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Spurgeon Library receives unpublished Spurgeon letters at 2nd annual conference

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP) – The Spurgeon Library, located on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, celebrated the recent donation of a collection of unpublished Spurgeon writings at the second annual Spurgeon Library Conference April 19.

“It brings me great joy to accept this donation of some of Charles Spurgeon’s unpublished letters on behalf of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Seminary,” said MBTS President Jason Allen. “The Spurgeon Library is a remarkable place of study and research on one of the premier preachers of church history. Undoubtedly, these letters will aid Spurgeon scholars who come to the Spurgeon Library to study the life and ministry of ‘the Prince of Preachers.’”

The donated collection contains 35 handwritten letters and notes from Charles Spurgeon. Geoff Chang, curator of the Spurgeon Library and assistant professor of historical theology, explained the importance of donations such as these to the Spurgeon Library’s vision.

“Collections like these are essential for the progress of Spurgeon scholarship,” Chang said. “They provide insights and details into Spurgeon’s life and ministry beyond many of the familiar points, or perhaps even stereotypes, that we might already know about him.”

Most of the donated letters are addressed to J.T. Dunn, who served on the elder board as secretary at London’s Metropolitan Tabernacle where Spurgeon pastored. As an active church member, Dunn led one of the Bible classes, chaired members’ meetings and supported the missions stations. Chang shared how Spurgeon’s letters to Dunn reveal new insights into the ministry of the church, Spurgeon’s relationship with his elders, the Almshouses, personal struggles and more.

“We are grateful to Harbour Shores Church for this donation and for their desire to see these historic letters bless the wider church and future generations, through the work of the Spurgeon Library,” Chang said.

Harbour Shores is an evangelical church located in Cicero, Ind. After learning more about the vision of the Spurgeon Library, the church decided to entrust these resources to Midwestern Seminary and the Spurgeon Library to allow the writings to be enjoyed more broadly.

As with all Spurgeon Library donations, the letters will be properly catalogued, transcribed and preserved. They will be available for visiting scholars and doctoral students researching Spurgeon. The insights in this collection will bring new sources for future papers, presentations, journal articles, books and more.

Donations like these, and the research that follows, helps provide a more holistic view of one of the most influential preachers of the 19th century.

“What I’ve come to appreciate about Spurgeon is not only his remarkable preaching and steadfast faithfulness to the Gospel, but also his pastoral heart for his people and his convictional approach to ministry,” Chang said.

“Many people know stories of Spurgeon’s preaching to thousands and publishing his sermons all over the world. However, did you know that Spurgeon was actively involved in raising up elders in his church to better care for their members and took interest in the widows that he supported in his Almshouses? These letters reveal many such insights, providing a more complete view of Spurgeon’s role as the pastor of the largest evangelical church of his day.

“As a seminary that is committed to raising up faithful pastors and church leaders, I can’t think of a better example from church history for pastors today to imitate. While many would admire Spurgeon for his amazing fruitfulness, I want to hold forth Spurgeon as an example of faithfulness for us to follow.”

Spurgeon Library Conference

The collection will be on display in the Spurgeon Library, which recently welcomed pastors and church leaders to its second annual Spurgeon Library Conference. The conference seeks to bring out the best of Spurgeon scholarship to encourage faithful Gospel ministry.

Speakers Chang, Don Whitney and Alex DiPrima spoke to this year’s theme, “Spurgeon’s Devotional Life,” focusing on how Spurgeon’s Gospel spirituality nurtured his evangelical activism. Main sessions included topics such as Spurgeonic Women, Spurgeon’s Ministry to the Poor, The Pastor’s College and Pastoral Burdens from Spurgeon’s Private Poems.

“One of the things that makes this conference special,” Chang said, “is simply that it is held amidst Spurgeon’s own pastoral library. These books remind us that we stand on the shoulders of faithful ministers who have gone before us. Additionally, one of my favorite parts of the conference is when we get to share an update on the work of the library, including new acquisitions such as this collection, projects and more.”

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  • Brett Fredenberg/MBTS