17 September 2006

Give Me Old Truth!

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. This excerpt is from "The Immutability of Christ," a sermon preached 3 January 1858, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.


     have heard it said that the way Luther preached would not suit this age. We are too polite! The style of preaching, they say, that did in John Bunyan's day, is not the style now. True, they honor these men; they are like the Pharisees; they build the sepulchers of the prophets that their fathers slew, and so they do confess that they are their father's own sons, and like their parents. And men that stand up to preach as those men did, with honest tongues, and know not how to use polished courtly phrases, are as much condemned now as those men were in their time; because, say they, the world is marching on, and the gospel must march on too.

No, sirs, the old gospel is the same; not one of her stakes must be removed, not one of her cords must be loosened. "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." Theology hath nothing new in it except that which is false. The preaching of Paul must be the preaching of the minister to-day. There is no advancement here. We may advance in our knowledge of it; but it stands the same, for this good reason, that it is perfect, and perfection can not be any better.

The old truth that Calvin preached, that Chrysostom preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be a liar to my conscience and my God. I can not shape the truth. I know of no such thing as the paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again. The great mass of our ministers are sound enough in the faith, but not sound enough in the way they preach it.

Election is not mentioned once in the year in many a pulpit; final perseverance is kept back; the great things of God's law are forgotten, and a kind of mongrel mixture of Arminianism and Calvinism is the delight of the present age. And hence the Lord hath forsaken many of his tabernacles and left the house of his covenant; and he will leave it till again the trumpet gives a certain sound. For wherever there is not the old gospel we shall find "Ichabod" written upon the church walls ere long.

The old truth of the Covenanters, the old truth of the Puritans, the old truth of the Apostles, is the only truth that will stand the test of time, and never need to be altered to suit a wicked and ungodly generation. Christ Jesus preaches to-day the same as when he preached upon the mount; he hath not changed his doctrines; men may ridicule and laugh, but still they stand the same—semper idem written upon every one of them. They shall not be removed or altered.

C. H. Spurgeon


15 comments:

Albert said...

Spurgeon has a way of being so nineteenth century and yet so modern all at the same time! Great post!

By the way, great job on the Pulpit Magazine site. The redesign looks awesome.

There's just too many good blogs on the web these days to keep up with it all. But it's a good problem to have.

goodnightsafehome said...

A great excerpt for a Monday morning! I'm heading for the local University this afternoon to try and evangelise. Not the happiest of hunting grounds - the spiritual darkness is almost tangible. It makes a great difference though, when we remember the "Let God be God" and take care of His own word.

DJP said...

...a kind of mongrel mixture of Arminianism and Calvinism is the delight of the present age

I'm listening to S. Lewis Johnson's lectures, and he just mentioned in passing that most people who call themselves "four-point Calvinists" aren't Calvinists at all. Ask them about free will, he says, and the truth comes out. He guesses they call themselves "four-point Calvinists" because they believe in some idea of eternal security -- though it makes no sense in their system, given their notions of free will.

donsands said...

"That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again."

And America again as well.

"Preach the Word; be ready in season, and out of season" 2 Tim. 4:2

"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be of no effect." 1 Cor. 1:17

The gospel is the power. Amen.

Thanks for this good post from the prince of preachers.

Jabbok said...

"The great mass of our ministers are sound enough in the faith, but not sound enough in the way they preach it."

This is an amazing truth. Ministers can take a passage that clearly gives them opportunity to expound on great doctrines of the faith and turn it into a psychological discourse that focuses on how we might improve ourselves.
I'm so tired of hearing about myself and what I must do to usurp the Lord's Sovereignty.

REM said...

Grand post.

...with honest tongues, and know not how to use polished courtly phrases, are as much condemned now as those men were in their time...

Now, how I not allow an anti-intellectual to grab Spurgeon's words here and wreak havoc, seeing that men now honor him like Pharisees did the prophets of old?

BTW: Don't drop where I am right now.

REM said...

Sorry, but that would be how do I not, not how I not. Sounding pretty anti-intellectual myself! :)

JSB said...

Norm Geisler is a 1 point Calvinist (P) or 4 point Arminian. Mongrel?

donsands said...

My last pastor, who has moved on said he was a 3 pointer. The "T" the "I" and the "P".

We discussed the "I" a little.

His thought was that God does open our hearts with His irresistible grace, but after He does this, and speaks to us as it were the gospel, we still have to respond.

I said then that irresistible is resistable. We disussed it some more, and it was good. He had a very gentle spirit, and it was good to discuss Scripture with him.

Election will forever be debated because it's not fair. I believe this is what's at the root of the argument, and always will be.
God's not fair if He elects.

Hope that's not too far off subject.

Kim said...

I do like that last paragraph especially.

Jim Crigler said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jim Crigler said...

Especially poignant:

For wherever there is not the old gospel we shall find "Ichabod" written upon the church walls ere long.

The glory departed, indeed. Also this one:

[...] and a kind of mongrel mixture of Arminianism and Calvinism is the delight of the present age.

In this latter, "mongrel" is far too polite a term.

Re: Dan's comment: S. Lewis Johnson [... ] mentioned in passing that most people who call themselves "four-point Calvinists" aren't Calvinists at all.

I once heard RC Sproul say that everyone he had ever met who called himself a four pointer was really a zero pointer, except one who was a five pointer and didn't know it because he had the definition wrong of one of the points (which ISTR was "L").

BugBlaster said...

donsands,
You're right, election is not fair. Fairness would be everyone reaping the wages for sin. Eternal death and punishment for everyone would be fair.

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

I'd like to thank both Phil and Mr. Spurgeon for plugging my blog like this. Wait a minute . . . how did Spurgeon know what a 'blog' was? :-)

Back to the issue of "4 point Calvinists" (assuming that the odd point out is the 'L'), here's what doesn't make sense to me:

If God has elected an exact number for salvation (ie: the "U" in the tulip) does it not make sense that He has atoned for that exact number? So in other words, the people in the "U" group should be the exact same folks as those in the "L" group. Those two things would seem to run parallel.

James White has an excellent treatment of "L" (limited atonement) on his aomin.org site entitled "Was Anyone Saved at The Cross?". What does it mean to "pay for" someone(?)

Phil Johnson said...

Jim:

Yup. I actually thought of you and your blog when I made that post.