09 November 2008

A 19th-Century Preacher Confronts Postmodernism. Again.

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 sermon "The Glorious Gospel of the Blessed God," preached Sunday morning, 30 June 1867, at Camden Road Chapel, London. In that sermon, Spurgeon carried on an imaginary dialogue with the "epistemological humility" of his day.

omeone demands, "How am I to know which is the gospel?"

You may know it by searching the Scriptures.

"But one sect says this, and another sect says the reverse."

What have you to do with the sects? Read the Book of God for yourself.

"But some men do read it and arrive at one opinion, and some maintain the opposite, and thus they contradict themselves, and yet are equally right."

Who told you that? That is impossible. Men cannot be equally right when they contradict each other. There is a truth and there is a falsehood; if yes be true, no is false. It may be true that good men have held different opinions, but are you responsible for what they may have held, or are you to gather that because they were good personally, therefore everything they believed was true? No, but this Book is plain enough; it is no nose of wax that everybody may shape to what form he likes. There is something taught here plainly and positively, and if a man will but give his mind to it, by God's grace he may find it out.

I do not believe that this Book is so dark and mysterious as some suppose, or, if it were, the Holy Spirit who wrote it still lives, and the Author always knows his own meaning: you have only to go to him in prayer, and he will tell you what it means. You will not become infallible, I trust you will not think yourself to be so, but you will learn doctrines which are infallibly true, and upon which you may put down your foot and say, "Now, I know this, and am not to be duped out of it."

It is a grand thing to have the truth burnt into you, as with a hot iron, so that there is no getting it out of you. The priest, when he took away the Testament from the boy, thought he had done the work; "But," said the boy, "sir, what will you do with the six-and twenty chapters which I learned by heart? You cannot take them away." Yet memory might fail, and, as the lad grew into an old man, he might forget the six-and-twenty chapters; but suppose they changed his heart and made him a new creature in Christ, there would be no getting that away, even though Satan himself should attempt the task.

Seek to carry out the sacred trust committed to you by believing it, and believing it all. Search the word to find out what the gospel is, and endeavor to receive it into your inmost heart, that it may be in your heart's core forever.

ext, as good stewards we must maintain the cause of truth against all comers.

"Never get into religious controversies," says one; that is to say, being interpreted, be a Christian soldier, but let your sword rust in its scabbard, and sneak into heaven like a coward.

Such advice I cannot endorse. If God has called you by the truth, maintain the truth, which has been the means of your salvation. We are not to be pugnacious, always contending for every crotchet of our own; but wherein we have learned the truth of the Holy Spirit, we are not tamely to see that standard torn down which our fathers upheld at peril of their blood.

This is an age in which truth must be maintained zealously, vehemently, continually. Playing fast and loose as many do, believing this to-day and that to-morrow, is the sure mark of children of wrath; but having received the truth, to hold fast the very form of it, as Paul bids Timothy to do, is one of the duties of heirs of heaven. Stand fast for truth, and may God give the victory to the faithful.

We must believe the gospel and maintain it, for it is committed to our trust.
C. H. Spurgeon


SolaMommy said...

That was awesome. There really is nothing new under the sun, is there?

John S. said...

"Never get into religious controversies," says one; that is to say, being interpreted, be a Christian soldier, but let your sword rust in its scabbard, and sneak into heaven like a coward.

Ouch, may God forgive me for my politial correcteness and give me boldness to open my mouth and declare the Gospel as I ought to.

Thanks, TeamPyro...

from an avid reader and growing disciple of Jesus.


Bill Brown said...

Leave it to Spurgeon! (that's better than "Leave it to Beaver")

bhuston said...

That Spurgeon... I just wish he would have stopped nibbling at the edges and just give it to us straight - like the average minister of today does.

Barbara said...

Woo-hoo! Amen! Thank you!

...she said, as she busily forwarded it on ....

Carol Jean said...

CHS said,"...but having received the truth, to hold fast the very form of it, as Paul bids Timothy to do...We must believe the gospel and maintain it, for it is committed to our trust."

We had an interesting discussion about these verses in our SS class this morning. There's quite a difference between 2 Timothy 1:12 in the NIV and the same verse in the ESV.

In the NIV it says, "...he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." In the ESV it says, "...he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me."

The NIV version I've heard used a lot as an 'assurance of salvation" verse. However, reading it in the ESV, it's more in line with the rest of the passage about both Paul and Timothy being entrusted with the Gospel.

The ESV Study Bible is on my Christmas Wish List! My NIV just frustrates me anymore!

Josh Williamson said...

Spurgeon though he is dead speaks as one familiar with this age.

Barbara said...

Carol Jean,

You piqued my curiosity. My NASB says,
For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

and the KJV says,
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Then if you'll notice there's a footnote on the ESV for that verse which, no matter how I read it, all I can get out of it is, "This phrase means the opposite of what we just said (and what every other translation says)": they say, "Or what I have entrusted to him; Greek my deposit" - so they turn it back around in its clarification, which seems to only further muddy things. Why would they do that?

David Regier said...


We would do well to committing the Word to memory, or as Spurgeon said, "by heart". How little enthusiasm I find in the church for Scripture memory. Yet we are to humbly receive the word implanted, which is able to save our souls.

~Mark said...

Great sermon piece, thanks Phil.

I have had this come up repeatedly in the past 6 months as people tried to get me to vote one way or another based on some particular belief that doesn't stand when compared to Scripture, and also in debated a few Catholic priests.

Read it for yourself is the key!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother.

No, I mean that in a good way... after all, Spurgeon says what I'm thinking with more clarity and more power than I can muster.

Amazing stuff, as always.