Communion with Christ and His People: The Spirituality of C. H. Spurgeon

Communion with Christ and His People: The Spirituality of C. H. Spurgeon


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Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) was the most famous Baptist minister of his generation. For such a significant figure, he has received surprisingly little scholarly coverage. This present work seeks to make a contribution to Spurgeon studies by examining him through the lens of his "spirituality." A wealth of primary material, much of it previously untapped, is used to build up a picture of his spiritual life. Whereas older and more recent interpretations of Spurgeon have a tendency to be one-dimensional, examination of his spirituality reveals him to be a complex figure, one who was molded by a diverse range of factors. Despite this complexity, a unifying theme for Spurgeon's spirituality is traced and fresh light is shed on the foremost popular preacher of the Victorian age.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781625646255
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 01/31/2014
Pages: 358
Product dimensions: 6.69(w) x 9.61(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Peter J. Morden is Vice Principal of Spurgeon's College, London, a Fellow of the Centre for Baptist History and Heritage, Regent's Park College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Table of Contents

Foreword David W. Bebbington xi

Preface and Acknowledgements xiii

Abbreviations xv

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

The Study of Spirituality 2

The Study of Spurgeon 4

Sources Used 8

The Content of this Book 13

Conclusion 15

Chapter 2 Puritan Piety: 'A Calvinistic Creed and a Puritanic Morality' 16

Understanding Puritanism 18

Spurgeon's Upbringing: Place, People, and Literature 20

Spurgeon and Bunyan 26

Puritan Commentaries 31

A 'Puritanic Morality' 37

Spurgeon's Theology 39

Conclusion 45

Chapter 3 Evangelical Conversionism: 'Dear spot of ground where Jesus met us! Dear hour which brought us to his feet!' 47

Spurgeon's Experience of Conversion 48

Theology of Conversion 55

Early Evangelistic Ministry 62

Later Evangelistic Ministry 66

Spurgeon and Evangelicalism 70

Conclusion 76

Chapter 4 Baptism and the Baptists: 'I firmly believe … that baptism is the command of Christ' 77

Spurgeon's Baptism as a Believer 79

Spurgeon and 'Baptismal Sacramentalism' 84

Reasons for the Rejection of 'Baptismal Sacramentalism' 89

Baptism as an Instructive Symbol 93

Obedience to Christ's Command 94

Baptism as Consecration to Christ 100

Baptism and the Church 101

Conclusion 104

Chapter 5 The Bible: 'O living Christ, make this a living word to me' 106

Inspiration and Authority 107

Historical and Cultural Influences 110

Reading the Bible 118

The Bible and Christ 121

The Bible and Preaching 127

The. Treasury of David 131

Conclusion 135

Chapter 6 Prayer: 'Earnest prayer is the most potent means of winning continued communion' 137

Spurgeon's Approach to Prayer 137

Different Dimensions of Prayer 143

Influences 147

Spurgeon's View of Intercession 154

Influences on Intercession 158

Conclusion 163


Chapter 7 The Lord's Supper: 'By faith, I see our Lord standing in our midst' 165

The Lord's Supper in Practice 166

Spurgeon's Preaching at the Lord's Supper 173

The Real Presence 178

An 'Accessible … Method of Fellowship' 184

The Lord's Supper and Active Service 186

Conclusion 188

Chapter 8 Activism: 'A Christian sluggard! Is there such a thing? A Christian man on half time?' 190

The Course of Spurgeon's Activism 192

Case Study: the Pastors' College 199

Case Study: The Stockwell Orphanage 204

The Orphanage and Communion with Christ's people 212

Activity and Christ 219

Conclusion 221

Chapter 9 Holiness: 'Oh to be Christly! We do desire to live on earth the life of Jesus…' 223

The Central Importance of Holiness 223

Spurgeon's Conception of Holiness 227

Spurgeon and the 'Common Man' 233

Motivation for Holiness 235

Holiness and Eschatology 237

God's Work in Progressive Sanctification 243

The Believer's Struggle for Holiness 246

Spurgeon and Nineteenth-Century teaching on Holiness 248

Spurgeon's Distinctive Approach 253

Conclusion 256

Chapter 10 Suffering: 'Certain of us have had large fellowship with the Lord Jesus in affliction' 258

Spurgeon and Suffering 259

A Theology of Suffering 263

The Benefits of Suffering 268

Influences on Spurgeon's Approach 272

Suffering and Communion with Christ 274

Suffering and Communion with Christ's People 278

The End of Suffering: Perfect Communion 281

Conclusion 284

Chapter 11 Conclusion: 'Love Christ and live Christ; think of Christ and speak of Christ' 286

Diverse Influences 287

A Unifying Theme 290

Integration of Influences 292

Conclusion 294

Bibliography 297

Index 313

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the greatest of Victorian preachers. His attitude towards issues in the spiritual life, never before examined at book length, has now been thoroughly analyzed by Peter Morden. In a carefully structured study of great clarity, the author shows that Spurgeon's concerns, though multifaceted and diverse in origin, can be summed up as 'communion with Christ and his people.'"

—David W. Bebbington, Professor of History, University of Stirling

"Peter Morden is one of the premier historians of the English Baptist tradition. This study proceeds with characteristic precision—and offers some startling conclusions. Communion with Christ and His People is the most important work on Spurgeon to be published in several decades."

—Crawford Gribben, Professor of Early Modern British History, Queen's University, Belfast

"Peter Morden has undertaken a thorough and creative exploration of C. H. Spurgeon's spirituality, arguing convincingly from primary sources that this dimension is crucial to an understanding of the great preacher's life and ministry. Much has been written about Spurgeon, and this book challenges many of the perspectives previously offered. In my view this is the most significant study of Spurgeon ever produced."

—Ian M. Randall, Former Director of Research, Spurgeon's College, and Senior Research Fellow, International Baptist Theological Seminary, Prague

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