Thursday, March 08, 2007

Spurgeon's Preaching through Adversity

I was looking again tonight at John Piper's biographical sketch of Charles Spurgeon on preaching through adversity. As many of you know, Spurgeon battled depression but never gave up his hope in God. Here are six lessons that Piper draws from Spurgeon's perseverance even through the darkness:
  1. Spurgeon saw his depression as the design of God for the good of his ministry and the glory of Christ.
  2. Very practically Spurgeon supplements his theological survival strategy with God's natural means of survival – his use of rest and nature.
  3. Spurgeon consistently nourished his soul by communion with Christ through prayer and meditation.
  4. Spurgeon rekindled the zeal and passion to preach by fixing his eyes on eternity rather than the immediate price of faithfulness.
  5. For Spurgeon a key to his perseverance in preaching through adversity was that he had settled who he was and would not be paralyzed with external criticism or internal second-guessing.
  6. But in the end, the strength to go on preaching in the midst of adversity and setbacks came for Spurgeon from the assured sovereign triumph of Christ.
For details, examples, and quotes, read or listen to the whole thing.

For resources on depression, consider Ed Welch's Depression: A Stubborn Darkness--Light for the Path, John Piper's When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing what We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy, and Martyn Lloyd-Jones's Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure.