Thursday, November 02, 2006

Spurgeon was against Modernism…

Charles Haddon Spurgeon Posted by Picasa

Spurgeon was against Modernism…

Many of the emerging church are Calvinists… of which I am not one. I respect their view yet I do not see Calvinism as being a system that God can fit in… I see that God is much too great and complex for man to fit Him into a system.

On of the major Calvinist is Charles Spurgeon… known as the prince of Preachers. He was not educated by formal schools of education… smoked cigars… yet was truly more educated than some of his contemporaries. He was known for his huge library of books on many topics… Personally I think I would have like the guy… he seems real and raw… very much what we are looking at in the likes of some of the emergent preachers of today.
He was also one of the first to speak against modernism…and that it seems is where he and I do agree greatly.Here is an excerpt of his thoughts on modernism that so many seem to embrace today… especially my critics.

"[At the end of the Puritan age] by some means or other, first the ministers, then the Churches, got on "the down grade," and in some cases, the descent was rapid, and in all, very disastrous. In proportion as the ministers seceded from the old Puritan godliness of life, and the old Calvinistic form of doctrine, they commonly became less earnest and less simple in their preaching, more speculative and less spiritual in the matter of their discourses, and dwelt more on the moral teachings of the New Testament, than on the great central truths of revelation. Natural theology frequently took the place which the great truths of the gospel ought to have held, and the sermons became more and more Christless. Corresponding results in the character and life, first of the preachers and then of the people, were only too plainly apparent."

From the Spurgeon writings, The Sword and the Trowel

Here is more on the topic by John MacArthur… again not one of my favorites preachers as I see that he is also very much Calvinist in his views. I used to listen to him often, yet found again that Calvinism is a bit to simplified. I also view John MacArther’s view of Lordship salvation as a bit of a “duh”… Jesus is Lord of all… that would include even unbelievers… and one day they will bend their knee and confess him as Lord… but will that save them? In other words I am saying is I see that John has placed something extra that is already incorporated in the whole… it is something that is a given and really does not need to be emphasized. Besides Jesus told the disciples that they were his brothers… so yes, He is Lord… yet He is our brother… so Jesus’ focus was on relationship and not some Medieval Hierarchal structure that we have placed Him into.

(Granted I would have to say a lot more and this is just a real brief summary of John MacArther’s theology as I see John's view of Lordship salvation actually undermines the true Grace of God and causes one to perform works to prove their salvation instead of resting in Christ. Personally I think Spurgeon would be spinning over John's version of the Gospel and Calvinism.)

I am not against those who hold to Calvinism… I have good friends that hold to this system of theology. Which is part of the point of looking for common ground… In the emerging church Calvinists can discuss with Armenianism, and Anglicans and Charismatics with non charismatics… all with respect.

I see though that Spurgeon had the same concern that many of the emerging Church… myself included. Don't get me wrong, Spurgeon most probably would not have been for Postmodernism... that is not my point, but then again, most the emerging church is not for it also... (That is a gross misunderstanding). Yet I find it interesting that the critics of the emerging church use Spurgeon... and yet I have read, heard and even written myself much of the same concerns that Spurgeon espoused... seems a bit... hypocritical to me.
Spurgeon seemed to be more open to encouraging those that did not believe as he did than those who hold him up as the Prince of Preachers. I apprecieate his love for others in his hopes to spur them on in Christ.

He states in an article:

"SOME time ago we felt an intense desire to speak to the Society of Friends, hoping that it might be the Lord's will to arouse that most respectable community to greater energy and zeal. Our belief was, and still is, that it is the bounden duty of Friends in these perilous times to renew more distinctly their testimony against formalism, ritualism, and unspiritual worship in its many forms, and we hoped that a respectful brotherly admonition might be accepted by them and owned of God. Our doctrinal views widely differ, but on the vital point we are one."

Spurgeon was a charitable man who cared for his brothers in the Lord... and he looked for the higher points that bond us together in Christ. If one is to hold to Spurgeon as an example I hope that they would also latch onto his Spirit of unity and reconciliation.


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