Should We Preach Doctrine in Evangelism?
And, do not believe, dear friends, that when you go into revival meetings, or special evangelistic services, you are to leave out the doctrines of the gospel; for you ought then to proclaim the doctrines of grace rather more than less. Teach gospel doctrines clearly, affectionately, simply, and plainly, and especially those truths which have a present and practical bearing upon man's condition and God's grace. Dome enthusiasts would seem have imbibed the notion that, as soon as a minister addresses the unconverted, he should deliberately contradict his usual doctrinal discourses, because it is supposed that there will be no conversions if he preaches the whole counsel of God. It just comes to this, brethren, it is supposed that we are to conceal truth, and utter a half-falsehood, in order to save souls. We are to speak the truth to God's people, because they will not hear anything else; but we are to wheedle sinners into faith by exaggerating one part of the truth, and hiding the rest until a more convenient season. This is a strange theory, and many endorse it. According to them, we may preach the redemption of a chosen number to God's people, but universal redemption must be our doctrine when we preach to the outside world; We are to tell believers that salvation is all by grace, but sinners are to spoken with as if they were to save themselves; we are to inform Christians that God the Holy Spirit alone can convert, but when we talk with the unsaved, the Holy Ghost is scarcely to be named. We have not so learned Christ. Thus others have done; let them be our beacons, and not our examples. He who sent us to win souls neither permits us to invent falsehoods, nor to suppress truth. His work can be done without such suspicious methods.
Perhaps some of you will reply, "But, still, God has blessed half-statements and wild assertions." Be not quite so sure. I venture to assert that God does not bless falsehood; He may bless the truth which is mixed with error; but much more blessing would have come if the preaching had been more in accordance with His Word. I cannot admit that the Lord blesses evangelistic Jesuitism, and the suppression of truth is not too harshly named when I so describe it. The withholding of the doctrine of the total depravity has wrought serious mischief to many who listened to a certain kind of preaching. These people do not get a true healing because they do not know the disease under they are suffering; they are never truly clothed because nothing is done towards stripping them. In many ministries there is not enough of probing the heart and arousing the conscience by the revelation of man's alienation from God, and by the declaration of the selfishness and the wickedness of such a state. 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, but that if they are to be saved, it must be by grace, and by grace alone. The preacher's work is throw sinners down in utter helplessness, that they may be compelled to look up to Him who alone can help them.
To try to win a soul to Christ by keeping that soul in ignorance of any truth, is contrary to the mind of the Spirit; and to endeavor to save men by mere claptrap, or excitement, or oratorical display, is as foolish as to hope to hold an angel with bird-line, or lure a star with music. The best attraction is the gospel in its purity. The weapon with which the Lord conquers men is the truth as it is in Jesus. The gospel will be found equal to every emergency; an arrow can pierce the hardest heart, a balm which will heal the deadliest wound. Preach it, and preach nothing else. Rely implicitly upon the old, old gospel. You need no other nets when you fish for men; those your Master has given you are strong enough for the great fishes, and have meshes fine enough to hold the little ones. Spread those nets and no others, and you need not fear the fulfilment of His Word, "I will make you fishers of men."
From: The Soul Winner, by C.H. Spurgeon