Preaching Condemnation or Christ?

by Frank Jones


The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. (John 12:21)

I have quoted, at length, a section from Charles H. Spurgeon on preaching. What is stated is applicable not only for the pulpit ministry but unto every believer as they confess the glories of the salvation of Jesus Christ. Let us listen, meditate, and learn from those who have gone before us; considering and following their faith (Hebrews 13:7).

Enthusiastic divines have thought that men were to be brought to virtue by the hissings of the boiling cauldron; they have imagined that, by beating a hell-drum in the ears of men, they should make them believe the gospel; that, by the terrific sights and sounds of Sinai's mountain, they should drive men to Calvary. They have preached perpetually. 'Do this, and thou art damned.' In their preaching, there preponderates a voice horrible and terrifying; if you listened to them, you might think you sat near the mouth of the pit, and heard the 'dismal groans and sullen moans,' and all the shrieks of the tortured ones in perdition. Men think that by these means sinners will be brought to the Saviour. They, however, in my opinion, think wrongly: men are frightened into hell, but not into Heaven. Men are sometimes driven to Sinai by powerful preaching. Far be it from us to condemn the use of the law, for 'the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ;' but if you want to get a man to Christ, the best way is to bring Christ to the man. It is not by preaching law and terrors that men are made to love God.

" 'Law and terrors do but harden, 

All the while they work alone;

But a sense of blood-bought pardon,

Soon dissolves a heart of stone.'

I sometimes preach 'the terror of the Lord,' as Paul did when he said, 'Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;' but I do it as did the apostle, to bring them to a sense of their sins. The way to bring men to Jesus, to give them peace, to give them joy, to give them salvation through Christ, is, by God the Spirit's assistance, to preach Christ, -- to preach a full, free, perfect pardon. Oh, how little there is of preaching Jesus Christ! We do not preach enough about His glorious Name. Some preach dry doctrines; but there is not the unction of the Holy One revealing the fulness and preciousness of the Lord Jesus. There is plenty of 'Do this, and live,' but not enough of 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' (C. H. Spurgeon, Autobiography, Vol. 2, 54).