by Christian George
Southern Baptists ranked among Spurgeon’s chief antagonists. The Mississippi Baptist hoped “no Southern Baptist will now purchase any of that incendiary’s books.” The Baptist colporteurs of Virginia were forced to return all copies of his sermons to the publisher. The Alabama Baptist and Mississippi Baptist “gave the Londoner 4,000 miles of an awful raking” and “took the hide off him.” The Southwestern Baptist and other denominational newspapers took the “spoiled child to task and administered due castigation.”
In the midst of this mayhem, Spurgeon attempted to publish several notebooks of sermons from his earliest ministry. His promise to his readers in 1857 would not be fulfilled, however, due to difficult life circumstances in London. How poetic, then, that 157 years after The Nashville Patriot slandered Spurgeon for his “meddlesome spirit,” a publishing house from Nashville would complete the task he failed to accomplish. How symmetrical that Spurgeon’s early sermons would be published not by Passmore & Alabaster in London but by Americans. And not only Americans, but Southern Americans. And not only Southern Americans, but Southern Baptist Americans with all the baggage of their bespeckled beginnings.