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In the introduction to this new addition to the Theologians on the Christian Life series, Michael Reeves states that he wants to ‘let Spurgeon speak and minister to readers directly’. I think he achieves that end. Throughout the book, I felt that I was meeting "the man himself, so fizzing with life" and was struck by the "relentless Christ-centeredness of his theology and preaching".
Packed with quotations from Spurgeon’s works, Reeves presents Spurgeon’s thoughts on the key themes of Christian doctrine and life, all with a very practical bent.
He was a man who believed that “we are begotten by the word of God: it is the instrumental means of regeneration. Therefore, love your Bibles. Keep close to your Bibles.” He wished the students of the Pastors’ College to be like the Puritans; “men of equal learning and grace, sound scholars, but much more sound divines, men of culture, but even more decidedly men of God”.
He desired to preach Christ (and only Christ) clearly and beautifully, as an ambassador for Christ embodying the text preaching in a ‘Christly manner’. The great object of his preaching was “not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures”.
The Spurgeon you will meet is a joyful man obsessed with the beauty of Christ crucified and focused relentlessly on the salvation of sinners through the simple but powerful preaching of the Word of God, even as he suffers through depression and poor physical health.
In my opinion, the chapters on “Christ and Preaching”, “Christ and the New Birth” and “Prayer”, were worth the price of the book. They are full of a balanced zeal and I hope to revisit them regularly.
I suppose people considering reading this book could fit into one of two camps: perhaps you are familiar with some or all of Spurgeon’s work, or perhaps you are yet to be properly acquainted with the Prince of Preachers.
To the first, I think you will find this book, as Michael Haykin says in his endorsement, “a tremendous draft of refreshment from deep Spurgeonic wells – just what is needed in our day”.
To the second, you may find yourself “chanting with Helmut Thielicke, ‘Sell all that you have and buy Spurgeon!’” as Christian George, the curator of the Spurgeon Library, says in his endorsement.
Either way, I was encouraged by this book, Jesus was lifted up in my thoughts, and I was left desiring to serve God more, live a more lively, joyous life and know nothing but Christ crucified in my thoughts, words and deeds.