For a number of years, the Reverend Ian Goligher has jokingly called me “Mr. Spurgeon.” Recently, he asked me to write a brief account of the “Prince of Preachers” project which involved the recording of many of Spurgeon’s sermons. It originated at Bob Jones University’s Radio Station WMUU AM/FM in Greenville, South Carolina, where I had been working as music director since 1965, a position suggested to me by Dr. Gail Gingery, with whom I was studying in graduate school. In 1989, the program director of the station conceived the idea of a series called “Reading About the Book,” to be aired over WMUU AM. Several staff members, including myself, were asked to read from the writings of some of the great servants of God from the past. In some cases, this took the form of reading from devotional books or other solid Christian literature. As I considered what I should read, I asked advice from my pastor, Dr. Alan Cairns. His immediate response was, “Why not read Spurgeon?” The station’s program director was enthusiastic about the project, and he gave me a block of time sufficient to read an entire sermon twice a week. Although “Reading About the Book” as a series lasted only a few years, “The Prince of Preachers” broadcast became a permanent part of the program schedule until the station was sold in 2012.
Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the prospect of recording messages by one of the greatest preachers whom God has ever raised up in the English-speaking world. Many questions arose. How was I to approach these sermons? Where should I begin? A simple, straight-forward reading of Spurgeon’s words did not seem appropriate. Although there are no recordings of his preaching, the power of his language requires some measure of emotion on the part of a reader. In the end, I let his own inimitable use of language guide me. Hopefully, the readings convey at least a small reflection of the passion and burden with which Spurgeon preached. Prior to each recording session, I pray for the help and power of the Holy Spirit, earnestly beseeching God to use these timeless sermons for His glory.
It seemed logical to start at the beginning of Spurgeon’s London ministry, so I commenced with The New Park Street Pulpit. Over the course of the succeeding years, I began recording selected sermons from The Metropolitan Tabernacle. At the time of this writing, over four hundred sixty sermons have been committed to digital audio recordings. In addition to having been broadcast regularly over WMUU, the sermons have been carried on a number of other stations and have been made available to other Christian ministries, as well. Steven Lee has been carrying the messages on Sermon Audio for many years. Through that facility, people are listening to these recorded sermons in all fifty states of the U.S. and in over a hundred foreign countries ranging from the United Kingdom to places like Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam and Togo.
A number of years ago, a missionary friend of mine asked me to record Spurgeon’s devotional collection Morning and Evening for the Harbour Light of the Windwards on Grenada. Along with Faith’s Checkbook, that series is also on Sermon Audio and will soon be part of the program schedule of VCY America, a large Christian radio network headquartered in Milwaukee, WI. The sermons and the devotional readings all appear under the site The Prince of Preachers on Sermon Audio. Monthly downloads of sermons and devotionals are in excess of 45,000. It’s always interesting to read the details of the monthly reports. For example, in June 2016, 3803 people in Canada were listening, and somebody in Vanuatu was listening, too! Total downloads are approaching four million. Comments from listeners have been very encouraging, with many testifying of the Lord’s blessing in their lives through the impact of Spurgeon’s words.
Since retiring from WMUU in 2012, I have been able to continue this ministry from home where I have a small recording facility. Perhaps the greatest blessing from what I regard as a labor of love has been the enormous personal spiritual benefit of reading and learning from one of God’s choicest servants, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified through the legacy of him “who being dead, yet speaketh.”
Mr. Charles Keolsch presently serves as a ruling elder in Faith FPC, Greenville, South Carolina.