|B&H Academic to publish Charles Spurgeon’s lost sermons|
|Written by Christine D. Johnson|
|Monday, 04 August 2014 01:13 PM EDT|
B&H Publishing Group will release The Lost Sermons of Charles Spurgeon, a multi-volume edition of early Spurgeon sermons and sermon outlines.
Charles Spurgeon, the 19th-century London pastor nicknamed “the Prince of Preachers,” preached to more than 10 million people, baptized more than 14,000 converts and sold more than 50 million copies of his sermons.
More than 3,500 Spurgeon sermons were eventually published, but none date from his early ministry, said Spurgeon scholar Christian George.
“Charles Spurgeon preached essential biblical truths, and they resonate with us 150 years later,” said Selma Wilson, president of B&H Publishing. “At B&H, we are blessed as stewards to share these words with today’s church.”
Jim Baird, publisher of B&H Academic, who has been in Christian publishing for more than 20 years, is pleased to be a part of such a special release.
“A project like this comes to you once in your lifetime, if you are fortunate,” Baird said.
The collection of more than 400 sermons and outlines dates from Spurgeon’s days as a young pastor outside of Cambridge, England. The son of a minister, Spurgeon came to faith in 1850 during a service at a Primitive Methodist Church.
“It is sometimes overlooked that Charles Spurgeon published more words in the English language than any other Christian in history,” said George, curator of the C.H. Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri.
LifeWay President and CEO Thom Rainer said he is excited to make the sermons available to pastors and scholars alike.
“This project is the most recent example of the tremendous impact B&H is having on evangelical publishing,” Rainer said. “As we constantly endeavor to faithfully serve the church, we believe the Lord will bless our efforts.”
Spurgeon began preaching not long after his conversion. At 17, he became pastor of a Baptist church in Waterbeach, not far from Cambridge. He kept his sermon outlines—which he called “skeletons” —along with some full-text sermons in handwritten journals.
The first of the 13 newly discovered journals is dated October 1849, a few months before Spurgeon’s conversion. The last is dated from 1854, right before he became pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London. The journals reveal how Spurgeon developed his theology as well as his skill in preaching.
After becoming a pastor in London, Spurgeon had planned to publish those early sermons, but that never happened. They were stored in the archives of Spurgeon’s College in London. George discovered the journals three years ago, when a librarian there brought him a stack of Spurgeon’s journals.
“Only when I began flipping through their pages did I realize the significance,” George said. “These were the lost sermons Spurgeon tried so long ago to publish.”
The B&H Academic set will include sermons from those journals along with critical commentary from George, who said it will be the first critical edition of Spurgeon’s work ever to be published.
“There is a growing interest in Spurgeon scholarship in recovering his humanity—his inconsistencies, his weaknesses, his doubts, struggles and sufferings,” George said. “In this way, we discover a Spurgeon who does not arrive on the theological landscape of nineteenth-century Britain in perfect, polished form, but instead a preacher in progress whose exegesis, rhetorical tendencies and homiletic method evolve over the first five years of his preaching ministry.”
Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Seminary, said he is “proud to support Dr. George and to partner with B&H and LifeWay Christian Resources in this historic undertaking. The Christian tradition as a whole will prove the true beneficiary of this monumental work.”
George hopes this new edition of early Spurgeon sermons will lead to more scholarly interest in the great preacher. Pastors, he said, also will benefit.
“He models for us an unwavering commitment to Christ-centered preaching, fervent prayer and discipleship, local and world evangelism, and incarnational urban ministries,” George said.
The set will be published next year, and digital versions will be available exclusively through WORDsearch.