Posted by: William | January 9, 2008

The Forgotten Spurgeon

My good friend, a while back, let me borrow this book, as well as another Murray book on Spurgeon, Surgeon V. Hyper-Calvanism. After finishing that book, I was sold, both on Murray’s writing, and on my interest in this 19th century preacher. However, it must be stated, in my opinion, The Forgotten Spurgeon is the weaker of the two books.

Early in this book, Murray makes it clear that this is not an adequate biography, but more like a character study of Charles Spurgeon. Murray looks at the major controversies surrounding Spurgeon’s ministry to help to illustrate the kind of man he was, and what kind of theology he held. Reading the pages, it’s difficult to believe a so well balanced person existed. He seemed supremely committed to scripture, not necessarily to a theological camp.

Spurgeon is referred to as the ‘last of the puritans.’ He came right at the ‘end’ of the reign of Calvanism in the church and contended passionately for its preeminence. Spurgeon saw many pitfalls and dangers in the rise of liberal theology and Arminianism; in fact, many of those predictions of danger have indeed found their way into the church.

Spurgeon’s life is fascinating, inspiring and offers many, many great lessons for the church today. Murray does a good job of communicating many of those lessons and painting a picture that’s easy for us to learn from. Unfortunately for myself, it often seemed perhaps more dry than it needed to. During a short series of chapters discussing the ‘Down-Grade Controversy’ it became incredibly difficult for me to keep awake. Constant accounting for denominational discrepancies is a tiresome thing to read, however it still ended with, I believe, an important lesson from Spurgeon.

The Baptist Union at the time was becoming more liberal with its theology, which to Spurgeon, foreshadowed some grave consequences (again, many of which have come to fruition). However, even at the risk of standing completely alone, Spurgeon remained with his conscience. He did not budge from what he believed Scripture to say; he saw loyalty to God and scripture to be the only right loyalty.

All-in-all, I wouldn’t recommend the book to a completely casual reader; it requires some set of understood ideas. It will also likely require some level of commitment to get through as some parts seem drudging and hard to follow. If you’re interested in Spurgeon or even the grassroots of many of today’s major controversies and issues in the church, this book has lots of great information with a usually great articulation.

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Responses

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptMy good friend, a while back, let me borrow this book, as well as another Murray book on Spurgeon, Surgeon V. Hyper-Calvanism. After finishing that book, I was sold, both on Murray’s writing, and on my interest in this 19th century preacher. However, it must be stated, in my opinion, The Forgotten Spurgeon is the weaker of the two books. Early in this book, Murray makes it clear that this is not an adequate biography, but more like a character study of Charles Spurgeon. Murray looks at the major controversies surrounding Spurgeon’s ministry to help to illustrate the kind of man he was, and what kind of theology he held. Reading the pages, it’s difficult to believe a so well balanced person existed. He seemed supremely committed to scripture, not necessarily to a theological camp. Spurgeon is referred to as the ‘last of the puritans.’ He came right at the ‘end’ of […] […]

  2. I am so happy you worked through those books man. I agree with you in that I also enjoyed Spurgeon Vs. Hyper-Calvinism better. It showed first and foremost that Spurgeon was man in love with scripture ever before he clung to any so called camp of Calvinist or Arminian. His struggle presented in this book is obviously against Hyper-Calvinism, aperversion which suggests that the offer of the Gospel should not be given to all men because God has not chosen all men. Spurgeon rightly believed in the universal offer of salvation knowing that it was the job of the Holy Spirit to call and regenerate those whom God has predestined, not the duty of the preacher. The book I believe also presented a very fair and honest view of Calvinism through comparison with both Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism and ultimately showing it’s dependence on Scripture alone.
    I notice my comment quickly turned into a book review. woops! Nice comments on the Forgotten Spurgeon. Whats our next book to attack?


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