27 May 2010

A Little Extra Spurgeon

The following is excerpted from an article in the October 1887 issue of The Sword and the Trowel entitled "The Case Proved." It was written to further address "The Downgrade Controversy" that was running rampant in Spurgeon's day. It speaks just as well to the growing apostasy we see even today in our so-called "Christian" churches.
The most conclusive evidence that we are correct in our statement, that "the new theology" is rampant among us, is supplied by The Christian World. To this paper is largely due the prevalence of this mischief; and it by no means hides its hand. Whoever else may hesitate, we have in this paper plain and bold avowals of its faith, or want of faith. Its articles and the letters which it has inserted prove our position up to the hilt; nay, more, they lead us into inner "chambers of imagery" into which little light has as yet been admitted. What is meant by the allusion to the doctrine of the Trinity in the extract which is now before us? We forbear further comment, the paragraph speaks very plainly for itself:— 
"We are now at the parting of the ways, and the younger ministers especially must decide whether or not they will embrace and undisguisedly proclaim that 'modern thought' which in Mr. Spurgeon's eyes is a 'deadly cobra,' while in ours it is the glory of the century. It discards many of the doctrines dear to Mr. Spurgeon and his school, not only as untrue and unscriptural, but as in the strictest sense immoral; for it cannot recognize the moral possibility of imputing either guilt or goodness, or the justice of inflicting everlasting punishment for temporary sin. It is not so irrational as to pin its faith to verbal inspiration, or so idolatrous as to make its acceptance of a true Trinity of divine manifestation cover polytheism." 
Very unwillingly have we fulfilled our unhappy task of justifying a warning which we felt bound to utter; we deplore the necessity of doing so; but if we have not in this paper given overwhelming evidence, it is from want of space, and want of will, and not from want of power. Those who have made up their minds to ignore the gravity of the crisis, would not be aroused from their composure though we told our tale in miles of mournful detail.
Some words have been used which call the writer a Pope, and speak of this enquiry as an Inquisition. Nothing can be more silly. Is 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.
What action is to be taken we leave to those who can see more plainly than we do what Israel ought to do. One thing is clear to us: we cannot be expected to meet in any Union which comprehends those whose teaching is upon fundamental points exactly the reverse of that which we hold dear. Those who can do so will, no doubt, have weighty reasons with which to justify their action, and we will not sit in judgment upon those reasons: they may judge that a minority should not drive them out. To us it appears that there are many things upon which compromise is possible, but there are others in which it would be an act of treason to pretend to fellowship. With deep regret we abstain from assembling with those whom we dearly love and heartily respect, since it would involve us in a confederacy with those with whom we can have no communion in the Lord. Garibaldi complained that, by the cession of Nice to France, he had been made a foreigner in his native land; and our heart is burdened with a like sorrow; but those who banish us may yet be of another mind, and enable us to return. 
Read the article in its entirety here
I wonder what Mr. Spurgeon would think, then, of Chuck Colson's 1994 Evangelicals and Catholics Together or his 1997 Evangelicals and Catholics Together II? What would be Spurgeon's response to last year's Manhattan Declaration (signed by men like Mohler and Colson alongside Catholic and Orthodox leaders, who clearly preach a different gospel, namely a gospel of works-salvation) or of progressive "Pastor" Jim Wallis' latest, The Covenant for Civility (also signed by Colson and by well-known "evangelicals" such as Max Lucado)?

"One thing is clear to us: we cannot be expected to meet in any Union which comprehends those whose teaching is upon fundamental points exactly the reverse of that which we hold dear."

Well, I guess I have my answer.

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