Monday, April 28, 2008

Help for Flounders from Spurgeon


In an article last year (here), the Flyswatter noted that Mark Dever, Pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC who once served on the Board of Trustees of the Flounders, put forth the idea (here) that Pilgrim Publications' reprinting of C. H. Spurgeon's sermons was somewhat responsible for the "prominence of reformed theology among the young in the American evangelical scene."

As the Founder and Director of Pilgrim Publications, I took issue with that assertion on the grounds that Spurgeon's "Calvinism" was not the "Reformed theology" such as found on the American evangelical scene of this age. I wrote:

"With all due respect, Brother Dever, we must say 'No Thanks;' we neither appreciate nor accept your attribution . . . . This modern 'reformed' doctrine represents neither our views nor those of C. H. Spurgeon, but rather it is an aberrant and non-creedal form of historic 'Calvinism.'"

Furthermore, on the Flyswatter blog, we have demonstrated that Spurgeon and Pastor Dever are far apart in regard to the conversion and baptism of young children. Spurgeon believed, for example, that even pre-schoolers are capable of being saved.

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, online).

"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).

In "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. . . . 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. . . . 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."

For more from Spurgeon on child conversion see here, here, and here.

Mark Dever, who differs with Spurgeon on child conversion and baptism, has long played a significant part of the Flounders, serving as a Trustee, a frequent conference speaker, a writer, and other means of promoting Flounderism's "reform" and the "recovery of the gospel" propaganda. He has all too frequently tried to embellish Floundersism's agenda by using the name of C. H. Spurgeon, just as the Flounders wallpaper their website with Spurgeon's picture, as if they stand for what Spurgeon stood for.

Since they profess to be such admirers of Spurgeon, and since they say they are trying to "recover the gospel," I think they might get some assistance from the following item.

Years ago (February, 1963), I came upon, copied, and published a short item on page 4 of our little "Salvation" monthly church paper of that period about Spurgeon which should be of some help to Flounders such as Tom Ascol and Mark Dever in their efforts to "recover the gospel." It is as follows:


At a London meeting at which C. H. Spurgeon presided a young minister was asked to speak. He started by saying that he was a poor speaker and all he knew was the A. B. C. Gospel.

He went on to say --

"A" stands for the text we should all learn first as it is the very beginning of the Gospel for every sinner--"All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God."

"B" stands for --"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."

"C" is --"Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."

At the close of the address Mr. Spurgeon, with tears streaming down his cheeks, said --

"Stick to that kind of preaching and you will be a real A. B. C."

Mr. Spurgeon meant by this, an "Able Bodied Christian."

May the day soon come when we can say that the Flounders-Friendlies are likewise "Able Bodied Christians" and that they preach the ABC Gospel!


At Sunday, July 27, 2008 9:34:00 PM, Blogger Adam Jung said...

Amen! Although I see Pastor Dever as a father in the faith, I am absolutely with Spurgeon on his biblical view of conversion. The Lord's sheep will hear His voice and will follow Him when He so ordains it. Glory to God!


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