Adherents of Reformed theology have long had the unfortunate reputation of being unconcerned for men's souls. Missionary William Carey was purportedly once told that "When God pleases to convert the heathen, He'll do it without consulting you or me." This kind of thinking stands in stark contrast to the evangelistic heart of Charles Spurgeon.
In The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon, Steven J. Lawson does an excellent job of showing how Spurgeon's early life and conversion were the nucleus of his passion for seeing sinners brought to Christ. He also makes clear that Spurgeon's doctrinal beliefs were derived first from the Scriptures and not merely from the teaching of the Reformers, taking time to explore Spurgeon's foundational commitment to scripture. Having said that, it is also important to understand that Spurgeon believed that there "is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel and nothing else" (p. 38). Chapter 3 gives a helpful overview of the main tenants of Calvinism, and how they shaped Spurgeon's gospel focus. The book also discusses several aspects of Spurgeon's evangelistic method, including his clear invitations for sinners to repent, in contrast to the Hyper-Calvinist views prevalent in his day, and illustrated in the above anecdote about William Carey.
I especially appreciated Dr. Lawson's inclusion of material related to Spurgeon's underlying trust in the Holy Spirit for the whole of his gospel ministry. He covers six different convictions Spurgeon held as to the role of the Spirit in his study, in his life, and in his shepherding and teaching. "In short, Spurgeon believed that his entire ministry was subject to the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit" (p. 122). Steve Lawson provides an engaging account of Spurgeon's focus and ministry, and leaves the reader eager not only to learn more, but to know by experience more of Spurgeon's passion for the gospel. – Pamela Glass, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Charles Spurgeon, the great Baptist preacher of nineteenth-century London, is remembered today as the prince of preachers. However, the strength of Spurgeon s ministry went far beyond simple rhetorical skill. With a foundational commitment to the Bible, Spurgeon fearlessly taught the doctrines of grace and tirelessly held forth the free offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. In short, he was a firm believer in the truth of the gospel and the power of the gospel to save.