Posts Tagged ‘Charles Spurgeon’
I found the following qualifications from Charles Spurgeon on open air preachers to be interesting. May God grant us servants of the King who display such a calling to take the gospel to the highways and by-ways (Mark 16:15).
QUALIFICATIONS FOR OPEN-AIR PREACHERS
1. A good voice.
2. Naturalness of manner.
4. A good knowledge of Scripture and of common things.
5. Ability to adapt himself to any congregation.
6. Good illustrative powers.
7. Zeal, prudence, and common sense.
8. A large, loving heart.
9. Sincere belief in all he says.
10. Entire dependence on the Holy Spirit for success.
11. A close walk with God by prayer.
12. A consistent walk before men by a holy life.
Today was just a bad day. If it could go wrong, it did. I drive a truck for a living and was broke down for over 9 hours. Then I drove a man’s care back to my work after he came to take over the route for me only to break down in his car with a dead battery. What should have been a relative easy day turned into one of those bad days.
In comparison, I know there are many more worst things that could have happen. One man (not a believer by the way) replied to me, “Hey, it could have been worst. You could have been killed in the truck.” That put my day into perspective.
Forgive me for my complaining (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Today was one of those days where I just didn’t “feel” saved. It wasn’t that I was seeking to grieve the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30) but I just wasn’t feeling too sanctified today. I wanted to just go home and do nothing. I didn’t want to read my Bible. I didn’t want to pray. I didn’t want to do anything. I just wanted to sit.
Thankfully I have a faithful high priest who understands my struggles (Hebrews 4:14-16). The more I walk with Jesus the more I realize that I need His grace each and every day. I need Him to help me live a holy life (Hebrews 12:14). I need His grace to help me to be a faithful witness for His glory and honor (Titus 2:11-14). I need His grace to help me when I fall short of the glory of God (Hebrews 7:25; 9:14). My salvation is based on the work of Jesus and by grace through faith I am saved (Acts 15:11; Ephesians 2:8-9). This grace is at work in my life to stand firm for the gospel in spite of my flesh, the world, or the devil. God’s grace is there to help me be more like Christ (Romans 6:1-23). That is my heart’s cry. I hate my sins. I despise my flesh and my laziness. I long to honor the Lord Jesus in all that I say or do (Colossians 3:17) but I do fall short of His perfection (Mark 12:29-31).
The cure for all this is to keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). 1 John 1:7 speaks of this daily cleansing like this:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
The Greek tense of 1 John 1:7 is such that this cleansing is not just a one time cleansing but an ongoing cleansing. The blood of Jesus cleanses me and continues to cleanse me. He is making me holy by His grace (Hebrews 10:10, 14; cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). I hear His call to holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16) and I long to be pure and holy. While I do fall short (James 3:2), His grace is there to help me get up and continue to strive for holiness.
Praise God for His enabling and powerful grace!
For more on this I recommend the book by Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace.
Let me begin with a few quotes from Charles Spurgeon about Arminianism from the book Through The Eyes of C.H. Spurgeon by Stephen McCaskell:
I believe it is a mistake about God himself which has been the root and foundation of all the mistakes in theology. Our conviction is, that Arminian theology, to a great extent, makes God to be less than he is. (From Spurgeon’s sermon, Even So, Father, #394).
The basis and groundwork of Arminian theology lies in attaching undue importance to man, and giving God rather the second place than the first. (The Infallibility of God’s Purpose, #406).
I believe that very much of current Arminianism is simply ignorance of gospel doctrine; and if people began to study their Bibles, and to take the Word of God as they find it, they must inevitably, if believers, rise up to rejoice in the doctrines of grace. (Knowledge Commended, #609).
I have heard these arguments above before. Spurgeon believes, as many Calvinists do, that Calvinism exalts God while Arminianism exalts mankind. His final point there is that true believers who truly study the Bible will no doubt be Calvinists for, in his mind, Calvinism is all in the Bible.
Ironically I have been saved for over 20 years and have always attended Arminian churches. In all my years, I have never heard or seen what Spurgeon states in deed or practice (other than prayerlessness which plagues both Arminians and Calvinists churches). I have never heard an Arminian believer state the following:
- “I saved myself”
- “I worked with God to be saved”
- “God saved me but I am saving myself now”
- “I was saved by God’s grace but I am kept by my works”
- “I am so thankful for my own free will that I was able to choose Jesus and be saved”
- “I exalt me! I exalt me!”
