25 May 2008

A Testimony

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Christ's Past and Present Witnesses," a sermon preached Sunday Evening 7 March 1880 at the Met Tab.


   had not long been in the house, that morning when I found the Savior, before one who had been anxious about me, said, "There is a change come over my son;" and a delicate question was put, which soon drew out of me the confession that I had looked to Christ, and that I was lightened.

Why, they could all see in my face the evidence of the change that had been wrought; there was all the difference between bondage and liberty, or between despair and delight; and it was because I had been with Christ that I had, in a moment, leaped out of nature's darkness into his marvellous light.

So, now, whenever anybody says to me, "Your view of the atonement, you know, is very old-fashioned, the doctrine of substitution is quite out of date;" I am not at all shaken in my belief.

The gentlemen of the modern-thought school, who have been to Germany for their theology, do not like that glorious doctrine of substitution. They think that the atonement is a something or other, that in some way or other, somehow or other, has something or other to do with the salvation of men; but I tell them that their cloudy gospel might have surrounded me till my hair grew grey, but I should never have been any the better for it. I should never have found peace with God, nor come to love the Lord at all, if it had not been that I distinctly saw that he, who knew no sin, was made sin for me, that I might be made the righteousness of God in him.

When I realized that, although I had gone astray from God, and broken his righteous law, he had laid on Christ my iniquity, and punished him in my stead, my soul found rest at once; and, to this day, it cannot rest under any other explanation of the atonement of Christ. So I bear my own personal witness, and many of you can heartily join with me in bearing similar testimony. You have been with Christ, so you can speak of the power of his substitutionary sacrifice as begetting peace in your soul.
C. H. Spurgeon


18 comments:

Johnny Dialectic said...

Interesting, and entirely appropriate, that Spurgeon should look to a moment of experience as part of the ground of his assurance. I had exactly the same experience, and so do "heartily join with [him] in bearing similar testimony."

Robert N. Landrum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Riccardi said...

They think that the atonement is a something or other, that in some way or other, somehow or other, has something or other to do with the salvation of men.

Hah! I love it!

Stephen Garrett said...

Spurgeon knew when he was regenerated and born again. He knew it took place simultaneous with his coming to faith.

He was saved by a simple look of faith, what some call "easy believism."

God bless

Mike Riccardi said...

SG,

There's nothing in that blurb about Spurgeon saying he knew when he was regenerated. He says he knew when he "looked to faith," but regeneration only comes in because you put it there.

Also, you're hung up on temporal order when you should be worrying about logical order. I don't think there are periods of time where one is regenerated before coming to faith. But logically, one is given eyes to see, and then one sees. He does not see, and by virtue of his seeing gain his sight. One is made alive, and then responds. He does not respond, and then by virtue of his response gain his ability to respond. One is born, and then believes. He does not believe, and gain his ability to be born.

And frankly, I'm a little disturbed that that's what you pick out of this post.

Mike Riccardi said...

Just a clarification, as I re-read something that I wrote and realized it could be easily misunderstood.

I don't think there are periods of time where one is regenerated before coming to faith.

What I mean is, I don't think one is regenerated, and then becomes Saddleback Sam, just waiting for someone to push him over the edge to faith. I don't think there are regenerated, unsaved people walking around. So I think regeneration and faith are temporally simultaneous, but regeneration logically precedes faith.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Mike:

I am sorry that it disturbs you for me to say what Spurgeon himself often said about this experience in the Methodist chapel. He saw this as his look of faith and the time when he was regenerated. That is all I said. So, why are you so disturbed?

Do you deny that Spurgeon believed that it was scriptural to reverse the order and say to sinners "repent and live"?

You seem to think that faith and repentance are never put before life in the scriptures, when obviously it does in many places.

Do you believe the unsaved man has no eyes or that they are blind eyes that simply need to be healed and opened?

Did not Lazarus hear the voice of Christ before he came forth? Whose coming forth was it? Was this coming forth not a response to the voice of Christ? We cannot exclude his actual coming forth, i.e. his response, from what it means to be regenerated or born again.

Do you equate the terms regenerated and born again?

When sinners are told to "repent and be converted," is conversion here regeneration or not?

In Christ,

Stephen

Stephen Garrett said...

Mike,

Do you believe infants are "regenerated" in infancy? If so, is it without faith, repentance, and conversion?

Stephen

Stephen Garrett said...

Mike:

You seem to think I unjustly inserted the concept of regeneration into what Spurgoen said in the citation.

When he spoke of the “change” that had been “wrought” in him, was he not referring to his regeneration? When he said - “I had looked to Christ, and that I was lightened,” was he not referring to his regeneration? When he spoke of the “difference between bondage and liberty” and “between despair and delight,” was he not talking about his regeneration? When he speaks of having “been with Christ” and “in a moment, leaped out of nature's darkness into his marvellous light,” was he not referring to his regeneration? How then did I err?

