DBG Christian Blogs and Sermons

Welcome to the DBG website for Christian blogs and articles written by Josh Buice.

Enjoy the following resources:

  • Christian Blogs
  • Christian Resources
  • Theology Articles
  • Preaching Resources
  • Audio and Video Sermons
  • Family Worship Recommendations

Providing Christian blogs, articles, and sermons on various topics from a biblical perspective.

  • Expository Preaching
  • The Exclusivity of Christ
  • Dangers of the Health, Wealth, and Prosperity Theology
  • Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
DBG Spotlight (11-27-15)

DBG Spotlight (11-27-15)

In 2013, Joel Beeke preached on the subject “What Really Is The Gospel?”  Below you will find the full video.  You can also discover all of the archives at G3Conference.com.

Black Friday Deals:

Black Friday Kindle Deals for the Christian Reader – Tim Challies has an excellent list of deals for the Kindle.

Ligonier Black Friday – Ligonier has arranged a good selection of books worthy of your attention.

Wretched Black Friday – You can find some good bundles and deals at the Wretched store.

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Radio Free Geneva: Gail Riplinger, Kent Hovind, Peter Lumpkins Reviewed – Some of the things reviewed by James White are extremely outlandish.  This is one prime example worth your time.  

Where’s our Thanksgiving music? – Don Whitney asks a very simple, yet thought provoking question – “Where’s our Thanksgiving music?”

Legacy of Faithfulness:  Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer

Legacy of Faithfulness: Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer

Recently, my wife and I spent nine days in London and traveled out each day to various cities such as Bristol, Bedford, Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh, Scotland.  Upon our return home, I decided to write a series of posts on the lives of specific people from church history that left us with testimonies of genuine faith in the gospel, perseverance under persecution, and remained steadfast to the end.  The goal in this series of articles is to lightly explore their lives and focus on their perseverance in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A life that finished well in the gospel is a life worth remembering.  We have already looked at the life of John BunyanCharles Spurgeon, and George Muller.  Today’s focus is on the Oxford martyrs – Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer.

The Catholic Queen – Bloody Mary

Queen Mary I, the daughter of King Henry VIII, tried to correct her father’s attempt to sever England from the rule of Roman Catholicism.  Her agenda was to move England back to a firm connection to Roman Catholic authority.  This agenda would cause 288 Reformers to be burned at the stake. Of these, 1 was an archbishop, 4 were bishops, 21 were clergymen, 55 were women, and 4 were children. [1]  Therefore, Queen Mary became known as Bloody Mary.

The Blood of the Martyrs

Augustine was once quoted as saying, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”  A seedbed of martyrs often gathered in a little pub in Cambridge called The White Horse Inn to talk about the gospel and biblical theology.  It would be there that men such as Robert Barnes, Nicholas Ridley, Hugh Latimer, Miles Coverdale, Thomas Cranmer, Thomas Bilney, Robert Clark, John Frith, and John Lambert.  Some actually believe William Tyndale was one of the group who would meet to discuss the Word of God. [2]

This group would produce two archbishops, seven bishops, and nine martyrs of the faith.  Bloody Mary was vehemently opposed to anyone who would preach and teach in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church.  Converts would be rebaptized and this was an open sign that they had renounced the Catholic faith. Bloody Mary took issue with those who refused to confess that the presence of Christ was among the people in the Catholic Mass.  This was one of the primary issues that she had with Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer.  According to John Piper:

And why were they burned? Because they stood by a truth—the truth that the real presence of Jesus’ body is not in the eucharist but in heaven at the Father’s right hand. For that truth they endured the excruciating pain of being burned alive. [3]

These were truths worth dying for.  For Bloody Mary, they were worth killing for.  For the evangelical church today it would hardly seem like an issue worthy of sacrificing your life.  The present day evangelical church has lost sight of what it means to be Protestant.  Ecumenical unity and a refusal to offend others has led to blurred lines and muddy religious waters.  Does the evangelical church today have any doctrines worthy of death?

Augustine was right, these men didn’t die in vain.  The bowels of the Roman Catholic Church had been pierced in 1517 and desperation was setting in as the Word of God continued to spread far and wide.  Freedom for us today seems so easy and “free” but it cost Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer and others their lives.  We have much to be thankful for.

The Unquenchable Flame

After imprisonment in the Tower of London, Latimer, Ridley, and Cranmer were transported to Oxford to stand trial for their beliefs and doctrine.  They refused to honor the pope and his teachings.  They all refused to embrace the Catholic Mass and the doctrine of Transubstantiation.  As Latimer and Ridley were prepared to die at the stake by fire in 1555, the crowd of Catholic supporters gathered around them in streets of Oxford.  They taunted them and laughed at them.  Their close friends also gathered to support them.  Records tell of friends weeping as they bid them farewell.

As Latimer and Ridley came together at the stake, they embraced one another and then knelt to pray.  After praying they were bound to the stake and the flames were ignited. John Foxe records the words of Latimer to Ridley.  He said, “Be of good cheer, Ridley; and play the man. We shall this day, by God’s grace, light up such a candle in England, as I trust, will never be put out.”  As the flames engulfed their bodies, they died in ease according to the witnesses.  After their bodies were burned, the flame eventually burned out, or did it?

