Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to FreedomMatt Carter, Aaron IveyB&H Books / 2017 / Hardcover$5.00 Retail:4 Stars Out Of 5 9 Reviews
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Rebecca ManeyGastonia, North CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5Wonderful Story!August 23, 2018Rebecca ManeyGastonia, North CarolinaAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5"There is one thing that man don't own. There is one thing that man can't ever own. He don't own your soul. . . . . Jesus sets slaves like us free. He may not take away the chains from your hands and feet . . . . But, Jesus will do something even better that that. He will take off the chains from your heart."
"Have you stolen away to Jesus?" Wracked with anger and the desperation for freedom, Thomas Johnson is convinced that emancipation means physical escape from the drudgery and hopelessness of life as a slave on a Virginia plantation. Imagine his surprise when he overhears conversation about a London preacher who writes sermon after sermon denouncing slavery as unnecessary evil, his words "bold enough to spark a two story fire in the middle of the town square in Richmond, Virginia" where thousands of pages are burned to ashes. It's the first time that Thomas Johnson hears the name of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Providence will prove that it won't be the last.
Charles Spurgeon bears heavy chains that are hardly physical, but mental and emotional. Called by God to preach at an early age, his almost overnight success is matched by deep, dark and relentless depression. Known around the world for his magnificent delivery and deep sincerity, " no one knew the private anguish with which Charles lived . . . . he seemed to juggle his numerous responsibilities with ease . . . . and like the rise and fall of the tides, one moment of confidence seemed to follow another moment of anxiety - over and over again."
It seemed that Charles Spurgeon needs a dear friend. . . . that unspoken prayer being answered in the form of Thomas Johnson, an unlikely hero, who makes his pilgrimage all the way across the Atlantic Ocean to study as a pastor. . . . . .whose seasoned eyes seem to peer deep inside Charles' soul before delivering the words of encouragement that the great man of God needed to hear, " we serve an all-sufficient God, whose burden is light, and whose yoke is easy. He is the Light of the World. . . . . Think about your suffering Charles . . . It's a burden, yes. But a gentle burden. And it's meant to stir up more faithfulness in you."
What a deep and inspiring story! "Steal away, Steal away, Steal away to Jesus."
Booklover105 Stars Out Of 5A book that I didn't want to put down.January 23, 2018Booklover10Quality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I never wanted this book to end! I was wrapped into this story from the beginning and found myself thinking about about Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson. This book was so full of history and wonderful truths that I found myself passing along little sentences for friends to encourage them in their suffering. Both of these men of faith had suffered a lot in their life. I appreciate Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey bringing these two men to life through this living book. I can not express my love for this book in words!
I think most Christians is at least familiar with with Charles Spurgeon, or at least know that he was a pastor. You can hear his quotes often in sermons or read in books. However, I did not know how greatly he suffered. It was so encouraging to me to see his humanness and his great suffering, along with his questions and doubts. The ending wrapped it all together for me, and I couldn't help but have tears.
One scene in particlar was hard to read when it came to Thomas Johnson. Born into slavery, he didn't think there was hope of ever being free. But God. God had other plans for his life. But first he had to go through suffering. In this case, it was the physical suffering of being beaten while the plantation owner's wife looked on. He says that he looked at her hoping she would show mercy because she had a son close to his age, but she didn't. She watched and then left. My heart broke to think of scenes like this happening around the world. Someone could have stopped it. But in all of his anger, God used that and his suffering to draw him to Himself through his friend, Ezekiel.
When I began reading about the early life of Spurgeon and the early like of Johnson, I couldn't figure out how their paths could possibly meet. They were on opposite sides of the world, living two different lives. The first time Thomas heard about Charles, he was in slavery. Then in his freedom, he becomes friends with Charles. That story is a beautiful one. The love, the passion, the boldness, the honesty that is in that friendship is one that most long to have. They lived that verse about "iron sharpening iron." They pushed each other along in their journey to finish well for Christ, no matter the pain they endured, both in their young lives and all throughout their lives.
This book needs to be the next book you read! You won't be disappointed.
I received this book free from Lifeway/B&H Publishing in exchange for my HONEST opinion of this book.
Fitzysmom5 Stars Out Of 5Review from Rambles of a SAHMOctober 19, 2017FitzysmomQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5What a relevant book for our modern times. This story of Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson reminds us that we are all in need of freedom. It was true then and it's true now. We all have chains that enslave us and we need Someone to set us free.
The story begins when both men were around ten years of age. They were both curious boys wanting to do ten-year-old boy things. But they are from two completely different worlds. Charles is living mostly with his grandparents in England. He's loved and nurtured and valued. Thomas on the other hand was born into slavery on a plantation in Virginia and is beaten and abused into submission.
While it may seem that Thomas is the only one needing his freedom, Charles is plagued by chains of debilitating depression and physical ailments. As the story unfolds you are taken deeper into each man's world and get to see the freedom that only Christ can bring.
While this book is a fictionalized retelling of their lives it is based on the two men's extensive writings. I was moved deeply by both of their stories. When the two finally meet and become good friends later I was delighted to see how each drew strength from the other. There were many facts that I didn't realize about Charles Spurgeon and that makes his writings even more valuable. When he speaks about trusting God in the darkest of hours he's speaking from experience. I knew nothing about Thomas Johnson before this book but I am so glad to have met him this way.
This is a beautiful story of friendship and love between two men, their families, and their God. I recommend it to anyone that needs to experience freedom from what chains them down. You will be encouraged by the story of these two giants of the faith.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
JDADDY5 Stars Out Of 5Favorite book of 2017October 5, 2017JDADDYQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I loved this one so much I could not put it down! I devoured this book in a short time going from smiles to tears as I read it. I consider myself a bit of a Spurgeon fan so I have read much of his works and many books about him but this one to me was as easy a read as I have found. I am sorry to confess that I had been unfamiliar with the the story of Thomas Johnson and am blessed to know some of it now. This was truly a blessing. I have been giving it to friends as a gift and will continue to do so. I highly recommend it.
Blooming with BooksBloomer, WIAge: 35-44Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Powerful and moving story of freedom and friendshipOctober 1, 2017Blooming with BooksBloomer, WIAge: 35-44Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Steal Away Home
By Matt Carver
and Aaron Ivey
Steal Away Home brings to life a bit of history that most people are unaware of and the history books give little if any, mention of. Many have heard of Charles Spurgeon and his preaching but for many, myself included Thomas Johnson is an unknown factor in the life of Spurgeon. This book brings to life their story and friendship.
Any good story must start at the beginning and this book does just that starting out when both were in their childhood. But their childhoods were vastly different with Charles calling England home while Thomas called America home. The chapters alternate between their lives as Charles grows to become the preacher we are familiar with and Thomas lives the life of a slave. Yet both men sought freedom from the bonds that held them captive. Charles sought to be free of the fear and the darkness that had followed him through life. Thomas sought to be free of the yoke of slavery. Yet what both needed was the freedom that can only be found in the loving grace and forgiveness offered by God. And in the midst of their search, the two found the freedom they sought and a friendship that would shape the rest of their lives.
If you appreciate history that comes to life through the power of words this is a book that you will want to read. The contrast in the lives of these two men is powerful and equally powerful is the force behind their friendship - God's mercy. At less than 300 pages this book feels longer though it doesn't drag in the least. Opening in 1841 and continuing through 1892 one is taken through years of change and three different continents. If one has seen the movie Amazing Grace which looked at the life of William Wilberforce I believe this book to be as profound and powerful in portraying the life and times of these two men.
I was provided a review copy of this book by BH Publishing with no expectations of a positive review ~ All opinions expressed are my own.