In his introductory essay to this selection from the writing and preaching of C.H. Spurgeon, Helmut Thielicke – himself among the best preachers of the twentieth century – expresses his surprise and delight at his discovery of the great Victorian preacher. He draws out those qualities which made Spurgeon one of the most influential ministers of his day, and explains what it was that attracted him to the self-educated Baptist preacher. They share a recognition of the urgency of their message: “We stand in need of the simple way in which Spurgeon dares to say that what really and ultimately counts is to save sinners.”
Warmth, immediacy and directness are the hallmarks of Spurgeon; qualities which Thielicke’s own remarkable sermons share but which he felt much preaching of his day lacked. It is still a convincing testament to Spurgeon’s continuing vitality and relevance that Thielicke, one of the greatest modern preachers, should say, “Sell all that you have … and buy Spurgeon.”
Originally translated by the American Lutheran theologian John W. Doberstein, this reprinted edition of Encounter with Spurgeon was published to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Helmut Thielicke’s death.
About the Author
Helmut Thielicke was one of the most outstanding preachers and theologians of the German Lutheran Church. Dismissed by the Nazi regime from his post of Professor of Theology at Heidelberg in 1940, he came to prominence in Stuttgart where, during the worst of the bombing raids and in spite of continuing Nazi opposition, he continued to preach to a congregation of several thousand each week.
After the war, he joined the faculty of the University of Tübingen as a Professor of Systematic Theology, later becoming Rector at the University of Hamburg, the first Protestant theologian to hold this position. During this time, he also became a world traveller, lecturing and preaching in the United States, South Africa, Australia and Latin America. He died in Hamburg in 1986.
Encounter with Spurgeon
by Helmut Thielicke
Selections from “Lectures to My Students” and Two Sermons
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
1. On Conversion as Our Aim
2. The Holy Spirit in Connection with Our Ministry
3. Earnestness: Its Marring and Maintenance
4. The Necessity of Ministerial Progress
5. The Need of Decision for the Truth
6. On Spiritualizing
7. The Preacher’s Private Prayer
8. Our Public Prayer
9. On the Voice
10. Posture, Action, Gesture, Etc.
11. Open-Air Preaching
12. The Faculty of Impromptu Speech
13. Sermons: Their Matter
14. To Workers with Slender Apparatus
15. The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear
16. The Minister’s Fainting Fits
17. The Minister’s Ordinary Conversation
Mark of Faith (Sermon)
The Chaff Driven Away (Sermon)
Endorsements and Reviews
A reading of these lectures will humble the most accomplished preacher.
I am inclined to think that Encounter with Spurgeon … is one of the most significant books of the century.
Life of Faith