A mere repeater of scriptural teaching

Thanks to my “across the pond” friend Doug McMasters who passed on the following quote from Charles Spurgeon:

I am content to live and die as the mere repeater of scriptural teaching, as a person who has thought out nothing and invented nothing, as one who never thought invention to be any part of his calling, but who concluded that he was simply to be a mouth for God to the people, mourning that anything of his own should come between.

(MTP vol. 51. sermon 2916 A Memorable Milestone. The sermon is a later publishing of a message he preached on Thursday evening, March 25, 1886 as a part of the 25th anniversary of his first sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle)

5 responses to this post.

  1. I know Spurgeon said that but we have all read his sermons. He found things in the text that were interesting but also were hard to see where he got them from. God has used him mightily in many of our lives but he was not the paragon of ‘keeping with the plain meaning of the text’. I know what I said may be blasphemous in some circles, but, let’s be honest, we read Spurgeon because of the way he phrases things in his sermons and he is eminently quotable.

  2. Hayden,

    I agree with you but I think there is more to Spurgeon that simply being a source of quotes or master of the phrase.

    A wiser person than I once told me to “get behind what you can get behind.” No one has gone broke following Dave Ramsey’s advice and no one has gone to hell following Spurgeon’s teaching. Are there problems, yes and they are legion (e.g., see chapter 7 of Lectures to My Students for Spurgeon’s defense of “spiritualizing” the text). What we appreciate about Spurgeon’s ministry is not that he was a true expositor but that he was a lighthouse for the modern recovery of preaching. At his time, preaching was in a terrible decline and so was theology. My take is that Spurgeon was weak on the hermeneutical basis for sound preaching (many are today as well). Nevertheless, he spoke to the heart while exalting Christ. His example of pastoral ministry was robust and so deep that it’s effects are still felt to this day.

    Spurgeon was not a specialist on the particulars of the text. One reason might be because of his lack of specialized training. However, if he would have pursued what was available to him at the time we would not be talking about Spurgeon today. In fact we might have a lot more critical commentaries from him and NO sermons! As with all men, Spurgeon was a product of many variables but the sum, for him, will always be greater than the constituent parts.

    As with all men in history, we can only judge what they actually did not what they should have done. If we learn from what they did then it is up to us to make the corrections they “should” have made.

    Thanks for the wonderful interaction.

  3. Posted by hayden Norris on March 7, 2010 at 9:58 pm


    I do love Spurgeon and have read the book “Forgotten Spurgeon’ and enjoyed it much. I was just trying to poke us all! :–) I love to read him and do. I just look to others for expositional preaching.

  4. Posted by Terry on March 19, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    I suppose we would all like to have had the “impact” on as many people’s lives for Christ as Spurgeon when we have to meet our Lord face to face.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: