14 September 2007

Sectarianism? If You Mean "True Honesty," Let There Be More of It

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following is an exerpt from "The Gospel's Power in a Christian's Life," a sermon published in 1865.

he gospel of Jesus Christ is a very fearless gospel. It is the very reverse of that pretty thing called "modern charity."

The last created devil is "modern charity." "Modern charity" goes cap in hand round to us all, amid it says "You are all right, every one of you. Do not quarrel any longer; Sectarianism is a horrid thing, down with it! down with it!" and so it tries to induce all sorts of persons to withhold a part of what they believe, to silence the testimony of all Christians upon points wherein they differ.

I believe that that thing called Sectarianism now-a-days is none other than true honesty. Be a Sectarian, my brother, be profoundly a Sectarian. I mean by that, hold everything which you see to be in God's Word with a tighter grasp, and do not give up even the little pieces of truth.

At the same time, let that Sectarianism which makes you hate another man because he does not see with you—let that be far from you! but never consent to that unholy league and covenant which seems to be rife throughout our country, which would put a padlock on the mouth of every man and send us all about as if we were dumb: which says to me, "You must not speak against the errors of such a Church," and to another, "You must not reply."

We cannot but speak! If we did not, the stones in the street might cry out against us. That kind of charity is unknown to the gospel. Now hear the Word of God! "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not"—What? "shall get to heaven some other way?"—"shall be damned;" that is the gospel. You perceive how boldly it launches out its censure. It does not pretend, "you may reject me and go by another road, and at last get safely to your journey's end!" No, no, no; you "shall be damned" it says.

Do you not perceive how Christ puts it? Some teachers come into the world and say to all others, "Yes, gentlemen, by your leave, you are all right, I have a point or two that you have not taught, just make room for me; I will not turn you out; I can stand in the same temple as yourself." But hear what Christ says:—"All that ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them."

Hear what his servant Paul says, "Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you,"—what then? "Let him be excused for his mistake?" No; but, "Let him he accursed." Now, this is strong language, but mark you, this is just how the Christian ought to live. As the gospel is very fearless in what it has to say, so let the Christian always be.

It strikes me that a "living" which becomes the gospel of Christ, is always a bold and fearless kind of living. Some people go crawling through the world as if they asked some great man's leave to live. They do not know their own minds; they take their words out of their mouths and look at them, and ask a friend or two's opinion. "What do you think of these words?" and when these friends censure them they put them in again and will not say them. Like jelly-fish, they have no backbone.

Now God has made men upright, and it is a noble thing for a man to stand erect on his own feet; and it is a nobler thing still for a man to say that in Christ Jesus he has received that freedom which is freedom indeed, and therefore he will not be the slave of any man.

"O God," says David, "I am thy servant, for thou hast loosed my bonds." Happy is he whose bonds are loosed! Let your eye be like that of an eagle, yea, let it he brighter still; let it never be dimmed by the eye of any other man. Let your heart be like that of the lion, fearless, save of yourself:—

"Careless, myself a dying man,
Of dying men's esteem,"

—I must live as in the sight of God, as I believe I should live, and then let man say his best or say his worst, and it shall he no more than the chirping of the grasshopper, when the sun goeth down. "Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, or the son of man that is but a worm?" Quit yourselves like men! Be strong! Fear not! for only so will your conversation be such as becometh the gospel of Christ.
C. H. Spurgeon


Kent Brandenburg said...

Be a Sectarian, my brother, be profoundly a Sectarian. I mean by that, hold everything which you see to be in God's Word with a tighter grasp, and do not give up even the little pieces of truth.


the postmortem said...

So Good! Thank you!

By the way, this girl I've been dating just told me how much she loves Spurgeon...she's really cute too!

Mark B. Hanson said...

I am amazed at myself sometimes - how careful I am to temper everything potentially controversial with "in my opinion..." or "I could be wrong, but..."

Now this is humility when it is only my opinion, but cowardice when I am proclaiming God's word.

donsands said...

"Like jelly-fish, they have no backbone."

Man that's convicting.

It's not so hard for me to share the truth out on the job site. I have done this many times, and have had people mock, and others say, "You nearly convince me, but I think I'll keep goin' to the bars and checkin' out the girls".

It's with my family, who are manily Catholics, that I have had some timidity.

" Let your heart be like that of the lion, fearless,

I pray the Lord grant me this. Amen.

"For God has not given us a Spirit of fear; but of might, and of love, and of clear thinking." 2 Tim. 1:7

Mike Riccardi said...


I've had similar experiences with members of my extended family, who are all nominal catholics. It's not so hard for me to stand up and say things, but it's hard for me to get the message across that this about them and not just some other "bad people."

I came close once when my Aunt asked, "Boy, don't I do anything good in my life?" She was reacting against how I was presenting the pervasiveness of sin and how no one has any room for boasting or looking down upon others. She started to understand the helplessness we have before God, but didn't let those thoughts ruminate long enough.

Total depravity is where to start with catholic folks. Once they realize that they're not "basically good," you've got their attention.

donsands said...

Thanks mike for sharing.

My sister-in-law asked me once, "What is it about this new religion you are into?"

I said to her, "It's all about Jesus and the Bible. But first let me share what our Lord said. He said, "A prophet will not be accepted in his own home and within his own family".

She then said, "I don't really want to talk about it right now".

I said, "See".

Unknown said...

Wow...and again I'll say wow.

Thanks for the post.

PS. Don - thanks for your humble wisdom in relating your family affairs!

FX Turk said...

Go figure that this is the post about which Brandenburg has nothing negative to say.

Deborah said...

"Prideful and Arrogant" are two adjectives that seem to get thrown at any Christian who takes a firm stand on God's Word.... Sadly, this is done in most main stream evangelical churches. As long as everyone sits around in a circle and gets to explain "What this verse means to them" (relatavism and humanism at their finest), then everyone gets to experience their warm fuzzies. However, have someone stand up and authoratatively take a stand on what God's Word teaches and that person is labeled harsh, unloving, prideful and arrogant.

Where is truth in churches today?


FX Turk said...

If our churches are this bad, folks, maybe the right thing to do is to find out if anyone has read the Bible in them. If the answer is "no", let's get people reading their Bibles.

What have you done this week which encouraged someone else to read their Bible? Did you read your Bible in such a way that something you didn't see before came out of it for you.

Stefan Ewing said...

Great, convicting stuff. That is a really good corrective to the mood of the times (how downright "modern" Spurgeon was!).

And may I say to Postmortem: Good going! May God bless the two of you.

Lamblion said...

Hey Dan,

A bit off topic, but I commend you for your stand on the BW forum.


Glenn Hendrickson said...

Thanks for the quote. One can never read enough Spurgeon!