Salvation by Soundcheck
There was a particular instance in young Spurgeon’s life where God used him as an instrument of salvation, though he was not cognizant of the fact. Spurgeon was invited to preach at the Crystal Palace, a facility that seated 24,000+ attendees. The day before the service, Spurgeon decided to inspect the acoustics of the facilities. He walked around the stage looking for the auditory sweet spot for the placement of the pulpit. His test consisted of belting out in one loud forceful sentence, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (Jn 1:29). Out of all the amazing stories on the ‘Prince of Preachers’, why do I relay this story above others? Because what makes this story amazing is God’s pursuit of sinners. “Years later [Spurgeon] learned that a workman in one of the galleries, heard the words, could not escape the power of such an admonition, and was converted.”
I love this story because it succinctly showcases the beauty of God’s salvific activity around us. Unbeknownst to Spurgeon, God used his soundcheck to procure salvation. From the very beginning, God has sought out sinner. After his direct disobedience of God’s law, Adam should have openly cried out to God in repentance. Instead, he cowered, covered, and condemned. God came searching for him, walking in the cool of the day, calling on him to come out. For this is proleptic of God’s sovereign pursuit of all lost sheep: “God comes to man; man seeks not his God.” In the same way that God called Lazarus to come forth, he first called Adam from his death to offer him the promise of life in abundance. Thanks be to God for his faithful pursuit of those who reside in the valley of the shadow of death.
Tom Nettles, Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Scotland: Mentor, 2013), 98. Story cited in Charles Spurgeon, Autobiography, revised edition (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1973), 1:534. ↩
––––, The King’s Highway (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 1989), 11, 12. ↩