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• “It is a demonstrated principle of church growth
that Christianity gains in a society only to the
extent that the number of existing churches is
multiplied. Multiplication of new congregations
of believers, then, is the normal and expected
output of a healthy body.”
Engel & Norton
What’s Gone Wrong with the Harvest? pp143-44
• “The third course would teach how to multiply
congregations in North American Anglos and
minority populations.”
Donald Effective Evangelism, p.6
McGavran Effective Evangelism
– In our preaching let us make sure that this
aspect of the Christian faith is repeatedly held
before our congregations, Sunday school
meetings, and other assemblies of the saints.
To be a true church we must become a
reproductive church. Let us remember that
full biblical soundness and spiritual renewal
cannot limit themselves to existing
congregations. They must multiply
congregations. P. 45
Church or Surrogate Parenting
Spurgeon made the following comment in 1865:
• Such a church, with its many agencies in incessant
operation, becomes a power, not in this country merely,
but in the world. Such were the first Churches in
Corinth, in Philippi, in Ephesus, and in Rome. Most of
these arose, as in the case before us, almost entirely
from the labours of one man. Is not this then, we ask, as
we appeal to its efficiency, as we appeal to its spirituality,
as we appeal to its internal harmony, as we appeal to its
development of all Christian gifts and graces, and as we
appeal to its freedom from all the evils of secular
ecclesiasticism,--Is not this the fashion after which the
Gospel was originally designed to spread, and in which
Church or surrogate (cont.)
it can best be extended in any country and in any age?
The combination of many Churches in one system of
organization for the support of missions, both at home
and abroad, may be the best thing when Churches are
small and feeble in themselves; but it is second best
only to the primitive plan. It is more costly, and it creates
a power unknown to the apostles, and detrimental to the
liberty of individual churches. We admit its great utility in
a transition state from false to genuine Christianity, and
are thankful for its results, but, at the same time, we are
persuaded it has its limits, and is chiefly valuable, as it
restores to the Church, and multiplies its own centres of
illumination. CHS, “MT Statistics,” S & T 1 (April 1865)
Spurgeon’s Conversion, pt.1
Spurgeon’s describing his own salvation experience:
• Precious is that wine which is pressed in the wine vat of
conviction: pure is that gold which is dug from the mines
of repentance: and bright are those pearls which are
found in the caverns of deep distress….He who has
stood before God, convicted and condemned with the
rope about his neck is the man to weep with joy when he
is pardoned, and to live to the honor of the Redeemer by
whose blood he is cleansed. Day, Spurgeon, p. 58
Spurgeon’s Conversion, pt. 2
Spurgeon’s soteriology came out of his own experience:
“Son of my love,” he [God] said, “you must stand in the
sinner’s place; you must suffer what he ought to have
suffered; you must be accounted guilty,…I will look upon
the sinner in another light. I will look at him as if he were
Christ; I will accept him as if he were my only-begotten
Son, full of grace and truth. I will give him a crown in
heaven, and I will take him to My heart for ever and
ever.” This is the way we are saved; “Being justified
freely by his grace,….the moment he believes in Christ
his guilt is all taken away…; so that, when God looks
upon the sinner…He looks upon with as much love
and affection as He ever looked upon His Son.
Spurgeon, “Loves Logic,” p. 305
Spurgeon’s Conversion, pt. 3
• There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that
text. The preacher began thus: “My dear friends, this is
a very simple text indeed. It says, ‘Look.’ Now lookin’
don’t take a great deal of pain….You may be the biggest
fool, and yet you can look. A man needn’t be worth a
thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look;
even a child can look. But then the text says, ‘Look unto
Me.’ Ay! Said he, in broad Essex, “many on ye are
lookin’ to yourselves, but it’s no use lookin’ there. You’ll
never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God
the Father. No, look to Him by-an-by. Jesus Christ says,
‘Look unto Me.’ Some on ye say, ‘We must wait for the
Spirit’s workin.’ You have no business with that just now.