Mike Riccardi said...

what Spurgeon himself often said

Care to document this?

Do you deny that Spurgeon believed that it was scriptural to reverse the order and say to sinners "repent and live"?

This is almost a technicality. I'm much more comfortable with "Repent and be saved." The only time "Repent and live" is used in the Bible it's in Ezekiel 18, in which "live" is used parallel to "be saved," as it's contrasted with the eternal death of the wicked. It's like saying, repent and don't die eternally. So, if Spurgeon means what you mean by "repent and live" (which, btw, it'd be nice for you to document as well), then I disagree. But he doesn't mean that. (You still have to show that he says that!) So he and I are cool.

You seem to think that faith and repentance are never put before life in the scriptures, when obviously it does in many places.

So many statements without evidence. Care to bring one up?

Do you believe the unsaved man has no eyes or that they are blind eyes that simply need to be healed and opened?

Depends on how you're using words. Does a man lying in a coffin at his funeral have eyes? I'd say so. They're still physically there. But it's foolish to say that all that's needed for him to see is that his eyes be healed and opened. He needs to be resurrected, or born again (regenerated) for his eyes to work.

Do you equate the terms regenerated and born again?

Yes.
Generate: come into being, to be born.
Re-: again.

Did not Lazarus hear the voice of Christ before he came forth? Was this coming forth not a response to the voice of Christ?

Dead men don't hear. If he heard Christ's voice, it was after he was able to hear; i.e., after he had life. His coming forth was indeed a response, something that is the consequence of being able to hear.

Whose coming forth was it?

It was Lazarus's. He was the one who actually got up and came out of the tomb. But he couldn't do that unless Jesus resurrected him.

We cannot exclude his actual coming forth, i.e. his response, from what it means to be regenerated or born again.

You're right, in the sense that one is the consequence of the other. You're wrong if you mean they're the same thing. He was resurrected, and then came forth. He was given life, and then started moving. Coming forth and moving is the evidence of resurrection and life, but is not life itself.

Do you believe infants are "regenerated" in infancy? If so, is it without faith, repentance, and conversion?

I'm not sure where I stand on the issue of whether infants who die go to heaven or not. With where I'm at in my study, I tend to lean towards the notion that they don't, as a result of judgment of our total depravity. But, given David's announcement, I'm open to the idea that they do. If they do go to heaven, then I would say it's not apart from regeneration and faith. People say that babies have no capacity to repent and believe. But to think that adults are any different is also silly.

As to your third consecutive post, you err simply by blurring the lines, and understanding things as temporal rather than logical.

Anyway, you've effectively made this post about you and your issues with regeneration in faith, as you have done in other posts, by making statements and not supporting them. Without a change there, I won't be commenting further.

Sharon said...

Stephen: Do you believe the unsaved man has no eyes or that they are blind eyes that simply need to be healed and opened?

Let's let Jesus Himself clarify:

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44)

A Musician by Grace

Robert N. Landrum said...

The atonement isn't out of date--they are! Post-modern versus old Calvary.

Frank Turk said...

Stephen Garrett:

If I can point you to resources in which Spurgeon talks about the ordo salutis, and he says something different than you have said here, will you admit you are wrong?

Frank Turk said...

All other readers:

Dan and I are in agreement that Stephen Garrett is simply trying to grind an axe here, and I'd appreciate it that, until I'm done 'splainin' to him his mistake, if you would withdraw or simply take a breather that would help immensely.

Thank you.

donsands said...

" ..so you can speak of the power of his substitutionary sacrifice as begetting peace in your soul."

Jesus drank every drop of His Father's cup. He left no sin to be paid for. And His righteousness is His blessed gift to us.

"And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.


Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow."

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Mike, Dan, Frank:

I left the proof you asked for in my baptistgadfly blog if you are interested.

I do not feel I was welcomed here and was treated with an unfriendly and unChristian like manner. My short comment did not deserve the rants it provoked.

You all ask me questions but then left me the impression that you would just soon I did not return.

So, this is why I answer them in my blog.

Thanks for the good Christian welcome. I do not expect to come back where I am not welcome.

In the love of Christ,

Stephen

www.baptistgadfly.blogspot.com

Frank Turk said...

{yawn}

Stephen -- So you wandered over here with the thought that nobody was going to object to your, um, interpretation of what SPurgeon was saying here? In spite of your previous interactions with Dan here at TeamPyro?

Yeah, that is very convincing.

If I can point you to resources in which Spurgeon talks about the ordo salutis, and he says something different than you have said here, will you admit you are wrong?

And will you in some way demonstrate how asking you if you will admit you are wrong is, as you say, "left the impression that we would just soon you did not return"?

Mike said...

Um, see that pix in the post? What's that, is that a telephone in the image? Gasp... ;)