Just as Latimer promised Ridley, the flame of the gospel continues to burn in England and beyond.  The Bible has now been printed and distributed openly in the common man’s language.  Bloody Mary’s evil reign was short lived.  If you visit the city of Oxford today, you will find a large monument dedicated to the martyrs in the middle of the intersection of St Giles’, Magdalen Street and Beaumont Street, in a very well traveled popular location.  Information about the memorial is provided on a memorial board that explains the martyrs memorial.  It likewise points people to nearby Broad Street where a cross in the road marks the very spot where the martyrs were burned.  If you travel there, as my wife and I did recently, you will find the cross in Broad Street as a place where many pedestrians, bicyclists, and automobiles are passing frequently.  The flames on their bodies have long disappeared, but the flame of their legacy and their unwillingness to capitulate on the gospel of Jesus Christ remains bright.


We can learn much from these men who remained faithful to the end.  As we see a growing trend of Christian persecution that’s starting to get media attention, it would serve us well to evaluate our faith.  Is your faith the real thing or would the fires of persecution cause you to recant Jesus Christ?  May you be found faithful in the day of testing.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, let us mediate upon the blessings of the gospel and the great freedoms that many of us enjoy as we embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ without the threat of Christian persecution.  We have much to be thankful for.

Colossians 3:15-17 – And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. [16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. [17] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  1. John Charles Ryle, Light from Old Times (Moscow, Idaho: Charles Nolan Publishers, 2000, first published 1890), 36.
  2. Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace – A Long Line of Godly Men, Vol. 2 (Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2011), 452-453.
  3. John Piper, “Contend for the Faith” a sermon preached on November 25, 1984.

DBG Spotlight (11-25-15)

DBG Spotlight (11-25-15)

One of Dr. Steven Lawson’s responsibilities is teaching at The Master’s Seminary in California.  He lectures on preaching and instructs the students in faithful expository preaching.  Although recorded in 2012, this video will give you insight into the classroom of TMS and provide you with some really good material regarding expository preaching.

Banner of Truth – If you’re looking for some good Christmas specials on books, you need to visit the Banner of Truth site to view their gift sets specifically arranged and priced for Christmas.

Reformed Forum – Gregg Allison was a special guest on the show to discuss his new book and to explain the flaws of Roman Catholic theology.

Thinking in Public (Interview) – Albert Mohler’s interview of Thomas Kidd is worth your time. – “America’s Evangelical Founding Father: A Conversation about George Whitefield with Historian Thomas Kidd.”

Westminster Bookstore Special – A good special on some ebooks that ends November 27th.  Grab Michael Reeves’ book Delighting in the Trinity and more.

Legacy of Faithfulness:  George Muller

Legacy of Faithfulness: George Muller

Recently, my wife and I spent nine days in London and traveled out each day to various cities such as Bristol, Bedford, Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh, Scotland.  Upon our return home, I decided to write a series of posts on the lives of specific people from church history that left us with testimonies of genuine faith in the gospel, perseverance under persecution, and remained steadfast to the end.  The goal in this series of articles is to lightly explore their lives and focus on their perseverance in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A life that finished well in the gospel is a life worth remembering.  We have already looked at the life of John Bunyan and Charles Spurgeon.  Today’s focus is a man known as Muller.

George Muller’s Salvation and Doctrine

George Muller was born in Kroppenstaedt, a Prussian village, on September 27, 1805.  George Muller was born as a German, but also as a sinner.  He loved his sin and excelled in it.  According to his very own testimony, he was a liar and a thief. [1]  After finding himself in jail for stealing at 16 years of age, his father devised a plan for his life that would be a good occupation for his son and a good retirement plan for himself.  Muller’s father sent him to the University of Halle to study divinity and prepare for the ministry. There was no desire for God by George or his father.

In November of 1825, when Muller was 20 years old, he was invited to a Bible study and that was the turning point for this man.  He would come to discover his true happiness in God.  Later, he would discover the doctrines of grace, although he had often spoken evil of the doctrine of election.  Muller came into contact with a particular man who taught him the doctrines of grace, and it literally changed his life and subsequent ministry.

The doctrinal conviction of George Muller in God’s sovereignty changed the way he looked at the world, the way he trusted God, the way he prayed, and the way he preached.  The present day stereotype of Calvinism as a missions killing doctrine is simply not accurate.  If anyone could put that to death by demonstrating what real Calvinism looks like in the pulpit and in mission, it’s George Muller.

George Muller’s Preaching Ministry

George Muller spent his life in Bristol, England (west of London).  He gave his life primarily to one church for 66 years.  It’s estimated that he preached nearly 10,000 sermons to the flock that God entrusted to his care.  Muller had challenges that he faced, people to care for, orphans to minister to, and he did all of this while preaching every week for over six decades.  His passion was relentless.  His preaching was God centered and Christ exalting.  He didn’t manipulate people for results, yet many people came to faith under his preaching and were discipled in God’s Word.

