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Keith A. FrancisFollow

Presentation #1 Title

"And the beat goes on": Charles Spurgeon, Sermon Book Series, and the Enduring Impact of the Sermon

Presentation #1 Abstract

The ending of the publication of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit book series in 1916 seem to signal a turning point in the history of preaching and the sermon at the time. Though the reason for ceasing publication was not directly related to preaching – the shortage of paper during the Great War – book series of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons had been published regularly since the 1850s. Even though Spurgeon himself had died in 1892, the annual publication of his sermons preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in South London had continued as well as the publication of groups of Spurgeon’s sermons (such as The People’s Christ and other sermons in 1903 and The Old Gospel and the New Theology. Twelve Sermons in 1908). In other words, the publication of Spurgeon’s sermons had survived not only wars and economic recessions, but the death of the preacher himself.

And then there was 1916 and the abrupt cessation of the publication of Spurgeon’s sermons. The inflexion point seemed important for this reason: there was something could stop the output of Spurgeon’s homilies – war on a grand scale. Something was more important than preaching and sermons. Perhaps the result might be that preaching and the sermon might go the way of other certainties of British life such as the role of women in society: changed and never the same as before.

But in 1937, Marshall, Morgan & Scott published a series of books under the general title “Spurgeon’s ‘Twelve Sermons Series’” Each of the seven volumes had twelve sermons on topics such as holiness and the Holy Spirit. In 1953 ??? published another set of books in the Twelve Sermons series. In 1974, Baker Book House published another set of books in the series and then did the same in 1994 and 1995. Despite the advent of radio, TV, records, cassettes, and CDs as means to disseminate sermons, books of Spurgeon’s sermons appeared throughout the twentieth century. Whatever the import of 1916, it did not signal the cessation of publications from Spurgeon’s homiletic output. The sermon published in book form, just like the sermon and preaching was an enduring feature of religious life in Britain and beyond in the twentieth century.

At-A-Glance Bios- Presenter #1

Keith A. Francis is an independent scholar who holds a visiting fellowship at Oxford Brookes University. He edited, with William Gibson, the Oxford Handbook of the British Sermon, 1689-1901 (OUP 2012). Apart from his work on the sermon and preaching, his research interests include religion and evolutionary science in the nineteenth century and British Anglicanism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. He is presently working on a biography of Samuel Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce and Anglican bishop of the dioceses of Oxford and Winchester.

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"And the beat goes on": Charles Spurgeon, Sermon Book Series, and the Enduring Impact of the Sermon

The ending of the publication of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit book series in 1916 seem to signal a turning point in the history of preaching and the sermon at the time. Though the reason for ceasing publication was not directly related to preaching – the shortage of paper during the Great War – book series of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons had been published regularly since the 1850s. Even though Spurgeon himself had died in 1892, the annual publication of his sermons preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in South London had continued as well as the publication of groups of Spurgeon’s sermons (such as The People’s Christ and other sermons in 1903 and The Old Gospel and the New Theology. Twelve Sermons in 1908). In other words, the publication of Spurgeon’s sermons had survived not only wars and economic recessions, but the death of the preacher himself.

And then there was 1916 and the abrupt cessation of the publication of Spurgeon’s sermons. The inflexion point seemed important for this reason: there was something could stop the output of Spurgeon’s homilies – war on a grand scale. Something was more important than preaching and sermons. Perhaps the result might be that preaching and the sermon might go the way of other certainties of British life such as the role of women in society: changed and never the same as before.

But in 1937, Marshall, Morgan & Scott published a series of books under the general title “Spurgeon’s ‘Twelve Sermons Series’” Each of the seven volumes had twelve sermons on topics such as holiness and the Holy Spirit. In 1953 ??? published another set of books in the Twelve Sermons series. In 1974, Baker Book House published another set of books in the series and then did the same in 1994 and 1995. Despite the advent of radio, TV, records, cassettes, and CDs as means to disseminate sermons, books of Spurgeon’s sermons appeared throughout the twentieth century. Whatever the import of 1916, it did not signal the cessation of publications from Spurgeon’s homiletic output. The sermon published in book form, just like the sermon and preaching was an enduring feature of religious life in Britain and beyond in the twentieth century.