Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The Prince of Preachers
There was a time when simply opting for the Gospel was to put your life on the line. In the 15th Century, Charles V, the Spanish Emperor, burned thousands of evangelicals in public squares. His son, Philip II, boasted that he had eliminated from the Low Countries of Europe about 18,000 "Protestant heretics". To escape relentless persecution, thousands more Christians escaped to England. Among them was the family of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), the man who would become one of the greatest preachers in the whole of the United Kingdom. Charles achieved such great results in his evangelistic ministry that, in addition to influencing generations of pastors and missionaries with his sermons and books, to this day he is called the Prince of Preachers.
Spurgeon was the son and grandson of shepherds who had fled persecution for their faith. However, it was only at the age of 15 that he truly did encountered Jesus. According to the books that tell the story of his life, Spurgeon prayed for six months that "if there was a God," He would speak to his heart, since he felt like the greatest of sinners. Spurgeon visited various churches but without making a decision for Christ.
One night, however, a snow storm prevented the pastor of a local church from taking the pulpit. One of the members of the congregation - a humble cobbler - took the floor and preached in a very simple way a message based on Isaiah 45.22a: Look unto me, and ye shall be saved, all the ends of the earth. Short of experience, the preacher repeated the verse several times before making the final appeal. Spurgeon could not restrain his tears, such was the impact caused by the Word of God.
After his conversion, Spurgeon began distributing leaflets on the streets and teaching the Bible at the Sunday School for Children in Newmarket, Cambridge. Although he was young, Spurgeon had a rare ability in handling the Word and evidenced the basic characteristics of a Gospel preacher.
His preaching was so electrifying and intense that, two years after his first sermon, Spurgeon, now aged 20, was invited to take the pulpit of the Baptist Church of Park Street Chapel in London, formerly pastored by the theologian, John Gill. The challenge, however, was immense. After all, what chance of success was there for a boy raised in the country? (Formerly, Spurgeon had pastored a small church in Waterbeach, far from the English capital).
Located in a metropolitan area, Park Street Chapel had been one of the largest churches in England. However, at that time, the building, with 1,200 seats, had a congregation of just over a hundred people. The last half of the 19th Century was a very difficult time for the English churches. London had been rapidly industrialized, and people worked for many hours. People had no time for dedicating themselves to the Lord. In spite of this, Spurgeon accepted the challenge fearlessly.
Spurgeon's inaugural sermon in that huge church was delivered on December 18th, 1853. There was a group of believers who had never stopped praying to God for a glorious revival:
“At first, I preached to only a handful of listeners. But I cannot forget the insistence of their prayers. At times, it seemed that they pleaded until they saw Jesus' presence there to bless them. So the blessing came, the house began to fill with listeners, and dozens of souls were saved”, Spurgeon recalled a few years later.
In the years that followed, the chapel, once empty, could not contain the congregation, which amounted to ten thousand people, plus the attendees of all the services during the week. The number of people was so great that the streets near the church became impassable. Soon, the chapel's facilities became inadequate, and so the great Metropolitan Tabernacle was built, with a capacity of 12,000 listeners. Even so, every three months, Spurgeon asked the people who had attended the services in that period to stay away so that others could be in the building to receive the Word!
Many other congregations, a seminary, and an orphanage were established. Over time, Charles Spurgeon became a worldwide celebrity. He received invitations to preach in other cities in England, as well as in other countries such as France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Holland. Spurgeon took the Good News not only to outdoor gatherings, but also to huge buildings eight to twelve times per week.
According to one of his biographies, the largest audience he preached to comprised exactly 23,654 people: this huge audience packed the Crystal Palace, London, on October 7, 1857, to hear him preach for more than two hours.
More than a hundred and twenty years after his death, many theologians are still trying to discover how Spurgeon achieved such success. Some attribute it to his remarkable illustrations, the ability he possessed to surprise the audience and the way he viewed people's suffering. However, for the famous American theologian Ernest W. Toucinho, author of a biography of Spurgeon, the factors that attracted the crowds were strictly spiritual:
“The power of the Holy Spirit, the preaching of sound doctrine, a first-hand religious experience, passion for souls, devotion to the Bible and prayer to Christ, much prayer.”
