Thursday, April 11, 2013
Book Review: Eccentric Preachers by Charles Spurgeon
With that line, a unique book about eccentric preachers begins. As an influential pastor in 19th century England, Spurgeon was sometimes seen as eccentric, which coming from many was neither a compliment nor a neutral observation. As he notes:
When God raises up a man of original mind who strikes out a course for himself and follows it with success, it is usual to charge him with being eccentric. If his honesty may not be suspected, nor his zeal questioned, nor his power denied, sneer at him and call him eccentric, and it may be the arrow will wound.
Spurgeon is quite clear how such attacks should be responded to:
Fear no man's frown, and court no man's smile, but say the right thing and the true, and say it as best you can, and ask God's help that you may say it so that you may make men feel it, even though you sting them into anger, for blessed shall that man be who has discharged his conscience before the living God.
He also warns against the wrong kind of eccentricity:
Find us a preacher who obtains notoriety for himself by descending to buffoonery, and who goes out of his way to say smart things, and make jokes on sacred subjects, and we decline to be his advocate.
After exploring various aspects of eccentricity, Spurgeon gives an overview of eleven eccentric preachers, some of whom were greatly slandered, but all of whom were righteous men of God. He shares many amusing stories along the way, at least one of which was from his own life. It’s an enjoyable read, and safe for all ages, so I recommend it to anyone who is interested. Its message is much needed in our day.
This book can be read for free online: Eccentric Preachers