The doctrines of grace, often labeled Calvinism, have often and unfortunately been misused, misunderstood, and misrepresented throughout church history. Some misunderstand the Scripture’s teachings on election and predestination to mean that humanity has no responsibility for the state of their heart and behavior. Others misuse the sovereignty of God to foolishly and blasphemously cultivate a pride that they are elect and others are not. Still others suppose that the predetermined and unalterable plan of God’s redeeming work in the world negates the need to be obedient to His command to preach the Gospel to all nations. Perhaps most commonly, Calvinism is often misrepresented as portraying a cold, distant God whose eternal sovereignty overrides man’s free will in a way that allegedly makes a truly loving relationship between Creator and creation impossible.
Charles Spurgeon stands in the pages of history with such greats as William Carey, Jonathan Edwards and Calvin himself as a example of one who was driven by a deep commitment to the doctrines of Sovereign Grace while not veering into the dangers of misunderstanding and misapplying them. Not only did Spurgeon not see a contradiction between the absolute sovereignty of God and the absolute necessity of evangelism, his conviction of the former drove his passion for the latter.
Pastor Steven Lawson does an excellent job of showing this connection through navigating the reader through many well chosen quotes from Spurgeon himself. There are so many quotes in fact that in fairness I think Spurgeon should be listed as the co-author of the book.
I highly recommend this book to all believers, but especially those who may have doubts about Calvinism and/or those who may have found that their version of Calvinism has sadly produced a cold numbness towards the lost.
“The Holy Spirit will move them by first moving you. If you can rest without their being saved, they will rest, too. But if you are filled with an agony for them, if you cannot bear that they should be lost, you will soon find that they are uneasy, too.” – Spurgeon
“Spurgeon boldy declared that preaching unconditional election is evangelistic. He said, ‘I have never preached this doctrine without seeing conversions, and I believe I never shall.’ When people asked him how he reconciled preaching election with extending the gospel, he asserted, ‘There is no need to reconcile them, for they have never yet quarreled with one another.’ He was right. Divine sovereignty and gospel evangelism go hand in hand, the former preparing the way for and ensuring the success of the latter.”