11 March 2012

The Sufficiency of Scripture

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 Greatest Fight in the World," Spurgeon's final manifesto.

e need nothing more than God has seen fit to reveal. Certain errant spirits are never at home till they are abroad: they crave for a something which I think they will never find, either in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth, so long as they are in their present mind. They never rest, for they will have nothing to do with an infallible revelation; and hence they are doomed to wander throughout time and eternity, and find no abiding city. For the moment they glory as if they were satisfied with their last new toy; but in a few months it is sport to them to break in pieces all the notions which they formerly prepared with care, and paraded with delight. They go up a hill only to come down again. Indeed, they say that the pursuit of truth is better than truth itself. They like fishing better than the fish; which may very well be true, since their fish are very small, and very full of bones.

These men are as great at destroying their own theories as certain paupers are at tearing up their clothes. They begin again de novo, times without number: their house is always having its foundation digged out.

They should be good at beginnings; for they have always been beginning since we have known them. They are as the rolling thing before the whirlwind, or "like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." Although their cloud is not that cloud which betokened the divine presence, yet it is always moving before them, and their tents are scarcely pitched before it is time for the stakes to be pulled up again.

These men are not even seeking certainty; their heaven lies in shunning all fixed truth, and following every will-o'-the-wisp of speculation: they are ever learning, but they never come to the knowledge of the truth.

As for us, we cast anchor in the haven of the Word of God. Here is our peace, our strength, our life, our motive, our hope, our happiness. God's Word is our ultimatum. Here we have it. Our understanding cries, "I have found it"; our conscience asserts that here is the truth; and our heart finds here a support to which all her affections can cling; and hence we rest content.

If the revelation of God were not enough for our faith, what could we add to it? Who can answer this question? What would any man propose to add to the sacred Word? A moment's thought would lead us to scout with derision the most attractive words of men, if it were proposed to add them to the Word of God. The fabric would not be of a piece. Would you add rags to a royal vestment? Would you pile the filth of the streets in a king's treasury? Would you join the pebbles of the sea-shore to the diamonds of Golconda?

Anything more than the Word of God sets before us, for us to believe and to preach as the life of men, seems utterly absurd to us; yet we confront a generation of men who are always wanting to discover a new motive power, and a new gospel for their churches. The coverlet of their bed does not seem to be long enough, and they would fain borrow a yard or two of linsey-woolsey from the Unitarian, the Agnostic, or even the Atheist. Well; if there be any spiritual force or heavenward power to be found beyond that reported of in this Book, I think we can do without it: indeed, it must be such a sham that we are better without it.

The Scriptures in their own sphere are like God in the universe—All-sufficient. In them is revealed all the light and power the mind of man can need in spiritual things. We hear of other motive power beyond that which lies in the Scriptures, but we believe such a force to be a pretentious nothing. A train is off the lines, or otherwise unable to proceed, and a break-down gang has arrived. Engines are brought to move the great impediment. At first there seems to be no stir: the engine power is not enough. Harken! A small boy has it. He cries, "Father, if they have not power enough, I will lend them my rocking-horse to help them."

We have had the offer of a considerable number of rocking-horses of late. They have not accomplished much that I can see, but they promised fair. I fear their effect has been for evil rather than good: they have moved the people to derision, and have driven them out of the places of worship which once they were glad to crowd. The new toys have been exhibited, and the people, after seeing them for a little, have moved on to other toy-shops. These fine new nothings have done no good, and they never will do any good while the world standeth.

The Word of God is quite sufficient to interest and bless the souls of men throughout all time; but novelties soon fail.

"Surely," cries one, "we must add our own thoughts thereto."

My brother, think by all means; but the thoughts of God are better than yours. You may shed fine thoughts, as trees in autumn cast their leaves; but there is One who knows more about your thoughts than you do, and he thinks little of them.

Is it not written, "The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity"? To liken our thoughts to the great thoughts of God, would be a gross absurdity. Would you bring your candle to show the sun? Your nothingness to replenish the eternal all? It is better to be silent before the Lord, than to dream of supplementing what he has spoken. The Word of the Lord is to the conceptions of men as a garden to a wilderness. Keep within the covers of the sacred book, and you are in the land which floweth with milk and honey; why seek to add to it the desert sands?

C. H. Spurgeon

10 comments:

DebbieLynne said...

Thank you a thousand times for this one! Over on my blog, my readers have taken great offense to my insistence that God doesn't speak to us outside of Scripture. I may link to this post, using it to bolster my argument. You have no idea how much this bit of Spurgeon encourages me!

Solameanie said...

Wow. Sometimes that's all one could see.

DebbieLynne said...

You (and Spurgeon, of course) inspired me to write this blog post:

http://debsheadstick.blogspot.com/2012/03/no-rocking-horse-necessary.html

Daryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Johnson said...

DebbieLynne:

The URL alone was enough to prompt me to read your post. Good stuff. If I had to type with a headstick, I'd probably be confined to Twitter. I'm barely coordinated enough to type with two fingers. Trying to control a headstick long enough to do a full blogpost would give me a permanent migraine.

Well written and nicely said. Thanks.

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Brian Jones said...

"These men are not even
seeking certainty..."

Wow, if there was ever a more accurate statement about our current culture, I don't know what it would be.

I was having a conversation the other day with an agnostic - every question I felt was designed to lead away from anything solid.

Great reminder this morning of the mindset of the average person we're trying to reach!

GW said...

Remember this exchange...???

Piers Morgan: But, I mean, shouldn’t the scripture be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age?

Charles Spurgeon: If the revelation of God were not enough for our faith, what could we add to it? Who can answer this question? What would any man propose to add to the sacred Word?

Piers Morgan: I mean, like everything else, doesn’t it have to move with the times and isn’t it down again to people like you to interpret it in a way that evolves when you’re known as a very progressive preacher?

Charles Spurgeon: A moment's thought would lead us to scout with derision the most attractive words of men, if it were proposed to add them to the Word of God. The fabric would not be of a piece. Would you add rags to a royal vestment? Would you pile the filth of the streets in a king's treasury? Would you join the pebbles of the sea-shore to the diamonds of Golconda?

But alas, it was Joel Osteen not Charles Spurgeon speaking for God, so it did not go down this way.

Carl C. said...

What a timely tidbit of truth! I am having a hard time lately with someone very close to me, and this is precisely one of the main issues. They don't believe in the complete sufficiency of Scripture for all aspects of faith, the latest goad being the Jesus Calling devotional book they gave me.

If you haven't seen it, it's a daily portion of Jesus speaking directly to author Sarah Young, supposedly. It's done in the first person, so this is typical of the entries: "Softly I announce my Presence. Shimmering hues of radiance tap gently at your consciousness, seeking entrance. Though I have all Power in heaven and on earth, I am infinitely tender with you..." How this made the top of the bestseller list is hard to swallow, but just reinforces the need for underlining the truth of this post, as Debbie put it: we don't need any more rocking horses. God already gave us the never-exhaustible store of diamonds in his eternal Word.

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