posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "A Gospel Worth Dying For," a sermon preached on Sunday Morning, 12 August 1883 at Exeter Hall in London.
e have gospels nowadays which I would not die for, nor recommend anyone of you to live for, inasmuch as they are gospels that will be snuffed out within a few years. It is never worthwhile to die for a doctrine which will itself die out.
I have lived long enough to see half-a-dozen new gospels rise, flourish, and decay. They told me long ago that my old Calvinistic doctrine was far behind the age, and was an exploded thing; and next I heard that evangelical teaching in any form was a thing of the past, to be supplanted by "advanced thought."
I have heard of one improvement upon the old faith and then of another; and the philosophical divines are still improving their theology. They have gone on advancing and advancing, till heaven knows and perhaps hell knows what next they will advance to; but I am sure I do not.
I would not die for any one of all the modern systems. I should like to ask broad church divines whether there is any positive doctrine in the Bible at all; and whether any form of teaching could for a moment be judged worth dying for; and whether the martyrs were not great fools to die for truths which might be valuable to them, but which the advance of thought has cast into disuse. Those men and women who went to Smithfield and were burnt quick to the death for Christ, were they not fools every one of them to die for a set of ideas which "modern thought" has quite exploded?
I do verily think that to our modern divines there is no such thing as fixed truth, or that, if there be, they are not sure of having yet reached it. They have digged, and digged, and digged: look at the dark pits of unbelief, which they have opened; but they have not come to the rock yet. Wait a little longer; they may one of these days find out something solid; but as yet they have only bored through layers of sand.
Yet there used to be a gospel in the world which consisted of facts which Christians never questioned. There was once in the church a gospel which believers hugged to their hearts as if it were their soul's life. There used to be a gospel in the world, which provoked enthusiasm and commanded sacrifice. Tens of thousands have met together to hear this gospel at peril of their lives. Men, to the teeth of tyrants, have proclaimed it, and have suffered the loss of all things, and gone to prison and to death for it, singing psalms all the while.
Is there not such a gospel remaining? Or are we arrived at cloudland, where souls starve on suppositions, and become incapable of confidence or ardor? Are the disciples of Jesus now to be fed upon the froth of "thought" and the wind of imagination, whereon men become heady and high-minded? Nay, rather, will we not return to the substantial meat of infallible revelation, and cry to the Holy Ghost to feed us upon his own inspired word?