In March of 1861, C.H. Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Tabernacle was opened in London, England. After leading his congregation at its original location at New Park Street Chapel and renting out large concert halls when it proved to small, the church finally had a home of their own that could accommodate the massive crowds that came to hear Spurgeon preach.
Spurgeon used the occasion to make clear to those gathered that Jesus Christ must always be the focus of everything done at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
These are Spurgeon’s first words during the first sermon on March 24, 1861:
I would propose that the subject of the ministry of this house, as long as this platform shall stand, and as long as this house shall be frequented by worshippers, shall be the person of Jesus Christ. I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist, although I claim to be rather a Calvinist according to Calvin, than after the modern debased fashion. I do not hesitate to take the name of Baptist. You have there (pointing to the baptistery) substantial evidence that I am not ashamed of that ordinance of our Lord Jesus Christ; but if I am asked to say what is my creed, I think I must reply: “It is Jesus Christ.”
My venerable predecessor, Dr. Gill, has left a body of divinity admirable and excellent in its way; but the body of divinity to which I would pin and bind myself for ever, God helping me, is not his system of divinity or any other human treatise, but Christ Jesus, who is the sum and substance of the gospel; who is in himself all theology, the incarnation of every precious truth, the all-glorious personal embodiment of the way, the truth, and the life.
Amen, and amen.
You can read this inaugural sermon in its entirety at Spurgeon.org.