15 November 2008

The Danger of Perpetual Uncertainty

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 "On Laying Foundations", a sermon delivered on Sunday morning, January 21st, 1883, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.


eware of a religion without holdfasts. But if I get a grip upon a doctrine they call me a bigot. Let them do so. Bigotry is a hateful thing, and yet that which is now abused as bigotry is a great virtue, and greatly needed in these frivolous times. I have been inclined lately to start a new denomination, and call it "the Church of the Bigoted."

Everybody is getting to be so oily, so plastic, so untrue, that we need a race of hardshells to teach us how to believe. Those old-fashioned people who in former ages believed something and thought the opposite of it to be false, were truer folk, than the present timeservers.

I should like to ask the divines of the broad school whether any doctrine is worth a man's dying for it. They would have to reply, "Well, of course, if a man had to go to the stake or change his opinions, the proper way would be to state them with much diffidence, and to be extremely respectful to the opposite school."

But suppose he is required to deny the truth?

"Well, there is much to be said on each side, and probably the negative may have a measure of truth in it as well as the positive. At any rate, it cannot be a prudent thing to incur the odium of being burned, and so it might be preferable to leave the matter an open question for the time being."

Yes, and as these gentlemen always find it unpleasant to be unpopular, they soften down the hard threatenings of Scripture as to the world to come, and put a color upon every doctrine to which worldly-wise men object.

The teachers of doubt are very doubtful teachers. A man must have something to hold to, or he will neither bless himself nor others.

Bring all the ships into the pool; but do not moor or anchor one of them; let each one be free! Wait you for a stormy night, and they will dash against each other, and great mischief will come of this freedom. Perfect love and charity will not come through our being all unmoored, but by each having his proper moorings and keeping to them in the name of God. You must have something to hold to.
C. H. Spurgeon


16 comments:

James David Beebe, Jr. said...

I've long thought it one of the enemy's most aggravating tactics to change the meaning of words. "Race," for example. Maybe it's good in a way that we don't speak the languages the Bible was written in, because the meanings of those old Greek and Hebrew words can be held (moored) in good dictionaries, and not be confused by the ebbs and flows of changing cultures.

DJP said...

What an interesting thought, James' Hadn't thought of it that way. (Though Greek is still in use, and you can see some mod-Greekers making that transference-mistake.)

Joe Cassada said...

Excellent! Reminds me of 2 Tim. 3:7: "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

atruefaith.com said...

James you're right. The meanings of words have been obliterated and obscured for the sake of advancing one's "personal journey." The thinking is this...If absolutes cannot even be described, how can we then expect them to held? Of course, that's not true operationally, as absolutes are always the first thing we cling to when the storms of life strike us. But for many, truth is just a play thing to be bent for the absolute certainty of "I am my own god."

Brad

Mike Riccardi said...

The teachers of doubt are very doubtful teachers.

I like that. There's beauty in such precision and simplicity.

Becky, a slave of Christ said...

"Well, there is much to be said on each side..."

Tell that to the martyrs of old and today.

There is a Christian country song that has the line, "You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything."

Thanks for standing for truth in a fallen world, Pyromaniacs.

BJ Irvin said...

So the Emergents aren't so new after all!

Marcian said...

"The Church of the Bigoted"

Are they accepting new members?

Gilbert said...

Speaking of uncertain...Phil, you OK with all of the fires out there?

(Sorry for the thread hijack, I plead compassion.)

hammer185 said...

For the sake of clarity on 2 Tim 3:7 - This verse is a continuation of a description of men in the last days who are separated from Christ and hence never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

This is not a verse that supports the idea that Christians who are in the truth always search for it and never come to it.

dac said...

Of course the demand for perfect, or complete certainity is no less of a problem

DJP said...

As you phrase it, no it isn't.

Anita Hensley said...

"When principles that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.” Kuyper

NothingNewUnderTheSun said...

Spurgeon:"Everybody is getting to be so oily, so plastic, so untrue, that we need a race of hardshells to teach us how to believe. Those old-fashioned people who in former ages believed something and thought the opposite of it to be false, were truer folk, than the present timeservers."


I love that quote so much i just posted it on my blog as the "quote of the day". Imagine what Spurgeon would think of the timeservers of today.

Thanks Phil for finding those gems.

Carl said...

As that great philosopher Jimmy Buffett once said: "Indecision may or may not be my problem." :-)

Joe Cassada said...

Hammer185,

I'm going to assume your comment was directed towards mine. You said:

"For the sake of clarity on 2 Tim 3:7 - This verse is a continuation of a description of men in the last days who are separated from Christ and hence never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

Actually, I believe it is a continuation of the women mentioned in verse 6 who are led astray by the false teachers that Paul describes in verses 1-5. They are never able to come to a knowledge of the truth because they are always chasing some new or fanciful doctrine/religion.

And sometimes descriptions often reserved for unbelievers can be used to describe disobedient Christians. But, no, you are correct in that the verse I mentioned does not directly apply to Christians who refuse to anchor themselves to truth in the name of charity...I guess.

Perhaps that's why I said that Spurgeon's words reminded, me of this verse.

But, anyways, thanks for the clarity.