posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is "The Questionable Ingredient of Popularity," a short item Spurgeon wrote in the May 1884 issue of The Sword and the Trowel.
NE-THIRD voice and personal presence, one-third selection of sensational topics, and one-third heresy," according to the Boston Journal, are the ingredients for making "a popular preacher." We are very much afraid that this is true in certain regions; and we are quite sure that some young preachers think so.
The last third is the easiest ingredient to obtain, and so they make it secure. Any pretender can be heterodox: you need neither study, nor think, nor pray in order to surpass all others in this line.
Notoriety can be gained at once by just being singular, and setting up to know better than those around you. Everybody will talk about you at once, and you can impress yourself upon their memories by saying something very cutting and impudent, and as nearly blasphemous as you dare to make it. But is this a noble ambition? Can this be the course of a man of God?
We think not. Perish the popularity which comes by any doctrine but the truth, or by any means but that of solemn, earnest well-doing! Empty sensationalism perishes like the green herb, and heresy dies like a noxious weed; but the faithful preacher of the word shall be had in everlasting remembrance.