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This post is by Aubry Smith. It has been excerpted from Moment with God: A Devotional on Every Biblical Book.
At times in my life, I see evidence of God’s presence beyond any doubt. Passages of Scripture light up with meaning, and prayer flows easily. Worship brings me joy as I reflect on how palpably God keeps his hand over my circumstances. Walking with God seems tangible during these times, as if he is physically beside me, and my love overflows in easy obedience. But then there are times that it seems God has gone on vacation. The same passages of the Bible seem devoid of life; I trudge through prayer and push myself to worship. Why does God sometimes feel so distant?
Who would dare criticize the Charles Spurgeon, the great prince of preachers? Maybe more people than you think. The Spurgeon Commentary: Galatians opens with a brief biography of his ministry.
This passage might surprise you:
When 19-year-old Charles Spurgeon was called to the New Park Street Pulpit in 1854, London newspapers derided him as a brash upstart. Critics complained that his plainspoken, direct speaking style was too edgy—and dangerously innovative. A secular magazine referred to his colloquial speech as “slang.” A newspaper editorial categorized his preaching as “ginger-pop sermonizing.” One particularly harsh critic wrote:
He is nothing unless he is an actor—unless exhibiting that matchless impudence which is his great characteristic, indulging in coarse familiarity with holy things, declaiming in a ranting and colloquial style, strutting up and down the platform as though he were at the Surrey Theatre, and boasting of his own intimacy with Heaven with nauseating frequency. His fluency, self-possession, oratorical tricks, and daring utterances, seem to fascinate his less-thoughtful hearers, who love excitement more than devotion.
During that first year, pundits regularly predicted an early end to Spurgeon’s ministry in London: “He is a nine days’ wonder—a comet that has suddenly shot across the religious atmosphere. He has gone up like a rocket, and ere long will come down like a stick.”
Spurgeon’s critics were wrong, but they weren’t silent. They attacked him, slandered him, and fiercely opposed his ministry. They called his successes flukes and his failures proof of his character.
What did Spurgeon do? He just kept preaching. He kept writing. He kept sharing the truth of Scripture as plainly and directly as he could for 30 years of faithful ministry.
Though he only wrote commentaries on two books—Matthew and Psalms—he wrote and spoke extensively enough that a team here at Logos is compiling a commentary from his preaching ministry. The first volume, Galatians, is available right now. The rest of the New Testament letters are available for pre-order. Get Spurgeon’s insights in your Faithlife Study Bible—pre-order the Spurgeon Commentary Collection today.