Steal Away Home
Charles Spurgeon & Thomas Johnson: Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom
How a Slave-Turned-Preacher Changed Charles Spurgeon’s Life
Steal Away Home, written in narrative form, is the previously untold story of the unlikely friendship between the world’s most famous preacher of the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon, and Thomas Johnson, who spent 28 years as a slave in the United States before training at Spurgeon’s college and being commissioned to Africa as a missionary.
“I was introduced to the works of Charles and Susannah Spurgeon a while back and have since grown to love not just their writings, but their friendship and deep love for each other,” Ivey said. “Then, when the story of Thomas Johnson surfaced, I knew we had a treasured story that must be told. Truly, it’s an honor to tell this story of hope and endurance.”
A most striking friendship
Along with telling the story of Spurgeon and Johnson’s friendship, Steal Away Home also offers a unique glimpse into Spurgeon’s day-to-day life: his marriage to Susannah Spurgeon, his daily struggles, and his bouts with depression. Many passages and dialogues in the book are word-for-word quotations from Spurgeon or Johnson’s writings.
“During a visit to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, while looking through Spurgeon’s personal library and talking with Dr. Christian George (America’s top Spurgeon scholar), we first heard the story of Thomas Johnson,” Carter said. “Then, we found his out-of-print autobiography, ‘Twenty-Eight Years a Slave,’ and knew it was a story we had to tell.”
“I loved this book and did not want it to end. I was unfamiliar with the story of the famous preacher Charles Spurgeon and the slave Thomas Johnson, and how our sovereign Lord brought them together in what can only be called a divine friendship. Now I am. I was greatly moved by this work and more than once brought to tears. Humans can be very evil, but our God is very good. This book is a wonderful witness to both of those truths.” — Daniel L. Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC
“I’ve long been a great fan of Charles Spurgeon. I wasn’t familiar with Thomas Johnson, and enjoyed reading about his part in the drama. As a fiction writer I appreciated the creative storytelling elements of this account. Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey have done a great job selecting historical realities and weaving them together into a compelling story. I really enjoyed Steal Away Home.” — Randy Alcorn, author of Deception, Safely Home and We Shall See God: Charles Spurgeon’s Devotional Thoughts on Heaven
About the Authors
Matt Carter serves as the Pastor of Preaching and Vision at the Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, which has grown from a core team of 15 to over 8,000 attending each Sunday since he planted it in 2002. Matt has co-authored multiple books including a commentary on the Gospel of John in The Christ Centered Exposition Commentary series and two group studies, Creation Unraveled and Creation Restored, which traced the gospel message through the book of Genesis. He holds an M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary and a Doctorate in Expositional Preaching from Southeastern Seminary. He and his wife Jennifer have been married for over 20 years, and they have three children, John Daniel, Annie and Samuel.
Aaron Ivey is the Pastor of Worship at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, where he pastors a team of nearly 300 worship leaders, artists, storytellers and musicians. Aaron has written and produced ten worship albums, and has written hundreds of congregational worship songs. His songwriting includes works represented in Worship Together, Jesus Culture, Capital Music Group, Doxology & Theology and Austin Stone Worship. Passionate about mentoring and developing young leaders and world changers, Aaron spends much of his time communicating on topics of leadership, theology, art and culture. He and his wife Jamie have been married for 15 years, and have four children, Cayden, Amos, Deacon and Story.
Table of Contents
- Waking Up
- From a Tobacco Plantation
- The Bottomless Pit
- The Eye of Faith
- A Little More of that Sun
- Back to Stambourne
- Steal Away to Jesus
- Sermon Writing
- More Dead than Alive
- An Oak Tree in Clapham Common
- The Foulest Blot
- Great Mercies
- What Freedom Feels Like
- Let the Man Come
- The New Forest
- Africa for Christ
- In Cursive Letters
- The Fog of 1880
- Falling Asleep