25 April 2010

Should we velvetize the Bible's hard truths to suit a culture that hates moral clarity?

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 "Mongrel Religion," a sermon preached Sunday morning, 2 October 1881, at the Met Tab in London.

    know of no surer way of a people's perishing than by being led by one who does not speak out straight, and honestly denounce evil. If the minister halts between two opinions, do you wonder that the congregation is undecided? If the preacher trims and twists to please all parties, can you expect his people to be honest? If I wink at your inconsistencies will you not soon be hardened in them?

Like priest, like people. A cowardly preacher suits hardened sinners. Those who are afraid to rebuke sin, or to probe the conscience, will have much to answer for. May God save you from being led into the ditch by a blind guide.

And yet is not a mingle-mangle of Christ and Belial the common religion of the day? Is not worldly piety, or pious worldliness, the current religion of England? They live among godly people, and God chastens them, and they therefore fear him, but not enough to give their hearts to him. They seek out a trimming teacher who is not too precise and plain-spoken, and they settle down comfortably to a mongrel faith, half truth, half error, and a mongrel worship half dead form, and half orthodoxy.

God have mercy upon men, and bring them out from the world; for he will not have a compound of world and grace. "Come ye out from among them," saith he, "be ye separate: touch not the unclean thing." "If God be God, serve him: if Baal be God, serve him." There can be no alliance between the two. Jehovah and Baal can never be friends. "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." "No man can serve two masters." All attempts at compromise or comprehensiveness in matters of truth and purity are founded on falsehood, and falsehood is all that can come of them. May God save us from such hateful doublemindedness.

C. H. Spurgeon


donsands said...

"Is not worldly piety, or pious worldliness, the current religion of England?"

This shall preach in every nation until the Lord takes us home, or He returns.

I was talking with a missionary in Nepal, and he said the churches in Nepal don't have the Gospel of grace for the most part, but a Gospel of morality, a worldly gospel. And the western Church is not a very good influence for the most part in Nepal either.

Still, I believe there is a remnant of evangelists and pastors who are preaching like Spurgeon in our day, and it can surely spread, as the grace of God with the Spirit of Christ, and His Word spread.

America and England are almost apostate as nations under God. But God is faithful to all His promises.

And so the Church will be built in this earth, and God will be glorified in every nation, and the lord will continue to add to His Church, daily those who are being saved.

Pierre Saikaley said...

If the land is full of shepherds who are weak and vascillating man-pleasers, the fault lies in the crowds who are tired of being reproved, rebuked, and exhorted by sound teaching according 2 Timothy 4:1-4. We have hired them to entertain us.

Let's pray for God to kindle the fires of the truth in pulpits all across the land and for the repentance of lukewarm churches.

Pierre Saikaley said...

Also, in answer to the title question....NO, we should not "velvetize" the hard truth of the Bible to suit the culture.

In fact, this idea came to me during the sermon at church today on John 6. Jesus, whom my pastor called the Master Preacher, actually drove the people AWAY by his Words, John 6:57-60 & v. 66.

2 Corinthians 2:16...we will of necessity be a stench of death in the nostrils of some, but to the believing ones, we will be a holy savor.

Toms Bible Study Page said...

I am reminded by this message that the primary religion of the western world is materialism and its god money. The love of money is the root..... Westerners, in particular Americans, love money. It cannot be both ways: you CANNOT serve God and mammon. Tyndale's Parable of the Wicked Mammon is one of the most useful and timely teachings ever, and it is lost on the modern church. Talk is so cheap. We profess to love a teacher such as Spurgeon, but freely reject the substance of his life and teaching. We listen but do not hear. We cannot even lay claim to "worldly piety." America shamelessly hates God, his word, and his law, and American Christians by and large "fabricate" truth to suit the "needs" of the moment, according to their present definition of need. Lord help us.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Bingo, Tom. We are all affected by it, as we are immersed in this culture and a part of it whether we think so or not... it's all any of us have ever known, if we were born and raised here.
I attended a funeral in a distant city not long ago and the Reverend (who did a wonderful job with the service, by the way) parked a car that was so expensive I still don't know what it was! (Maybe it was a brand new Jag or a very high-end Mercedes... all I know is I am fairly successful and it was way, way too rich for my blood). I can't point to any proof texts to support this, but there is just something that didn't sit right with me, seeing that. It's just one extreme example to illustrate your point. The same criticisms could be leveled at me, or I'm sure you would agree, at you. As you say, Lord help us.

Anonymous said...

DonSands said:

"I was talking with a missionary in Nepal, and he said the churches in Nepal don't have the Gospel of grace for the most part, but a Gospel of morality, a worldly gospel."

That goes 100% for the so-called "conservative" churches in the Northeastern US as well. The vast majority of them have a "gospel" of pro-life, Republican, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses religion that leaves them in a self-satisfied state with no room for or awareness of a need for repentance and the preaching of God's sovereignty.

I was on staff at a church where I was told that to confront someone in sin with the Bible is "unreasonable"... and this is from an independent fundy KJV Baptist pastor.

blueridgewv said...

"Is not worldly piety, or pious worldliness, the current religion of England?"--Spurgeon

The title of this post focuses on preaching to the "culture" around us. Two others have commented suggesting that same worldly "culture", that has a facade of religion or piety, is almost entirely adapted by professing Christians and churches. Outside of professions and external displays, can anyone distinguish between the worldly lifestyle of the world and of christians within the churches? "Is not worldly piety the religion of [America's churches]"?

Why not press this focus to the church instead? Recently, from Spurgeon's London Tabernacle, Dr. Peter Masters recently wrote an article entitled The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness.

While Spurgeon warned of preachers "trimming" in preaching to the present world, Masters dared to preach to the present New Calvinism and "reformed" churches in a forthright manner about "worldly piety". How was this received? Answer: Even Reformed Baptist seminary professors were offended!

Should he have "trimmed" his message instead? To the contrary, his message was both relevant and spot on, and now they are about to hold a Seminar on the same subject, to press the point in July on Winning and Keeping Souls from the World:

Maybe then we should also ask: "Should we velvetize the Bible's hard truths to suit a [worldly church] that hates moral clarity"?