Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What Would Spurgeon Have to Say About the Emergent Church?

Note the written quote as cited in the video in the previous post.

(Emphasis mine)

From “The Soul Winner”
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Pages 239 -240:

“To Sunday School Teachers and Other Soul-Winners”

Sermon #1137, October 19, 1873
Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one converts him,
let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way
shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
James 5:19, 20.

There are some Truths of God which must be believed—they are essential to salvation—and if
not heartily accepted the soul will be ruined. This man had professed orthodoxy, but he turned aside from the Truth on an essential point.

Now, in those days the saints did not say, as the sham saints do now, “We must be largely charitable and leave this Brother to his own opinion. He sees the Truth of God from a different standpoint and has a rather different way of putting it—but his opinions are as good as our own—and we must not say that he is in error.” That is at present the fashionable way of trifling with Divine Truth and making things pleasant all round. Thus the Gospel is debased and another gospel propagated.

I should like to ask modern Broad Churchmen whether there is any doctrine of any sort for
which it would be worth a man’s while to burn or to lie in prison. I do not believe they could give me an answer, for if their latitudinarianism is correct, the martyrs were fools of the first magnitude!

From their writings and their teachings, it appears to me that the modern thinkers treat the whole compass of revealed Truth with entire indifference and, though perhaps they may feel sorry that wilder spirits should go too far in free thinking, and though they had rather they would be more moderate, yet, upon the whole, so large is their liberality that they are not sure enough of anything to be able to condemn the reverse of it as a deadly error. To them black and white are terms which may be applied to the same color, as you view it from different standpoints. Yes, and so are equally true in their esteem. Their theology shifts like the Goodwin Sands and they regard all firmness as so much bigotry. Errors and truths are equally comprehensible within the circle of their charity.

It was not in this way that the Apostles regarded error. They did not prescribe large-hearted charity towards falsehood, or hold up the errorist as a man of deep thought whose views were “refreshingly original.” Far less did they utter some wicked nonsense about the probability of there living more faith in honest doubt than in half the creeds. They did not believe in justification by doubting, as our neologians do. They set about the conversion of the erring professor—they treated him as a person who needed conversion—and viewed him as a man who, if he were not converted, would suffer the death of his soul and be covered with a multitude of sins.

They were not such easy-going people as our cultured friends of the school of “modern thought,” who have learned, at last, that the Deity of Christ may be denied, the work of the Holy Spirit ignored, the Inspiration of Scripture rejected, the Atonement disbelieved and regeneration dispensed with! They say the man who does all this may be as good a Christian as the most devout Believer! O God, deliver us from this deceitful infidelity which, while it does damage to the erring man, and often prevents his being reclaimed, does yet more mischief to our own hearts by teaching us that Your Truth is unimportant, falsehood a trifle and so destroys our allegiance to the God of Truth and makes us traitors, instead of loyal subjects, to the King of kings!

It appears from our text that this man, having erred from the Truth, followed the natural logical consequence of doctrinal error and erred in his life as well, for the twentieth verse, which must, of course, be read in connection with the nineteenth, speaks of him as a “sinner converted from the error of his way.”

His way went wrong after his thought had gone wrong. You cannot deviate from Truth without being wrong, in some measure—at any rate, deviating from practical righteousness. This man had erred from right acting because he had erred from right believing. Suppose a man shall imbibe a doctrine which leads him to think little of Christ? He will soon have little faith in Him and become little obedient to Him and so will wander into self-righteousness or licentiousness...
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