06 July 2008

On the Thirst for New Perspectives, Pathological Paradigm-Shifting, and Such

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 "The Hold Fast," A sermon originally preached 9 June 1878 at the Met Tab, London.

here is and always has been a great desire for novelty. We are all the subjects of it: we all like something fresh.

But there are some who are sick with the changeable disease; you see them zealots for a creed today, but all of a sudden you find them deeply immersed in the opposite teaching. Ah, now they have found out something very wonderful: just as the idiot who saw the rainbow, and believed that there was a jewel at the foot of it, ran for miles to seize a glittering sapphire and grasped a piece of glass bottle; so do they forever pursue and never attain.

We have a few of these gentlemen in most of our churches, but you will find them nowhere long. Another inventor starts a new system, and away they go, pining always to be the first disciples of each new prophet. May God save us from the Athenian spirit, which for ever hungers for something new.
C. H. Spurgeon


The Spokesman said...

We read in the Bible that there is a coming disdain for sound doctrine - "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

This disdain for sound doctrine is seen in the Postmodern Movements of our day. There is a love for "the new way", "the better way", and "the latest trends." The sufficiency of Scripture as the only reliable guide and blueprint for ministry is being replaced with the sufficiency of "man's best thinking" and his newer and better way of doing things than God's antiquated and outdated method of ministry.

Theology is being replaced by neology and today's postmodern man is actually a sad reflection of "premodern" man - "Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new" (Acts 17:21).

Here is a clip from a sermon entitled When Religion Encounters Worship by Jeff Lyle that perfectly describes those rejecting theology and opting instead for neology. It is only 1:20 (one minute and twenty seconds) in length and is well worth the listen.

Spurgeon:May God save us from the Athenian spirit, which for ever hungers for something new.

donsands said...

The Gospel always quenches a thirsty heart that has been broken. There's nothing in the Good News of Christ that could ever become sour, dry, or stale. The Gospel is always sweet, and refreshing to a regenerated soul.

"Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good:
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" Psalm 34:8

"You have asked me for a "Story
Of unseen things above;—
Of Jesus and His glory,
Of Jesus and His love."

You want "the old, old Story,"
And nothing else will do!
Indeed I do not wonder,
It always seems so new!"- A. Ka­ther­ine Hank­ey,

Dorian said...

On completely unrelated note: I came across a "curiously familiar" graphic on a random blog the other day.....

Dorian said...

oops, here's the link: http://web.mac.com/timspong/Theology_Spong/33_Words/33_Words.html

CJD said...

Creeds and confessions aside, what about the constant fluctuations in the natural sciences? How do we (the average parishioner) not succumb to taking for granted what the experts tell us everyday (and who apparently contradict themselves from one day to the next)?

In a world of "experts," how do we protect ourselves without becoming ignorant in the process?

Gilbert said...


As a scientist/meteorologist, I can say that whenever we "find" something new that has always been, I run it through Scripture. Is climate change what we need to be saved from, or is it our sin?
Is killing of pre-infants in the name of improving the health and longetivity of people already living in line with the Word of God? I am certainly not saying science isn't useful; of course it is and it has been re-confirming God's design all along, and there are Christian scientists, of course! I am, however, saying that when you hear of something new or great, remember what is changing and what is not. If one thing is said one day and the next day it changes, as you put it, that obviously is a major red flag.

Rick Frueh said...

"If it's new it's not true."

Brother Roloff

DJP said...

Well, at least Spurgeon's idiot got "a piece of glass bottle."

That's more than some of today's idiots get.

Stephen said...

CJD asks: "In a world of 'experts,' how do we protect ourselves without becoming ignorant in the process?"

A reliable spiritual guide will always demonstrate him/herself as a servant-thinker. IOW, they will suppress the urge to operate via the principle of human autonomy, and will consistently put forth ideas, thoughts, and concepts in subordination to revelation.

This very unpopular modus operandi is the benchmark of reliability, and should be received with joy as one of the gifts of human instrumentality that Christ has given His church. I believe Team Pyro falls under this heading and we thank God for them.

As Gilbert stated, running everything through Scripture is the only way to detect true red flags!

Anonymous said...

Spurgeon echoes Paul's great warning words to Timothy:

"...always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." (2 Timothy 3:7)

Unfortunately, this attitude is rampant in evangelicalism today. And it expresses itself in the chasing after every new fad and gimmick. Lord save us from our fascination with novelty and newness. And let us embrace the Truth that is ancient, eternal and unchanging.

Eek said...


I don;t think I'm straying too far off topic hear, but... speaking of sound doctrine and being grounded in the sufficiency of Gods Word... I see that Amazon is "pre-selling" 2 new books from Pastor MacArthur that seemed aimed in the direction of grounding disciples in the fundamentals:

"Fundamentals of the Faith"

"A Simple Christianity"

As Pastor MacArthur's editor would you be willing to comment a little on each of these books? They sound excellent so I already pre-ordered both but I would love to know more about them, perhaps an index of chapter titles?