25 October 2010

"Tolerance" vs. Truthfulness

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 an article titled "Ministers Sailing under False Colours," originally published the February 1870 Sword and Trowel:

ur forefathers were far less tolerant than we are, and it is to be feared that they were also more honest. It will be a sad discount upon our gain in the matter of charity if it turn out that we have been losers in the department of truthfulness.

There is no necessary connection between the two facts of growth in tolerance and decline in sincerity, but we are suspicious that they have occurred and are occurring at the same moment.

We freely accord to theological teachers a freedom of thought and utterance which in other ages could only be obtained by the more daring at serious risks, but we also allow an amount of untruthfulness in ministers, which former ages would have utterly abhorred. . . .

Our love to the most unlimited religious liberty incites us to all the sterner abhorrence of the license which like a parasite feeds thereon.

the plea of spiritual liberty, of late years certain teachers who have abjured the faith of the churches which employ them, have nevertheless endeavored, with more or less success, to retain their offices and their emoluments. . . .

Our complaint is . . . not that the men changed their views, and threw up their former creeds, but that having done so they did not at once quit the office of minister to the community whose faith they could no longer uphold; their fault is not that they differed, but that, differing, they sought an office of which the prime necessity is agreement.

All the elements of the lowest kind of knavery meet in the evil which we now denounce. Treachery is never more treacherous than when it leads a man to stab at a doctrine which he has solemnly engaged to uphold, and for the maintenance of which he receives a livelihood. . . .

It is frequently bewailed as a mournful circumstance that creeds were ever written; it is said, "Let the Bible alone be the creed of every church, and let preachers explain the Scriptures as they conscientiously think best." Here again we enter into no debate, but simply beg the objector to remember that there are creeds, that the churches have not given them up, that persons are not forced to be ministers of these churches, and therefore if they object to creeds they should not offer to become teachers of them; above all, they should not agree to teach what they do not believe.

C. H. Spurgeon


donsands said...

"..there are creeds, that the churches have not given them up"

The one creed, or portion of one creed, The Apostle's Creed, I don't declare is "He descended into hell". My church proclaimes it, and I talked it out with my pastor, but I just don't see it.

This is a deeper than usual teaching from Spurgeon. What words this man used.

I thought of Brian McLaren, how he claims to be a pastor, and yet he seems to have the idea the Church needs to be rebuked and revamped in its theology.

Steve Lamm said...

Spurgeon hits the nail on the head here. I am sickened by the utter dishonesty of those pastors who have secretly abandoned the orthodox creeds of their churches and denominations, and then think it their duty to assist their congregations to do the same.

Such scoundrels deserve neither grace nor tolerance. They deserve the strongest rebuke from those of us who believe and proclaim the truth of the Word of God. They also ought to be sent packing.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on "He descended into hell." I also don't use "catholic." These two words need a 21st centure update, even a 20th century update would be a major improvement.

I thought of Rob Bell redefining "evangelical" as follows:

I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.

Mike Westfall said...

> remember that there are creeds,
> that the churches have not given
> them up,

Well that's not very timely or relevant any more, is it?

Mark B. Hanson said...

The New York Times has a contest where you add, delete or change one letter of a word to create a new (and hopefully funny) word. One example is "reintarnation" - the belief that you will someday be reborn as Jed Clampett.

I coined "catechasm" - the gap between what the church says it believes and what its seminary professors actually teach. It's a chasm that seems to widen every day.

As an adherent to the Westminster Standards (Confession of Faith and both Catechisms), with certain small exceptions, I also tire of those who want to deny the heart of those standards, but keep on being pastors or elders.

donsands said...

"I also don't use "catholic."

I can understand that. But, the Roman Church stole that word, which is a good word.

"Such scoundrels deserve neither grace nor tolerance." Steve

Paul said: "Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.....For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" Phil 3

Patience said...

Aaah so true! I love reading Spurgeon.

Mark said: "catechasm" - the gap between what the church says it believes and what its seminary professors actually teach. It's a chasm that seems to widen every day."

That is absolutely brilliant!