Book Review: The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon by Steven J. Lawson

The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon is another line of biographies by Steven J. Lawson about the great preachers of Christianity. This is the first book I’ve read in his short series, the others being Jonathan Edwards, Martin Luther, and George Whitefield. Although there have been large and exhaustive books written about Spurgeon in the past, none were really provided that great combination of being both short in length and convicting. The Gospel Focus reaches about 170 pages, but tells you everything you need to know about Spurgeon and more. Lawson has crafted a great little book that is aimed to not only give a true biography of the Prince of Preacher’s life, but to write about his theology, what inspired him, and how that applies to our lives.

Lawson begins Ch 1 by giving a brief overview of Spurgeon’s life. The author details the details of Spurgeon’s birth to the time of his conversion at age 15 to the point where he became the prominent preacher of Metropolitan Tabernacle. After mentioning his death, Lawson ends the chapter by detailing the amazing effects that Spurgeon’s ministry have had worldwide, including the distribution of his sermons and literature.

Chapters 2-6 is a thorough documentation of Spurgeon’s philosophy of ministry and theology, which is arguably the strongest and most inspiring part of the book. Lawson begins by stating that Spurgeon was a Calvinist and believed in the sovereignty of God, yet he also believed in the responsibility to plead with the lost to coming to saving faith. Ch 3 talks about Spurgeon’s theology and approach to evangelism/gospel because of his commitment to the Doctrines of Grace (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, etc).Ch.4 and 5 speak about Spurgeon’s evangelistic zeal and how that was part of every one of his sermons. Spurgeon never boasted in his own strength, but always relied on the Holy Spirit to supply empowerment, understanding of the word, wisdom, fiery passion, and focus during the sermons. These are all lessons we can definitely take to heart as both ministers and laypeople. Lawson ends the book, in Ch 7, with a “Plea for More Spurgeons,” which is another way of saying that our generation needs more men like C.H. Spurgeon, who represented holiness, preaching, and evangelism at its finest. This is relevant in our days when pastors are very prone to resort to pragmaticism, ecumenicism, seeker-sensitive approaches, and a very-watered down approach to preaching, which are all unbiblical. The Gospel Focus may just be that tool to inspire a new generation of preachers to a new sense of commitment to the word and preaching with zeal.

Lawson’s book is a great book. Like I mentioned before, it is short, but powerful and effective. It is instructional. It is inspirational. It is even a dire warning to a new generation of teachers and pastors who are drifting away from what made preachers and their preaching effective in the past – holiness of character, passion in preaching, commitments to the Doctrines of grace, commitment to battle falsehood and heresy, and zeal for the lost. This is a book I would recommend to others, especially those going into ministry. 

Note: I received this book complimentary from Reformation Trust Publishing. I was not obligated to give a good review, but only my honest critique.