01 July 2011

Novelty Has No Place In Gospel Preaching

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 "Death and Life in Christ," preached Sunday Morning, 5 April 1863 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London,

HE apostles never traveled far from the simple facts of Christ's life, death, resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and second advent. These things, of which they were the witnesses, constituted the staple of all their discourses. . . .

What a rebuke this should be to those in modern times who are ever straining after novelties. There may be much of the Athenian spirit among congregations, but that should be no excuse for its being tolerated among ministers; we, of all men, should be the last to spend our time in seeking something new.

Our business, my brethren, is the old labor of apostolic tongues, to declare that Jesus, who is the same yesterday to-day and for ever. We are mirrors reflecting the transactions of Calvary, telescopes manifesting the distant glories of an exalted Redeemer. The nearer we keep to the cross, the nearer, I think, we keep to our true vocation. When the Lord shall be pleased to restore to his Church once more a fervent love to Christ, and when once again we shall have a ministry that is not only flavoured with Christ, but of which Jesus constitutes the sum and substance, then shall the Churches revive—then shall the set time to favor Zion come.

The goodly cedar which was planted by the rivers of old, and stretched out her branches far and wide, has become in these modern days like a tree dwarfed by Chinese art; it is planted by the rivers as aforetime, but it does not flourish, only let God the Holy Spirit give to us once again the bold and clear preaching of Christ crucified in all simplicity and earnestness, and the dwarf shall swell into a forest giant, each expanding bud shall burst into foliage, and the cedar shall tower aloft again, until the birds of the air shall lodge in the branches thereof.

I need offer you no apology, then, for preaching on those matters which engrossed all the time of the apostles, and which shall shower unnumbered blessings on generations yet to come.

C. H. Spurgeon


Anonymous said...

I am so amazed that people try to be so creative when the message is so plain, I was active in a church for a very long time yet unsaved, how could that be? Spurgeon said on another occasio, the best we can do as preachers is be good plaguerists, we are to copy the gospel, not reivnent it like some do.

donsands said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donsands said...

"See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!"-Chas Wesley

And oh for a thousand hands to lift and praise my Savior and King!

Thanks for the very edifying words from a pastor-brother I long to meet one day walking the streets of glory.

Have a terrific 4th in our freedom as a nation, and liberty as a child of the Most High Father.

The Blainemonster said...

Yes, yes, yes.

Eddie Eddings said...

Great wisdom from a 28 year old preacher!

Robert Warren said...

In the manner of Samuel Johnson (or somebody):

There is much in modern sermons that is good and original. The problem is that the good things aren't original and the original things aren't good.

Tricia said...

Dear Phil,

I write to thank you: I have heard from countless people that they learned my story through a Tweet that you posted with a link to my blog, following my husband's death.

Thank you for reading, knowing, telling others, for calling in the troops to help carry the mat. I have never met you, and yet I appreciate you deeply.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

David Sheldon said...

What we might fail to understand as evangelicals in our 21st century culture is that we have comfortably tolerated an “internalized and privatized holy gospel” as far as proclamation is concerned. This may be the subtle and seamless “novelty” in our preaching.

But neither the apostles nor Spurgeon ever preached that way. They preached Jesus as Lord – not “in” their hearts but “out” in the public arena. I am pretty sure you and I will never bother to suffer for “Jesus in my heart” kind of thinking.

But Jesus as Lord – making sure He is clearly proclaimed in the public arena – even in our churches!!! The Coming King, our Lord and Savior who was crucified for our sin and conquered death and is the Coming Savior and Judge! And in that preaching suffer whatever consequences come our way! Wow.

Do you think I am overstating the case? Try reading through the sermons in Acts and ask one simple question of each sermon – Did they preach a “personal, privatized and internalized” Savior OR an “external” Lord who saves His people? The answer is very clear for any who wish the true conclusion and desire the Spirit’s power in their pulpit and do not fear men and who don't mind being "cut to the quick."

I have a hunch we might not actually be seeing the full extent of Spurgeon’s statement if we are oblivious to this concept in our day. The “tone police” and “cordial crew” won’t tolerate us even considering the concept let alone those false-shepherds who abandoned the gospel long ago or those false “spiritual coaches” who are currently enticing us into fellowship with false-shepherds.

This idea of a privatized gospel may be the actual “ground” - the underlying novelty upon which so many are building “their” church and exporting all other “novelties” in preaching and ministry in our evangelical churches today. But this was not apostolic preaching or ministry. And we don’t see or consider it because the novelty has similar lingo. Repent! As far as I can tell – no one has ever had to entertain those committed to listening to apostolic preaching alone.

Go Spurgeon!!!

Tyrone said...

How I thank God for men like Spurgeon. O how in times past have I wasted my life! What fascinates me is these thoughts and words from Spurgeon... "Pharaoh’s dream has too often been my waking experience. My days of sloth have ruinously destroyed all that I had achieved in times of zealous industry; my seasons of coldness have frozen all the genial glow of my periods of fervency and enthusiasm; and my fits of worldliness have thrown me back from my advances in the divine life."

Luther said...

The Gospel is what is needed

thomas4881 said...

I enjoy a balanced evangelism. People need to hear much about the law and much about grace.