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Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon Hardcover – September 20, 2013

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Editorial Reviews


While numerous biographies of Spurgeon have been published over the decades, Spurgeon's thought normally receives short shrift from his biographers. This is why this new biography is so important. By focusing on Spurgeon's memoirs and published articles, Tom Nettles has filled an important gap in scholarship related to Spurgeon with this exhaustive intellectual biography of the Prince of Preachers. Many pastors and other casual readers will be encouraged by Spurgeon's commitment to a high view of Scripture and historic Baptist orthodoxy from a Reformed perspective. Scholars will be forced to reckon with Spurgeon the theologian as they pursue their own studies of the famed Victorian pastor. ~ Nathan A. Finn (Associate Professor of Historical Theology and Baptist Studies, The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, North Carolina)

What Nettles makes plain is that for Spurgeon, all theology is pastoral theology. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It should be widely distributed by all who love the gospel of God's grace that Spurgeon preached. Every pastor, ministerial student and those who work to train men for the ministry should carefully learn from the life and labors of Charles Haddon Spurgeon as Tom Nettles elucidates them. Nearly everyone who knows of Spurgeon admires him for his great accomplishments. Nettles helps us understand the theological underpinnings of those accomplishments. In doing so, the author, like his subject, has served the church well. ~ Tom Ascol (Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida)

Readers are inspired to holiness of life, faithfulness in Christ's service, and perseverance in godliness by the moving account of this great Victorian evangelist who held and maintained through his preaching and pastoral ministry endeavors the great truths generally known as "the doctrines of grace." ~ C. Berry Driver Jr. (Associate Vice President of Academic Resources, Librarian and Professor of Church History, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)

Fresh and unique, this book will be enjoyable to laymen, profitable to pastors, and indispensable for scholars. Nettles' volume now takes an honored place among the most valuable of all resources pertaining to the Prince of Preachers. ~ Don Whitney (Professor of Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was the greatest preacher of the nineteenth century in England and probably the whole world. The pungent and passionate sermons of the Baptist pastor brought home the gospel message to the hearts of his numerous hearers and more numerous readers. Tom Nettles has retold Spurgeon's life as a warm admirer, but he is careful to rest his judgements on detailed evidence. In particular The Sword and the Trowel, the magazine Spurgeon edited as pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, is used as a quarry for an abundance of fresh material. Consequently this biography casts new light on Spurgeon's life, ministry and theology. ~ David Bebbington (Professor of History, University of Stirling, Stirling)

It is impossible to do justice to a large book of this nature within the scope of a review article. The book is remarkable, at last, for the wide scope of subjects with which it deals: the nature of the gospel, the nature of the ministry, the method and content of theology, as well as more personal aspects of Spurgeon's life, such as Spurgeon in controversy and Spurgeon on sickness and death. ~ Iain D. Campbell (Minister, Point Free Church of Scotland, Isle of Lewis)

... a monumental work. It combines the best features of a Christian biography and a pastor's manual in an eminently readable style, with meticulous attention to detail. ~ Peace and Truth

... worth its weight in gold. Do read, mark and learn to the profit of your soul and to the praise of the Lord Jesus Christ whom Spurgeon served so well. ~ English Churchman

Of the making of books about Spurgeon there is obviously no end, but this one enters the list as one of the best. This is a book to read and digest, to meditate and come back to- a monumental and well documented tome on one of the finest preachers. ~ Evangelicals Now

Tom Nettles has produced a fine and very valuable study of Spurgeon the pastor and teacher. This is a volume that will be of great interest not only to historians but to pastors and all those concerned for the spread of biblical truth and gospel life. ~ Robert Strivens- Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

... for those growing to appreciate the man and wanting to get a real handle on him, and who are eager for and able to digest a thorough review of his life, this is the place to go. ~ Evangelical Times

In my opinion, when one combines the scope of this biography with its intention to instruct its readers in a vision of ministry that glorifies God, it will not only break fresh ground on the life of Spurgeon, it will also set a new standard for how to write biographies. ~ Dave Jenkins (Director Servants of Grace Ministries)

Pastors and elders, especially those mentoring young men for gospel ministry, will find Tom Nettles' Living By Revealed Truth to be a treasure of pastoral theology. Written winsomely and comprehensively, the book presents a remarkable picture of how C. H. Spurgeon embraced the whole of pastoral ministry, and how he continues to influence yet another generation of gospel workers through his legacy. Much more than a biography or a pastor's manual, Living By Revealed Truth sets forth the details of a gospel-centered ministry in ways that give contemporary ministers motivation and direction for every stage of pastoral work. ~ Phillip Newton (Senior Pastor, South Woods Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee)

Despite his ongoing popularity, Charles Spurgeon has only recently begun to attract the serious attention he deserves. Tom Nettles' work now makes a major contribution to this growing appreciation of the man and his ministry. Mining neglected but important sources, he has given sharper definition to our picture of Spurgeon, and produced a highly stimulating and readable account. ~ Michael Reeves (President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology, Bridgend, Wales)

... one of those rare gems of Christian biography: it places in your hands the life of a great man, written by an outstanding historical theologian. The combination brings Charles Spurgeon's life and thought to life. Tom Nettles's portrait of Spurgeon is eminently personal, historically vivid and theologically rich. I recommend it to anyone interested in seeing how theology and ministry, gospel and life, can unite in a single narrative of a life lived for the glory of God. ~ Robert Caldwell (Assistant Professor of Church History, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Forth Worth, Texas)

