Spurgeon and Revival -- By: Robert Lescelius

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 03:2 (Spring 1994)
Article: Spurgeon and Revival
Author: Robert Lescelius


Spurgeon and Revival

Robert Lescelius

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” shines as a bright luminary in the sky of church history. Certainly the word revival must come to mind as we consider such a life and labor owned by God with such phenomenal success. Without doubt his success was the fruit of revival, and his doctrine, passion and practice were inseparable from the biblical truths of spiritual renewal.

Here are the simple facts of history in a nutshell. A young nineteen-year-old goes as pastor to a 200-year-old church in the River Flood district—”the gloomy, narrow streets of a dingy repellent section of London.” 1 The New Park Street Church had a membership of 232, but a congregation of eighty heard the young C. H. Spurgeon for the first time on Sunday morning, December 18, 1853. The church extended him a call, which he accepted on April 28, 1854, and within ten months the congregation, growing rapidly, moved to Exeter Hall, while the church building was expanded to accommodate the crowds.

Upon returning to the church location in May the renovation was already found inadequate, and the church was finally forced in June 1856 to return to Exeter Hall for Sunday evening services. Soon Exeter Hall was too small, and a momentous move was made to the Surrey Gardens Music Hall, where for three years Spurgeon preached to 9,000-10,000 people every Sunday. The young pastor’s fame spread, and he had invitations to preach in open-air meetings to thousands throughout England, Scotland and Wales. On October 7, 1857, he preached to a record crowd of 23,654 in the famous Crystal Palace.

In March 1861 the congregation moved into their new facility, the Metropolitan Tabernacle, where for the next thirty-one years Spurgeon preached to an average of 5,000-6,000 people every Sunday, morning and evening.

In the decade from 1854 to 1864, the church recorded 3,569 baptisms. During the entirety of his pastorate, from

April 29, 1854, to Spurgeon’s death, January 31, 1892, a total of 14,460 were added to the church.

Besides this should be mentioned the Pastor’s College and the orphanage, as well as Spurgeon’s printed sermons and writings that circled the globe and bless the church to this day. How can all of this (and much more) be explained? Talent? To a certain extent we must say “Yes,” for C. H. Spurgeon was truly a man of extraordinary gifts and abilities. We must admit his brilliance and eloquence. Yet Spurgeon himself acknowledged it to be all of God. He testified:

If we had the Spirit sealing our ministry ...

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