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Watch above as John Piper lectures at Reformed Theological Seminary (April 10, 2013) on the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon. (You can find audio and the manuscript of an earlier edition of this talk here.)

Spurgeon’s life and thought seems strangely neglected by historians and theologians today. So I am very thankful that this September Christian Focus will be publishing Tom Nettles’ new biography, The Life and Ministry of Charles Spurgeon. Here are some early reviews:

“Charles Spurgeon is a mountain—a massive figure on the evangelical landscape. Tom Nettles now helps us to understand Charles Haddon Spurgeon as a man, a theologian, and one of the most influential pastors in church history. Nettles takes us into the heart of Charles Spurgeon’s conviction and his pastoral theology. This is a book that will encourage, educate, and bless its readers.”

—R. Albert Mohler, President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

“While numerous biographies of Spurgeon have been published over the decades, Spurgeon’s thought normally receives short shrift from his biographers. This is why this new biography is so important. By focusing on Spurgeon’s memoirs and published articles, Tom Nettles has filled an important gap in scholarship related to Spurgeon with this exhaustive intellectual biography of the Prince of Preachers. Many pastors and other casual readers will be encouraged by Spurgeon’s commitment to a high view of Scripture and historic Baptist orthodoxy from a Reformed perspective. Scholars will be forced to reckon with Spurgeon the theologian as they pursue their own studies of the famed Victorian pastor.”

—Nathan A. Finn, Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies, The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina

“What Nettles makes plain is that for Spurgeon, all theology is pastoral theology. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It should be widely distributed by all who love the gospel of God’s grace that Spurgeon preached. Every pastor, ministerial student and those who work to train men for the ministry should carefully learn from the life and labors of Charles Haddon Spurgeon as Tom Nettles elucidates them. Nearly everyone who knows of Spurgeon admires him for his great accomplishments. Nettles helps us understand the theological underpinnings of those accomplishments. In doing so, the author, like his subject, has served the church well.”

—Tom Ascol, Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida

“Fresh and unique, this book will be enjoyable to laymen, profitable to pastors, and indispensable for scholars. Nettles’ volume now takes an honored place among the most valuable of all resources pertaining to the Prince of Preachers.”

—Don Whitney, Associate Professor of Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

“With the publication of Living by Revealed Truth, Tom Nettles has provided his readers with the premier interpretive account of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Evidencing decades of serious engagement with this great Baptist leader of the nineteenth century, Nettles has given us an immense and monumental portrait of almost every aspect of the life of “the prince of preachers,” including not only his numerous writings and multi-faceted ministry, but also his leadership practices and personal challenges. Educational, edifying, and enjoyable to read, this massive work is a masterful contribution to Baptist history and Christian biography.”

—David S. Dockery, President, Union University, Jackson, Tennessee

“Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century in England and probably the whole world. The pungent and passionate sermons of the Baptist pastor brought home the gospel message to the hearts of his numerous hearers and more numerous readers. Tom Nettles has retold Spurgeon’s life as a warm admirer, but he is careful to rest his judgements on detailed evidence. In particular The Sword and the Trowel, the magazine Spurgeon edited as pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, is used as a quarry for an abundance of fresh material. Consequently this biography casts new light on Spurgeon’s life, ministry and theology.”

—David Bebbington, Professor of History, University of Stirling, Stirling

“Despite his ongoing popularity, Charles Spurgeon has only recently begun to attract the serious attention he deserves. Tom Nettles’ work now makes a major contribution to this growing appreciation of the man and his ministry. Mining neglected but important sources, he has given sharper definition to our picture of Spurgeon, and produced a highly stimulating and readable account.”

—Michael Reeves, Head of Theology, UCCF

“It has long been my conviction that, despite the goodly number of Spurgeon biographies that have been written since the Baptist preacher’s death in 1892, there really is lacking a definitive study that not only takes account of his remarkable ministry and the inspiring details of his life, but also adequately deals with the theology of the man. Finally, in this work by my dear colleague Tom Nettles, a sort of magnum opus upon which he has labored for many years, is justice done to not only Spurgeon the man and preacher, but also to Spurgeon the theologian. Here is an ‘all-round’ study of Spurgeon that provides us with a fully reliable, substantial examination of an extremely important figure in the life of Victorian Evangelicalism and the world of that era.”

—Michael A. G. Haykin, Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky

“One of those rare gems of Christian biography: it places in your hands the life a great man, written by an outstanding historical theologian. The combination brings Charles Spurgeon’s life and thought to life. Tom Nettles’s portrait of Spurgeon is eminently personal, historically vivid and theologically rich. I recommend it to anyone interested in seeing how theology and ministry, gospel and life, can unite in a single narrative of a life lived for the glory of God.”

—Robert Caldwell, Assistant Professor of Church History, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Forth Worth, Texas

“Nettles gives the reader insights into Spurgeon’s views on theology, the ministry, and church life that will pay rich dividends to any who will take the time to read this compelling story. If a minister reads only one biography of the great preacher, let it be this one!”

—Jeff Straub, Professor of Historical Theology, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Plymouth, Minnesota

“Readers are inspired to holiness of life, faithfulness in Christ’s service, and perseverance in godliness by the moving account of this great Victorian evangelist who held and maintained through his preaching and pastoral ministry endeavors the great truths generally known as ‘the doctrines of grace.'”

—C. Berry Driver Jr., Dean of Libraries, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

“Nettles presents the ministerial brilliance of the ‘Prince of Preachers,’ whose pastoral labors transcend generations down to this present hour. Revered by many as the greatest preacher since the apostle Paul, readers will be encouraged and edified by this engaging account of Spurgeon’s life and ministry.”

—Steven J. Lawson, Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, Alabama

For those who are interested, here is an hour-long docu-drama on the life of C. H. Spurgeon: The People’s Preacher:


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4 thoughts on “The Life and Ministry of Charles Spurgeon”

  1. Bruce Russell says:

    I’d love to talk to him about Paul and the Law.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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