Tethered to the Cross
"Tethered to the cross" is how the renowned nineteenth-century English Baptist minister Charles H. Spurgeon (1834–1892) described the task of ministry and his approach to preaching.
For nearly four decades, Spurgeon served as the pastor of the church at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London. But what specifically guided the reading of Scripture by the man known as the "Prince of Preachers"?
Tracing the development of Spurgeon's thought and his approach to biblical hermeneutics throughout his ministry, theologian and historian Thomas Breimaier argues that Spurgeon viewed the entire Bible through the lens of the cross of Christ. This method led Spurgeon to interpret texts in a consistent fashion, resulting in sermons, articles, and instruction that employed cross-centered language, which was aimed at the conversion of unbelievers.
With Breimaier as our guide, better understanding of how Spurgeon approached the task of interpreting Scripture and preaching the gospel might enable us, too, to be tethered to the cross of Christ.
"Thomas Breimaier's Tethered to the Cross: The Life and Preaching of Charles H. Spurgeon is the most important scholarly study of Spurgeon that has ever been written. It is the very best place to start for anyone who wants to study Spurgeon. . . . Whatever you think of Spurgeon—even if you dislike him—if you want to study him, this book is essential for you. If you love Spurgeon, however, you will love this book."
"Charles Haddon Spurgeon was, by common consent, the greatest preacher of Victorian England. His vivid, witty sermons—published weekly—enjoyed an enormous circulation in many parts of the world. In this book, Thomas Breimaier, a tutor in the theological college Spurgeon founded, examines the content of Spurgeon's sermons in the context of the preacher's whole career, clearly establishing that the cross was their central theme and conversion their overriding aim."
"C. H. Spurgeon was the most popular and effective preacher of the Victorian age. Thomas Breimaier's scholarly but accessible study of Spurgeon's use of the Bible shows clearly that a focus on the cross of Christ and an appeal to his hearers to turn to Christ in faith were the consistent hallmarks of his preaching and writing. Breimaier has broken new ground through this book. It will become an indispensable addition to scholarship on this eminent but too often caricatured Victorian."
"I am happy to recommend this rich, judicious study of Charles Spurgeon's preaching and theology. Every student and admirer of Spurgeon will want to read this book."
"While Spurgeon has often loomed large in certain segments of Christianity and popular piety, academic studies of his thought remain rather scant. This erudite work of historical theology will leave readers with a better understanding of Spurgeon's theology of Scripture and of his interpretive commitments, methods, and aims."
"In Tethered to the Cross, Thomas Breimaier has done a marvelous job crafting a superb academic study of Spurgeon that is very accessible to a broad readership. Readers will finish its pages and be surprised to find that they not only thoroughly know Spurgeon's biography, but that they also have been deeply informed by his theology and the nineteenth-century historical context in which he lived. Noteworthy throughout the book is the way Breimaier illuminates Spurgeon's interpretation of Scripture, showing us how the great preacher connected all of Scripture with the grand evangelical themes of conversion and the cross of Christ."
"I am delighted to commend this scholarly study of the approach of C. H. Spurgeon to his work as a minister. Spurgeon was often termed the 'Prince of Preachers,' but his preaching and its hermeneutical underpinning have not previously been analyzed with the care shown by Thomas Breimaier in Tethered to the Cross. Based on thorough research, Breimaier argues convincingly that Spurgeon in his sermons and his writings saw the cross of Christ as central. He shows that Spurgeon's passionate commitment was to biblical preaching as the communication of the gospel. The way these themes are explored here both informs and inspires."
"Just when we thought that the 'Spurgeonic canon' was closed, Tom Breimaier has produced this definitive study, which inspires as it informs."
"This is an exceptional work by a talented, gifted, Christian scholar. The life and ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon is rightly understood as a rich treasure store bequeathed to the global church. Tethered to the Cross is an absolute must-have for anyone wishing to be enriched by the timeless truths of the gospel woven throughout the life and preaching of the Prince of Preachers."
Foreword by Timothy Larsen
Introduction: The Cross in the Tabernacle
1. Echoes of Essex: Theological Education from Stambourne to Waterbeach
2. The Bible Outside the Pulpit: Spurgeon’s Early Years in Ministry
3. The Cross and Conversion in Spurgeon’s Old Testament Interpretation
4. The Cross and Conversion in Spurgeon’s New Testament Interpretation
5. The Bible Beyond the Pulpit: Spurgeon’s Later Years in Ministry
6. The Cross in the College: Biblical Engagement in Spurgeon’s Training Institutions