Early in his life, he had ambitions to become a missionary.  At the age of 70, he set out to travel to different countries to preach the gospel.  He visited 42 different countries over a period of 17 years and preached to between 3 and 4 million people. [2]  Muller would often preach in the people’s known language since he knew six languages fluently (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, French, and English).

George Muller’s Legacy of Faith

George Muller had a love for God and this self denying and God glorying pursuit led him to engage in ministry to orphans.  In Bristol during his time, there was a massive problem with orphans.  When Muller recognized it, he put his hand to the plough and never looked back.  Muller prayed for God to provide the land, and God provided.  He prayed for God to provide the housing, and God provided.  He then prayed for God to provide the children, and God provided.  The first orphan entered Muller’s care on 11th of April 1836.  The first entry into their log books was Charlotte Hill. [3] Over the course of Muller’s ministry, he would care for over 10,000 orphans and through his ministry beyond his death, 17,000 orphans in total would be ministered to.   He was serving as unto the Lord rather than unto men.

During Muller’s ministry, he experienced hardships and trials.  He married Mary Groves at the age of 25, and they had four children, two of which were stillborn. His son Elijah died when he was only 1 year old. Mary preceded him in death.  If you travel to Bristol, you can see the sermon text from Mary’s funeral in the little one room museum devoted to George Muller.  As he preached her funeral, more than 800 people gathered outside in overflow and were unable to enter due to the crowd.  Muller said of his wife Mary:

Were we happy? Verily we were. With every year our happiness increased more and more. I never saw my beloved wife at any time, when I met her unexpectedly anywhere in Bristol, without being delighted so to do. I never met her even in the Orphan Houses, without my heart being delighted so to do. Day by day, as we met in our dressing room, at the Orphan Houses, to wash our hands before dinner and tea, I was delighted to meet her, and she was equally pleased to seeme. Thousands of times I told her—“My darling, I never saw you at any time, since you became my wife, without my being delighted to see you.”

Yet through the death of his children and the death of his wife, he never became sidetracked in his mission for God.  He would marry Susannah Sangar at 66 years of age.  She too would precede him in death.  Yet, Muller kept serving God.

George Muller loved orphans because he loved God and God had demonstrated love to Muller who was lost in his sin.  Muller had unshakable faith in God to provide.  He never asked people for money, but he did ask God for the people’s money.  He was constantly on his knees praying.  Two years after the first orphans entered his care, he had no money.  On the morning of August 18th, 1838 he writes in his journal, “I have not a penny in hand for the orphans.  In a day or two many pounds will be needed.  My eyes are up to the Lord.”  By that evening, he wrote in the journal, “Before this day is over, I have received from a sister 5 pounds.  She had some time since put away her trinkets to be sold for the benefit of the orphans.  This morning, whilst in prayer, it came to her mind, I have this 5 pounds, and owe no man anything, therefore it would be better to give this money at once, as it may be some time before I can dispose of the trinkets.  She therefore brought it, little knowing that there was not a penny in hand.” [4]

George Muller lived among the orphans and loved them dearly.  He invested in them by teaching them the gospel, educating them, and although he received grief because the orphans were often better educated than those who came from good homes in Bristol, the business owners eventually had to compete for the orphans who were “graduating” from the care of Muller.

One famous story about Muller’s faith is taken from a specific time when the orphans were out of food:

“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.”  Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children. [5]

Eventually George Muller’s work was finished.  He led a prayer meeting at his church on the evening of Wednesday, March 9, 1898. The next day a cup of tea was taken to him at seven in the morning but no answer came to the knock on the door. He was found dead on the floor beside his bed. [6]  The orphan-loving pastor was gone at age 92.  The city of Bristol came to a standstill.  All of the factories and shops closed.  People lined the streets to pay tribute to the orphan-loving, Christ exalting, gospel preacher known by many as – Muller.  According to Arthur Pierson, “A thousand children gathered for a service at the Orphan House No. 3. They had now for a second time lost a ‘father’.” [7]  As the streets were lined with people, the casket made its way to the cemetery followed by a train of orphan children.


Today, if you visit Bristol you will discover a tragedy.  Nobody knows George Muller.  Things changed over time and the way orphans were cared for changed politically, and so the mission of Muller and his care for the children was blessed by God.  Eventually, the orphan houses became empty and were eventually sold.  Muller saw the change coming and after his death, they continued to care for orphans and assist in providing care, but the orphan house ministry was no more.  Over time the orphans disappeared from the streets.  The orphan houses were sold.  Today, if you walk the streets of Bristol and come to Ashley Down orphan houses, you will discover that of the five houses, two are apartments, and three are owned by a college.

As my wife and I stood in the intersection and looked at the busy streets from beneath an umbrella, I asked Kari – “Why don’t we go into the visitor’s center and just ask them if they know the history of the buildings?”  She reluctantly agreed.  As we entered the busy building full of people, we approached a desk and I asked the lady, “Excuse me, you wouldn’t happen to know the history of this building would you?”  She said, “Hang on.”  She then got up and got a book with a blank cover and handed it to my wife and I and said, “There is a table over there, go take a seat and have a little read.”  As we opened this book, it was a collection of approximately 40 photocopied pictures of all of Muller’s work with the oprhans.  As my wife and I sat in the busy college campus, we wiped tears away as we considered the history and work of this man that Bristol has forgotten.




