Saturday, August 26, 2006

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon

With so much false teaching about the salvation and baptism of children coming from Mark Dever and his followers, I am thankful that the writings of Charles H. Spurgeon remain a trustworthy voice to refute Dever. Brother Bob Ross, the publisher of Spurgeon for many years, sent this sermon to his email list. Every Southern Baptist "Deverite" should read it.

The Bible says that "they that gladly received his word were baptized." In my opinion, a pastor is living in open disobedience to the Word of God by refusing to baptize a child who makes a clear profession of faith. Why other pastors would promote or fellowship with such a man is beyond me.


Subject: CONVERSION OF CHILDREN [08/26--2006]

By C. H. Spurgeon

“Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child?” -- Genesis 42:22.

I want the church of God, and especially this church, to attend carefully to the next few remarks.

When teachers and others are earnest about the conversion of children, and some of them are converted, they then come into relationship with the church, and too often the Lord’s people need the advice, “Do not sin against the child.”

How can a church so offend? It can do so by not believing in the conversion of children at all.

I am persuaded there are hundreds of Christians who in their hearts altogether mistrust the worth of regeneration, unless the party born again is over sixteen or eighteen years of age; if the inmost thoughts of many professors could be spoken, it would be seen that they are at once suspicious of a conversion if the convert is only thirteen years of age, and yet would cheerfully endorse the same conversion if the person were thirty or seventy. There is a sad respect of persons among us still; a lingering belief that a certain period of years spent in sin must have elapsed before a work can be commenced.

And yet if you were to think, the conversion of a child is in itself no more difficult than the conversion of a full-grown man. With God all things are possible, and if it were right to compare two equally divine works, it should seem to be an easier thing to renew the child than the man. There is less of the dire force of habit to overcome, there is less to forget, less to repent of. Though there be nothing spiritually good in us by nature, yet there is a certain simplicity about the child, and readiness of belief, and absence of cautiousness and questioning, which is exceedingly helpful in receiving the truth.

Where two things are both impossible, except with God, we may draw comparisons. I should really say that the conversion of the child appears to be the simpler work of the two, and how then we have come to imagine it not to be so I can scarcely tell. Surely that same Holy Ghost who can enter into the man of seventy, and overcome his sin, and make him to become like a little child, can enter also into the child, and overcome his natural depravity, and make him willing in the day of God’s power, and lead him to faith in Jesus.

If salvation had to do with mysterious doctrines hard to be understood, if to be a Christian one needed to comprehend the Hebrew and the Greek languages, we might admit the difficulty of the conversion of little children; but if it be all so simple that he that runs may read, and he that reads may still continue to run, if it be all so plain as to be nothing more than this, “He that believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved,” why not a child as capable of faith as a man, and why may it not be as probable that we may see numbers of children converted to God as that numbers of adults may give in their adhesion to the faith?

Get rid of this base idea then, lest you be found sinning against the child. God can save children. He has saved many, he has proved to his unbelieving church the greatness of his power towards the little ones. Thrust out the thought then, and expect from this day that God will save the children as well as others.

Having believed that their conversion is possible, when you hear of it be willing to believe it is so. I do not ask of children that they should be received into the church without examination; I do not claim for a youngster who declares that he is a believer in Christ, that he should be received into the church with any less rigorous examination any adult; all I do ask is that he should not be tormented with needless suspicions, and looked upon as an impostor. Brethren, it would be very greatly sinning against children if the moment their little susceptible minds were made to feel terror on account of sin, we should put that down as repentance; or the moment they felt some joy at the thought of the love of Christ, we should assure them that they possessed faith. This would be to educate them in self-deception.

We should not look to find in the young more than in the old; but so far as faith and repentance are concerned, we must require quite as much. I mean that the same repentance which is needful in an adult in order to salvation, is indispensable in a child; and the faith of God’s elect is the same faith in the youth as in the grey-headed man. Nothing short of real repentance and true faith in Christ can save anybody, and there is no difference in age at all in that respect. We ought, therefore, to expect in a child a sincere hatred of sin, a true sense of its evil, a conviction that he cannot save himself, and a simple reliance upon the work of Jesus which we expect in any other convert; less than this will leave young or old short of eternal life.

Many say, “We must hope for the best, and we must not expect too much of a child;” but I reply, we should do that child most serious injury if we taught him to be satisfied with that which is unsatisfactory, and to rest anywhere but in the Lord Jesus. We must expect as much, but what I plead for is, we must not expect more; for I am sure that there are some ministers and church members who discourage at once any profession of faith from boys and girls.

“Oh! yes,” they say, “it is the morning cloud and the early dew; it will soon pass away.”

They utter sharp and hard things which, if the devil wanted instruments would be the very ones to grieve tender hearts. They put on such frowns, and give themselves such lofty airs, that humble, timid children, shrink back and are to the church for many a day perhaps kept outside her pale. Let us judge them righteously, but let us not judge them censoriously. Let us be willing to receive them to baptism, and to the Lord’s-table, and when they are received, instead of thinking of them as though they were less valuable than other members, let us count them to be the very pride of the flock.

I hate to hear people say, “They have received a pack of children into the church.”

“A pack of children,”
yes, and if Jesus carries them in his bosom, surely you are not imitating Christ, nor exhibiting much of his spirit when you look down upon them and despise them. To me one soul is as good as another. I rejoice as much, in the addition of the poorest mechanic to this church, as if he were a peer of the realm; I am as grateful to God when I hear of repentance in the young as in the aged, for souls’ after all are not affected in value by rank or age. Immortal spirits are all priceless, and not to be weighed in the scale with worlds.

I pray you therefore rejoice if the Spirit of God dwells in the lowly or in the great in the young or in the old. He is the selfsame Spirit, he makes each renewed person equally his temple, and each saved one is equally a jewel of Christ, dear to the heart of the Eternal Father, beloved by him who redeemed all his people alike with his most precious blood. Let us not therefore as a church sin against the child.

From Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 14, Year 1868, Sermon #840, DO NOT SIN AGAINST THE CHILD, pages 631-634.


At Saturday, August 26, 2006 10:30:00 PM, Blogger Andy said...

OK, I Gotta Get on Brother Bob's List! Where do I sign up?

At Saturday, August 26, 2006 10:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have any quotes from the false teaching of Dever on children and salvation?

It's only appropriate that if you are going to go on record and call another brother in Christ a false teacher, that you have a quote to illustrate and interact with your points.

I may have missed an early quote from Dever, if so, I apologize.

At Sunday, August 27, 2006 2:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish the dead could speak for themselves since they are misquoted as well as misunderstood by Bob and Charles. I would hope that those with common since and spiritual dicernment would never hinder anyone but at the same time verify if that which they are professing is true or false or we will be seeing these same souls coming down more than once when reality sets in or we will have a lot of false believers among us.

You guys need to grow up in the Lord and stop acting like you can speak for everyone as well as know all things. Your God complex is really getting blasphemous!

At Thursday, August 31, 2006 12:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

I wish the dead could speak for themselves since they are misquoted as well as misunderstood by Bob and Charles.

Since you cited no instance of a misquotation, it is not possible for me to address your allegation.

You also allege:
You guys need to grow up in the Lord and stop acting like you can speak for everyone as well as know all things.

I am not aware of either Charles or me attempting to "speak for everyone" on issues which have discussed on this blogsite, nor have we professed to "know all things."

Perhaps you have been informed of some things that hitherto you did not know, and simply mistakenly assumed that we may think we "know all things."

I of course can't speak for Charles -- who may "know all things" -- but I do not "know all things."


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