28 August 2006

Spurgeon on the Maladies of Our His Time

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote space at the beginning of each week to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive.

The following excerpt is from "Another Word Concerning the Down-Grade," which was the first blast of
Spurgeon's trumpet in the infamous "Down-Grade Controversy." This article appeared in the August 1887 Sword and Trowel.


he case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith. . . .

The places which the gospel filled the new nonsense has emptied, and will keep empty.

This fact will have little influence with "the cultured"; for, as a rule, they have cultivated a fine development of conceit. "Yes," said one, whose pews held only here and there a worshipper, "it will always be found that in proportion as the preacher's mind enlarges, his congregation diminishes."

These destroyers of our churches appear to be as content with their work as monkeys with their mischief. That which their fathers would have lamented they rejoice in: the alienation of the poor and simple-minded from their ministry they accept as a compliment, and the grief of the spiritually-minded they regard as an evidence of their power. . . .

A little plain-speaking would do a world of good just now. These gentlemen desire to be let alone. They want no noise raised. Of course thieves hate watch-dogs, and love darkness. It is time that somebody should spring his rattle, and call attention to the way in which God is being robbed of his glory, and man of his hope.

It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the faith once delivered to the saints should fraternize with those who have turned aside to another gospel. Christian love has its claims, and divisions are to be shunned as grievous evils; but how far are we justified in being in confederacy with those who are departing from the truth? It is a difficult question to answer so as to keep the balance of the duties.

For the present it behoves believers to be cautious, lest they lend their support and countenance to the betrayers of the Lord. It is one thing to overleap all boundaries of denominational restriction for the truth's sake: this we hope all godly men will do more and more. It is quite another policy which would urge us to subordinate the maintenance of truth to denominational prosperity and unity.

Numbers of easy-minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by a clever man and a good-natured brother, who has so many fine points about him. Let each believer judge for himself; but, for our part, we have put on a few fresh bolts to our door, and we have given orders to keep the chain up; for, under color of begging the friendship of the servant, there are those about who aim at robbing THE MASTER.
C. H. Spurgeon


14 comments:

Steve said...

Once again, Spurgeon is stunningly accurate for our day.

I was particularly struck by his words, "Numbers of easy-minded people wink at error so long as it is committed by a clever man and a good-natured brother, who has so many fine points about him."

Benjamin Oetken said...

Just as the words Spurgeon spoke rang true in his time so they ring true in our time. As we live in an age where the truth and the true gospel has been exchanged for watered down milk and the prosperity gospel and where those who are passionate about the Word of God are looked upon as overly serious and out of touch with the new "hip" culture. May our hearts never move from the truth of the Word of God and may we not become those that Spurgeon speaks of but become more passionate each day regardless of the cost or the persecution.

Taliesin said...

The places which the gospel filled the new nonsense has emptied, and will keep empty.

This reminded me of something written in an Op-Ed piece for the LA Times:

When your religion says "whatever" on doctrinal matters, regards Jesus as just another wise teacher, refuses on principle to evangelize and lets you do pretty much what you want, it's a short step to deciding that one of the things you don't want to do is get up on Sunday morning and go to church.

The church lives by the grace of God through the preaching of the gospel. When we don't preach a Biblical gospel, our pews will empty.

Kim said...

As always, with Spurgeon, I am amazed at how applicable his words are for us today.

donsands said...

"our pews will empty"

I agree. And then there is the filling up of churches such as Fred Price's. Where people are having their ears tickled.

One thing for sure about preaching the whole truth of God's Word is that He will be pleased. That's even if the congregation is a mere handfull of God's people. And those people will be growing spiritually strong and mature, though it may be small in number.

We need to be faithful to the Bible. Difficult in our culture and age.

I really appreciate this blog for doing just that. Being steadfast and loyal to the Holy Scriptures.
Thank you.

Chip said...

I never cease to be amazed at Spurgeon's writing nor have I ever failed to be impressed with his handling of God's Word. God used him in a mighty way to minister in his own day ... and in ours.

Martin Downes said...

"THE character of the times in which we live is such as to call forth from us even this admonition, that we ought not to be astonished at the heresies (which abound) neither ought their existence to surprise us, for it was foretold that they should come to pass; nor the fact that they subvert the faith of some, for their final cause is, by affording a trial to faith, to give it also the opportunity of being "approved."

