Charles Spurgeon’s The Soul Winner: How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour is a classic text on evangelism and a pillar of Reformed baptist literature. With approaching Holy Week services and outreach activities, Spurgeon’s words regarding evangelism and proclaiming the gospel should be carefully heeded. From chapter one we read the following:
“A sinner has a heart as well as a head; a sinner has emotions as well as thoughts; and we must appeal to both. A sinner will never be converted until his emotions are stirred.”
His point is that we are to walk equally on the legs of doctrinal purity as well as proper appeal to emotion. We are to compel sinners to come to Christ, but that emotional appeal can never be divorced from the doctrines of God’s grace and sovereignty and regenerating work of the Spirit. Likewise, if we are meticulous in our orthodoxy yet never make the emotional appeal necessary to drive a sinner’s heart to the cross, then we have done the gospel of Christ a disservice. Earlier in the chapter he says,
“A purely didactic ministry, which should always appeal to the understanding, and should leave the emotions untouched, would certainly be a limping ministry.”
As ministers of the gospel, we are to engage the heart and mind together and never divorce the two in our evangelism and church worship. And if you think that Spurgeon is advocating emotionalism and revivalism a la Charles Finney or Billy Sunday, he also says:
“Men need to be told that, except divine grace shall bring them out of their enmity to God, they must eternally perish; and they must be reminded of the sovereignty of God, that He is not obliged to bring them out of this state, that He would be right and just if He left them in such a condition, that they have no merit to plead before Him, and no claims upon Him, but that if they are to be saved, it must be by grace, and by grace alone.”
Again responding the revivalistic tendencies of the inheritors of the Second Great Awakening he states:
“Nor is soul-winning, dear friends, merely to create excitement. Excitement will accompany every great movement….Excitement is as incidental as the dust, but it is not or one moment to be aimed at….It very often happens that the converts that are born in excitement die when the excitement is over.”
We must carefully balance right doctrine and emotional appeals; both are necessary for proper evangelism and gospel preaching. Spurgeon says, “The best attraction is the gospel in its purity.” This thought echoes Paul’s word to the Corinthian church when he states,“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV). And as Easter Sunday draws near, may we remember Paul’s assertion when he says,“And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14 ESV). The hope of resurrection is the culmination of the good news message.
As we prepare for Holy Week services and outreach activities, may we heed the words of the Apostle Paul and Spurgeon and prayerfully trust in God’s sovereignty to convert souls while at the same time making the urgent appeal to come to Christ!
 Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Soul Winner: How to Lead Sinners to the Saviour (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), 26.
 Ibid., 25.
 Ibid., 24.
 Ibid., 19-20.
 Ibid., 24.