Friday, September 01, 2006

Children: Mark Dever vs. Charles Spurgeon, part 3

Thanks to Brother Bob Ross for posting this today.



In his sermon, "Children Brought to Christ, Not to the Font," Spurgeon refers to "children of two or three years of age" as rejoicing in knowing Christ as Saviour (Vol. 10, page 422, Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit).

Also, in the sermon entitled, "Open Heart for the Great Saviour," Spurgeon said of faith in Christ, "It is so simple, that children of three and four years of age have doubtless been capable of it; and there have been many persons, but very little removed from absolute idiocy, who have been able to believe" (Vol. 11, page 19, MTP).

In the little book, "Come Ye Children," Spurgeon remarks, "Many dear children are called of God so early, that they cannot precisely tell when they were converted; but they were converted: they must at some time or other have passed from death to life" (page 63).

We know from the record of Spurgeon's ministry and his Orphan Homes for boys and girls that the Metropolitan Tabernacle always had a large number of children in the congregation, and he welcomed their conversions, confessions, baptisms, and membership in the church.

Special evangelistic services for children were even held by Spurgeon's own Tabernacle Evangelistic Association under W. Y. Fullerton and J. Manton Smith, as often reported in Spurgeon's magazine, The Sword and the Trowel.

"The holy scripture may be learned by children as soon as they are capable of understanding anything," said Spurgeon; "Give us the first seven years of a child, with God's grace, and we may defy the world, the flesh, and the devil to ruin that immortal soul" (Vol. 31, page 579, MTP).

In the sermon "Jesus and the Children," Spurgeon said:

"I could spend the whole morning in giving details of young children whom I have personally conversed with, some of them very young children indeed. I will say broadly that I have more confidence in the spiritual life of the children that I have received into this church than I have in the spiritual condition of the adults thus received. I will even go further than that, and say that I have usually found a clearer knowledge of the gospel and a warmer love to Christ in the child-converts than in the man converts. I will even astonish you still more by saying that I have sometimes met with a deeper spiritual experience in children of ten and twelve than I have in certain persons of fifty and sixty" (Vol. 32, page 570).

One of the most outstanding sermons dealing with child conversion is entitled, "The Children and Their Hosannas," preached in 1884 (MTP, Vol. 30, page 325-336). Spurgeon said:

"There are still among us those who hardly think that children can be truly converted. They put on their magnifying glasses when there is a child before the church, and they look hard for a flaw in its character! they put the child under a microscope and examine him much more particularly than they would a person of adult years. When the child is received into the church, it is with a kind of feeling that only the generous spirit of Christianity would enable us to be so wonderfully condescending, and so purely unselfish; for of course such young people cannot add much to the church, and it is by no means an occasion for killing the fatted calf, and beginning to eat and be mercy. That spirit still lingers among as: I wish we could exterminate it! . . . . .

"I am sure that children are capable of that early grace with which true religion usually begins, namely, that of deep repentance. Have you never heard the sobs and cries of little ones when they have been convinced of sin? I have almost wondered when I have seen their pure dives, and yet have marked their solemn sense of guilt. . . .

"I cannot help remembering how the Lord dealt with me as a child. If ever any lad knew the guilt of sin, I did. I was tenderly cared for, and kept from all sorts of evil company, yet the great deeps within my nature were broken up, and rose in vast waves of sin and rebellion against God, and I was amazed at my own sinfulness. I have met with scores of persons, converted in riper years, who, I am sure, never felt a hundredth part of what I felt as a child when I was under the hand of God’s Spirit. I experienced a thorough loathing of myself, because I had not lived to God and loved and served him as he deserved. I speak upon this point what I do know, and testify what I have seen and felt in myself. Grief for sin and a holy dread of the consequences can be felt by children quite as well as by their seniors. In many children whom I have known, repentance has been true, thorough, deep, intelligent, and lasting: they have found their way to the foot of the cross, and seen the great sacrifice, and have wept all the more to think that they should have offended against the love which so freely forgives. . . . .

