08 December 2007

Is it more "arrogant" to defend orthodoxy, or to tear it down?

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 Case Proved," where Spurgeon answered critics who complained that he was being overly harsh, too sure of his own position, and uncharitable in the tone of his published opinions about the erosion of orthodoxy in the Baptist Union at the outset of the Downgrade Controversy.

s it come to this, that if we use our freedom to speak our mind we must needs be charged with arrogance?

Is decision the same thing as Popery? It is playing with edged tools when the advanced men introduce that word, for we would remind them that there is another phase of Popery of which a portion of them have furnished us grievous examples. To hide your beliefs, to bring out your opinions cautiously, to use expressions in other senses than those in which they are usually understood, to "show," as The Christian World so honestly puts it, "a good deal of trimming, and a balancing of opposite opinions in a way that is confusing and unsatisfactory to the hearer," is a meaner sort of Popery than even the arrogance which is so gratuitously imputed to us.

It is, however, very suggestive that the letting in of light upon men should be to them a torment equal to an Inquisition, and that open discussion should so spoil their schemes that they regard it as a torture comparable to the rack and the stake. What other harm have we done them? We would not touch a hair of their heads, or deprive them of an inch of liberty.

Let them speak, that we may know them; but let them not deny us the same freedom; neither let them denounce us for defending what they are so eager to assail.
C. H. Spurgeon


polycarp said...

Poor Charlie never got the memo, for if he had he would have surely known how to nuance his mere opinions and demonstrate his respect and tolerance for differing opinions because he most surely wanted to be a relevant and non-judgemental voice in the ongoing conversation, which is of course a very special journey we have all embarked upon and have so much to learn from our collective narratives as these define our truths. Hence, it is only from this--not defending of old traditions that claim their stake to Truth with a capital T--that we can truly......belong! Of course Charlie wants to be accepted? Don't we all just need to be accepted?

Stefan said...


Is everyone sure that Spurgeon is not actually alive and preaching today, and that his being recorded as having lived in the 19th century is not merely some kind of anomaly in the space-time continuum?

steve said...

Let them speak, that we may know them; but let them not deny us the same freedom; neither let them denounce us for defending what they are so eager to assail.


Mike Riccardi said...

I'm pretty sure, Stefan. But since I'm sinful, I can't really know anything anyway. So... hey... maybe!

Tim Brown said...

Wow! Great post...and very timely...I'm no Spurgeon, but I just posted this...

Gilbert said...

This could be preached in the current church of England today ( as well as, of course, many churches in the U.S.) as if it were made today. Talk about relevant!

Stefan, that's the question I asked when I read this! You'd think that after over a hundred years of train-wrecked churches, lives, eternities and damnable heresies, Satan (puke) would have to move on to fresher material and get some writers. Unfortunately, he's in reruns and has been since the fall of Adam, but most people don't understand that.

Over at "Fighting For The Faith", they released a "public service announcement" of what would happen if your bank operated as an "Emergent bank". You'd never know your exact amount; it would always be relative and not supporting those evil large corporations. But then you'd be thrown out for arrogant behavior after you insist on finding out exactly how much is in your account. I found it funny and very disturbing at the same time. As an illustration of a bank, it's hilarious. Knowing people are going to hell because of this movement is anything but funny.

Jesus said that the dead will rise when the Day comes. Though physically dead, some people still speak loudly from the grave, warning us of the traps Satan has set. Quite amazing.

pastorbrianculver said...

Great post! I have heard the exact complaints from Mormons who go to my blog. They pretty much become hateful and resort to name calling to disagree with me!

SolaMeanie said...


LOL! That "Emergent bank" clip is hysterical.

Phil, I find Spurgeon's mention of "Popery" funny also, in light of the fact that some in the Emergent persuasion find monastic practices more spiritually fulfilling than authentic biblical worship.

Oops, did I use the term "authentic?" I repent in sackcloth and ashes.

Anonymous said...

Good ol' Chuck, as relevant today as ever...just like the Word he proclaimed.

I'm currently teaching thru 1st John and these same themes come out loud and clear, today as when the Spirit first gave them to John. Reality, clarity, confidence and certainty. That we may know. That's not arrogance, that's Biblical faith.

Strong Tower said...

You don't have to go to the cults to find this hollow plea for tolerance. I hear it all the time from within the SBC.

Truth is always timely, it never shows up late, it never leaves early.

Sharper than any two edged sword....

The power of words is above everything feared by the darkness. Darkness knows the power and wields it blindly. The one thing that it can not afford is to allow others the same weapons to bring sight to the blind.

He is alive, and living in words that cannot die. He is in that great cloud of witness.

I like this picture of CHS, it fits, for it is obvious that he did not think that being untrimmed was reason to not listen.

donsands said...

"to bring out your opinions cautiously"

This could be a heart of man-pleasing and ashamed of the Gospel and truth.

