11 April 2010

Hold Your Banner High

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 Church As She Should Be," a sermon based on Song of Solomon 6:4, first published in 1871.



he church of Christ . . . desires not to be associated with other armies, or to be mistaken for them, for it is not of this world, and its weapons and its warfare are far other than those of the nations.

God forbid that followers of Jesus should be mistaken for political partisans or ambitious adventurers. The church unfurls her ensign to the breeze that all may know whose she is and whom she serves. This is of the utmost importance at this present, when crafty men are endeavoring to palm off their inventions.

Every Christian church should know what it believes, and publicly avow what it maintains. It is our duty to make a clear and distinct declaration of our principles, that our members may know to what intent they have come together, and that the world also may know what we mean. Far be it from us to join with the Broad Church cry, and furl the banners upon which our distinctive colors are displaced.

We hear on all sides great outcries against creeds. Are these clamours justifiable? It seems to me that when properly analysed most of the protests are not against creeds, but against truth, for every man who believes anything must have a creed, whether he write it down and print it or no; or if there be a man who believes nothing, or anything, or everything by turns, he is not a fit man to be set up as a model. Attacks are often made against creeds because they are a short, handy form by which the Christian mind gives expression to its belief, and those who hate creeds do so because they find them to be weapons as inconvenient, as bayonets in the hands of British soldiers have been to our enemies. They are weapons so destructive to theology that it protests against them. For this reason let us be slow to part with them. Let us day hold of God's truth with iron grip, and never let it go.

After all, there is a Protestantism still worth contending for; there is a Calvinism still worth proclaiming, and a gospel worth dying for. There is a Christianity distinctive and distinguished from Ritualism, Rationalism, and Legalism, and let us make it known that we believe in it. Up with your banners, soldiers of the cross! This is not the time to be frightened by the cries against conscientious convictions, which are nowadays nicknamed sectarianism and bigotry. Believe in your hearts what you profess to believe; proclaim openly and zealously what you know to be the truth. Be not ashamed to say such-and-such things are true, and let men draw the inference that the opposite is false.

Whatever the doctrines of the gospel may be to the rest of mankind, let them be your glory and boast. Display your banners, and let those banners be such as the church of old carried. Unfurl the old primitive standard, the all-victorious standard of the cross of Christ. In very deed and truth—in hoc signo vinces ["in this sign you will conquer"]—the atonement is the conquering truth. Let others believe as they may, or deny as they will, for you the truth as it is in Jesus is the one thing that has won your heart and made you a soldier of the cross.

C. H. Spurgeon


5 comments:

SamWise said...

"There is a Christianity distinctive and distinguished from Ritualism, Rationalism, and Legalism, and let us make it known that we believe in it."

These three plus Antinomianism pretty well describe the modern Evangelical church.

In the "Can't we all just get along," sophisticated, 21st Century American church independence is prised over submission to the Lord of Truth.

Anything "spiritual" whether it's "The Shack," Emergent, Looney Tunes, or whatever is equally accepted. If you resist these, then you become the "intolerant," politically incorrect bigot.

We too easily declare someone "saved" even if they are raving heretics. We require not even the most basic of doctrine in order not to offend.

This is contrary to the early church and some Global South Churches which require some kind of training before baptism.

Long gone is the spiritual heritage of the London Baptist Confession, the Westminster Confession, Hidelberg Confession, etc.

qizhi said...

tech note... there's a misplaced ampersand before ["in this sign you will conquer"] which ought to be moved after the closing bracket. it's killing the dash.

Phil Johnson said...

Thanks. I've fixed it now. Good eye.

candy said...

Amen and amen!

Stefan said...

"We hear on all sides great outcries against creeds. Are these clamours justifiable? It seems to me that when properly analysed most of the protests are not against creeds, but against truth...."

Regardless of the denomination, the old statements of faith (let's say, anything written up until about 100 years ago) are beutifully crafted extracts of biblical theology.

And yet so many churches and denominations today regard their heritage as not worth the paper it's printed on, free to be abandoned, ignored, reinterpreted, or rewritten. And why? It's not as if the truth from ages old has suddenly changed in the last century....