Contending For The Faith

May 14, 2009

Thoughts on Spurgeon

Filed under: C.H. Spurgeon — Lynda O @ 7:18 am

In the last few months I have begun to appreciate C.H. Spurgeon, through reading his sermons, daily devotionals, and the Teampyro blog’s “Dose of Spurgeon” posts. His sermons are an invaluable treasure, with thoughts on so many different Christian topics.

Every once in a while, though, we all find something wrong, something to disagree with, even in a much-revered man like Spurgeon, moments that remind us that yes, even Spurgeon was human and fallible. A few days ago, while reading through sermons in the first volume of Spurgeon’s sermons (1855), I read the following:

Can any man tell me when the beginning was? Years ago we thought the beginning of this world was when Adam came upon it; but we have discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvelous skill, before he tried his hand on man.

He then changed the subject, went on to other matters without elaborating. As far as I know, he never said anything further regarding the matter. Answers in Genesis mentions the above quote in this article that tells the history of 19th century Christians who compromised and accepted the claims of science without challenge.

Today I read the latest from Teampyro’s Weekly Dose of Spurgeon, on Spurgeon’s comments (1890) against evolution and other man-made philosophy:

If any of you shall live fifty years, you will see that the philosophy of today will be a football of contempt for the philosophy of that period. They will speak, amidst roars of laughter, of evolution; and the day will come, when there will not be a child but will look upon it as being the most foolish notion that ever crossed the human mind. I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet; but I know what has befallen many of the grand discoveries of the great philosophers of the past; and I expect that the same thing will happen again.

Alas, his prediction about evolution has yet to be fulfilled — though as one blogger commented, the specifics of “evolution” have changed since Spurgeon’s time. Yet Spurgeon’s own error concerning the long ages of time — the very thing necessary to support the man-made evolutionary theory — has been so oft-repeated down through the years, a lie that so permeates our culture today that most continue to accept it without question.

So Spurgeon too is fallible, a good reminder to always subject man’s words, even those of godly, Christian leaders, to the word of God. Some preachers come closer to the mark, the standard of God’s word, than others, and this too requires great discernment, a gift from God through the Holy Spirit and our study of the Bible.

In Spurgeon’s defense, I can recognize that his shortcoming on this matter was far less than the same error in present-day preachers — due to the amount of light and knowledge. Scientific discoveries of the last 150 years since Spurgeon have pointed out the many problems with the claims of evolutionists, the flaws and inconsistencies found in the supposed geologic column and dating techniques. The modern-day preacher, who has full access to so much information regarding the issue, and yet insists on the old-earth ideas and rejects the overwhelming body of evidence, simply has no excuse for his unbelief.

From that point of variation, too, we can apply the Bible’s teachings and discern how far astray the preacher goes, in other doctrinal matters. Does the preacher honor the word of God in all matters, exegeting the text rather than imposing his own ideas onto it?
Here Spurgeon comes up much stronger than the modern-day “old-earth” professors. For on the same day when I read the above 1855 sermon, I also read one from the same year in which he preached on a verse from Ezekiel 34 and correctly taught what the passage says regarding Israel, both past and future. Though Spurgeon denounced the dispensationalists of his day, his views of Historic Premillennialism are actually very similar to that of my own “progressive dispensationalism,” agreeing that the Bible does teach a future regathering of Israel to the nation, and that some type of structure, whether a temple or other Church structure, will exist in the millennial period (in reference to Ezekiel’s prophecy). The only area of disagreement regards the timing of the rapture. As I’ve read elsewhere, Spurgeon was of the post-trib view, that the Church and believers would go through the tribulation. I’m not 100% sure of the pre-trib view yet (though I understand and agree with the pre-trib reasoning), mainly because I realize that the rapture timing is not something taught explicitly in the Bible, but that can only be inferred and implied based on several other assumptions. Clearly it was not something God wanted us to know with positive certainty.

So, even with Spurgeon’s error regarding the age of the creation, I can still evaluate his overall teachings and recognize a solid Christian teacher who can generally be trusted as faithful to the Bible. I have far less problems with Spurgeon’s ideas concerning the earth’s age and the rapture timing, than with the one who altogether rejects the basic futurist teaching of the Bible, with the modern-day “old-earth” preacher who shows (time and again) his unfaithfulness to God’s word in so many other doctrinal matters.


1 Comment »

  1. That is very informative content. Thank you very much.

    Comment by Adleer — July 26, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

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