Charles Spurgeon’s Evangelistic Fervor
It’s the final day of “The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon” week on the blog.
This week I’ve been posting excerpts from Steve Lawson’s latest book, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon.
I was blessed reading this book and thanks to my friends at Reformation Trust Publishing there has been an opportunity at the bottom of each day’s post for subscribers to the blog to win a copy. Today is your final opportunity.
Congratulations Bobby Rhoades, yesterday’s winner.
Here is the final excerpt:
Charles Spurgeon’s Evangelistic Fervor
Throughout his prolific ministry, Charles Spurgeon sought to maintain the important balance the Scriptures give to divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Perhaps no preacher ever held these two truths more carefully in balance. Being committed to the full counsel of God, Spurgeon embraced both truths with equal allegiance. He clung tenaciously to God’s sovereignty in the salvation of His elect, but he was equally convinced of the mandate to extend the offer of the gospel to every person. Emphasizing one of these truths to the exclusion of the other, he believed, would result in an unbalanced ministry.
Spurgeon was once asked how he could reconcile the apparent contradiction between these two truths. He replied: “I never have to reconcile friends. Divine sovereignty and human responsibility have never had a falling out with each other. I do not need to reconcile what God has joined together.” He confessed: “Where these two truths meet I do not know, nor do I want to know. They do not puzzle me, since I have given up my mind to believing them both.” Spurgeon simply embraced both divine sovereignty and human responsibility as clearly taught in the pages of Scripture.
By maintaining this balance, Spurgeon avoided a grave danger to evangelism known as Hyper-Calvinism. This teaching holds firmly to the doctrines of grace, but it neglects any urgent appeal to lost sinners to be converted. Iain Murray explains: “Gospel preaching for Hyper-Calvinists means a declaration of the facts of the gospel but nothing should be said by way of encouraging individuals to believe that the promises of Christ are made to them particularly until there is evidence that the Spirit of God has begun a saving work in their hearts convicting them and making them ‘sensible’ of their need.” Thus, Hyper-Calvinism rejects a universal invitation for sinners to believe, but argues that the gospel is to be preached only to the elect. Only those who feel the full burden of their sin, Hyper-Calvinists suppose, should be
encouraged to seek relief in the Lord.
Spurgeon strongly rejected this error and adamantly declared that the gospel is good news for every person. Though he believed in divine election, he nevertheless urged the preaching of Christ to all: “We believe in predestination; we believe in election and non-election: but, notwithstanding that, we believe that we must preach to men, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved,’ but believe not on him and ye are damned.” He was persuaded that it is the duty of all preachers to proclaim the free gift of salvation to all men.
Therefore, evangelism was at the heart of all that Spurgeon did. He said, “Soul-winning is the chief business of the Christian minister; indeed, it should be the main pursuit of every true believer.” Spurgeon gloried in pursuing conversions in his ministry: “God has sent us to preach in order that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, the sons of men may be reconciled to Him. . . . The glory of God being our chief object, we aim at it by seeking . . . the salvation of sinners.” So focused was Spurgeon on this endeavor that he affirmed, “I would rather be the means of saving a soul from death than be the greatest orator on earth.” As Geoff Thomas writes, “Holding consistently to the tension of divine sovereignty and human responsibility meant that Spurgeon, wholeheartedly and without restriction of any kind, exhorted unconverted persons to repent and believe and to come to Christ as the Son of God and receive Him immediately as Lord and Savior.” Spurgeon was, first and foremost, an evangelist.
Day #3’s giveaway is now closed. Congratulations Ronny Fallas!