LIVING BY REVEALED TRUTH: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon – Tom Nettles (2013) Part 2

1781911223_bChapter 1: Birth to New Birth

Living By Revealed Truth Begins where any biography ought to begin – at the beginning.  Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834 and was influenced at an early age by dead writers: “The old writers, who are, by far, the most sensible – for you will notice that the books that were written about 200 years ago by the old Puritans have more sense in one line than there is in a page of our new books – and more in a page than there is in a whole volume of our modern divinity!”  Spurgeon was influenced by the likes of John Owen, Stephen Charnock, and John Bunyan – men who would inform his theological mind for the duration of his ministry.

The author unfolds the fascinating story of Spurgeon’s conversion and rise to pulpit ministry.   Spurgeon reports, “Ah me, how I seemed offended against the justice of God; I was impure and polluted, and I used to say, ‘If God does not send me to hell, He ought to do it.’  I sat in judgment upon myself, and pronounced the sentence that I felt would be just.”  He continues, “Then I was brought down to see my corruption, my wickedness, my filthiness, for God always humbled the sinner whom He means to save.”

Spurgeon’s testimony is remarkable, especially given the postmodern aversion to proclaiming the sinfulness of sin and the efficacy of the substitutionary atonement.  For example, Tony Crank, Senior pastor of the One Love Church recently opined, “Some churches have become the kind of place where you point the finger, and you condemn and rebuke and you’re really quick to do it, and so I think that is definitely lending itself to people not wanting anything to do with church and thinking church sucks!”  Evidently the kind of approach that Crank opposes is precisely the kind of ministry that was instrumental in Spurgeon’s entry into the kingdom of God.

The Puritan writer, Samuel Bolton agrees with Spurgeon’s approach and opposes Pastor Crank: “When you see that men have been wounded by the law, then it is time to pour in the balm of Gospel oil.  It is the sharp needle of the law that makes way for the scarlet thread of the gospel.”

Spurgeon’s conversion is instructive and his subsequent ministry informs the conscience of anyone who seeks to reach lost people.  He remarked, “To preach in this great building the self-same gospel in the same simple tones.  Sinners, look to Christ and be saved.”  Spurgeon taught a simple lesson that every pastor must heed.  Sinners must be confronted with their sin.  They must understand how they have violated God’s holy law.  And they must be exhorted to look to Christ, to believe in Christ, to embrace his salvific benefits that he purchased on the cross.

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