Saturday, December 13, 2008

An example of floundering


Iain Murray is the man who inspired the Founder of the Flounders, Ernest Reisinger, to adopt much of the piffle that Reisinger later promoted after he started the Flounders. Other than the "regeneration precedes faith" drivel, Murray's opposition to "public appeals" (i. e. invitations), is probably the most significant item from Murray which was passed along by Brother Reisinger.

Following Murray in the book, The Forgotten Spurgeon (page 108, first edition 1966; page 102, second edition 1973), Reisinger borrowed from Murray in his effort to represent Spurgeon as an opponent of invitations, and repeated Murray's representation that Spurgeon would advise sinners to "Go home alone, trusting Jesus" -- intimating that those words supported the critique of a public response of some description (Today's Evangelism by Reisinger, page 75; also here).

It also appears that Erroll Hulse borrowed the same Murray material, but repeated it from Reisinger's book (The Great Invitation by Hulse, page 149). One can also find several references to the same item on anti-invitationist websites.

Actually, in context, what these gentlemen imply does not appear to be Spurgeon's intent, as in the same closing paragraph of the same sermon, Spurgeon went on to say, "Go to your God at once, even where you now are. Cast yourself on Christ, now, at once; ere you stir an inch! In God’s name I charge you, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, for 'he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.'”
(Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 30, page 456).

Spurgeon often rebutted the idea that the unsaved were to be told to "Go home, and pray." He wanted sinners to "decide" for Christ on the spot.

He said in the New Park Street Pulpit, Volume 6, page 403:


You are to come just as you are—today, as you are, now—not as you will be, but just now, as you now are.

I do not say to you, “Go home and seek God in prayer;" I say "Come to Christ now at this very hour.”

You will never be in a better state than you are now, for you were never in a worse state and that is the fittest state in which to come to Christ. . . . All this preaching to sinners that they must feel this and feel that before they trust in Jesus, is just self-righteousness in another shape. I know our Calvinistic Brethren will not like this sermon—I cannot help that—for I do not hesitate to say that Phariseeism is mixed with Hyper-Calvinism more than with any other sect in the world. And I do solemnly declare that this preaching to the prejudice and feelings of what they call sensible sinners, is nothing more than self-righteousness taking a most cunning and crafty shape, for it is telling the sinner that he must be something before he comes to Christ. Whereas the Gospel is preached not to sensible sinners, or sinners with any other qualifying adjective, but to SINNERS as sinners, to sinners just as they are. It is not to sinners as repentant sinners, but to sinners as sinners, be their state what it may and their feelings whatever they may.


See also NPSP, Volume 1, page 263 and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 12, page 163.

In the latter volume, he says, "I do not say to you this morning, I dare not say to you, as though it were the gospel message, 'Go home and pray.'"

On page 224 of Volume 12, Spurgeon remarks, "Suppose I should go home tonight and spend the night on my knees and think that by that means I should satisfy God? What should I have done but made my knees ache?"

The peculiar twist by Murray and used by Reisinger in trying to align Spurgeon with the anti-invitationalism of Murray is certainly an example of floundering by both Murray and the Founder of the Flounders.


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