I Can’t Believe Spurgeon Didn’t Say That

A couple days before my new book, Beeline to the Cross, released to the public, I found out some slightly disappointing news. I had been speaking with Christian George, one of my book’s endorsers, about some possible promo ideas. The thought of having his help to get the word out about the book was tremendous. If you don’t know who he is, Christian is the Curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Theological Seminary, and the assistant professor of historical theology. Basically, if you want to know something about Spurgeon’s life and ministry, he’s your guy. And if you want to promote a book that has a title that was inspired by Spurgeon, then he’s your man. That’s why I reached out to him in the first place. I’m grateful to have connected with Christian.

In the process of our discussion he asked me if I could tell him where the original source is to the quote that inspired my book’s title. Charles Spurgeon is credited thousands of times by authors and theologians all over the world for saying, “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.” It’s such a good quote and it sounds so much like Spurgeon that I never thought for a second as to whether or not he actually said it. How couldn’t he have?

So I began searching as deep as I could. Mostly google of course, but digging into sermons and old biographies, trying to find a place where Spurgeon actually said it himself. I kept coming up with pastors, authors or Church historians saying, “Spurgeon once said in regards to his preaching, ‘I take my text and make a beeline for the cross’”. Hey, that’s exactly what I said.

I was getting frustrated and honestly a little discouraged. Was the original “quote” that became the early inspiration for my book actually a falsehood?

Christian George and a team of guys at the college had also dedicated some time over the summer to finding this citation. They came up empty handed too. If they can’t find it, I’m not sure anyone can. So, now what? Is my book a fake? Was it not worth publishing because quite possibly Spurgeon never said what I, and so many others, thought he said?

I don’t think so. And here’s why.

Whether or not Spurgeon said it, he still did it. I believe he displayed a dedication to getting himself and his people to the cross in nearly every sermon. Was it always a direct line to the cross? Maybe not direct, but he got there one way or another. I’ll be encouraging people to make a beeline to the cross till the day I die.

That’s the whole purpose of the book. That’s why I wrote it. Because I believe it!

The Apostle Paul spoke strongly about preaching Christ and Him crucified. In fact, he made it a determination in his life to be known for that. He didn’t want to be the preacher who was known for his eloquence, his style or his many accomplishments regardless of the method. He wanted Christ to be exalted in the Church and for people to know the love of God in Christ; a love that was displayed perfectly at the cross.

I believe the message of the cross of Jesus is so significant and so powerful today that whether you’re a preacher, a student, a factory worker or school bus driver; your life can be dramatically altered in going there. As a believer, as you grow in your knowledge of the the work of the cross you will experience needed change, life-strengthening power and the inspiration you need in order to do all that God has called you to do.

I stand with confidence on the premise of “Beeline to the Cross”.  Not because Spurgeon did or didn’t say it, but because the cross should be and needs to be that important to all of us.

So what did Spurgeon say about the cross? Here’s just a few.

  • “The cross is the focus of all human history—I was almost going to say it is the centre of the life of God, if such a thing can be. All the ages meet in Calvary. Jesus is the central Sun of all events.” Sermon #786 – The Great Mystery of Godliness
  • “No scene in sacred history ever gladdens the soul like the scene on Calvary. Nowhere does the soul ever find such consolation as on that very spot where misery reigned, where woe triumphed, where agony reached its climax.” Sermon #126 – Justification By Grace
  • “The cross is the standard of victorious grace. It is the light-house whose cheering ray gleams across the dark waters of despair and cheers the dense midnight of our fallen race, saving from eternal shipwreck, and piloting into everlasting peace.” Spurgeon Sermons Volume 31 – The Cross Our Glory
  • “I wish that our ministry—that mine especially—might be tied and tethered to the cross. I have no other subject to set before you but Jesus only.” Sermon #1940 The Best Bread

Salvation, life, victory, forgiveness, joy, friendship with God and true satisfaction is found in Jesus Christ; at His cross. Once you’ve discovered that that is the source; the spiritual life-giving nectar for the Christian life, return to that source every minute of every day. Do not turn to the left or to the right, but look only to Jesus; to His cross, and to the work He accomplished there on your behalf.

Truth be told, there a several other quotes that have been attributed to Spurgeon which he never said. Dr. Christian George recently wrote the article, Six Things Spurgeon Never Said, that covers that very subject. I recommend you all give it a read. Then head over to Amazon and grab a copy of my book. You can let me know what you think by leaving a good review when you’re done.

Remember, in all of life and in every season, make a beeline to the cross.

Joel Littlefield

Joel is 33 years old and is currently serving as an assistant pastor and worship leader in Crossville, TN. His wife of 13 years is Callie and his three children are Micah, Nathanael and Aliyah. They are in the process of adopting too. He has a passion for sound preaching, writing, and blogging that points the people of God and the seeker to Christ. His second book, Beeline to the Cross, will be published in the summer of 2016.