"As to faith, I am sure that no one who has seen converted children will ever doubt their capacity for faith. In the hand of God’s Spirit, a child’s capacity for faith is in some respects greater than that of a grown-up person; at any rate, the faith of children is usually far more simple than that of adults. They take the word of God as they find it, and they believe it to be the very truth. They read it fairly, and they do not put glosses thereon, or degrade it with interpretations gathered from the schools or from the current philosophies. God’s book means to them just what it says. No undertone of doubt mars the music of the promises, but they accept the word as it ought to be accepted — as the sure testimony of God’s mouth. They believe, and have little unbelief to struggle with: they believe and are sure, and, therefore, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"You must have noticed how vivid their faith is. The gospel is all fact to them, and they seem to see it before their eyes. They feel it and believe it, and in their childlike way they act upon it. They expect great things, and look for them in everyday life. They sometimes look for them in a shape in which they will never see them; but still that is much better than never to expect at all, and so to miss seeing the glory of God.

"Jesus is to children no mere character in history; he is with them, and their eye beholds him. The Master’s word is to them what he meant it to be; and they expect to realize it and to see it fulfilled in their own experience: hence some holy children are far in advance of us poor questioners, who are cracking the nut while the little ones have eaten the kernel.

"And how effective their faith is! Have you never known a child in whose holy life you have seen the reality of his faith? He was a child — God forbid that he should be otherwise — but he was a holy child. For a boy to put on the air and manners of a man is not sanctification; that is to spoil him, not to sanctify him. And for a girl to be other than a girl, and to assume the air and tone of her careful mother, should be very mischievous.

"God does not sanctify children into men, but he sanctifies children in their own childlike way. I have noticed especially the struggles of some children with whom it has been my great joy to converse. They have been to school, and they have met there with almost the same temptations which you encounter in business, on the market, or in the Stock Exchange, only the temptations have been adapted to their state, according to the subtlety of the evil one who knows how to fit his snares to the birds he would entrap.

"Converted children have a horror of wickedness. A bad word that they have heard has made them sob themselves to sleep. They have been disturbed by the look of sin, and some wicked thing that has been said about the divine Lord has cut them to the quick. They have not acted quite rightly, they have felt it, and they have not again been easy till they have mentioned it to mother or father, or perhaps to their teacher, and obtained a sense of forgiveness. The dear ones wanted to be clear with everybody, that they might not seem to be better than they were.

"Oh, the sweet simplicity of childhood! The dear child has said, 'Jesus has forgiven me, I know. I stole away into a corner, and I told him that I had done wrong, but that I did love him; and I believe that he has even now blotted out my sin. I hope that I shall not do wrong again. Pray for me that I may be kept right, and may be pure and good, like the holy child Jesus.'

"Does anybody here despise such desires in a child? If so, my friend, as far as it is right to do so, and perhaps a little farther, I despise you. I cannot help it, for there seems to me something so beautiful in youthful faith that you might as well sneer at a lily for its purity as despise a child for his artlessless. Children may teach some of us how to believe in God. I am sure they may put us all to shame by their unfeigned confidence in the result of prayer. I have smiled at the story of the child who went to a prayer-meeting, which was summoned that they might pray for rain, and took her umbrella with her.

"Ah, but that is, the marrow of true prayer. We pray, but we do not take our umbrellas, yet it is the essence of faith to expect to be heard and to be prepared to be answered. Children often remind us that faith is not to be a show thing, a theme for pious talk, a source of gracious emotion, but a matter-of-fact force, operating upon the ordinary concerns of everyday life.

"I am sure that I am not wrong when I say that children are capable of repentance and of a very high degree of faith. . . . .

"What would you think if I introduced six children to you whom I saw one after another last week, and who all came forward with eagerness to say, ' We have been washed in the blood of Jesus, and we want to join his church.'

"I said, 'Come along, my children; I am glad to see you.' When I talked with them, and heard what God had done for them, I had great confidence in proposing them to the church. I have not found young converts turn back. I usually find that these young ones who are introduced early to the church hold on, and become our best members. Do not refuse to receive them, lest it should ever happen to you as it did to one who was cruelly prudent.

"A child had loved the Savior for some two or three years, and she desired to make a confession of her faith. She begged of her mother that she might be baptized. The mother said that she thought she was too young. The child went to bed broken-hearted, and in the morning a great tear stood in her eye. She had joined the church triumphant above!

"Do not let your child ever have to complain of you that you will not believe in its truthful love to Jesus. Do you expect perfection in a child before it joins the church? Then I hope you are perfect yourself, and, if you are, pray go to heaven, because I am sure you will fall to quarrelling with everybody here on earth. Few of the perfect people are agreeable neighbors; I suppose they are so good that they have no patience with us who are not lip to their standard.

