Capping more than 10 months of construction and preparations as well as years of dreaming and planning, the seminary community celebrated the dedication of the Spurgeon Library with a ribbon cutting and official naming ceremony on Oct. 20, 2015.
Accompanied by Bill and Connie Jenkins, who donated $2.5 million for the project, President Jason Allen and his wife, Karen, cut the ribbon to officially open the library and then unveiled a plaque honoring the couple by naming the building that houses the library as “Jenkins Hall.”
“The Spurgeon Library is the fulfillment of a vision to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ for the academy, for the church, and for the glory of God through the preservation and presentation of Charles Spurgeon’s personal library and related artifacts,” Allen said. “The Spurgeon Library was made possible by the extraordinary generosity of Bill and Connie Jenkins, who embody Christian faithfulness, biblical conviction, and have been an ongoing source of encouragement to Midwestern Seminary and personally to my family.
“As a perpetual tribute to their stewardship and as an ongoing marker of God’s faithfulness to and through his people, this building bears the name, ‘Jenkins Hall,’” Allen added.
Also making the long trip from the United Kingdom to be present for the ceremony were three of Charles H. Spurgeon’s descendants: Hilary Spurgeon, the wife of the late great-grandson, David; as well as Richard Spurgeon and Susannah Spurgeon-Cochrane, the great-great-grandchildren.
Bringing a greeting on behalf of the Spurgeon family, Cochrane noted that growing up, not much was said of the family’s ties to the “Prince of Preachers.” However, as she matured, her appreciation for C.H. Spurgeon grew. As she read some of Spurgeon’s works, she sensed that everything he wrote and said was wrapped in and centered on Christ. She added that this fact should be of encouragement to modern-day believers.
“For me and for us all, Spurgeon’s life of faith and his dedication to proclaiming the gospel should spur us on and encourage us to give our all for the work God has called us to do – no matter who we are or where God has placed us,” Cochrane said.
“We are the ones who have to carry on the work of pointing people to Christ,” she added. “Our hope and prayer is that the Spurgeon Center [Library] would point many more people to Jesus; that people would see Jesus through Spurgeon and his work; and that Spurgeon’s dedication to God and His gospel would inspire the next generation of preachers to give their all to Jesus.
The Spurgeon Library houses more than 6,000 books and artifacts from C.H. Spurgeon’s personal library collection. Embedded within the floor-to-ceiling bookcases and around the room are some 80 displays highlighting particular books or items. Focal points of the room include a preaching rail. Also on display is a desk used by Spurgeon in his office, and a replica of the pulpit he preached behind at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.
“This day has come together in a remarkable way,” Allen said. “It began way back in Victorian England when a man named Charles Spurgeon was raised up by God to preach…”
Approximately 10 years after Spurgeon’s death, his family elected to sell his personal library, and in 1904 the collection was moved to William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. The library resided there for approximately a century before being purchased by Midwestern Seminary in 2004. Now, just over 10 years later, Allen said the vision of how to appropriately house this treasure has been realized.
“It is part museum, part library, part study,” Allen said. “It is something to be visited; something to be accessed; and something to be engaged in at both the academic and ministerial levels. This collection and space will not only serve as a relic to the past, but as a living instrument to serve the church and to equip pastors and preachers of God’s Word.”
The Spurgeon Library will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.