Spurgeon clearly found Parker intriguing, and he had an irresistible attraction to Parker’s native genius.  Always original, Parker could not but entertain, even if one must always be on guard against being led astray.  Spurgeon had to fence each compliment with a caveat, but was far from dismissing Parker as unworthy of attention.  His sermons on Genesis were “bright and original, and altogether Parkerine.”  He was startling as well as edifying and practical, even if many passages needed to be “interpreted into the commoner forms of thought.”  His comments would not quite be to the mind of the readers of Gill and Henry but, to Lange and other moderns, he was second to none.  Parker did things his own way and filled up the thoughtful reader with an abundance of stimulating manners of expression and, “whether you endorse it or not, you are struck with the singular ability and special originality of the preacher.”

Certainly, Spurgeon’s ambivalence toward Parker through the years could have soured Parker’s disposition.  Parker returned the ambivalence, however, and fluctuated between the polarities of great admiration and condescending snobbishness.  It seems that resentment was gradually building and would press itself out during Spurgeon’s most vulnerable time.

From: Living By Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon by Tom Nettles (Fearn: Mentor, 2013), p. 487.

Joseph Parker (1830-1902) was an English Congregationalist preacher.


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