Posts Tagged ‘Ichabod Spencer’

A Pastor’s Sketches

August 18, 2010

A Pastor’s Sketches

August 11, 2009

Several years ago I was sent a photocopy of a book entitled A PASTOR’S SKETCHES by Ichabod Spencer. The friend who sent it was Pastor Steve Martin on Georgia, and he said that he learned about the book from David Vaughn, long-time missionary serving in France. He said that it was a book that had to be brought back into print. Due to my busy schedule, the photocopied pages sat untouched for almost a year when I decided to carry them with me on a trip. Once I began reading “The Sketches” I was hooked. From that moment I determined that this was a book that had to be reprinted. 

Upon beginning Solid Ground Christian Books in March of 2001 it was decided that Spencer’s Sketches would be our first project, so I sent it around to get the opinion of men I greatly respect. None of them had ever heard of Spencer or his “Sketches”, but they were willing to look at them and give their honest opinion. The response was instant and overwhelming. Geoff Thomas, a pastor in Wales for over 40 years, and a man with an incredible library simply said, “You MUST reprint this book now! I have never read anything like it.” Numerous other men responded with equal enthusiasm and shock. How did this book ever go out of print? 

What makes Sketches so special? These are authentic accounts of dialogues of a pastor in Brooklyn, NY and Northampton, MA from 1830-1854 who was considered by many in his day as a genius in dealing with troubled souls. He spent hours every day amongst the people seeking to help them wrestle through the common, and not so common problems, of life in a fallen world. Every night he would sit up until midnight, with his faithful wife at his side, writing out in detail the conversations of that day. As he drew near the end of his life numerous friends begged him to share some of his experiences with others. He was extremely reluctant but finally gave in and went through the volumes of his experiences over 20 years of ministry and pulled out over 35 examples for volume one. The book became an instant best seller in America and beyond. God used it so mightily that thousands begged for more. The year before he died he went back and found some more incidents he felt might do good. Together these volumes circled the globe and gave hope and strength wherever they went. Sadly, after going through numerous editions for nearly 50 years, the last edition was printed in 1900. 

In the late Spring of 2001 we printed “A Pastor’s Sketches: Volume One” and the response was very encouraging. Within the first year three Seminaries made it required reading for their pastoral students, and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, KY held a Seminar on Spencer and his Sketches. We soon issued Volume Two of the Sketches, followed by a second edition of volume one. Finally, in 2008 we put the two volumes together in one volume so people can have all 77 Sketches in a single book. In addition we have also reprinted The Life and Sermons of Ichabod Spencer which means that all five of his volumes are now available again for the first time in more than 100 years.