Saturday, March 14, 2015

Another section of the book completed: Charles Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Last night I finished another section of the book on the Reception History of the parables. This section is on Charles Spurgeon, the Baptist minister in Victorian England who was renowned for his sermons. 

Since over 3500 of Spurgeon's sermons have been published, it was difficult to narrow it down, but after finding many of his sermons on the parables--the 1958 collection edited by Cook was helpful, as was CCEL (Christian Classics Ethereal Library)--I initially selected three of his sermons on which to focus.

I began with a sermon (#1739 in the CCEL collection) on the parable of the Two Debtors. Spurgeon preached this sermon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on September 16, 1883. I selected this sermon--and started with it--because it focuses on what is the central element of Spurgeon’s preaching: the doctrine of atonement: the redemption of sinful human beings by the grace of God.

I had two other sermons tentatively selected, but as I worked on the sermon on the Two Debtors, I realized that it would be better if I did this one sermon in depth rather than three sermons in a more cursory manner. Nevertheless, the draft section is over 4000 words, and it needs to be around (under) 2000 words. Many of the lengthy quotes will need to be summarized or trimmed, and I will need to edit the biographical section as well.

The next few weeks are even more hectic at the college, so the writing on the book will slow even more. I have three more people about whom to write in Chapter 4: Emily Dickinson, Kierkegaard, and Amos Bronson Alcott. I already have the materials/resources to research and write the section on Emily Dickinson, too many, in fact. I just counted that I have 31 books on Dickinson on my desk that I checked out from Emory libraries. That overkill is primarily because I know very little about Dickinson and her poetry, and it also means the completion of the section about her poetry in connection to the parables of Jesus will take longer to complete.

On the blog, I will continue the series on John Calvin and the parables, but I also will blog about a couple of important Reception History lectures by Chris Rowland (recently retired Dean Ireland's Professor at the University of Oxford) that will be at Oxford College of Emory University (March 24) and at All Saints Episcopal Church in Atlanta (March 26). Dr. Rowland will also meet with my Honors Seminar on the Reception History of the Parables. Dr. Rowland will be in Atlanta for ten days, and I am greatly looking forward to his visit.

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