Cross in the Tabernacle: Charles Haddon Spurgeon & Biblical hermeneutics
Breimaier, Thomas Andrew
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This thesis examines the biblical interpretation of the eminent Victorian Baptist pastor, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), who became one of the most renowned preachers in the English-speaking world. His Metropolitan Tabernacle in London was the world’s first ‘megachurch’, with a weekly congregation of over 5,000; by the end of his life, more than ten thousand copies of Spurgeon’s sermons were printed and distributed weekly. Through his example and his publications, he had an immense influence on preaching across the North Atlantic world. This thesis, the first sustained analysis of Spurgeon’s biblical interpretation, argues that his preaching success lay in his distinctive approach to Scripture, and that Christ’s crucifixion and the priority of conversion formed the interpretive lens through which Spurgeon approached biblical texts. Chapter one examines Spurgeon’s early education and conversion, and explores some previously unpublished early sermons. Chapters two and five analyze Spurgeon’s mature addresses and publications, including his magazine and biblical commentaries. Chapters three and four, respectively, address Spurgeon’s use of the Old and New Testament in his preaching, with particular attention on the language of cross and conversion. Finally, chapter six considers the instruction that he provided to the hundreds of students who attended his Pastors’ College.