Title: Steal Away Home
Author: Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey
Major Themes: Charles Spurgeon, Christianity, England, Slavery
Synopsis: What do Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, and Thomas Johnson, a freed slave, have in common?
I didn’t know what to expect from Steal Away Home, but the book description sounded quite intriguing—a story about Charles Haddon Spurgeon and a freed slave! I knew that Spurgeon lived in England, and the freed slave obviously came from America, so I was very curious to know how the two got together. I was not disappointed—this was a great story! It’s one of the best I’ve read recently.
Charles Spurgeon grew up in a small village 40 miles north of London in the 1840s. He spent a good part of his childhood with his grandparents; his grandfather was a fiery Congregationalist preacher. The boy was terrified of darkness, and seemed to hear a voice speaking out of it to him, “You’re mine.” As he grew older, the darkness pressed on him more and more. How could he ever escape from it and find God?
Thomas Johnson grew up on a tobacco plantation in Virginia, also in the 1840s. He had been torn away from his mother at a very young age, and only old Ezekiel, one of the other slaves, cared for the boy. Thomas wanted desperately to escape the frequent whippings and the constant drudgery, but Ezekiel told him he was looking for freedom in the wrong places. How could he find true freedom?
Both Charles and Thomas found freedom in Jesus, and both became fiery preachers. Charles, despite crippling illnesses and a wife who was an invalid, became known as the Prince of Preachers, with tens of thousands of people flocking to hear his sermons. After the American Civil War and Emancipation, Thomas found himself pastoring a church in Chicago. His heart, however, wanted to take the Good News of Jesus to Africa. How could that happen? The answer was the connection between these two great men!
As I said before, this is a great story. It is one that every Christian, or those who want to be a Christian, should read. There are so many truths expressed very clearly in this story, in which much of the dialogue is taken from Spurgeon’s own writings and sermons. You will find yourself convicted and challenged as you read this book. I am thankful for the opportunity to have read it myself.
I received a free ecopy of this book from NetGalley and chose to write a review of it.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults