Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon by Steven Lawson

I received this book for free I am not obliged to give a positive review. 

I am enjoy the series Long Line of Godly Men edited by Steven Lawson  and this book is no exception Lawson loves Spurgeon and knows his subject well. That said I do think that it is very dependent upon Iain Murray's Forgotten Spurgeon and covers much of the same ground. This isn't a problem unless you read the two back to back (as I did due to Lawson giving thanks to Murray for his book). Lawson weaves in and out of direct Spurgeon quotes and retains a beautiful flowing text, it seems almost effortless but reflects I suspect years of delving into Spurgeon's vast treasure trove. Lawson shows that Spurgeon had a warm hearted reformed theology, a theology that was motivated by a high view of God's sovereignty but that was equally concerned to see sinners saved. 'I preach Calvinism as high, as stern, and as sound as ever; but I feel, and always did an anxiety to bring sinners to Christ. He saw anxiety for sinners as a key trait of preachers' This led Spurgeon into controversy with the hyper Calvinists on the one hand and the Arminians on the other. This is because Spurgeon was biblical in all his thinking and preaching, as he said of Bunyan we can say of him, his blood his bibline, wherever you prick him he bleeds Bible. The truth always attracts controversy it is not that Spurgeon looked for it but it came looking for him and he was able to stand up for Christ. This was to help him later when within his denomination when he fought for the authority of Scripture in the downgrade controversy. Spurgeon was confident in God and in God's word and this kept him, Lawson tells us that Spurgeon was concerned to preach only what he found in scripture. He did this by using his extensive intellect to study the word but also relying upon the Holy Spirit. Unlike a lot of reformed baptists Spurgeon believed in the power of the Holy Spirit in more than a credal sense, but he wasn't a charismatic in fact he dismissed the holiness movement seeing it as an Arminian error that had developed because much Arminian gospel preaching did not led to regeneration and so was inadequate. Spurgeon believed in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about life at the New Birth which resulted in a personal holiness. In preaching Spurgeon relied on God to speak through His word and trusted the Holy Spirit to do the work in saving souls. He entered the pulpit believing this was God's work and that God would do it. May He do it again by raising up men like Spurgeon in this generation. I commend the book to you!

In the Grip of Grace