Spurgeon’s First Five Years in Ministry

The celebrated preacher Charles Spurgeon (1834–92) was converted at age 15. He preached his first sermon just after his 16th birthday. By age 18, he took his first pastorate in the country. And before turning 20, Spurgeon was pastoring in London.

Spurgeon’s entire life and ministry are fascinating, but those first five years of his Christian life, between 1850–54, are years that especially interest me, and in this episode of Authors on the Line we go on the line with two Spurgeon scholars to learn more.

First, we talk with Tom Nettles, the Professor of Historical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He’s also the author of a forthcoming book, Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Christian Focus, September). He provides us with a historical overview of these first five years of Spurgeon’s Christian life.

Second, we talk with theologian and author Christian George, the Jewell and Joe L. Huitt Assistant Professor of Religious Education at Oklahoma Baptist University. While studying in London, George stumbled onto eleven handwritten journals kept by Spurgeon over these same early years. The journals have never been published. George is now transcribing them for publication, and he joins us to share what's in the 1,400 pages.

From the unpublished journals, Dr. George kindly offered to share with us the following images. In the podcast he mentions bird drawings, and here are a few that provide a rare glimpse into Spurgeon's artistic skill. Also, here’s a sermon outline from the journals (click to see a larger version). Note the dates Spurgeon preached this sermon are listed in the bottom-left corner.