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Spurgeon exhorts seminarians never to neglect preaching

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” challenged students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to, above all else in their ministry, preach the Word of God.
“Whatever else you do, do not let it throw your preaching into the background,” said Spurgeon, portrayed by John Drakeford, Southwestern distinguished professor emeritus of psychology and counseling, in a monologue during a Nov. 11 chapel at the Fort Worth, Texas, school.
“In the first place, preach. In the second place, preach. In the third place, preach. Believe in preaching the love of God, believe in preaching the atoning sacrifice, believe in preaching the new birth and believe in preaching the whole counsel of God. Go on, go on, in God’s name, go on,” said Drakeford, reciting the words from one of Spurgeon’s last sermons.
Drakeford’s dramatic monologue traced Spurgeon’s life from his conversion at the Artillery Street Primitive Methodist Church to his death in 1892, providing stories and insights from the man who, by the age of 25, was preaching to 12,000 people each Sunday at the London Metropolitan Tabernacle. From his 40 years of ministry, more than 10,000 people were baptized.
Prior to the Tabernacle being built, Spurgeon went through his “valley of the shadow,” when seven people were trampled to death and many others were injured during a service he held at a London music hall. In the crowd of 12,000, some young men started shouting, “Fire!” and a panic ensued.
Drakeford’s presentation depicted Spurgeon as considering dropping out of the ministry until several weeks later when a deacon took him to visit a woman who was dying of cancer. Her confidence and spirit were such that Spurgeon went back to work holding another service in the same hall and beginning plans for the Tabernacle.
Spurgeon raised much of the money for the building himself through offerings given to him for his numerous speaking engagements, helping accomplish his goal of building the church debt-free.
Other advice Spurgeon gave via Drakeford to the students included having the right attitude when preaching, always being ready to preach extemporaneously and preparing thoroughly. Spurgeon turned down an invitation to dinner with the prime minister of England because the dinner was scheduled for a Saturday evening when Spurgeon prepared his Sunday sermons.
Spurgeon founded an orphanage, a pastors’ college and 21 mission halls. His 4,000 sermons were reproduced in 40 different languages with a distribution of 2,500 per week. He also wrote 135 books and edited 28 others.
Drakeford has performed dramatic monologues at chapel before. In January, he portrayed Martin Luther in a presentation titled, “Here I Stand.”

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  • Matt Sanders