So said Tertullian (and man he didn't end too well). The rise of false teachers in the church is surely a problem in every generation. And every generation that had faithful men who cared enough for the church to combat error has left a legacy to teach us today.

northWord said...

I thought it was about time, as a lurker for awhile now, that I told you guys what a truly edifying pleasure it's been to come in here and check out the daily posts. I don't often read blogs, and havn't recently keep up with any, except for this one, now.
Thank you also for introducing me to Charles Spurgeon, what an incredibley insightful man he was. That is of course a huge understatement.
Thats all, I'll continue to read, and learn.

God Bless ~
Suz

Jabbok said...

"The case is mournful."

I feel Mr. Spurgeons frustration. Services yesterday were filled with applause and the rattle of tamborines but little power from the Word of God and I am exhausted with it. But where to go? The neighbor churches down the street perform worse in an effort to keep up with us.

Taliesin said...

[I looked, and I don't think this breaks any rules; I did add add a segue to try to be on topic.]

It is time that somebody should spring his rattle, and call attention to the way in which God is being robbed of his glory.

In my opinion, one of the primary ways the modern church robs God of His glory is by downplaying (and even downgrading) the doctrine of the Trinity. I'm always encouraged when I hear or read about materials focused on this doctrine. So, I was very pleased to read this post over at the Founder's website about an upcoming conference (http://www.gbcb.org/), where Phil Johnson will be one of the featured speakers. Like Tom Ascol, I may be unable to go to the conference itself, but look forward to hearing the messages.

reglerjoe said...

Good stuff.

Jabbok said:
"Services yesterday were filled with applause and the rattle of tamborines but little power from the Word of God and I am exhausted with it. But where to go? The neighbor churches down the street perform worse in an effort to keep up with us."

What a truly heart-breaking statement. I will pray for you, Jabbok, that God will raise up a good church in your area.

Pecadillo said...

Here's where I am right now...

I'm working the front desk of my Police Station at 4:45 AM. There's only 2 or 3 people who'll actually care so whatever.

Steve Blackwelder said...

It's right to confront intellectualism that is not submitted to God. It's wrong to paint everything that isn't marching in lockstep with one's own system and formula as intellectualism that is not submitted to God. Ridiculing the people you disagree with is not "testing the spirits," it's bad behavior. If I march in lockstep with a system and a formula, I am not acting in love, I am participating in idolatry and tyranny. I see too much system and formula on this blog. Marching in lockstep with God (the Trinity, a mysterious system), as God moves, while I stay true to God's revealed will in the canon of Scripture (which is simple in statement and subtle in application) and stay accountable to my brothers and sisters in the church (church discipline is a system I submit to), is Christian discipleship, and it's a whole lot harder to discern God's day-to-day steps than to be content with shouting assent to a system and a formula. The idolatry of systems and formulae in "correct" churches drove many people I love and care for away from Jesus. Those people are in danger of dying apart from Jesus.

derek said...

I'm a little confused. A few weeks back, there was a post here of Charles Spurgeon expounding upon the "My Grace Is Sufficient For Thee" passage. He concluded by saying, "Let he who, like the bee, can extract honey from flowers linger here drinking in unutterable content." That may not be an exact quote, but I was floored by his use of the phrase "unutterable content" as it seems to describe a contemplative approach to scripture-reading. Now, Spurgeon is denouncing the "Down-Grade"; whose "teachers" are scattering doubt and stabbing at faith. He refers to them as monkeys and thieves and all kinds of other insulting terms.

My question is this: (and I'm not sure if the malady of our time being referred to is the emergent church or the TBN crowd or both) isn't the call to drink in unutterable content from the scriptures actually a call to contemplative spirituality? Forgive me if this subject is out of order in this thread, but if the modern malady being referred to is the emergent church and it's contemplative faith, I'm wondering why Spurgeon (or Spurgeon-readers) would denounce someone who drinks in unutterable content from the scriptures? I'm just thinking the Reformed faith and the Emergent Church aren't really as opposite as it has been suggested here; and perhaps most of the disagreement is a matter of semantics.