07 June 2005

Spurgeon Archive Update

I haven't stopped updating The Spurgeon Archive; I've just had a tyrranical series of nonstop writing and editing deadlines since last November. I've now finished the largest of the projects, and I'm beginning the slow process of doing overdue maintenance on my websites. I posted a couple of fresh updates today. Look for more in the days to come.


SoccerReformer said...

Phil - I am so glad to find out you have started this. I have looked around at Christian blogs and not really found anything to my liking.

Seeing the updates to the Spurgeon Archive reminds just how much God has used your work to help me understand Him better. Unquestionably there have been too many times I have been an example of James 1:23-24, but praise God for His infinite mercy and patience. And thank the Lord for raising up people to both write and publish material such as is on this site. It truly is like water in a desolate land.

Rand said...

Mr. Johnson,

Thanks for your work on the Spurgeon archive. When I was living in Montreal, I lived on the Sprugeon sermons you posted since I had a real hard time finding a good fellowship.

Thanks for keeping the works of the "prince of preachers" alive and accessible...

In Christ,


David said...

Phil, I fear I may be ripped apart for asking this, but I know you're the man with the answer.

I recently aquired a set of Spurgeon's Expository Encyclopedia, and was disappointed to find that it contains precious little exposition.

I know how you and your colleagues feel about expository preaching, and I agree. How is it that Spurgeon, who did so little exposition, is so highly regarded as a preacher among those who consider exposition to be the ideal?

Don't misunderstand me; Spurgeon was a great man. He had a brilliant mind and exceptional character. His theology was nearly impeccable, obviously the result of good hermeneutics.

When he did exposition, it was excellent. The Treasury of David is among my most valued books. I wish he had done the same job with the book of Romans.

Phil Johnson said...


I don't rip people apart here. I visit THEIR weblogs to do that. I don't want to have to clean up the mess in my own forum.

It's true that Spurgeon did not normally do expository preaching. In fact, he regarded biblical exposition as something distinct from "preaching." His approach to exposition was simply to read a phrase and comment on it. Some of his printed sermons include an "Exposition" section. See, for example,


...but this "exposition" was done in another part of the church service, distinct from the preaching.

So what does this prove? It certainly dsoesn't invalidate Spurgeon's preaching ministry. On the contrary, it simply shows that the expository method is not the only preaching style used by God to further the gospel. I happen to agree with those who say expository preaching is generally superior to topical preaching. But it's not the ONLY approach, and almost no one would argue that it is. Even John MacArthur occasionally preaches topically.

Furthermore, there are lots of modern expositors who can't hold a candle to Spurgeon, despite the fact that he wasn't a strict expositor. His topical approach usually included elements of exposition.

Before I preach on a given passage, I always read Spurgeon to see how he dealt with it. Although my style is certainly more "expository" than his, I'm still nowhere near the preacher he was, and I find he almost always sheds some light on a passage and helps me see things I would not have otherwise seen.

BTW, Spurgeon lived in an era when almost no one did straight expository preaching. He was, in that sense, a product of his times.

Momo said...

Although much of Spurgeon's (what a great name, eh?) preaching may not have been strictly expository in the sense of a John MacArthur or D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, it was very *textual*. IOW, the points came from the text. Most of it I would consider to be somewhere between expository and topical - i.e. textual.

I find that I follow that lead on Sunday am in my own preaching while leaning more expository in the other services. And I also consider the am service to be more 'preaching' while the other services are more 'teaching' though there are elements of both in each.


Momo said...

Another thought: Spurgeon was an evangelist at heart, though a pastor by trade. He took very seriously the admonition of Paul to Timothy to do the work of an evangelist.

At the time that he ministered, especially in the early part of his ministry, there was a great outpouring of the Spirit going on. he recognized that and, seeing the people flock in by the droves, he preached the gospel to them.

I believe that gospel preaching is better served by a textual-type delivery and approach like Spurgeon used than a methodical expository approach.

I'm not knocking exository either. I think it is ideal if your focus is more on feeding the flock than calling them in. Spurgeon's focus was tilted a little the other way.

Obviously, expository can be evangelistic, just as there is much depth in Spurgeon's preaching. Compare it to Billy Graham's preaching, for example. It's like comparing a full course meal to one of those tiny bags of pretzels they give you on a Southwest Airlines flight.

In that sense, Spurgeon took his homiletical cues from Whitefield.

Momo said...

Hey Phil, I sent you a Spurgeon sermon a couple of months back. Have you lost it? If you have, I can re-send it. Also, if you're going to be focusing on this a little more, I can start back to sending you two or three a month - at least until you have the year 1885 completed.

David earlier mentioned the set entitled Spurgeon's Expository Ebncyclopedia. Are those sermons unabridged? My dad has the complete set and I've always wondered if they were the full meal deal.

David said...

Phil- thanks for your comments. I wasn't really afraid that you would rip me apart. You never know who you'll meet in these forums, and some people are quite zealous in defending their icons.

James- thanks for your comments, also. You aren't related to Charles, are you? I had to ask. I've always assumed the Encyclopedia is unabridged. There's no editor's notes that would indicate otherwise.

Momo said...

Not directly related, but since theologically we are almost twins and he is a little more gifted than I am, I let him use my name.


c.t. said...

All preachers should read William Ames' Marrow of Theology, Book 1, Chp. 35.

I can't paraphrase it. The Marrow is already so condensed and refined...

Especially the instruction of paragraphs 17 through 20 and on. He tells you how it should be done, and it on-the-mark.