The Dancing Puritan

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Birth Announcement

Today is the birthday of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (June 19, 1834).  

One of the benefits in reading biography is that you can always go back to the beginning. A couple of days ago Spurgeon died (in my reading). I was sad. It was not the actual historical day of his death, but it seemed to me like Spurgeon had just died. Today is a much happier day. 

If I could go back in time today, I would travel to the little cottage at Kelvedon, in Essex, where Spurgeon was born. So, let me try. "It is June 19, 1834, June 19, 1834, June 19, 1834, June 19, 1834." It worked for Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) in the movie Somewhere in Time. By dressing in period attire, traveling to the The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island Michigan, and repeating "Its June 27, 1912, Its June 27, 1912," Collier attempted time travel. Eventually he succeeded and found Elise McKenna (Jane Seymour) waiting. 

Enough of that. We assume that time travel is not possible, EXCEPT, through reading. It is indeed possible to be so absorbed in a book and character that it seems that you are back in time. You know like Rush Revere who is always "rush, rush, rushing, into history." 

Enough rabbit trails.

It is Spurgeon's Birthday. Today is a day of celebration. So bring out the cigars (Spurgeon's doctor told him that cigars were good for his health), take a walk at Mentone, visit the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, watch the Spurgeon movie, listen to Shai Linne rap Spurgeon, or best of all, read a Spurgeon biography.

Who was Charles Haddon Spurgeon? J. Manton Smith wrote a book titled, The Essex Lad Who Became England's Greatest Preacher. Spurgeon was not only, "England's greatest preacher" he was one of the greatest preachers in all of history.

However, Spurgeon would have chaffed beneath such a descriptor. His single-focus was Christ. If he were here today, he might say:

What the hand is to the lute,
What the breath is to the flute,
What fragrance is to the smell,
What the spring is to the well,
What the flower is to the bee,
That is Jesus Christ to me.
                                                                                           Arranged by Spurgeon.

Today shouts of joy are heard in my office. Thank God for raising up Spurgeon. Spurgeon, though dead, still speaks.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Pastors love to stand in the pulpits of great preachers. Even Spurgeon, when visiting Geneva in 1860, was excited to stand in Calvin's pulpit.

During our recent trip to London, I had the opportunity to stand in a few prominent pulpits and Lori had the great privilege of taking photos of me. Enjoy at your own risk.

Our first stop was Westminster Chapel. Pastor Greg Haslam graciously gave us a tour. Pictured is the pulpit that was occupied by  D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. We also were invited into the pastor's vestry (and even saw the Doctor's robes).

The next stop on our pulpit tour was Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle. We were welcomed into the study of Dr. Peter Masters and allowed to take photos of Spurgeon's pulpit.

                Spurgeon's hand print is obvious and he had a clock built into his pulpit.

Spurgeon's first pastorate was Waterbeach Chapel (just north of Cambridge). Though the original building burned after Spurgeon left for London, he helped the church to rebuild. He commissioned the architect of the Metropolitan Tabernacle to design the new chapel at Waterbeach as a sort of mini-model (interior) of the prominent London Church. Spurgeon returned to Waterbeach annually to preach from the pulpit pictured above (of course without the power point and the silly smile). Pastor and Mrs. Ensell were wonderful hosts.

The final stop on our pulpit tour was Spurgeon's College. Dr. Peter Morden, Vice Principal of the college, gave us a look around. The college now owns the pulpit from which the sermon was delivered the day that Spurgeon was converted. Diverted by a snowstorm from the church where he was headed, Spurgeon ducked into a Primitive Methodist Chapel and heard a message from Isaiah 45:22, "Look unto me and be saved." That day, Spurgeon looked unto Christ and was converted.

Travelling England, looking for Pulpits