Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom

Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom

by Matt Carter, Aaron Ivey


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Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom by Matt Carter, Aaron Ivey

Thomas Johnson and Charles Spurgeon lived worlds apart.

Johnson, an American slave, born into captivity and longing for freedom—- Spurgeon, an Englishman born into relative ease and comfort, but, longing too for a freedom of his own. Their respective journeys led to an unlikely meeting and an even more unlikely friendship, forged by fate and mutual love for the mission of Christ.

Steal Away Home is a new kind of book based on historical research, which tells a previously untold story set in the 1800s of the relationship between an African-American missionary and one of the greatest preachers to ever live.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433690655
Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 208,531
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Matt Carter serves as the Pastor of Preaching and Vision at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, which has grown from a core team of fifteen to more than eight-thousand attending each Sunday since he planted it in 2002. Matt has co-authored multiple books including a commentary on the Gospel of John in The Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series and two group studies, Creation Unraveled and Creation Restored, which traced the gospel message through the book of Genesis. He holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary and a Doctorate in Expositional Preaching from Southeastern Seminary. He and his wife Jennifer have been married for more than twenty years, and they have three children, John Daniel, Annie, and Samuel.

Aaron Ivey is the Pastor of Worship at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, where he pastors a team of three hundred worship leaders, artists, storytellers, and musicians. Aaron has written and produced ten worship albums, and has written hundreds of congregational worship songs that are sung all over the world. His songwriting includes works represented in Worship Together, Jesus Culture, Capital Music Group, Doxology & Theology, and Austin Stone Worship. Passionate about mentoring and developing young leaders and world changers, Aaron spends much of his time communicating on topics of leadership, theology, art, and culture. He and his wife Jamie have been married for fifteen years, and have four children, Cayden, Amos, Deacon, and Story.


Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Section 1

Chapter 1 Waking Up 7

Chapter 2 From a Tobacco Plantation 19

Chapter 3 The Bottomless Pit 29

Chapter 4 The Eye of Faith 42

Chapter 5 A Little More of That Sun 54

Section 2

Chapter 6 Susannah 65

Chapter 7 Back to Stambourne 79

Chapter 8 Steal Away to Jesus 91

Chapter 9 Sermon Writing 101

Chapter 10 More Dead Than Alive 109

Section 3

Chapter 11 An Oak Tree in Clapham Common 119

Chapter 12 Thanksgiving 133

Chapter 13 The Foulest Blot 142

Chapter 14 Emancipation 153

Chapter 15 Great Mercies 167

Chapter 16 What Freedom Feels Like 181

Chapter 17 Let the Man Come 194

Section 4

Chapter 18 Whisperings 205

Chapter 19 The New Forest 220

Chapter 20 Africa for Christ 239

Chapter 21 In Cursive Letters 250

Chapter 22 The Fog of 1880 253

Chapter 23 Jubilee 271

Chapter 24 Failing Asleep 281

Acknowledgments 291

About the Authors 293

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Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I was in the 1 800s experiencing the chains of a black Southern slave and the mental and physical struggles of a renowned British preacher. I felt God free their chains and suffer with them in their journey heavenward. It was quite a trip. I feel more freedom to be real with God now. I have a clearer empathy with people of color.
Fitzysmom More than 1 year ago
What a relevant book for our modern times. This story of Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson reminds us that we are all in need of freedom. It was true then and it's true now. We all have chains that enslave us and we need Someone to set us free. The story begins when both men were around ten years of age. They were both curious boys wanting to do ten-year-old boy things. But they are from two completely different worlds. Charles is living mostly with his grandparents in England. He's loved and nurtured and valued. Thomas on the other hand was born into slavery on a plantation in Virginia and is beaten and abused into submission. While it may seem that Thomas is the only one needing his freedom, Charles is plagued by chains of debilitating depression and physical ailments. As the story unfolds you are taken deeper into each man's world and get to see the freedom that only Christ can bring. While this book is a fictionalized retelling of their lives it is based on the two men's extensive writings. I was moved deeply by both of their stories. When the two finally meet and become good friends later I was delighted to see how each drew strength from the other. There were many facts that I didn't realize about Charles Spurgeon and that makes his writings even more valuable. When he speaks about trusting God in the darkest of hours he's speaking from experience. I knew nothing about Thomas Johnson before this book but I am so glad to have met him this way. This is a beautiful story of friendship and love between two men, their families, and their God. I recommend it to anyone that needs to experience freedom from what chains them down. You will be encouraged by the story of these two giants of the faith. I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
whemsworth More than 1 year ago
When given the opportunity to review this book I jumped at the chance.  However, this book is different than most that I review.  I normally review non-fiction theological works.  Steal Away Home, though a work of fiction, is based on a real friendship between Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson. I have little doubt that most of my readers know who Charles Surgeon is, but Thomas Johnson is a bit more of a mystery.  He was a slave for 28 years who became a missionary.  Spurgeon invited him to study at his college in England, and in so doing the two became good friends. Spurgeon was notoriously against the African slave trade, and the two became good friends .  Their friendship was based on the mission the both had to spread the Gospel.  In a time where such a friendship may not have been socially acceptable the two saw each other as brothers, rather than men of different races.  This is an important lesson in our own time, and one that we need to do a better job at. The work is 290 pages long and is incredibly well written.  It is accessible, readable, and has important lessons.  This book took the authors three years to write this book.  It shows as it is well researched, and tells an incredible story.  I highly recommend checking this book out. [Note:  This book was provided free of charge from B&H in exchange for an honest review.]
Christianfictionandmore More than 1 year ago
This book lovingly tells the story of well-known Pastor Charles Spurgeon of England and his friendship with less well-known Pastor Thomas Johnson, a former slave in the United States. It is a story based on real events, one that includes many word-for-word quotations. However it is a somewhat fictionalized account of these two men’s lives that holds very close to the truth. The book is well-researched and beautifully told. Susannah Spurgeon and Henrietta Johnson, wives of the two pastors, play a key role in the story and in their husbands’ spiritual growth and ministry. Another whose role is key in the spiritual life of Charles Spurgeon, one who was so present he seemed like a real character, essential to the telling, was the depression that hung over Charles from childhood and long into adulthood. His and Susannah’s stories more fully explain the purpose of suffering and why God allows it than anything I’ve read or heard prior to reading this novel. The reader of Steal Away Home cannot help but be changed, at least a little bit, by the experience. This book is time-worthy for even the busiest person. I most highly recommend it. I wish to thank NetGalley and B & H Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of Steal Away Home in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation.
PamelaSheld48 More than 1 year ago
Steal Away Home is a very different and informative book to read. Authors Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey spent a great deal of time researching Charles Hadden Spurgen. During their research, they came across the name of Thomas Johnson, a black slave from Virginia, who developed a friendship with Spurgen. The story of how their divergent paths crossed had never been told before. The authors, through extensive research, were able to get into the head and emotions of both Spurgen and Thomas, making the reader believe every word, if not actually said, certainly could have been said and thought. This is historical fiction at its best. Some novels drag along and I just want to finish them but not Steal Away Home. I didn't want to put it down and at the end, I wanted to read more about Charles Hadden Spurgen and the moving sermons he gave. His was a heart for the lost, to the point where he felt burdened by the image of souls not saved. I got a sense at the end that this mighty influencial man of the 1800's was a humble man who knew he was a sinner but above all else, he was saved by the work of Jesus Christ. Thomas Johnson was also portrayed with the same depth as Spurgen. I could feel what it must have been like to long for physical freedom from slavery only to discover true freedom is for our soul through Jesus Christ. President Lincoln's proclamation of freedom for slaves allowed Johnson to pursue his dream of going to college to become a missionary to the lost in Africa. How Charles had a hand in making this happen and the two, one a famous preacher from England and the other a freed slave from America, became good friends is truly a friendship only God could have orchestrated. I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting a well written and compelling historical fiction portrayal of Charles Hadden Spurgen and Thomas Johnson.