Tuesday, June 04, 2013

"Yeah, but dude, you're no Spurgeon"

[This is a companion-piece to the post today at Pyro, and to this sermon.]

The best three-word non-explanation explanation I've ever heard, for the phenomenon that was Charles Haddon Spurgeon, is this: freak of grace.

God worked in Spurgeon in a very unique way and, while his faith and core convictions are such as should be embraced and emulated, many of his personal idiosyncrasies should not be. It isn't that they were necessarily  wrong; it is simply that... well, they worked for him. And you and I are not him. Dude, friend, my brother — we are so not him!

So there are a great many things to which, if any mere mortal today were to try them in Spurgeon's name, the title of this post would make a sufficient response. Here are a few examples:
  • "I know I'm only 16 and I've only been saved for one year, but I want to get up and preach a sermon. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
  • "I know I'm only 17 and unmarried, and I've only been saved for two years, but I want to pastor a church. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
  • "I know I'm only 20 and unmarried, and I've only been saved for a few years, but I want to be the sole pastor of a major church in a major city. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
  • "I think I'll enter the solo pastorate of a large and growing church without the benefit of the least bit of formal education or apprenticeship. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
  • "I think I'll preach for decades without really becoming adept in Biblical Hebrew or Greek. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
  • "I think I'll focus on preaching isolated texts with no particular progresseion either of a theme or through a book of Scripture. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
  • "I think I'll wait until Saturday to pick my sermon text for the next day. Then I'll enter the pulpit with a sketchy outline that would fit on an index card with room to spare. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
  • "I think I'll wait until Sunday afternoon to pick my text. Then I'll enter the pulpit with a sketchy outline that would fit on an index card with room to spare. After all, that's what Spurgeon did."
See how it works? This, you can try at home.

But doing what Spurgeon did and expecting good to come of it? Nah. Better not.

After all, dude, seriously:...

15 comments:

Kerry James Allen said...

And he once said he counted EIGHT sets of thoughts going through his mind at once...HUH?????!!

DJP said...

Yeah.

I once counted one.

jmb said...

"Very unique"? Not you, Dan.

CAPTSteveHardy said...

Dan or Kerry--if Spurgeon preached from minimal notes, how did we get a record of so many of his sermons?

Scott Welch (formerly Scooter) said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Spurgeon's reading include several substantial theological works per week?

Number 6 here.

DJP said...

Yep.

Kerry James Allen said...

CaptSteve, he had several stenographers take them down as he preached, and then he edited them several times making additions and subtractions before they went to press.

CAPTSteveHardy said...

Thanks Kerry. Have long wondered how we had such a substantial record of his preaching. Glad he and his church had the foresight to save this record for us. Based on what Dan wrote, also amazed how God occasionally raises up someone who has such a deep grasp of the Gospel at such an early age. Also thinking of Calvin writing his Institutes three years after his salvation.

Steve

graceandgraphite said...

And he once said he counted EIGHT sets of thoughts going through his mind at once...HUH?????!!

You know, at the risk of this being in bad taste...wouldn't this kinda, sorta make Spurgeon the Chuck Norris of preachers?

highplainsparson said...

In Seminary, they taught us to write out a full manuscript, but go to the pulpit without any notes.

DJP said...

Yes, I've heard that. In fact, I was told years ago that CHS' own advice was "Write out your sermon in full, then leave your manuscript at home." But I've never seen any evidence that he actually said that, so it may well be apocryphal.

SLIMJIM said...

How cool is that! Did Spurgeon get an honorarium? =)

Nicholas J. Gausling said...

Most aren't a Spurgeon, but there may be some preachers like him alive today. If so, most of them are probably in places like China or South America. I once heard it said that some of the greatest sermons ever preached, were preached to eight people. That may well be true.

DJP said...

I've wondered similarly, Nicholas.

The reason Spurgeon and MacArthur are famous is because they're exceptions, the divinely-woven confluence of the right time, place, circumstance. Others toil with equal faithfulness, but in obscurity.

Michael Coughlin said...

Good post and comments.