolitan Tabernacle at Elephant and Castle, Southwark, seating 5000 people with standing room for another 1000. The Metropolitan Tabernacle was the largest church edifice at that time.
In 1862, Spurgeon challenged the Church of England when he preached against baptismal regeneration. Baptismal regeneration is the name given to doctrines held by major Christian denominations which believe that salvation is intimately linked to the act of baptism, without necessarily holding that salvation is impossible apart from it.
In 1887, Charles was mired in 'Downgrade Controversy'. In an article published in 'The Sword & the Trowel. In the article, Spurgeon used the term "Downgrade" to describe certain other Baptists' outlook toward the Bible. He was of the opinion that the Graf-Wellhausen hypothesis, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and other concepts was weakening the Baptist Union.
Charles published his first literary work, a ‘Gospel tract’ which was written in 1853.
His collection of worship songs called ‘Our Own Hymn Book’ published in 1866 was a compilation of Isaac Watts's Psalms and Hymns that had been originally selected by John Rippon, a Baptist predecessor to Spurgeon.
His book ‘The Worldless Book’ is used as a teaching tool to teach illiterate people about the Gospel message.
Personal Life & Legacy
Charles married Susannah, who was the daughter of Robert Thompson of Falcon Square, London. Charles was gifted with two twin boys, Thomas and Charles in 1857.
Charles had a history of falling sick and so did his wife. He was diagnosed with a number of diseases which included rheumatism, gout, and Bright’s disease.
He succumbed to death in 1892 in Menton, near France. He was buried at West Norwood Cemetery in London.
Charles founded Pastor’s College in 1857, which was later re-named as Spurgeon’s College in 1923.
He founded the Stockwell Orphanage in London, which was initially started only for boys and later opened for girls too. It was bombed during the Second World War but came to be known as Spurgeon’s Child Care from then on and exists till date.