One of the world’s most famous preachers has been recognised with an academic degree, 130 years after his death.
Charles Spurgeon never received a theological qualification during his lifetime, so the London Bible college that bears his name has awarded him an honorary degree. Spurgeon’s College presented his appropriately named Master of Theology degree to his great, great granddaughter.
The awarding of an honorary degree was made possible because Spurgeon’s College which is an evangelical Baptist theological college in South London, has become the first theological college in the UK to be granted the power to award its own degrees, in-house.
The preacher established the Metropolitan Tabernacle in South London in the mid-1800s. The Reformed Baptist church had the biggest congregation on the planet in 1861 thanks to the huge demand to hear Pastor Spurgeon’s sermons.
“Through the power of his sermons, and the message that he took within them, it became the largest church in the world, right in the centre of London, in the middle of the 19th century,” explained Dr. Thomas Breimaier, a tutor in doctrine and history at Spurgeon’s College.
“He’s somebody who had a tremendous impact as a preacher, as a publisher, and as an educator, having founded a college for pastors”, Dr. Breimaier explained to Premier Christian News, adding that the core of Charles Spurgeon’s gift was to take complex biblical passages, complex theological ideas and make them accessible to anybody.
“That’s where the real craft comes in. Spurgeon was incredibly gifted at taking these sort of deep truths and bringing them to what was a largely working class congregation in the south of London”, he asserted.
The impact of Spurgeon’s oratory is coming alive again for modern listeners as a podcast, which can be accessed online by visiting premier.plus/spurgeon. Released weekly, his sermons have been voiced by professional actor Paul Burbridge.
Dr. Breimaier noted that they are already proving popular. “What I think Spurgeon has to offer is timeless, eternal truths, which were transformative for men and women in the middle of the 19th century in London. Those same truths are working and active today. We can listen to and appreciate the legacy of one of history’s greatest preachers. You can put on the podcast and shut your eyes and picture yourself sitting in 19th century London at the Metropolitan Tabernacle and take in the preaching of a man who genuinely changed the theological landscape with the gifts that God gave him,” he said.