Look to Christ. The text says, ‘Look unto Me.
Spurgeon, Autobiography, The Early Years, p. 88
Spurgeon’s Conversion, pt. 4
• It does not ask your consent; but it gets it. It does not
say, will you have it? But it makes you willing in the day
of God’s power. Not against your will, but it makes you
willing. It shows you its value, and then you fall in love
with it; and straightway you run after it and have it….The
gospel wants not your consent, it gets it. It knocks the
enmity out of your heart….He makes your will turn
round, and then you cry, “Lord, save, or I perish.” (1)
• “It pleases God by the foolishness of preaching to
accomplish his divine purposes, not because of the
power of preaching, nor the power of the preacher, nor
any power in those preached to, but because ‘all power’
is given unto Christ ‘in heaven and in earth,’ and he
chooses to work by the teaching of the Word.” (2)
1 Spurgeon “Heaven & Hell”; 2 “Power of the Risen Savior”
Spurgeon’s Conversion, pt. 5
– I vow to glory alone in Jesus and His cross, and to
spend my life in the extension of his cause, in
whatsoever way He pleases. I desire to be sincere in
this solemn profession, having but one object in view,
and that to glorify God. Help me to honor Thee, and
live the life of Christ on earth. Day, Spurgeon, p. 68
– From that first day until now, I have acted on no other
principle but that of perfect consecration to the work
whereunto I am called. I surrendered myself to my
Saviour, I gave him my body, my soul, my spirit…I
gave him my talents, my powers,…my whole
manhood!....If Christ commands me to hold up my
little finger, and I do not obey him, it looks like
coolness in my love to him. Day, Spurgeon, pp. 80-81
Spurgeon’s Beliefs
• The doctrines of grace, substitution, and Christ crucified
created in him and confident gospel to preach
• Spurgeon stressed electing love, covenant security,
justification by faith, effectual calling, and immutable
• Grace was rich in Spurgeon’s mind: it forgives all sin
and fixes the affections upon Jesus and His service
• For Spurgeon, there was no dissonance between
sovereign grace (election) and human responsibility
Spurgeon, Autobiography, 3:158
Spurgeon’s Beliefs (con’t)
• In the days of Paul it was not difficult at once, in one
word, to give the sum and substance of the current
theology. It was Christ Jesus…but if I am asked to say
what is my creed, I think I must reply—”It is Christ
Jesus.” My venerable predecessor, Dr. Gill, has left a
body of divinity, admirable and excellent in its way; but
the body of divinity to which I would pin and bind myself
for ever, God helping me, is not his system of divinity or
any other human treatise, but Christ Jesus, who is the
sum and substance of the gospel; who is himself all
theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all
glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and
the life. Spurgeon, “The First Sermon in the Tabernacle”
Spurgeon’s Beliefs--election
– But there are some who say, “It is hard for God to
choose some and leave others.” Now, I will ask you
one question. Is there any one of you here this
morning who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be
regenerate, to leave off sin and walk in holiness?
“Yes, there is ,” says some one, “I do.” Then God has
elected you. But another says, “No: I don’t want to
be holy; I don’t want to give up my lusts and vices.”
Why should you grumble, then, that God has not
elected you to it? For if you were elected you would
not like it, according to your own confession.
Spurgeon, “Election,” p. 75.
Spurgeon (more on election)
• I know of nothing, nothing, again, that is more humbling
for us than this doctrine of election….Why me? Why
me?....moreover, election makes us holy….Shall I
sin….after God hath chosen me? Spurgeon, “Election”
• Grace & election causes one to thoroughly and
consciously rest on Jesus: “Don’t fancy election excuses
sin—don’t dream of it—don’t rock yourself in sweet
complacency in the thought of your irresponsibility. You
are responsible”
Spurgeon, “Election”
• “Election or no election, if you are resting upon the rock
of ages you are saved.” Spurgeon “Election No
Discouragement to Seeking Souls”
• Regarding a person’s confidence in his own faith: “What
we want to do is to kill it once and for all.” “High Doctrine”
Spurgeon on Salvation
Spurgeon “The Comer’s Conflict with Satan”
Remember, sinner, it is not ‘thy hold’ of Christ that saves
thee—it is Christ; it is not ‘thy joy’ in Christ that saves
thee—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though
that is the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits;
therefore, look not to thy hope, but to Christ, the source
of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Christ, the author
and finisher of thy faith; and if thou doest that, ten
thousand devils cannot throw thee down, but as long as
thou lookest at thyself, the weakest of those evil spirits
may tread thee beneath his feet. There is one thing
which we all of us too much becloud in our preaching,
though I believe we do it very unintentionally—namely,
the great truth that it is not prayer, it is not faith, it is not
our doings, it is not our feelings upon which we must
rest, but upon Christ, and on Christ alone.
Spurgeon on repentance
We would not judge modern converts, but we certainly
prefer that form of spiritual exercise which leads the soul
by the way of the Weeping-cross, and makes it see its
blackness before assuring it that it is “clean every whit.”
Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of
the Savior. He who has stood before his God, convicted
and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the
man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the
evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the
honour of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been
Spurgeon, Autobiography, 1:76
Spurgeon on the Priesthood
of the Believer
• “As our church recognises
no distinction of clergy and
Spurgeon, MT: Its History & Work, p.55
Spurgeon and books
• Spurgeon was characterized as an “omnivorous reader.”
His practice was to read five to six difficult books each
week. He said “He wished to rub his mind against the
strongest.” He would also read magazines and journals
treating the fields of medicine and science. This was in
addition to Puritan and other biblical studies. And once
he read it, the contents became permanently his.
CHS, Autobiography, 4:265
• “The old Puritans have more sense in one line than there
is in a page of our new books, and more in one page
than there is in a whole volume of our modern divinity.”
Spurgeon, “Faith”
Spurgeon’s advice on reading
• The next rule I shall lay down is, master those books you
have. Read them thoroughly. Bathe in them until they
saturate you. Read and re-read them, masticate them,
and digest them…Let them go into your very self. Peruse
a good book several times, and make notes and analyses of it. A student will find that his mental constitution is
more affected by one book thoroughly mastered than by
twenty books which he has merely skimmed, lapping at
them…little learning and much pride come of hasty reading. Books may be piled on the brain till it cannot work.
Some men are disabled from their thinking by their putting meditation away for the sake of much reading. They
gouge themselves with book-matter, and become mentally dyspeptic.
CHS, Lectures, p. 177
Some of Spurgeon’s favorites
• Apples of Gold and Precious Remedies Against Satan’s
Devices by Thomas Brooks
• The Objects And Acts of Justifying Faith by T Goodwin
• The Glories of Christ, The Death of Death in the Death of
Christ, The Holy Spirit, and Hebrews by John Owen
• The Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock
• The Christian in Complete Armour by William Gurnall
• John 17 by Thomas Manton;
• Mystery of Providence by John Flavel
• The Body of Divinity by Thomas Watson
• Reformed Pastor and Saint’s Everlasting Rest by Baxter
• Pilgrim’s Progress and The Holy War by John Bunyan
Spurgeon’s abilities
• He kills Thomas Road: goes to tavern at age five to
rebuke grandfather’s wayward member
• Meets with missionary James Knill at 6am for three
mornings for prayer at age ten and Knill predicts
Spurgeon will be a great preacher
• Does a paper against papacy at age ten
• Writes 295pp “Popery Unmasked” at 14
• Can argue vs. himself in debate forums
• Most popular English speaker after coming to New Park
Street, London
• Sermons translated & sent around world—some say 40
different languages: 100K in England alone; 500K were
sold weekly after his death
Spurgeon’s monomania
• “To preach the Gospel…and to train others to do it, is my
life’s object and aim.” Pike, 3:61
• Lives with many aims are like water trickling through
innumerable streams, none of which are wide enough or
deep enough to float the merest cockleshell of a boat;
but a life with one object is like a mighty river flowing between its banks, bearing to the ocean a multitude of
ships, and spreading fertility on either side.
