03 March 2007

Against the "charity" of the infidel

With a wry remark about the doctrine of "justification by doubt"

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 comes from chapter 15 of The Soul Winner, a chapter titled "Encouragement to Soul-Winners."


here are some truths which must be believed; they are essential to salvation, and if not heartily accepted, the soul will be ruined.

Now, in [apostolic times], the saints did not say, as the sham saints do now, "We must be largely charitable, and leave this brother to his own opinion; he sees truth from a different standpoint, and has a rather different way of putting it, but his opinions are as good as our own, and we must not say that he is in error." That is at present the fashionable way of trifling with divine truth, and making things pleasant all round. Thus the gospel is debased, and "another gospel" propagated.

I should like to ask modern broad churchmen whether there is any doctrine of any sort for which it would be worth a man's while to burn or to lie in prison. I do not believe they could give me an answer, for if their latitudinarianism be correct, the martyrs were fools of the first magnitude.

From what I see of their writings and their teachings, it appears to me that the modern thinkers treat the whole compass of revealed truth with entire indifference; and, though perhaps they may feel sorry that wilder spirits should go too far in free thinking, and though they had rather they would be more moderate, yet, upon the whole, so large is their liberality that they are not sure enough of anything to be able to condemn the reverse of it as a deadly error. To them black and white are terms which may be applied to the same colour, as you view it from different standpoints. Yea and nay are equally true in their esteem. Their theology shifts like the Goodwin Sands, and they regard all firmness as so much bigotry. Errors and truths are equally comprehensible within the circle of their charity.

It was not in this way that the apostles regarded error. They did not prescribe large-hearted charity towards falsehood, or hold up the errorist as a man of deep thought, whose views were "refreshingly original"; far less did they utter some wicked nonsense about the probability of there living more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds. They did not believe in justification by doubting, as our neologians do; they set about the conversion of the erring brother; they treated him as a person who needed conversion; and viewed him as a man who, if he were not converted, would suffer the death of his soul, and be covered with a multitude of sins.

They were not such easygoing people as our cultured friends of the school of "modern thought", who have learned at last that the Deity of Christ may be denied, the work of the Holy Spirit ignored, the inspiration of Scripture rejected, the atonement disbelieved, and regeneration dispensed with, and yet the man who does all this may be as good a Christian as the most devout believer!

O God, deliver us from this deceitful infidelity, which, while it does damage to the erring man, and often prevents his being reclaimed, does yet more mischief to our own hearts by teaching us that truth is unimportant, and falsehood a trifle, and so destroys our allegiance to the God of truth, and makes us traitors instead of loyal subjects to the King of kings!
C. H. Spurgeon


6 comments:

The Clinging Vine said...

Amen, and amen, and AMEN!

amandajane said...

Unbelievable that he wrote that 150 (ish) years ago. Could have been written yesterday.

Sewing said...

Spurgeon wrote:

"They were not such easygoing people as our cultured friends of the school of "modern thought", who have learned at last that the Deity of Christ may be denied, the work of the Holy Spirit ignored, the inspiration of Scripture rejected, the atonement disbelieved, and regeneration dispensed with, and yet the man who does all this may be as good a Christian as the most devout believer!"

It's amazing that many of the same issues that vex modern religion today were already evidently well defined 150 years ago.

Phil Awtry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Doulos said...

"...or hold up the errorist as a man of deep thought, whose views were "refreshingly original""

Wow, this sounds like a direct rebuke to a many of the book reviews I've seen in CT and the like for works from McLaren, Miller, etc. Again, as the Preacher said, there is nothing new under the sun.

AndyB said...

Spurgeon is the man and praise God for him. If we deny truth, we deny Christ. No ifs, ands, or buts. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is only one Jesus Christ not many, He is the narrow way.
Thanks again for fighting for that one Truth, our one and only Jesus Christ. Glory be to God alone.