A complimentary copy of this book was provided by B&H Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. All opinions are my own.
Published by B&H Publishing Group on 2017-08
Source: B&H Bloggers
Genres: Christian Life, Christian Ministry, General, Preaching, Religion
Thomas Johnson and Charles Spurgeon lived worlds apart.
Johnson, an American slave, born into captivity and longing for freedom--- Spurgeon, an Englishman born into relative ease and comfort, but, longing too for a freedom of his own. Their respective journeys led to an unlikely meeting and an even more unlikely friendship, forged by fate and mutual love for the mission of Christ.
Steal Away Home is a new kind of book based on historical research, which tells a previously untold story set in the 1800s of the relationship between an African-American missionary and one of the greatest preachers to ever live.
Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom—wow, that is a mouthful! For the purpose of this review, I’m going to refer to it simply as Steal Away Home. This book is an account of the friendship between Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson.
It seems a fitting book to read as of late. Civil unrest is running high and people are afraid. Past hurts can be hard to heal and our society still has a long way to go to be where we need to be.
My heart absolutely breaks to think about how humans can treat one another in such a degrading and terrible manner. I cried as I read this book. Though not overly graphic—it still hurt my heart. I cannot imagine how a human being can justify owning another human as a slave.
Charles Spurgeon was a preacher that was vehemently against slavery. His sermons were once burned in the southern states because he spoke out on slavery.
Thomas Johnson was a slave that came to know Jesus in secret. When Thomas had nowhere to steal away to, he learned to steal away to Jesus.
Charles and Thomas formed an unlikely friendship that I would love to know more about. In this book we see Thomas helping Charles as he battles the depression that had plagued him since his youth.
Speaking of Charles’ depression; I have seen other readers muse about how Charles could teach about hope in Christ when he couldn’t find it for his own life. I think it’s a common misunderstanding that depression is something one can control. While God is the great physician, it is likely that Charles struggled so because of physical maladies that exasperated his depression. However, by his own account, Charles felt that his physical and mental struggles allowed him to better minister to others. He could understand their pain.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would have liked to have had more time to fully explore the friendship between Thomas and Charles. I also felt that this book largely overlooked Charles’ children. I was unsure whether they even survived infancy because they were birthed and not mentioned again.
I think this book would be a good starting place to pique one’s interest in the lives of Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson. But, I had many unanswered questions. Did Thomas have children? What became of his own ministry and so on? These questions led me to another book that is titled TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS A SLAVE OR THE STORY OF MY LIFE IN THREE CONTINENTS BY THOMAS L. JOHNSON. I hope that perhaps it will answer some of the questions that I have.
In that, this book did what all good books should. It made me want to learn more about the real-life characters.
As I wrap up this review, I’d like to share the old spiritual that inspired this title. Listen and should you feel led, steal your own heart away to Jesus.