Spurgeon, Soul Winner, pg. 249
• God sparing my life, I will not rest till the dark country of
Surrey be filled with places of worship. It is only within
the last six months we have started two churches…and
we will do so to the hundredth time, God being our
helper. Pike, 2:313, 316
Spurgeon on evangelism
• Spurgeon said of Matthew 9:36-37, “This text is laid on
my heart; it lies more on my heart than any other in the
Bible; it is one that haunts me perpetually, and has…for
many years.”
Spurgeon “Harvest Men Wanted”
• Speaking to his Pastor’s College students on
evangelism: “Let this be your choice work while
studying, and let it be the one object of your lives when
you go forth from us.”
Spurgeon, The Soul-Winner, p. 225
• “Devotional habits are cultivated to the utmost...students
are urged to do as much evangelistic work as they can.”
Spurgeon, The MT: History and Work, p. 100
The Lay Preacher’s Association
Endeavour to maintain…the Lay Preacher’s Association. I
might have preached without it, but that Association in
Cambridge offered me opportunities of preaching every
night in the week,…I am sure that the Lay Preacher’s
Associations assist young men very materially, and help
greatly to supply the pulpits with those men who will afterwards carry on the work. We ought not to have a single
church without a strong back of preaching men. We must
have very many, and indeed we must encourage more to
preach. I believe there are a great many men who do very
much service by preaching whom you and I would not like
to hear, but whom God will bless
Pike, 5:39
MT’s Farm System
The Evangelists’ Association (MT’s LPA) and Tabernacle
County Mission provided ministry involvement and experience for the MT members. Many young men first began to
preach the gospel through these organizations. These
ministries were under the leadership of dedicated lay leaders. Spurgeon, “Others of the elders have also exercised a
most gracious ministry in various parts of the metropolis,
and in the home counties, through the agency of the Tabernacle Country Mission and Evangelists’ Association. Many
churches, that are now self-supporting and flourishing,
were started in a very humble fashion by the brethren connected with one or other of these two useful societies.”
CHS, Auto, 3:25
MT Farm System (continued)
• In 1881 the Evangelists’ Assoc owned and operated 603
preaching stations each Sun
• Another 728 preaching stations were either borrowed or
rented, but still manned by MT lay preachers
• There were also 131 open-air meetings
• Preachers in both organizations gave their time w/o
rumuneration & helped pay rent
• 49 Bible schools served by MT members on Sundays
• Spurgeon said these organizations helped provide “godly
men…discover fields of usefulness, and prepare
themselves for them.”
Spurgeon, “Notes” Sword and Trowel 17
(September 1881): 486
Elders & Deacons
• CHS taught on the elders’ role along with dea-cons for
five yrs, then MT accepted 1.12.1859
• “Our elders, now sustained by twenty-six brethren, is a
source of much blessing to our church. Without the
efficient and self-denying labours of the Elders we
should never be able to supervise our huge church,
containing at the close of the year 1868, 3,860 members,
and from which, under the present, about an equal
number have gone to the church triumphant, or to other
parts of the church militant.”
Spurgeon, The MT: it’s History and Work, p. 89
Evening Classes
The church at the Tabernacle continues to furnish a
large quota of men, and as these have usually been educated for two or more years in our Evening Classes, they are
more advanced and better able to profit by our two years of
study. We have no difficulty in finding spheres for men who
are ready and fitted for them. There is no reason to believe
that the supply of trained ministers is in advance of the
demand….These evening classes afford an opportunity to
Christian men engaged during the day to obtain an education for nothing during their leisure time, and very many
avail themselves of the privilege. MT: History, pp.100-01
“150 young business men who were receiving instruction in
the Evening classes.” Pike, 3:16, 1862 (200 in ’76)
Planting Philosophy
• Spurgeon guided his Pastor’s College men to plant
churches by using means effective to that situation. He
taught flexibility and to look for responsive fields.
