“It is no novelty, then that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus. By this truth I make a pilgrimage into the past, and as I go, I see father after father, confessor after confessor, martyr after martyr, standing up to shake hands with me. Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic, of no very honorable character, might rise up and call me brother. But taking these things to be the standard of my faith, I see the land of the ancients peopled with my brethren; I behold multitudes who confess the same as I do, and acknowledge that this is the religion of God’s own church.”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon
One of my favorite quotes from church history is this brazenly barbed statement from the lips of the “Prince of Preachers.” As I think through each of his carefully chosen, soul searing words, I find my heart warmed by the truth that is communicated. The declaration is deeply theological and highly controversial in nature (two things that many Christians melt away from in American Christianity). However, the more my mind salivates over these remarks, the more I understand that this is more than a doctrinal challenge. The purpose of stating truth with such clarity and battling error with such severity is two fold – and Spurgeon accomplishes both in this theological cry. Notice the emphasis on brothers rising up to unify together. Notice the crescendo as the doctrine presses us to look upon the beauty and brilliance of God. The goal of all theology should bring about unity in and adoration from true believers.
Tonight we will launch into a study called “Theology Matters” at BLDG 28. Over the course of the next two months we will study the beauty of Sovereign Grace, those truths that are often label “Calvinistic.” At the end of the summer, though, if all we have done is accumulate knowledge that strokes our ego and freezes our evangelism then we will have missed the target and will be worse off as disciples of Christ than we are now. If, however, we take these remarkable truths, as Spurgeon and so many others before him did, and ask the Holy Spirit of our Sovereign God to cause us to see the vibrancy and reality of them, then we will walk away from this study with an increased knowledge of and love for our Lord which will drive us to unity, mission, and worship.
Soli Deo Gloria!