We departed from that building and made our way to the cemetery where Muller was buried.  We walked the street and arrived after dark.  After discovering a way to enter the already closed cemetery, we asked permission at the newly constructed cafe to find a grave although it was already closed.  After receiving permission, we walked up a muddy pathway in the dark to the location that we had on a small general map that was provided to us at the museum.  It took a little effort, but we found his grave by flashlight.  I must admit, I’m grateful to my wife for hanging with me on this journey.

It’s hard to believe that this man of faith is buried back in a wooded cemetery in a city that has failed to remember him.  One thing is for certain, George Muller may be forgotten by Bristol, but he is remembered by God.  George Muller persevered in the faith and we can learn much from his life that was spent for the glory of God.

  1. George Mueller, Autobiography of George Mueller, or A Million and a Half in Answer to Prayer, compiled by G. Fred Bergin (Denton, Tex.: Westminster Literature Resources, 2003), 1:10.
  2. Arthur T. Pierson, George Mueller of Bristol and His Witness to A Prayer-Hearing God (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 1999), 257. Originally published as “Authorized Memoir” (Old Tappan, N.J.: Fleming H. Revell, 1899).
  3. Roger Steer, George Muller – Delighted in God (Christian Focus Publications, Denmark, 2012), 65
  4. Ibid., 77.
  5. “George Mueller, Orphanages Built by Prayer”
  6. Pierson, George Mueller, 285.
  7. Ibid., 286.


Thankful for God’s Warning about Hell

Thankful for God’s Warning about Hell

Yesterday we gathered for our annual worship service and celebration meal to follow with our church family.  We do this every Thanksgiving season and it always proves to be a good time of fellowship.  Yesterday, my text was from Mark 9:42-50.  As it turned out, I preached about hell in our Thanksgiving service.  Rather than choosing another text to “be thankful” I focused on why we should be thankful for God’s warning about hell.

One of the most sobering warnings about the eternal wrath of God comes from the lips of Jesus in Mark 9:42-50.  However, if you examine this text closely, what you will discover may shock you.  Jesus isn’t preaching in the town square to unbelievers.  Instead, Jesus has left his public ministry behind and is now focused on the disciples (the inner circle) as he prepares them for his upcoming death and resurrection.  Therefore, as Jesus gave this sobering warning about hell, it was directed to his closest followers – the inner circle of disciples.

Warning About Our Influence Over Others

Jesus first warned about influencing his followers to sin.  Jesus made the point clear, before you lead a Christian into sin, you better consider the consequences.  Jesus said, ““Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).  The millstone was the large stone that weighed thousands of pounds that would be drawn by a mule to grind the grain. It would have a hole in the center of it and when pulled by a mule, it would grind the grain against another stone.

When Jesus issues this warning, he was pointing to this particular stone. His point is clear. If you lead one of my children astray – it would be better for you to have the most horrific death in this life than for you to lead one of his disciples astray, because what’s awaiting you will be the eternal wrath of God.

Warning About Sin’s Influence Over Us

Jesus then turns to sin’s influence over his disciples and issues a stunning warning.  Jesus speaks about a place called hell where the fire is unquenchable and where the worm does not die.  This word Gehenna is derived from the historic name of the valley Ben-hinnom south of Jerusalem. It was known as the place of fire.  It was where children were burned and sacrificed to the false god Molech. Years later, it would be the place where the city’s garbage was dumped and burned. There was a constant fire there. It was considered unclean, vile, and a place to avoid.

Jesus refers to the place of God’s eternal wrath by using this term to describe it.  Constant fire, pain, and death abides there, but never ends.  This is what the rebel of God has for his future.  Jonathan Edwards once said, “Wicked men will hereafter earnestly wish to be turned to nothing and forever cease to be that they may escape the wrath of God.”

Jesus uses great imagery to speak of the radical commitment that’s expected to be a child of God.  Every true disciple is expected to do the following:

  1.  Fight sin
  2. Persevere in the faith
  3. Preserve unity among the disciples

In order to fight sin, Jesus speaks of plucking out eyes and cutting off limbs to prevent ongoing and perpetual sin.  The person who claims to love Jesus but continues in a perpetual sin pattern proves to love a different Jesus – someone other than the Christ of God.  Those who are true disciples will wage war on sin.  To use the old language of the King James Bible, true Christians will mortify the flesh.  What seems radical to the world is in all reality a normal pattern of life for the Christian.  We must not allow sin to have a safe harbor in our minds, hearts, and homes.

Jesus made a statement about everyone being salted with fire.  This is most likely a reference to experiencing the trials of the faith, the persecution that would eventually come among them to test them.  Everyone of these disciples would pass their test, except one.  When Judas was tested, his faith was found to be insufficient.  Judas’ faith was false.

Jesus goes on to address their spirit of competition among themselves.  They had been arguing about who was going to be the greatest in God’s Kingdom.  Jesus addressed that issue and then came full circle at the end of this paragraph to point out the need to be at peace with one another.  John MacArthur is right when he says, “Failing to seek and preserve spiritual unity weakens Christ’s church. Even more significantly, such failure to pursue unity is a sin.”