• He said the policy in planting churches was like a florist:
“Plant a lot of slips hoping that some of them will strike.”
CHS, “Report of the College Work: In and Around
London, Sword and Trowel, May 1878
• “Our plan in London has been to do very little where we
could not do much; to open many rooms, and to start
many small communities in hope that some of them
would like to become self-supporting churches.”
Pike, 3:157; Auto, 3:253-54
Spurgeon on the Pastor’s College
“Our one aim has been to train preachers and pastors. Let
the men be scholars by all means, to their fullest bent, but
first and foremost let them study their Bibles, hold the faith
clearly, and know how to defend it valiantly. If they become
so bookish that they cannot speak except in a pedantic
latinised language, their education has failed; if they grow
so refined and affected that they cannot condescend to
men of low estate, their learning has made them fools; and
If they are so fascinated by literary pursuits that they think
lightly of the preaching of the gospel, they have missed the
Spurgeon on PC (con’t)
but should they be rendered humble by the knowledge
which they gain, should their minds be well stored, should
their tongues become more fluent, and their thoughts more
deep, and above all should their piety be strengthened and
their graces be cultivated, it will prove an essential benefit
to the men, and an immense gain to the churches, that they
have passed through a college course.”
Spurgeon, “The Pastor’s College, Sword and Trowel, 9:146
“If learning necessarily took men off from dependence upon
God we should loathe it, but so far as we can see,
ignorance and self-confidence have considerably affinity,
while grace makes men humble, however much they
CHS “Notes,” S & T, 16: 421
Spurgeon’s Philosophy on
Churches having Colleges
“It is nothing but sanctified common sense that leads the
Church [local churches] to the formation of a college.”
Pike, 4:356
Spurgeon said in 1870 “It appears to us that the maintenance of a truly spiritual College is probably the readiest
way in which to bless the churches.
We are not singular in this opinion, for to be successful
workers in all times the same method had occurred. Without citing the abundant incidents of early times, let us remember the importance which John Calvin attached to the
College at Geneva. Not by any one of the Reformers
Churches and Colleges (cont)
personally could the Reformation have been achieved, but
They multiplied themselves in their students, and so fresh
centres of light were created.
….Wherever a great principle is to be advanced, prudence
suggests the necessity of training men who are to become
the advancers of it. Our Lord and Saviour did just the
same thing when he elected twelve to be always with him,
in order that, by superior instruction, they might become
leaders of the church.”
G. W. Harte, Historical Tablets of the College
Founded by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, p. 14
Spurgeon’s Values for the College
• “The College was the first important institution
commenced by the Pastor, and it still remains his firstborn and best beloved.” Spurgeon, MT: Its History, p.96
• “Our College work is pushed on with vigour: we…are
diligently seeking to break up fresh ground…to found
new churches.” CHS, “Memoranda,” S & T ’68, p. 43
• “…there is yet very much land to be possessed; and
when men break up fresh soil, as ours are encouraged
to do, the field is the world, and the prayer for more
labourers is daily more urgent.” CHS, MT-History, p. 101
• “To every land we hope yet to send forth the gospel in its
fullness and purity. We pray the Lord to raise up missionaries among our students and make every one a
winner of souls.”
CHS, MT-History, p. 102
The Pastor’s College room & board
• Spurgeon arranged for free tuition and provided room &
board, but note: “The young brethren are boarded
generally in twos and threes, in the houses of our friends
[members] around the Tabernacle, for which the College
pays a moderate weekly amount. The plan of separate
lodging we believe to be far preferable to having all
under one roof; for, by the latter mode, men are isolated
from general family habits, and are too apt to fall into
superabundant levity. The circumstances of the families
who entertain our young friends are generally such that
they are not elevated above the social position which in
all probability they will have to occupy in future years, but
are kept in connection with the struggles and conditions
of every-day life.
