The Prince of Preachers in Perspective

41y3oakbiuLNext year (June 2014) Charles Spurgeon will turn 180 years old. Spurgeon has left us an impressive and sometimes controversial 180 years of theological studies. Spurgeon: The Prince of Preachers(Kregel, 1992) is a masterful retelling of the life and theology of Spurgeon. Lewis Drummond lays out the chapters as if he is retelling the story of Pilgrims Progress, one of Spurgeon’s favorite books and one of the most read books in Christendom besides the Bible.

This volume shows the careful research Drummond has done in that it shines a bright light on his public life but also his personal one as well. We see the highs and lows of Spurgeon, a man who has gained the title, Prince of Preachers. A title fitting for a man who had thousands upon thousands of people from around the world show up at his Sunday services.

One of the most impressive portions of the book delves into the theology of Spurgeon. Drummond lays out for us an important fact when trying to think through the volumes upon volumes which Spurgeon penned in his lifetime.  “In the pure sense of the word, Spurgeon never wrote any theological works. At any rate, he never systematized his thought in writing. Therefore, to discover his theology of the Bible one must glean it through his sermons and other writings” (615) I can’t imagine the task of compiling a theology of someone who is not only departed but who wrote with such passion on a wide range of topics.

Coming in at an impressive 896 pages, this biography will not disappoint the serious reader and the general lover of Spurgeon. A well-documented appendix provides the reader with a broader understanding of the “Downgrade Controversy” and finishes with a biographical sketch of his life, which is helpful for quick reference.

Overall this text was an enjoyable read minus the points at which Drummond fails to add any references to some quotes, but the rest of the text seems quite in order and well put together. I am thankful for Kregel Publications for publishing such a volume that lets us ordinary folk peer into the life and thought of one of the greatest theologians we have known since the Apostle Paul. This book will continue to serve as a great reference on Church history but more importantly will serve the Church in understanding heroes of the faith who fought before us.

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