I don't want to be a "men-pleaser" and ashamed of the gospel, and I pray God would grant me repentance for my timidity, and courage to speak the truth in love. Amen.

I have a hard enough time "doing this" without so called Christians encouraging me to do it.
I must admit it's difficult to share the truth at times.
So I need posts like these to fan the embers of faith in my heart. Thanks.

My friend, Meir, who loves the Lord, has a niece in Israel, who has become a believer in Christ, and she is under incredible pressure from her family and community, and Rabbi. The Rabbi told her he would stone her if we lived back in Moses' day.
Her name is Zohara. She is standing for Christ, and willing to loose all for Jesus.
Anyone who would feel led to pray would be appreciated. thanks.

Daryl said...

Gotcha Don. I'm praying right now.

Strong Tower said...

Wow, don-

Me too on both prayer, and agreement about the cautiousness that we too commonly share.

I have found some comefort in this. "Be ready to give to everyone who asks the answer to the hope that is withing you....

If you're not an evangelist, wait on the Lord, he will provide the seeker...

Lending to everyone, expecting nothing in return....

Just have your cup ready if someone asks for a drink, eh?

Pray for my wife when you think of that girl. My wife has a Jewish friend named Bob. The friendship part is what is in the way of her witness (so much for friendship evangelism!) being afraid to lose it and all. He is 70ish, and in failing health. Time is short.

ezekiel said...


And to think...they wanted to stone Jesus and still do 2000 years later...

You may want to share 2 Kings 17:20 and Zech 12:10 with her. It should confirm her choice. The references on Zech 12:10 run all over and appear to deal with end times prophecy...that has not been fulfilled.

Israel today as a nation continues to deny the risen Christ. Your post confirms they still do. According to 12:10 they will until He pours out His spirit on them, much like he did the church in Acts.

Zech, Amos, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah all tell of a gathered, protected, safe Israel. From what I can find, this doesn't happen until "in that Day". Until then Israel will just continue as it has, compassed by enemies and losing territory. Denying Christ.

Prolly going to be a bunch of folks jump up and go nuts about this...but before you do, just ask yourself if any of the prophecy we hear on TV these days concerning Israel includes Christ in it anywhere. Israel has been broken off. The only way back is to be grafted in. (Romans 11:23). Grafted back into the Branch...the Vine.....(John 15).

If she has Christ in her, she is part of the vine. She doesn't have to wait and there will be no mourning due her.......She already is a child of The King.

Puritan said...


Reading Iain Murray's The Forgotton Spurgeon which features the DownGrade Controversy, was a real blessing.

Stefan said...

Don, Strong Tower: I'll be praying too.

donsands said...

Thanks. I let Meir know Zohara is being prayed for by the Church. She has to go before the supreme court in Israel on the 28th.
That's when they decide whether she is still a Jew or not, because of her profession of Christ Jesus.
If she is declared no longer a Jew her husband may divorce her. She doesn't want this divorce.

Thanks again.

Brent said...

"Tolerance is a virtue for those who have no convictions." - Anonymous

tnpotts said...

I know this is off of this subject but I don't know how else to ask the question & I've very much come to value the opinion of team pyro & the opinions of many of the other uncharitable;) folks around here. I left a purpose driven church 2.5 years ago for very poor reasons (nothing to do with them being PD) & lately all I can think about is that my family and I should return. What do you all think? Is there a way to have a private exchange outside of here? Needless to say, Centurion's postings about when its a good time to leave a church (or to not leave it) & Albert Mohlers program today about when the right time is seem like confirmation.

S.J. Walker said...


I would ask what it is specifically you are citing in your mind as a reason why to re-join said Church. You didn't leave because of the PD issue, but would it be an issue now?

This may seem an odd example but follow with me:

I dated a young woman for almost three years when I was younger. I did not break up with her perhaps over the "right" reasons personally. That did not mean that were NO good reasons, I just couldn't see them at the time, and it was God's Grace that good came of my muddling things.

The fact that you left a church for the wrong reasons is not automatically reason to return.

Maybe the other men said this already, and this is repetitiously redundant, but that is my first question.

And my apologies gentlemen for being off topic as well, but that seems well meant to me.

Just the way I see it... said...

Spurgeon is solid - I run into a lot of negative feedback when I point out doctrinally unacceptable emergents...

My latest take (Rob Bell)

Brendt said...

Re: "Emergent bank"

Yes, by all means, let's equate church to a business. That worked out so well for Bill Hybels.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for this Spurgeon post on "arrogant." It reminds me of the comments Chesterton made on the misplacing of modesty. Your post is helpful for me as I preach through Jude and take hits for being "too hard." (Could I possibly be harder than Jude? Is that not missing the very point of his wake-up call?) Spurgeon is helpful -- he keeps me from doubting.

E. Redmond