Nathan W. Bingham
Connecting in a Hyper-Connected World

Charles Spurgeon — Calvinist and Evangelist

It’s a new month and it’s time for a new giveaway!

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week, I’m posting excerpts from Steve Lawson’s latest book, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon.

I was blessed reading it, and thanks to my friends at Reformation Trust Publishing, at the bottom of each day’s post there is an opportunity for subscribers to the blog to win a copy of the book as well.

Here is today’s excerpt:

Charles Spurgeon — Calvinist and Evangelist

I walked into the seminary bookstore one day to browse among the books. On this occasion, I noticed several volumes of sermons by Charles Spurgeon. Curious, I pulled one off the shelf and began reading. Quite frankly, I was not prepared for what I found. As I pored over the pages, I found message after message dripping with the biblical truths of sovereign grace. But at the same time, each message was on fire with evangelistic fervor, as Spurgeon pleaded with sinners to be saved. Never had I read anything like this. These sermons were like an electric current running through my soul. They shocked my senses and enlightened my mind.
The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon
Here is what captivated me. This gifted preacher, perhaps the greatest since the Apostle Paul, was, by his own admission, a Calvinist—Reformed to the core, deeply committed to the doctrines of grace. But at the same time, he was an evangelist. How could these seemingly opposite realities fit together? How could one be both staunchly Calvinistic and passionately evangelistic?

Spurgeon showed me. In one hand, he firmly held the sovereignty of God in man’s salvation. With the other hand, he extended the free offer of the gospel to all. He preached straightforward Calvinistic doctrine, then, in the same sermon, fervently urged lost sinners to call on the name of the Lord. Having expounded the truths of predestination, he then warned his listeners that if they refused Christ, their blood would be on their own hands. In sermon after sermon, this prolific preacher expounded God’s sovereign grace with unmistakable precision. Yet, he did it with a genuine passion for the lost.

I concluded that this was what it must look like to be consumed with the glory of God in the salvation of His elect and, at the same time, be filled with flaming zeal in reaching sinners with the gospel. There was no cold, clinical Calvinism here—no dead orthodoxy, no “frozen chosen” religion, no empty rehearsing of Reformed doctrine for people to take or leave as they might choose. Neither was there any shallow evangelism that portrayed God as pacing in heaven, wringing His hands, desperate for someone to accept Him. Instead, here was what the Puritans described as a fire in the pulpit, yielding both the light of Calvinistic truth and the heat of evangelistic passion.

In Spurgeon, I saw a historical example of what God was calling me to be and do. I finally understood that my Reformed theology was not a hindrance but a launching pad for evangelism. Here was the best of both worlds. I already had come to see clearly how these twin truths meet in the Bible. Now I could see how they come together in preaching.

Day #1’s giveaway is now closed. Congratulations Peter Candido!