I have never heard any of that. Every sermon I have heard, every evangelistic message I have ever heard, every time I have gone out witnessing with other Arminians, I have never heard any of that. The Calvinist will reply, “Oh you might not hear it but you imply it with your lives by your works.” Really? How does good works among Arminians differ with good works among Calvinists? I go witnessing from time to time with Calvinists. Is my motivation any different from theirs? The Calvinist might reply, “Yes because they are going for the glory of God but you are going for your own glory.” This would be nothing but pure judgment based on a theological bias and not truth. Only God truly knows a heart (2 Timothy 2:19).
Arminianism is a theology of grace. Only ignorance (with apologies to Spurgeon above) would lead someone to read the works of Arminius and conclude that he teaches what Spurgeon states above. I am currently reading Keith Stanglin and Thomas McCall’s excellent book, Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace, and what a solid work. It shows that Arminius was much in line with the Reformers in his view of salvation and the grace of God in salvation. Arminius’ focus was completely upon God and looking to Jesus alone to save us from our sins. While Arminius did teach an unlimited atonement, he did so because of Scripture and his view of God and not beginning with mankind. It is wrong to teach that Arminianism is based first and foremost on mankind when in fact Arminius exalts Christ as the Savior of the world (John 1:29) as the beginning point of his theology.
I disagree also with Spurgeon’s last point. I believe that if you hand a person a Bible who just was saved, they will not come back believing in Calvinism. They will come back believing that Jesus shed His blood for all, that all can be saved through faith in Christ, that Jesus is worthy of worship, etc. but the “doctrines of grace” have to be taught to them. Who can read John 3:16 or 1 Timothy 2:3-4 and walk away saying “all” doesn’t mean all? One has to be taught that all doesn’t mean all.
I will admit that much ignorance abounds on both sides. We are both guilty of misunderstanding each other in the Arminian-Calvinist debate. In most cases, it is that we only tend to read what we agree with. I would admit that I would rather read an Arminian theological work than a Calvinist work. But that only leads to me seeing everything through my Arminianism. We all come to the Bible with our differences and we all tend to see what we want to see. May God help us to still love one another (and I do love Spurgeon and even named my second child after him) while not agreeing with each other (John 13:34-35). Let us agree first and foremost that we are both saved through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-27) and then let us debate the passages from a heart of love and not ignorance toward each other.
Here is a great quote from Charles Spurgeon on how sin shows our hearts. Spurgeon said,
Ah, my friends, those men that say little sins have no vice in them whatever, they do but give indications of their own character; they show which way the stream runs. A straw may let you know which way the wind blows, or even a floating feather; and so may some little sin be an indication of the prevailing tendency of the heart. My hearer, if thou lovest sin, though it be but a little one, thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Thou art still a stranger to divine grace. The wrath of God abideth on thee. Thou art a lost soul unless God change thy heart.
True words indeed. If a person loves sin, though it be but a little one says Spurgeon, your heart is not right in the sight of God. You are still a stranger to divine grace and the wrath of God abides on you. You are a lost soul and need God to transform your heart. 1 John 3:4-10 is clear that the righteous saint of God does not abide in sin. Any theology that comforts your sins is not from God. Jesus came to deliver us from sin (John 8:31-38) and His very name means salvation (Matthew 1:21). He makes us new creations in Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17) and we do not go on sinning (1 John 2:1-2). We look to Jesus for our salvation, for His intercession (Hebrews 7:25) and for Him to help us escape the temptations of this world and the flesh (1 Corinthians 10:13). There is no sin that is greater than Jesus and He is able to save us from it.
Friend, what sin do you love more than Jesus? What sin do you want to hold on to that you will not let go. That sin will damn you. You’ll love that sin, cherish that sin, and that sin will become your god. Sin destroys (Romans 6:23). Always has and always will until Jesus comes and ends this all. Sin is what keeps us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and sin is what keeps us from salvation (Acts 2:38). We must hate sin in all its forms whether “small” sins or big. We must hate all sin. We must pray for the Holy Spirit to help us to be holy (Galatians 5:16-17) and to avoid sinning (1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1). We must despise all sin and love holiness (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16). Jesus said that the pure in heart would see God (Matthew 5:8).
Is your heart pure before God (1 John 1:7)?