The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon

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The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon

by Steven Lawson

This book is part of a series of books called A Long Line of Godly Men, which profiles famous Christians from the Reformed tradition. This particular book focuses on the preaching ministry of Charles Spurgeon. Steven Lawson, the author, stated that he wrote the book “to introduce you to the revered British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon” (xiv). Lawson acknowledges the impact that Spurgeon had on his own life, and he encourages readers to listen and learn from the life and ministry of Charles Spurgeon.

The organization of the book was excellent. In the first chapter (Spurgeon’s Life and Legacy), Lawson described the birth, new birth, lifelong ministry, death, and enduring impact of Charles Spurgeon. It was a good introduction to the famous preacher and his ministry, although I wished it had been a little longer. The second chapter (Unshakable Foundations) addressed Spurgeon’s belief in the divine authorship, divine inerrancy, divine authority, and divine truth of Scripture (23-34). Spurgeon strongly embraced the inspiration and authority of Scripture, and his preaching bears that out. The third chapter (Sovereign Grace) deals with Spurgeon’s doctrinal and theological commitments. Spurgeon was a 5-point Calvinist, and Lawson uses quotes from Spurgeon’s sermons to demonstrate this. In the fourth chapter (Evangelistic Fervor), Lawson addressed Spurgeon’s passion for the gospel and his willingness to extend the gospel offer to all. Spurgeon did not view God’s sovereignty and human responsibility as incompatible, and he extended the gospel invitation to everyone. Lawson said that Spurgeon was “persuaded that it is the duty of all preachers to proclaim the free gift of salvation to all men (63). In the fifth chapter (The Heart of the Gospel), Lawson pointed out that Spurgeon’s preaching was Christocentric. Lawson claimed that Spurgeon “believed that the heart of the gospel is Christ” (89). His sermons contained information about the person, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ (90-101). The sixth chapter (Spirit-Empowered Witness) focused on Spurgeon’s dependence on the Holy Spirit throughout his ministry. He believed the Holy Spirit provided supernatural enlightenment, divine wisdom, fiery passion, compelling delivery, intense focus, and deep convictions (108-121). The concluding chapter (We Want Again Spurgeons) was a short challenge for pastors to model their ministry after Charles Spurgeon.

This book was a very interesting and encouraging book. Charles Spurgeon is often referred to as “the Prince of Preachers,” and he is certainly worthy of this title. There were only two things about the book that bothered me. First, Lawson repeatedly emphasized that Spurgeon was a Calvinist. This is certainly true, but Lawson stated this so many times it became redundant. There were several times where it seemed like he randomly inserted a sentence about Spurgeon’s Calvinistic views, which made the writing seem choppy. Second, Lawson did not address any negative aspects of Spurgeon’s life or ministry. The book essentially portrayed Spurgeon as the perfect preacher, failing to reference any negative aspects of his life or ministry. These are minor qualms, though. Overall, the book provided an insightful look into the ministry of Charles Spurgeon, and preachers and those studying preaching would benefit greatly from reading it.

*I received this book free from Reformation Trust Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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