In addition, it is worth remembering that all biographies, even the most conservative ones, recount the miraculous healings performed by Jesus in the services directed by this English preacher.
The people who listened to Spurgeon at that time made comments about him that would make any evangelical proud. On one occasion The Times published this about the English shepherd: He puts old truth in new clothes. The Daily Telegraph, however, stated that Spurgeon's secrets were zeal, seriousness, and courage. For the Daily Chronicle, Charles Spurgeon was indifferent to popularity; a genius at mastering an audience. Pictorial World recorded Spurgeon's love for the people.
On September 20th, 1856 Spurgeon married Susannah Thompson and they had two children, non-identical twins Thomas and Charles.
“We always had family devotions, whether we were staying on a ranch in the mountains or in a sumptuous hotel room in the city. And the blessed presence of the Holy Spirit, which many believers say is impossible to attain, was for us the natural atmosphere. We lived and breathed Him”, Susannah once reported.
The importance of Charles Haddon Spurgeon as a preacher is equaled only by that of his printed works. Spurgeon wrote 135 books over 27 years (1865-1892) and edited a monthly magazine called The Sword and the Trowel. His various biblical commentaries are still widely read; among them are David's Treasury (on the book of Psalms), Morning and Night (a devotional) and Matthew - The Gospel of the Kingdom. Up until his last day as a pastor, Spurgeon had baptized 14,692 people. On the occasion of his death - February 11th, 1892 - six thousand people read this text over his coffin: Look unto me, and ye shall be saved, all the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 45.22a)
Spurgeon also founded a pastors’ college to train those who were called to pastoral and evangelistic ministry. Spurgeon's wife also raised funds for him and distributed many homiletic books to aid preachers. After Spurgeon's death, the college was renamed Spurgeon’s College, in honour of its founder.
Revista Graça, ano 2 nº 19
Mente Aberta / Atosdois.com.br
REVIVAL IS NOT:
Note: Some items related here may even happen during the revival, but isolated is not revival.
. It is not a movement...
WHAT PRECEDES REVIVAL:
. A time of darkness in society
. Hopelessness in people’s hearts
. Coldness in the churches
PURPOSE OF REVIVAL
To carry out Great Commission
The Great Commission is carried out as the fruit of the revival...
WHAT HAPPENS DURING REVIVAL:
. The Holy Spirit of God is always in control.
. The fear of the Lord come to rests upon all.
. A state of brokenness.
. Unlimited Worship.
. A Strong conviction of sins with confessions
. A State of Repentance.
. A Deep desire for Holiness.
. Many miracles, signs and wonders.
. End to social injustice, violence and crimes.
. Profound impact on society...
RESULTS OF REVIVAL:
- The Church arises (for the Great Commission) in boldness to speak of the love of God to the lost.
- There is extraordinary numerical growth in the Church, membership multiplies supernaturally.
- Society now respects the Church as the Divine Institution it is.
- This revival does not come to liberals, mystics, syncretists and the merely religious, but to a people desperately longing for the presence of God.
- The final phase of revival is the restoration of society to the standards of the Word of God, bringing justice, righteousness, compassion and blessing that should continue through generations.
Revivals, Great Awakenings and visitations from God in the United Kingdom over time
This timeline is to help you get to know and understand God's moves within the UK from when God used a humble man in Ireland (in the 5th Century), Saint Patrick, through many other men and events up until modern times. These men defied the circumstances of their times and made history, being hungry and desperate for the presence of God. Many of them were not understood in their day, but today are examples of people who dared to obey God and in doing so, changed the course of history. Here in the United Kingdom, there were many visitations from the Lord which touched generations both here and around the world, writing chapters of the history of the Church. These amazing accounts demonstrate God's great love for Britain. You will know all or some of the following ‘brave hearts’ for God. We believe that there were many others whom history did not recognise, but they are eternally recorded by the Lord.
We are the next generation that will make history in the UK; WE who are here now on this site, wanting to know more about revivals and about God's next move in the nations of Great Britain.
... If you agree, say Amen!!
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