Paul's Passing Thoughts

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Prince of Preachers?

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on July 29, 2013

ppt-jpeg4“The problem is the fusing of law and grace, not election. People on both sides of that argument can fuse law and grace together and often do….Notice that who does the work is not the issue. Work period is the issue.”

Protestantism is the foundation of the American church. Our heroes of the faith are those who protested Rome but never left Rome. Augustine, Luther, and Calvin merely believed they could do Rome better. Luther and Calvin in particular were fed-up with the popes and gave birth to a resurgence of Plato’s moral tyranny. The popes were in the tyranny business for money and the fulfillment of sinful desires; the Reformers were in the tyranny business for the glory of God. Their mentor, Augustine, boldly proclaimed that the Bible was useless without Plato’s insight and proclaimed Plato a pre-Christian Christian.

Plato’s philosophical principles and anthropomorphic presuppositions laid the foundation for every political and religious caste system in Western culture. Plato’s DNA is in every tyrant ever born in the West whether political or religious. His philosophy lives in both anemic form and viral, fleshing itself out in either philosophical capitulation or the zealot’s bloody axe. Only God knows the number buried in that landfill named, “The Traditions of Men.”

During the first advent, Christ spoke often of two concerns: the traditions of men and antinomianism. Anti-law of God is made possible to the degree that the authority of men usurp the authority of God’s word. Tradition is powerful and often relegates truth to a metaphysical anomaly. Such is the case with American religious heroes. Their stardom defies logic and truth. While Americans shake their heads in disbelief at documentary films that show Hitler pontificating to swooning masses, we celebrate the Pilgrim Puritans who hung Quakers and baptized women in waters of death. Tradition knows no limits in regard to hypocrisy and ignorance. Better to skim the Cliff Notes of tradition than to suffer a possible stroke by the exercise of thinking.

Calling Charles Haddon Spurgeon the “Prince of Preachers” is perhaps the grandiose example of illogical tradition. Spurgeon was a shameless Calvinistic hack. He once said,

There is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.

The most inconvenient thing ever for admirers of Spurgeon is the truth. He constantly disregarded the plain sense of Scripture, though eloquently. While comparing Augustine and Calvin to the apostle Paul in the same sermon (A Defense of Calvinism), any concern for Paul’s warning of being a proponent of a doctrine named after a man was totally disregarded by Surgeon in open defiance to the truth (1COR 3:1-9).

But the fundamental problem is the fact that Calvin taught a blatant false gospel. He believed that grace was not possible unless Christ fulfilled the law for us (CI 3.14.9-11). He believed that Christians are still “under law” which is the very definition of a lost person in the book of Romans and the premise for Calvin’s total depravity.

Hence, Christians remain under the law for justification and must live their Christian lives by faith alone in order to keep their salvation. If Christians live by faith alone in sanctification, the perfect obedience of Christ is perpetually imputed to us and we remain saved. Of course, this requires a complex doctrinal judgment in regard to what is works in sanctification and what is not a work in sanctification in order to live our Christian lives by faith alone resulting in the maintaining of our salvation. This is the very reason for the anemic sanctification that has plagued Protestantism for centuries. We either throw Law out the window completely, or live in fear regarding what is a work and what isn’t a work in our Christian lives lest we find ourselves in “works salvation.”

The problem is the fusing of law and grace. Not election. People on both sides of that argument can fuse law and grace together and often do. Unbelievers are “under law” while believers are “under grace.” We are justified APART from the law (ROM 3:21). Christ didn’t come to fulfill the law FOR OUR JUSTIFICATION; He came to die for our sins so that a righteousness APART from the law could be credited to our account. If Christ had to fulfill the law…. for our justification, law is still the BASIS for our justification and justification is then NOT OF GRACE. The basis of our justification is not law, we are rather UNDER GRACE. This is what the apostle Paul wrote:

Romans 11:6 – But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

Notice that who does the work is not the issue. Work period is the issue. The BASIS of grace is the issue here, and if the basis of grace is works it is no longer grace. If Christ had to keep the law for us to make grace possible, according to Paul, grace is no longer of grace. To the contrary, Paul states that Christ came so that he could fulfill the law through us in sanctification completely separate from justification:

Romans 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Notice that a perfect keeping of the law is not required for us in sanctification to please God for justification. Why? Because the two are separate and there is no law in justification for the believer. The two are separate. We are saved apart from the law for justification and the law informs our sanctification (ROM 3:21, GAL 4:21). Calvinism propagates a grace based on works. Its consummation is an antinomianism where Christ must keep the law for us because we are unable to please God through the perfect fulfillment of it in our Christian lives—perfection as a goal not withstanding in sanctification, but not for justification. According to Calvinism, we have no faith that is alive; we are still dead in our trespasses and sins. It is of the variety that separates us from the fulfillment of the law in sanctification as well. Only Calvin was genius enough to devise a doctrine that combined the best of works salvation and antinomianism.