Nettles gives the reader insights into Spurgeon's views on theology, the ministry, and church life that will pay rich dividends to any who will take the time to read this compelling story. If a minister reads only one biography of the great preacher, let it be this one! ~ Jeff Straub (Professor of Historical Theology, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, Plymouth, Minnesota)


... Nettles has given us an immense and monumental portrait of almost every aspect of the life of "the prince of preachers,"... educational, edifying, and enjoyable to read, this massive work is a masterful contribution to Baptist history and Christian biography. ~ David S. Dockery (President, Trinity International University, Deerfield, Illinois)

Nettles presents the ministerial brilliance of the "Prince of Preachers,"... readers will be encouraged and edified by this engaging account of Spurgeon's life and ministry. ~ Steven J. Lawson (President, OnePassion Ministries and Professor of Preaching,The Master’s Seminary, Sun Valley, California)

This is certainly deserving of the best book of 2013. ~ Sam Storms (Lead Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

... an "all-round" study of Spurgeon that provides us with a fully reliable, substantial examination of an extremely important figure in the life of Victorian Evangelicalism and the world of that era. ~ Michael A. G. Haykin (Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)

... takes us into the heart of Charles Spurgeon's conviction and his pastoral theology. This is a book that will encourage, educate, and bless its readers. ~ R. Albert Mohler (President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 700 pages
  • Publisher: Mentor; First Edition edition (September 20, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781911223
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781911228
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When I first received this book (Living By Revealed Truth) one of my initial thoughts was how easy of a review this would be to write. It didn't take long for that thought to change to 'How on earth do I write this review?' That question in no way reflects negatively on this book. Actually, the book is fantastic. It is a work fifteen years in the making and the amount of research and information that it contains is truly staggering. At just under 700 pages of double column text, Nettles has provided the church with a wonderful resource to peer into the life and theology of probably the best known preacher in Church history.

For anyone who may be unfamiliar with Charles Spurgeon (really?!?), Nettles provides one quote that provides a wonderful description of the type of preacher he was. Commenting on Spurgeon (who at the time had only been pastor at New Park Street for two weeks) to a college class on elocution, Sheridan Knowles said, "Go and hear him at once if you want to know how to preach. His name is Charles Spurgeon. He is only a boy, but he is the most wonderful preacher in the world. He is absolutely prefect in his oratory; and, besides that, a master in the art of acting. He has nothing to learn from me, or anyone else. He is simply perfect." Those of us who have read some of Spurgeon's sermons would simply reply, "YEP!" His passion and presence come through in his written words, one can only imagine what type of speaker he was.

This book is MASSIVE and there is no way to touch on everything that is contains, so I want to focus on just a few thoughts. The book contains 18 chapters that walk through Spurgeon's life. One of the first things to notice is how fast his ministry grew.
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Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles is a magnum opus if I ever saw one. The subtitle nicely summarizes the path that is set before readers as they study the rich biography of the Prince of Preachers and gain insight into the theological landscape that dominated his ministry for almost 40 years.

The introduction leaves no room for ambiguity. Spurgeon was a Bible man, an uncompromising pastor who loved to proclaim the truth of Scripture. One man captures the essence of the British pulpiteer, when someone inquired about the secret of Spurgeon's effectiveness after his death: "Two things; first, he had one single object before him always, 'to win souls for God by preaching Christ, and Him crucified and risen'; second, his own personal faith in Christ was always feeding on Christ as revealed in Holy Scripture."

Eighteen marvelous chapters are packed into this book of nearly 700 pages. Over the next several days, I intend to present the high points, noting the strengths of the book and any criticisms that may arise. One thing is sure: Spurgeon was a towering figure in 19th century England and he continues to wield a mighty influence on preachers in the 21st century. His influence on this preacher has been inestimable. His integrity, passion for truth, love of evangelism, and heart for people is a mighty boon for the soul. I'm looking forward to the journey!

Chapter 1: Birth to New Birth

Living By Revealed Truth Begins where any biography ought to begin - at the beginning.
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Format: Hardcover
When it comes to heroes, none is greater than the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is everything to me, without Him I am nothing, and in and through His finished work my sin is addressed, forgiven and washed in the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. With that said, one of the greatest influences in my Christian life has been Charles Spurgeon. While Spurgeon does not come anywhere near the Lord Jesus Christ and I do not bow and worship Spurgeon, I do honor and greatly respect Spurgeon. His influence on my life and thought is massive. Moreover, the influence of Charles Spurgeon is felt more than ever today as he is the most published Christian author in church history.[i] Helmut Thielicke helpfully points out the widespread impact and influence of Spurgeon's ministry noting, "The fire Spurgeon kindled turned into a beacon that shone across the seas and down through generations, was no mere brush fire of sensationalism, but an inexhaustible blaze that glowed and burned on solid hearths and was fed by the wells of the eternal Word. Here was the miracle of a brush that burned with fire and yet was not consumed."[ii]

A new biography on Spurgeon called Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Spurgeon by Dr. Tom Nettles, Professor of Historical Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky has recently hit the bookshelves. Dr. Nettles is considered by many to be one of the foremost Baptist historians in America and demonstrates in this biography an enormous amount of knowledge about Spurgeon. This book traces Spurgeon's life from birth, to conversion, to the great works God did in and through him in his ministry, to the downgrade controversy, and his conduct in his life and death.

What sets this biography apart is that it is more than just a biography.
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