“The Lord Jesus Christ on his cross of redemption was the center, circumference, and summation of the preaching ministry of Charles Haddon Spurgeon,” writes Nettles. This is the theme that readers are drawn to again and again in this excellent biography. A few direct citations from Spurgeon will drive this truth home:
“Redemption is the heart of the gospel and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary atonement of Christ.”
” … The death of Christ was the hinge of the world’s history.”
“Christ’s people shall be made willing in the day of his power, and the great attraction by which they will be drawn to him will be his death on the cross.”
“The cross is the mighty battering ram wherewith to break in pieces the brazen gates of human prejudices and the iron bars of obstinacy.”
Chapter 7: The Challenge of Church Life and the Governance of Worship
The burden of shepherding the flock was often times overwhelming for Spurgeon: “Sometimes I become so perplexed that I sink in heart, and dream that it were better for me never to have been born than to have been called to bear all this multitude upon my heart.” The Metropolitan Tabernacle made a crucial error in electing deacons for life – a polity policy that will often times prove to be detrimental to the health of the church.
Chapter 8: The Gospel is Evangelism
Anyone familiar with Spurgeon’s ministry understands the importance of evangelism as a normal part of church life. He shared the gospel personally and also preached the gospel passionately. Nettles adds, “Preaching to convert souls, for Spurgeon, meant laying out the full counsel of God to the sinner.” Spurgeon’s Reformed soteriology demanded a strong message that warned sinners: “Men must be told that they are dead … and that only the Holy Spirit can quicken them.” He resisted the Arminian approach to evangelism with holy fervor.
Chapter 9: Use of Evangelists
Chapter 9 is an extension of Spurgeon’s approach to evangelism. Nettles highlights Spurgeon’s Calvinistic zeal: “To keep back any part of the gospel is neither right nor ‘the true method for saving men.’ All doctrine is saving truth. ‘If you hold Calvinistic doctrine, as I hope you do, do not stutter about it, nor stammer over it, but speak it out.’ The lack of a full-orbed gospel is behind the evanescence of many so-called revivals.”