Only truth sanctifies (John 17:17). The idea that Spurgeon ever helped anyone with his preaching is an illusion grounded in the traditions of men.

paul

16 Responses

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  1. […] Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The Prince of Preachers?. […]

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  2. Abe said, on July 29, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Spurgeon is the guy who read one verse and then talked endlessly, rambling and waxing philosophical. But you gave the quote that shows he didn’t have any idea what he was talking about: Spurgeon wrongly thought calvinism was the Gospel. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead a person to that conclusion.

    Calvinism is an end-run around the Gospel, around believing in Jesus for eternal life. An end-run around the Gospel, and to the satanic foundation of, “I hope I’m part of the elect! My life will show whether I am or not”. That is not the Gospel, obviously. It’s bad news, not good news.

    John 3:16 is good news, and it is that easy.

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  3. Christian said, on July 29, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Amen, Abe!

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  4. Anonymous said, on July 29, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    This was a thorough, thoughtful, and concise essay on Spurgeon. Thanks. susan

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  5. Andy said, on July 29, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    There’s nothing like making hamburger out of the Calvinists’ sacred cows!

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  6. lydiasellerofpurple said, on July 29, 2013 at 6:32 PM

    Have you ever read up on the Downgrade controversy? The problem is all the official history is from the pro Spurgeon side. But you get a feel for that martyr complex while pastoring a mega church in the 19th Century in wealthy London. Sound familiar?

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 29, 2013 at 7:02 PM

      Ya, makes you wonder. I may do some research in that direction.

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  7. james jordan said, on July 29, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    “Notice that a perfect keeping of the law is not required for us in sanctification to please God for justification. Why?”

    Because a perfect keeping of the Law was never required at all due to the fact that the Law itself always allowed for repentance. What’s the book of Jonah about? And the ceremonial law was never required of Gentiles to begin with.

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  8. Abe said, on July 30, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    “Because a perfect keeping of the Law was never required at all”

    The New Testament begs to differ. And anyway, the law is only a schoolmaster to be left behind, once the person is saved by Jesus. Alive to Jesus is infinitely superior to the weak and beggarly attempts of the “lawkeeper”.

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 30, 2013 at 2:36 PM

      Abe,

      You comment shows no distinction between justification and sanctification. There is no law in justification–there is law in sanctification.

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  9. Abe said, on July 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Paul, yes, but in my comment I was only referring to justification alone, not to sanctification at all. 🙂

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on July 30, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Abe,

      I think you will agree that in our day we need to make the distinction.

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  10. PQ said, on September 4, 2013 at 11:31 PM

    Just wondering what you truly mean by “there is no law in justification.” I understand that “we are now justified apart from the Law,” but Christ also made clear that he “came to fulfill the Law.” His fulfillment of the Law is the basis of our justification because we could not fulfill the Law by our own merit or might. This seems like a vague thought that could be misconstrued very easily. Also, I wonder from where your conclusion that “Calvinism propagates a grace based upon works” comes? That thought is no where in the Institutes or in Spurgeon. Is this merely a tactic of logical reduction? Clearly, if we attempt to drag the notions of God’s sovereignty or our free will to their logical ends (in the realm our minds can fathom), we end up with heresy on either end. Either God is a moral monster, punishing those whom he controls, or God must alternatively have his hands tied to the whims and will of man. The truth lies in between and demands humility. I would propose that if you read Spurgeon or Calvin in their entirety rather than pulling out of context quotes, you would recognize that they have arrived at the same truth concerning the Christian’s responsibility in justification and sanctification as you have; they only took different theoretical pathways to get there. For the note, I do not publicly claim either side of the party, because that only ends in argument. It just frustrates me when people occupy the fading minutes of this age with jabbing at the theoretical ideas of brothers in Christ who practically ministered the gospel to thousands. Clearly Calvin made his mistakes, yet so have we all. The fruit of their lives (and the lives of Piper, Platt, and Driscoll today who hold ‘reformed’ beliefs) cannot be refuted, whether or not you agree with their understanding of how grace is applied. None of this is meant in a rude way. You are an intelligent person. I only wish you would use your intelligence for defending what is clear in Scripture rather than arguing over mysteries that no man can understand this side of eternity.

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    • james jordan said, on September 5, 2013 at 11:19 AM

      “…but Christ also made clear that he ‘came to fulfill the Law.’ His fulfillment of the Law is the basis of our justification…”

      No. No no no. The Law is not something that can be done (or ‘fulfilled’) for you by another person. When he said he came to fulfill the Law that had no reference to this moronic notion that he was going to do the Law for you so that you don’t have to. To fulfill in that verse, actually means “fully peach” and it ties in nicely with what he says that “He who breaks the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so shall be called the LEAST in the kingdom of heaven” — an oblique reference to Paul and why he was really renamed from Saul to Paul (least) — “but he that keeps ALL of these commandments and teaches others to do so shall be called the GREATEST in the kingdom of heaven.”

      In otherwords, keeping the Law perfectly was never required. So you don’t need Jesus to keep it for you. Keep as much of it as you can keep. If you break some minor provisions, that doesn’t keep you out of heaven — it just lowers your status in heaven. In order to give his hearers a fair chance at not only making it, but being great, Jesus fulfilled –fully preached — the Law.

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    • paulspassingthoughts said, on September 5, 2013 at 8:15 PM

      http://wp.me/pmd7S-2rk

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