Spurgeon on Calvinism and the Gospel

spurgeonr.jpgAs I was working on my message on 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 for this Sunday I read a sermon by “The Prince of Preachers” (i.e. C.H. Spurgeon) called “Christ Crucified,” delivered on February 11, 1855, and came across a quote I couldn’t resist posting here.  It won’t make everyone happy, but I thought it was stimulating:

And I have my own private opinion, that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what now-a-days is called Calvinism.  I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism.  Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.  I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith without works; not unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor, I think, can we preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the peculiar redemption which Christ made for his elect and chosen people; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation, after having believed.  Such a gospel I abhor.  The gospel of the Bible is not such a gospel as that.  We preach Christ and him crucified in a different fashion, and to all gainsayers we reply, ‘We have not so learned Christ.'”

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11 thoughts on “Spurgeon on Calvinism and the Gospel”

  1. Great quote! Especially since I’m a Calvinist ;). Seriously though, this thought would be anathema in most evangelical churches today. But I guess that’s why the gospel is considered an offense!

  2. Not being a Calvinist I am one of those didn’t like this quote. I’m not shaking my fist, but I do hope that people never say, “I am of Calvin”. While I am not a member of the Calvin Club, I would like to think that being a member of the Christ Club (in good-standing) means that my input and biblical analysis will still be deemed acceptable. I’m not what some pejoratively label “liberal”, for it is my rather rigid literalism which brings me to my non-Calvinist conclusions.

  3. That is a great quote! I listened to Piper’s sermon on Whitefield and I remember Piper quoting Whitefield as saying that he became a “Calvinist” by reading the Bible when he had never read any Calvin. I have read a little Calvin, but not much…so I can resonate with these words by both Spurgeon and Whitefield.

  4. I’m with Lyle.

    I guess when I read Jesus’ words in John 6 where he says “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” I take them rigidly literal.

    Wait. . . I meant John 10 where Jesus says

    ” but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

    John in Rev. 13 says (literally)

    “and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”

    Who’s side was I on again. . . .?

  5. I’m with Lyle.

    I guess when I read Jesus’ words in John 6 where he says “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” I take them rigidly literal.

    Wait. . . I meant John 10 where Jesus says

    ” but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

    John in Rev. 13 says (literally)

    “and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”

    Whose side was I on again. . . .?

  6. Okay nuf of the trash-taulk. Time for some smack-down.

    Calvinism says:
    God’s election is irresistible and can not not be rejected.

    Arminianism says:
    God’s election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

    John 6:70 [ESV]
    Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”

    The word translated ‘choose’ here is the Greek word eklegomai, which is the verb form of eklektos. Eklektos means the elect. Eklegomai means to position someone to the elect status.

    Jesus made Judas the elect, but contrary to Calvinists, he rejected it, contrary to Arminianism he did not have faith in Jesus.

  7. He didn’t choose him for eternal life, he chose him to be part of his “club” of disciples. That’s very different from God’s irresistible call to salvation of those He chose.

  8. Yup. I always love your word studies, Lyle, but this one falls flat because you’re not recognizing that words can have different meanings in (in this case, very) different contexts.

  9. If we look at John 13:18, it becomes clearer that when he uses eklegomai in 6:70, it’s not referring to an eternal condition.

    “What I am saying does not refer to all of you. I know the ones I have chosen [eklegomai…”

    In other words, Jesus didn’t choose for salvation all of the twelve, though he did choose them to be part of the Twelve.

    Also look at Luke 6:13: “When morning came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them…”

    Clearly, this is not talking about eternal election, or else it implies that the rest of the disciples are not elect.

  10. I have to be one of those people that will not wholly adhere to one camp or another. The Word is clear that God’s elect are called and chosen; however, Paul warns us not to fall away and to press on running the race… would he warn of something where there is no risk?
    True Calvanism here would suggest that you can reject Christ and be secure of a place in heaven (cue messy arguements about whether folk who fall away were ever really saved / elect…).
    I can’t equate Hebrews 6:4-6 with this view of Spurgeons above….

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