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Geoff Chang Releases Collection of Spurgeon’s Unpublished Poems in Christ Our All: Poems for the Christian Pilgrim with B&H

Posted May 15, 2024 by Michaela Classen

KANSAS CITY, Mo—Midwestern Seminary celebrated the May 15 release of Christ Our All: Poems for the Christian Pilgrim (B&H Academic). Containing hundreds of Charles Spurgeon’s original poems, many of them previously unpublished, the volume was compiled by Geoffrey Chang, curator of the Spurgeon Library and assistant professor of Church history and historical theology at Midwestern Seminary.

“I am grateful for the release of Dr. Chang’s new edited book Christ Our All,” said President Jason Allen. “It is an incredible privilege for Midwestern Seminary to steward the Spurgeon Library and the Heritage Collection. This new book featuring Spurgeon’s poems, many of which were unpublished, is a great reminder of that stewardship. I am grateful for Dr. Chang and his tireless work, and I am grateful that Spurgeon admirers everywhere will benefit from reading the Prince of Preacher’s poetry.”

Known for his ministry to thousands as a preacher and pastor in Victorian England, Charles Spurgeon wrote hundreds of poems delighting in Christ. One of his poems, “Christ Our All,” provided the book’s title.

Chang said, “In this poem, Spurgeon prays for God to illumine the Word so that he might see Christ’s ‘shining face.’ I felt this was a fitting title for the entire volume, as Spurgeon’s love for and dependence on Christ is the thread that weaves all the poems together.”

“All the poems portray the Christian as a pilgrim on his way to the Celestial City. These poems, then, are reminders that we are not alone on this journey, but Christ is with us every step of the way.”

Chang went on to share the importance of making Spurgeon’s unpublished poems available today, noting the rich spiritual encouragement available therein. “Spurgeon is known worldwide as one of the greatest preachers of Church history. But very little is known about his poetry. What makes this compilation unique is that it includes not only his hymns and poems but also a collection of unpublished poems.”

These unpublished poems, numbering 186, were handwritten in a notebook which is currently housed in the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Seminary. Chang described them, saying, “These are private, devotional poems written as prayers, theological reflections, and expressions of sorrows and joys. They not only give us insight into the poetic heart of Spurgeon, but they are also deeply encouraging for the Christian life.”

The first part of Chang’s book comprises these poems, including the themes of prayer, heaven, salvation, and God’s faithfulness. The second part comprises 43 additional poems by Spurgeon, all of them previously published, many in his lifetime.

In his introduction to the book, Chang describes Spurgeon’s love for poetry and his poetic influences, such as William Cowper and John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress. Chang also highlights how Spurgeon applied his love of poetry to pastoring by arranging a hymnal for his church.

Following Spurgeon, Chang shared his desire that Christ Our All would serve the Church by inspiring worship, saying, “My hope is that this will be an edifying devotional resource for Christians today; that we would be encouraged to pray, confess our sins, look to Christ, and hope in heaven; that we would be challenged to meditate more deeply on God’s Word, even as Spurgeon models that for us; and that we would have our affections for God stirred by these theological reflections.”

Chang highlighted how Spurgeon’s focus on heaven serves modern readers by reminding them of their eternal hope in Christ in everyday life. He said, “Spurgeon’s consistent meditation on heaven is a helpful challenge. How often do we meditate on that hope, talk with others about that hope, or look forward to that hope? In writing these poems, Spurgeon encouraged himself amid all kinds of hardships that his future hope was secure.”

Chang expressed his gratitude for the trustees of Midwestern Seminary and their investment in Spurgeon scholarship through the Spurgeon Library. He also expressed thankfulness for the seminary students and Spurgeon scholars who assisted and encouraged his research.

One of these scholars, Matt Boswell, hymn writer and pastor of The Trails Church in Celina, Texas, wrote the book’s foreword, saying, “With this collection of poems and hymns, Dr. Geoff Chang has retrieved an entire trove of poems ablaze with truth and teeming with bright affection for God.”

Hymn writer Keith Getty also commended Christ Our All, saying, “Just as Spurgeon’s sermons fire the Christian imagination with their vivid imagery and eloquent illustrations, so too his poems and hymns can help us stoke the flames of devotion. I am glad to see that Dr. Chang’s research has produced such a helpful resource.”

Christ Our All: Poems for the Christian Pilgrim is now available for purchase.

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