"No, dear friend, a converted child will give you evidences of true religion, not of perfect religion, for that you ought not to expect. Let the child avow its faith in Christ, and, if you have not confessed him yourself, stand rebuked that a child is ready to obey its Lord while you are not. . . ."

From: The Children and Their Hosannas (Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 1785, Volume 30, Year 1884). A Sermon delivered on Wednesday evening, May 7, 1884, by C. H. Spurgeon, at Union Chapel, Islington. By request of the Sunday School Union. Text: — Matthew 21:15, 16.


Published by Pilgrim Publications

Come Ye Children

Teaching Children

Jesus and the Children

Children Brought to Christ, Not to the Font

Infant Salvation


At Friday, September 01, 2006 7:54:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has dever every published in a journal or book or magazine, his position on children and baptism?

This is hardly dever's main issue and he is certainly not going around telling churches, "you need to have the same policy we have or your not biblical."

So...I just dont' get your fixation with dever on this.

It's still just cut and paste spurgeon.

You can't have spurgeon vs. dever without dever.

At Saturday, September 02, 2006 4:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nodeverquotes said...

Has dever every published in a journal or book or magazine, his position on children and baptism?

As I recall, he said on his audio program on the website that he had a "position paper" which he wrote for his church or elders. I'm sure you could find out by contacting Dever himself.

I might add, we are not simply "picking on Dever." It seems to be a part of the overall Hybrid Calvinist persona among "Reformed" Baptists to discourage early baptisms. They apparently want to "down-size" the number of baptisms and church membership rolls. If you do not know this, then just do a little inquiring or research. They are usually anti-invitation and anti-early conversion. As you can see from Spurgeon's comments, the same was the case in his day on the part of those whom he described as "ultra-Calvinistic."

You say, "It's still just cut and paste spurgeon."

The material we present from Spurgeon is sometimes occasioned by the vain attempt of the Hybrids, such as the Founders Ministries, to embellish themselves by associating with Spurgeon. They even use his photo on their blogsite. We demonstrated that the Founders and other Hybrids are about as much in line with Spurgeon's views as are some other aberramts who like to identify with him.

At Tuesday, September 12, 2006 11:04:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

scott said . . .

I do believe Dr. Patterson is a saved man but if a man cannot embrace " Pure Grace" then he has no business leading a SBC seminary or being a spokesman for Baptists!

You are not very consistent, Scott. How can you say Patterson is "a saved man" when you judge that he does not believe in "pure grace"? Is there any other kind of saving grace than "pure" grace (Eph. 2:28-10). How much "pure grace" can one reject and still have enough grace to receive the Scott Morgan "seal of salvation approval"?

Do you agree with Spurgeon that John Wesley would be qualified to be an Apostle if we had apostles today? Do you agree with CHS on his endorsement of D. L. Moody? He also supported the Salvation Army founder, William Booth -- do you agree with that? CHS also used the "sinner's prayer," "Just As I Am," and the Inquiry Room in leading men to Christ. Do you follow his example?

Do you think Spurgeon would qualify to head the Southwestern Seminary?

Also, if Patterson should not serve at SWBTS, then why should the "born again before faith" aberrants serve at Southern Seminary -- and why should Mohler himself serve since he hired the aberrants?

At Tuesday, September 12, 2006 11:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott said...

You know that Spurgeon clearly believed Election like how the Abstract of Southern and Southeastern state:

Disbelief of Election

"I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart". Spurgeon

Scott then adds, "I do believe Dr. Patterson is a saved man but if a man cannot embrace "Pure Grace" etc.

In the first place, Scott, Spurgeon did not refer to "believing" the doctrine of election. He was referring to "submitting" -- which you yourself in effect have admitted that Dr. Patterson has done since you say you believe he is "saved." If he is saved, then he must have submitted -- right?

Now, unless one can be "saved" without "submitting" to God's love, it must be the case that Dr. Patterson "submitted" to God's love and grace. Otherwise, Scott, you have a separate way of salvation for Dr. Patterson, don't you?

If Dr. Patterson is saved (as you say), then he was "willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God," wasn't he?

You see, Scott, you evidently have yet to learn that the vast majority of believers submitted to God's love before they ever heard of the "second blessing" of the "system" of the "five points of Calvinism."


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