Is your faith true or could it be that your faith is like that of Judas?

Why would Jesus warn his disciples of eternal hell and urge them to persevere in the faith?  The answer is clear, one of them was a false believer.  He also knew that we would read this passage and he wants us to examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith.

Be thankful for the sobering warnings of hell.

DBG Spotlight (11-20-15)

DBG Spotlight (11-20-15)

On October 1, 2015, Media Gratiae transitioned into an independent multimedia ministry directed by Matthew Robinson.  View their website to see their work and two specific projects – Behold Your God and Logic on Fire.  Below you can see the trailer for Logic on Fire.

The Briefing (11-20-15) – Jewish prayer at shared holy site sparks controversy, exposing significance of theology.  This and more on today’s The Briefing.

The New Calvinism Considered: A Personal and Pastoral Assessment – Recently I had the privilege to spend some time with Jeremy Walker in London.  I’d like to commend his book to you.  Although written back in 2013, it’s right on the mark regarding the movement that we know as New Calvinism.

The Bodleian Library – This historic library in Oxford, England was the first library and remains the most famous and perhaps the most useful library in Oxford.  The library takes its name from Sir Thomas Bodley who refurbished Duke Humfrey’s library and set it on a course for greatness.  Due to limited space on new volumes, it has a storage facility 30 miles away from the Oxford campus where 8.4 million volumes are stored on 153 miles of shelving units.  You might recognize this historic library from the Harry Potter films.

Ligonier $5 Friday – Providence, salvation, apologetics, the Holy Spirit, regeneration, baptism, and more. Ends 11:59pm ET.

Legacy of Faithfulness:  Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Legacy of Faithfulness: Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Recently, my wife and I spent nine days in London and traveled out each day to various cities such as Bristol, Bedford, Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh, Scotland.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be writing a series of articles on specific people from church history that left us with testimonies of genuine faith in the gospel, perseverance under persecution, and remained steadfast to the end.  The goal in this series of articles is to lightly explore their lives and focus on their perseverance in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A life that finished well in the gospel is a life worth remembering.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon the Lost Sinner

A young fifteen year old Spurgeon was walking to church in the town of Colchester when a snowstorm redirected him into a small Primitive Methodist church.  The regular minister was not present for the services due to the storm, and an unlearned man took his place that particular Sunday morning and preached a simple sermon from Isaiah 45:22.  There was a small crowd of a dozen people gathered in the sanctuary.  That day would alter Spurgeon’s life not only for his earthly life, but also for all of eternity.  The young sinner was converted that day as the man preached and urged him saying, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ.  Look!  Look!  Look!  You have nothing to do but to look and live.” [1]

Charles Haddon Spurgeon the Prince of Preachers

Within one year as Spurgeon was growing in grace, he was eager to preach the gospel.  He preached his first sermon and everyone knew that God had gifted this young man with the unique ability to proclaim God’s gospel.  As he continued to preach the Word, his gift was recognized by many people.  He soon received an invitation to preach at the New Park Street Chapel in 1853, which was the largest Particular Baptist Church in all of London.

This historic church had been pastored by men such as Benjamin Keach, John Gill, and John Rippon, but by 1853, the church was in serious decline.  After preaching for a few months, at the age of 19, Spurgeon was called to be the pastor of this historic church.   By the end of his first year of ministry, the church went from dealing with problems of decline to navigating the problems of tremendous growth.  The chapel had to be enlarged to accommodate the growing crowds.  Soon, the people in attendance would be standing in the aisles, sitting in the windowsills, and there would be many others in the streets waiting and hoping to enter.

This growth soon caused the church to move into Exeter Hall which was a large public building with seating capacity of four thousand with a standing room capacity of five thousand.  It did not take long for every seat to fill to capacity.  People were being turned away, so they had to build a large building for the church to accommodate the unusual growth.  They built the Metropolitan Tabernacle which became the largest Protestant worship center in all of the world at this time.  The young pastor was simply phenom.  London and beyond had never seen anything like him.  Soon this young pastor was preaching to thousands every week and his sermons were being printed and distributed on the streets of London and all around the world.

The sermons of Spurgeon would be recorded on the front row and later put into print after an editing process that Spurgeon managed.  The collected sermons fill 63 volumes which is equal to the 27 volume ninth edition of Encyclopedia Britannica, and is the largest set of books produced by any author in the history of Christianity.  His sermons sold approximately 25,000 copies per week and were translated into 20 languages.  One man ordered one million copies of one sermon of Spurgeon and then had it distributed to the entire continent.

