I thought you might be interested in something I found out about CH Spurgeon from Philip R. Johnson (one of the best read people on Spurgeon I know about).
I have his permission to use this information.
[quote]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,http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2258.htm#expo
...but this "exposition" was done in another part of the church
service, distinct from the preaching.
In the sermon referenced by your friend ("Things That Accompany
Salvation"), Spurgeon began by acknowledging that he was not
trying to explain the meaning of the text from which he borrowed
his title. His very first words were:
I AM not quite certain that my text will warrant all I
shall say upon it this day if read and understood in its
connection. But I have taken the words rather by
accommodation than otherwise, and shall make use of them
as a kind of heading to the discourse which I hope to be
enabled to deliver.
THAT wasn't his normal approach, either. In that sermon, he was
just borrowing a phrase from Scripture to use as a title.
Normally, he took time to carefully explain both the context and
the meaning of his text, even if he departed from there into a
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. As I said, 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. Though my style
is certainly more expository than his, I find he often gives me
great help with the exposition of the passage.)
BTW, Spurgeon lived in an era when almost no one did straight
expository preaching. He was, in that sense, a product of his
What Rick Warren does is something entirely different. My chief
objection to Warren is not that he is not an expositor, but that
he deliberately makes ANY connection to Scripture in his preaching
as tenuous as possible. He tells preachers it is unwise to begin
their sermons with Scripture. Spurgeon would rightly have
abominted such advice.
In other words, whatever else you say about Spurgeon's approach to
Scripture, you can't accuse him of not being biblical. I don't
think anyone could honestly argue that Rick Warren is biblical. He
actually seems to pride himself on the way he relegates Scripture
to a footnote in his messaages. He certainly can't be legitimately
defended by any comparison with Spurgeon.
-- Phillip R. Johnson
The Spurgeon Archive http://www.spurgeon.org<br
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