CHS, MT-History, p. 100
Spurgeonic Principles for Today, #1
• Spurgeon wanted his students to understand the pulpit
was their number one responsibility because this is
where the climate and atmosphere of the church would
be created.
• This is accomplished by clearly communicating what a
Christ-follower is to be & do, and what a Christ-honoring
church is to be & do
• “…the visitation of the sick, private visitation among his
people, organization of useful & benevolent institutions,
platform speaking, occasional contributions to
magazines and reviews—these are all good and
important; but the work of the pulpit is more important
than any of them.”
Pike, 3:184
Spurgeonic Principle #2
“Our reliance upon prayer has been very conspicuous…We
have not begun, we have not continued, we have not ended anything without prayer…We wish to be on record that
we owe our success, as a church, to the work of the Holy
Spirit, principally through its leading us to pray.” Auto 4:243
Spurgeon taught PC men “do train the people to continually
meet together for prayer.” CHS, Greatest Fight, p.43
Prayer meetings are the “throbbing machinery of the
church.” Willams, Spurgeon, p. 72; Auto, 4:81
Spurgeonic Principle #3
Spurgeon valued the Holy Spirit’s ministry:
• “Dear brethren, I feel sure that you have all stuck to your
studies diligently; and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit
may sanctify your human acquirements by a double
measure of His anointing. Your power lies in His grace
rather than in natural gifts or scholastic acquisitions.
Without the Spirit, you will be failures, and worse;
therefore, pray much, and see to it that your whole
selves are in such a condition that the Spirit of God can
dwell in you; for in some men He cannot reside, and with
some men He cannot work. Let the channel through
which the living water is to flow be both clear and clean.”
Auto, 3:159
Spurgeonic Principle #4
Processing New Members
• Spurgeon wanted his PC men to understand how people
were received into membership would shape its strength.
• “All hurry to get members into the church is most
mischievous, both to the church and to the supposed
CHS, The Soul Winner, pp. 18-19
• “I believe that one reason why our church has been…so
signally blessed of God…those who have been added to
our ranks have been well established in the oldfashioned faith of the Puritans…and therefore have not
turned aside or drawn away from us.” CHS, Auto, 2:225
Spurgeonic Principal #5
Pastoral Leadership
• Spurgeon was referred to as the “governor” by his
members and church leaders. He knew he had to lead,
but he respected his people. It was said about his
leadership at the 25th anniversary of his pastorate:
• “With habitual modesty he constantly attributes to
Sunday-school teachers, tract distributors, and in fact to
the entire rank and file of Christian workers, the real
praise for results of which he gests all the credit. This is
true in a degree, although it is even more true that his
accomplished generalship made the soldiers.”
Spurgeon, Twenty-Fifth Year, p. 54
Spurgeonic Principles #6
Priesthood of the Believer
• It was in large part the influence and help of a
lay person named Mary King who led Spurgeon
to know Christ’s salvation and Lordship. He
never forgot her role in his life. Spurgeon said of
her, “I do believe that I learnt more from her than
I should have learned from my six doctors of
divinity.” CHS, Auto, 1:53
• Spurgeon knew the potential and power of lay
persons firsthand and he never got over this in
how to accomplish multiplying disciples and
Spurgeonic Principle #7: Preparing Preachers
Spurgeon stated early in his pastorate at London:
“In past generations our baptized churches used to send out pastors
when they judged them to have sacred gifts and a divine call to the
ministry. Pious youths were sometimes boarded with ministers of repute, by whom they were educated and trained. The old plan was
superseded by colleges founded with devout convictions, and supported with pious intentions. This modern proceeding, however, did not appear to be free from…objections. More than one principal had lamented…’the young men who come in with their hearts on fire and empty
heads went out with heads full of learning, but with frozen hearts.’ We
had better hie back to some of our old habits…and forthwith he
arranged to pay out of his purse for the education of one youth at the
house of a Baptist minister.” Spurgeon, Twenty-Fifth, p. 49
Spurgeon speaking at a Home Missions engagement in 1872 said
that every church should have young men in training for the ministry.