Charles Spurgeon’s ministry was not fluff.  His preaching was gospel centered and his heart was hot for God.  He was ambitious, but not selfish.  He desired to live a life that counted for God.  Some of the accomplishments of Spurgeon’s ministry include:

  • He preached 600+ times before he was 20 years old.
  • His sermons sold approximately 25,000 copies per week and were translated into 20 languages.
  • He read 6 books each week in order to prepare for his sermons and to sharpen his mind.
  • He read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times.
  • He saw over 14,400 people added to his church during his ministry.
  • He founded a pastors’ college.
  • He trained approximately 900 men for the ministry.
  • He founded an orphanage.
  • He produced more than 140 books.
  • He edited a magazine.
  • He responded to 500+ letters each week.
  • He often preached 10+ times each week (combined through guest appearances and through his own church).
  • He labored to spare the Baptist name from the liberals of his day.  (See the Down-Grade Controversy for more information.)
  • He had two sons who became pastors.  When asked by his son to ordain him to the ministry, Spurgeon instructed him to read Matthew Henry’s commentaries in full two times before he would honor his request.

It’s quite an impressive list of accomplishments for any preacher, but to consider that he died at the age of 57, it becomes even more impressive.  Spurgeon’s son, Charles Jr., was not exaggerating when he once said of his father:

There was no one who could preach like my father. In inexhaustible variety, witty wisdom, vigorous proclamation, loving entreaty, and lucid teaching, with a multitude of other qualities, he must, at least in my opinion, ever be regarded as the prince of preachers. [2]

Charles Haddon Spurgeon the Calvinist

Charles Spurgeon was an unashamed Calvinist.  Spurgeon once stated, “John Knox’s gospel is my gospel.”  He embraced the doctrines of grace and upheld a robust view of God’s sovereignty in salvation.  Spurgeon once said:

Puritanism, Protestantism, Calvinism [he said, are simply] . . . poor names which the world has given to our great and glorious faith,—the doctrine of Paul the apostle, the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. [3]

He was a faithful pastor, one who labored in the Word, and one who was not disconnected from evangelism.  In one sermon titled, “Now” preached December 4th, 1864, he repeated the word, “now” 173 times in the sermon as he urged people to cling to Christ as their eternal hope.  In that sermon, he said:

As a sinner, I also address thee concerning this “now.” “Now is the day of salvation: thou needest it now. God is angry with thee now. Thou art condemned already. It is not the torment of hell thou hast to dread only, but if thou hast thy senses, thou wouldst tremble at thy present state. Now without God, now without hope, now an alien from the commonwealth of Israel, now dead in trespasses and sins, now in danger of the wrath to come, thou wantest a Savior this morning, young man. [4]

In his day, he labored to make a clear distinction between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism.  If you look at Spurgeon’s ministry, examine his theology, and look at his evangelistic zeal, you will see the clear distinction put on outward display.  On the first week in the newly built Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1861, Spurgeon desired for the ministry of the church to be set upon the doctrines of grace.  He said:

I would propose that the subject of the ministry in this house, as long as this platform shall stand and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist; I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist; but if I am asked what is my creed, I reply, “It is Jesus Christ.” [5]

Charles Haddon Spurgeon Persevering Under Pressure

With all of the accomplishments and successes came also the pressure, criticism, attacks, and a massive amount of pressure.  Spurgeon entered into a theological fight in 1887.  The fight became known as The Downgrade.  Many people believe that this fight cost him his life.  That’s why he died at 57.  However, as Spurgeon would tell you to this very day if you could ask him, the fight was worth it.  He refused to allow his congregation to float down the stream of liberalism in the Baptist associations of his day.  He labored to correct it, and when he was unable to do so, he withdrew from the Baptist Union.

The pulpits of England were in steady decline.  Spurgeon strongly warned against the undermining of Scriptural authority which opened the door to a lengthy list of compromises.  For Spurgeon, it was too much.  He couldn’t bear it any longer and he refused to compromise.  He resigned from the Baptist Union in October of 1887.  Spurgeon said,

It is my highest ambition to be clear of the blood of all men.  I have preached God’s truth, so far as I know it, and I have not been ashamed of its peculiarities.  That I might not stultify my testimony I have cut myself clear of those who err from the faith, and even from those who associate with them. [6]

You can read his letters and exchanges between he and other ministers during this time of theological conflict.  Spurgeon was unwilling to compromise the truth for the sake of association.  He consistently called these men to repent.  Spurgeon was not afraid of their pursuit of him and was unwilling to back down.  Spurgeon was not willing to avoid conflict in order to assure the end of his life and ministry was well spoken of and provided ministerial ease.  Instead, he put on the full armor of God and remained faithful when it seemed that many around him were willing to compromise.

One of the clear doctrines of Scripture and one that Spurgeon himself loved is the perseverance of the saints.  No matter how difficult the obstacles became, Spurgeon was unwilling to throw in the white towel on God.  Too many people quit on God and prove to be false Christians.  True children always persevere to the end.  Spurgeon’s life was poured out for God.  He loved his church.  He loved his God.  He loved the gospel.  He loved his Savior.  He never forgot that he needed saving.  He finished his life well.  It should be our desire to life life well, and die without regrets.  That seemed to be the method of life and ministry for Charles Spurgeon.  What about you?

When Spurgeon died, there were five funerals.  Thousands crowded the streets and followed the funeral procession to the burial site.  Spurgeon’s work on this earth was now finished.  His life had a unique aroma of consistency and faithfulness to God.  Spurgeon’s preaching was robust and expressed a full-bodied gospel.  Even those who didn’t agree with Spurgeon could recognize this, and they paid respect to him as they flooded the streets of London and southward to the burial site at West Norwood.  Spurgeon’s preaching is over, but his singing has just begun.

