Take a look at the differences between the preaching of C.H. Spurgeon and the majority of the preaching of today; consider the cultural and social differences between then and now. Obviously there are differences in the way people think and the things that people relate to; these are major considerations when communicating to a group of people. However, we must not be deluded into thinking that truth must change with the times. Truth is a constant, especially when speaking of the truth of God and His Word, yet applications and illustrations and to a certain degree methods of presentation will vary from culture to culture.
There are many different styles of preaching today, as was probably the case in Spurgeon’s day. Some were pulpit-pounders, some were screamers, and some just let the truth do the screaming. One of the major differences between the preaching of Spurgeon’s day and now is the enormous amount of truth in Spurgeon’s sermons. Each word and phrase had a purpose and was placed in the message like a jewel set in a crown. Many of our so called sermons today are full of audible ramblings – almost a stream-of-consciousness approach to preaching. Preachers get up and give a constant flow of their ideas, opinions and questions about a verse, instead of filling the message with meaningful truths that can be gleaned.
Truly lack of truth is an important difference, but another one of the major differences is the lack of theology. One of Spurgeon’s sermons was many times filled with more theology than a week’s worth of today’s average revival services combined. He was not afraid to fill each nook and cranny of his sermons with what we would call “deep” theological truths. Too many preachers today would pass off the idea of covering “deep” theological matters as simply nonsense and of no use to the “average” believer. This prevailing mindset of lazy preachers has created a generation of anemic Christians.
There are many negative changes from the preaching of Spurgeon to that of today, but we must not neglect the positive. The strong points of today’s preaching that stems from Spurgeon are the vivid illustrations and word pictures that are painted. Today’s preachers are proficient at making the difficult truths of God’s Word easy to understand, and skilled at bringing theological truths to a definite application.
Much has changed in the area of preaching, and yet much has stayed the same. People, at their core, are the same as they always have been, and despite a busy changing society, we can still learn from great men of God. Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, has left us a sterling example to follow in the presentation of God’s Word.