When I visited his grave in the West Norwood Cemetery recently, etched into the side of his rather large monument are these words:

This monument was erected in loving memory of
C.H. Spurgeon,
who was born in Kelvedon Essex, June 19th 1834
and fell asleep in Jesus at Mentone, France January 31st 1892.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing thy power to save.
When this poor lisping stammering tongue,
Lies silent in the grave.


  1.  Charles H. Spurgeon, Susannah Spurgeon, and W.J. Harrald, C.H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Vol. I:1834-1854 (London:  Passmore and Alabaster, 1899), 233.
  2. C. H. Spurgeon: Autobiography, vol. 2, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1973), 278.
  3. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, An All Round Ministry, (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1960), 160.
  4. “Now” – A Sermon (No. 603), Delivered on Sunday Morning, December 4th, 1864 by C. H. SPURGEON, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
  5. Bob L. Ross, A Pictorial Biography of C. H. Spurgeon, (Pasadena, TX: Pilgrim Publications, 1974), 66.
  6. Tom Nettles, Living By Revealed Truth, (Scotland, Christian Focus Publications, 2013), 541.

DBG Spotlight (11-18-15)

DBG Spotlight (11-18-15)

In the 2015 G3 Conference, Paul Washer preached from Ezekiel on the subject – The Impossible-Possible Task of the Great Commission.  The full video of the sermon is provided below for your spiritual edification.  

9 Things You Should Know About the Islamic State – Joe Carter provides nine truths that everyone should be familiar with about the Islamic State and what we call – Jihadism.

John Piper: 20 Principles for How Christians Should Relate to Muslims (And Those of Other Religions) – Justin Taylor provides a list taken from a paper written by John Piper containing ways to relate to people who have a different worldview.  The purpose is for Christians to live in a population of people who are vastly different while giving testimony to the supremacy of Christ.

What Cannot Remain – Douglas Wilson writes, “The thing that struck me was that Judas was right in the middle of this mix. Judas was casting out devils — the one who would be possessed by the Devil himself. Judas was a healer. He was a preacher.”

The Preacher and his Technology – David Murray explores the blessings and curses regarding technology for the minister of the gospel.

Legacy of Faithfulness:  John Bunyan

Legacy of Faithfulness: John Bunyan

Recently, my wife and I spent nine days in London and traveled out each day to various cities such as Bristol, Bedford, Cambridge, Oxford, and Edinburgh, Scotland.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be writing a series of articles on specific people from church history that left us with testimonies of genuine faith in the gospel, perseverance under persecution, and remained steadfast to the end.  The goal in this series of articles is to lightly explore their lives and focus on their perseverance in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  A life that finished well in the gospel is a life worth remembering.

John Bunyan the Depraved Tinker

The first person in this series is a man who really needs no introduction.  His name is John Bunyan.  He was born in 1628 in Elstow England, approximately 1 mile south of Bedford which sits approximately 50 miles northwest of London.  Bunyan describes his life in his spiritual autobiography titled, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners by saying, “I had few equals, especially considering my years, which were tender, for cursing, swearing, lying, and blaspheming the holy name of God.”  In short, Bunyan was an overachiever when it came to depravity.

He learned the trade of metal working (aka – tinker) and spent his time working on ploughs and other pieces of equipment.  After he married, within approximately 4 or 5 years, John Bunyan was drawn to God and converted.  God used some books that his wife had to prick his heart with the gospel.  He would be baptized in the River Great Ouse that runs through the town of Bedford in approximately 1650.  Following his salvation, he had a desire to preach the gospel.  His life would never be the same.

John Bunyan the Powerful Preacher

After being asked to speak at church, the people soon learned that a mighty preacher had been born.  The word spread that God had called an unlearned tinker to preach, and crowds grew to hear him proclaim the gospel. Records tell us that if any notice was given, a crowd of 1,200 people would gather to hear John Bunyan preach at 7:00am on a weekday before work.  Intellectuals and non-intellectuals were drawn to the preaching of Bunyan.  King Charles once asked the great intellect John Owen why he would travel to hear a tinker preach, and he responded by saying, “I would willingly exchange my learning for the tinker’s power of touching men’s hearts.”

John Bunyan the Man of Faith

We remember John Bunyan because of his faith and perseverance.  If you travel to Bedford, England you will find a large statue near the city center that commemorates Bunyan.  Around the statue are scenes from his most famous book The Pilgrim’s Progress.  Bunyan was a husband, father, pastor, and author, but most importantly, he was a man who persevered in the faith.

After he and his first wife had four children together, she died.  Bunyan remarried and after his wife was pregnant, in the year 1660, approximately 10 years after his conversion, he was placed in the jail just a few hundred yards from where he was baptized.  He was seen as someone who refused to conform to the Church of England and therefore, he was placed in jail as a rogue preacher and silenced, or was he?

While in jail for 12 years, he would receive frequent visits from his family, but despite the passionate requests of his wife to have him released, she was denied.  Through death of his first wife, death of children, and state sponsored persecution, Bunyan remained steadfast and immovable in the faith.  While in jail, he penned The Pilgrim’s Progress which happens to be one of the most printed books in world history.

John Bunyan was real.  Charles Spurgeon once said, “Prick him anywhere; and you will find that his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his soul is full of the Word of God.”  Perhaps this is why The Pilgrim’s Progress became Spurgeon’s favorite book other than the Bible.

As we consider his imprisonment, it was time away from his family and church that he loved, but it was not time wasted.  Bunyan was not sitting in jail crying out “poor me.”  He spent time in prayer, in the Word, and he wrote books to encourage his persecuted congregation.  George Whitefield said that Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress “smells of the prison.”  The essence of Bunyan’s life is perseverance in the faith.

Today, if you visit Bedford, you will find on the sidewalk a small plaque that marks the spot where the old jail once stood.  This was where Bunyan was imprisoned and where he labored in prayer and writing to encourage his fellow Christians.  How many more than his small congregation has been encouraged through his books?  As I spoke with my children about John Bunyan over the supper table last night, I wanted them to know that he finished well.  He sacrificed much and persevered in the faith.  I want my children to know who Bunyan was and to follow in the footsteps of men like him for the glory of God.  Bunyan’s life is worth remembering because his life was spent for God.

At one point, as Bunyan’s wife Elizabeth stood before the authorities and pleaded for his release, one man accused him of preaching the doctrines of the devil.  Elizabeth responded by saying, “My lord, when the righteous Judge shall appear, it will be known that his doctrine is not the doctrine of the devil!”  When the righteous Judge shall appear, will you be found persevering in the faith?

In August of 1688, Bunyan traveled 50 miles to London to preach the gospel and apparently to settle a dispute between a father and his son.  On August 19th in London at Whitechapel, he gave his final sermon from John 1:13. His last words from the pulpit are recorded as, “Live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face with comfort another day.”  While traveling back to Bedford on horseback in the rain, he fell sick with a fever and on August 31st 1688 he died.  Bunyan was found faithful.  Will the historic record of your life point to a life of faithfulness to God?


The Faith of Noah

The Faith of Noah

Last night I preached on the faith of Noah from Hebrews 11:7.  Currently, we’re going through Hebrews 11 in a character study on those specific individuals highlighted in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews.  It has been my observation that we often know more about the boat than we do about Noah.  In some cases, we put more emphasis upon Noah and his boat than we do God – the author of Noah’s faith.

Noah’s Faith in God’s Word

According to the record of Hebrews 11:7, God spoke to Noah and Noah responded to God.  Why did Noah respond in obedience?  The fact is, Noah believed God.  When Noah heard God’s Word, he immediately responded in obedience.  He didn’t need additional proof texts.  Noah immediately responded to God, by faith.

If we look back to the Genesis account, we find the following information.  Genesis 6:5-8:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. [6] And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. [7] So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” [8] But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

We must be careful not to read the text from the wrong perspective.  Noah didn’t find favor out of all of the wicked people on planet earth based on foreseen goodness or potential.  Noah’s heart was wicked too.  The reason that Noah became a righteous man who loved God and believed God’s Word was because God chose Noah and performed a work of grace in his heart.  Without this work of grace (Eph. 2:8-9), Noah would have hated God and laughed at God’s Word too.

Noah’s Faith in Action

According to James 2:17, “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”  Noah’s faith was the real thing.  Some would say that Noah’s faith was radical faith, but in reality, Noah’s faith was real faith.  The reason we often refer to people like Noah as being radical in their faith is because the faith around us is often false. All genuine faith produces action.

Noah acted on God’s Word and obeyed Him.  Keep in mind, Noah had likely never seen a rain drop, an ocean, or a large sea vessel.  God had promised to judge the entire world by causing a massive flood and therefore, Noah was to build a massive boat.  To tell Simon Peter to build a boat would not have been out of the ordinary.  To tell Noah to build a boat was certainly abnormal.  Yet, Noah started cutting down gopher trees.

The boat that Noah built was not a small thing.  Noah’s faith was put out in the open for people to view.  Noah was not a “closet Christian.”  Everyone could see this big massive boat as it was in the construction phase.  When completed, it was extremely large.  By conservative estimates, the boat would have taken on the following dimensions:

  • 438 ft. long
  • 73 ft. wide
  • 44 ft. high
  • Four stories high
  • The length of 1.5 football fields
  • 96,000 square feet of space

Noah preached and warned of God’s coming judgment (2 Peter 2:4-5), and yet at the end of nearly a century of labor, only seven people entered the boat with him.  From our way of thinking, Noah wouldn’t have won any awards at the annual association meeting, but Noah and ministry of the Word was faithful.  Noah obeyed God, finished his work, and persevered in the faith to the end.

We can learn much from Noah.  However, we must avoid placing more emphasis upon Noah’s boat or Noah’s walk of faith than we do on God who is the source of Noah’s faith.  If we have received the same faith as Noah, why should our obedience to God look weak, frail, and false?  We are not all called to build big boats, but we are called to be faithful to God.  Will you be found faithful?


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Featured: Dr. Steven Lawson, from the 2014 G3 Conference