Sent: Monday, May 17, 2004 2:01
Subject: EVANGELISM AT CHS'
EVANGELISTIC SERVICES AS SOME WERE
AT SPURGEON'S METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE [05/17/04]
response to my article on Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, I received a follow-up
email from the Pastor who sent me the original report of how "the Doctor" used
the "office system" as an alternative method to the public invitation in
giving the opportunity to concerned sinners who desired to be saved or to make a
confession of Christ as Savior: The Pastor
Good analysis. I'll be interested in
what my fellow Calvinists, but who do not extend an invitation, say in
response. The preacher/scholar I mentioned who witnessed Lloyd-Jones'
approach told me this personally. He was in London for several months studying
in the theological libraries and was personally acquainted with the head deacon
mentioned. One Sunday, at the Doctor's orders, he was escorted to the head of
the line by said deacon because the Doctor wanted to meet him.
seems to me that the entire sermon should be an invitation from start to finish,
and full of Gospel content (Spurgeon's are the ultimate example of both), and
that the method employed at the end, as long as people are not manipulated or
confused or made to think that their bodily response is to be equated with
repentance and faith, that the method is irrelevant.
Spurgeon was not perfect. But, I'm hard pressed to find anything wrong with him,
his message or his methods. His sermon #2231, An Urgent Request for an
Immediate Answer [Volume
37, Year 1891] and his chapter out of The
Soul Winner, Sermons Likely
to Win Souls (in fact the whole book), have gone a long way in encouraging
me to make tender and passionate Gospel appeals.
published the article on Dr. Lloyd-Jones and sent it to a number of his former
associates and acquaintances, including Mr. Iain Murray of The Banner
of Truth, at this point we assume that the report concerning his use of the
"office system" was an accurate representation. We have not had any responses
which indicate that the report is a misrepresentation.
representation of C. H. Spurgeon, however, is not always presented by
some who use his name either "for" or "against" certain views and practices,
including the public invitation. I was going thru the bound volumes of The
Sword and the Trowel for the years 1889 and 1890 and noted
instances where Spurgeon felt it necessary to publicly correct false or
completely fabricated reports with regard to certain matters. In the October
1890 issue, on page 585, he complains:
It would require a large part
of our magazine if we tried to contradict all the falsehoods that are in
circulation concerning C. H. S. or his work; but it is necessary to put friends
on their guard on, at least, a few points.>>
He goes on to
mention a certain "contest" and its advertisement which claimed that
"The great Mr.
Spurgeon says, 'I approve of these competitions. They do much good, and are
Spurgeon wrote, "Whoever 'the great Mr. Spurgeon' may
be, we cannot tell; but if C. H. S. is meant, there is no truth in the
another one of his "Notes" (S&T, 1890, page 537) Spurgeon denies the
truthfulness of a report about his health and an alleged
"To our surprise, we read one
morning that C. H. Spurgeon was very ill, and that his friends had arranged for
his taking a long sea-voyage."
Some of these uses of
Spurgeon's name involved alleged "endorsements" by Spurgeon of products and
books, such as the fable about his use of a certain brand of cigar. It seems
that he was so well-known in London that the merchandisers and book publishers
of those times made use of his name whether he endorsed the item or
Things have not changed to a great degree. Since we are the
publishers of his works, we often are put into the position of having to try to
come to Spurgeon's defense against those who misuse his name and materials. Some
still try to enlist the name of Spurgeon in regard to promoting or opposing
certain doctrines and practices. Sometime back (01/08/02] I wrote in article in
which I noted:
C. H. Spurgeon was not an "Arminian,"
yet he is often used by those who advocate a theology that was not the
theology of Spurgeon.
Spurgeon was not a "King James Onlyite," but
he is often used by KJVOites who selectively quote his strong remarks which
defend the inspiration of the original Scriptures.
Spurgeon was not a
Postmill or an Amill, yet he is often used by those who have "an ax to
grind" against some extreme views in the Premill camp, as if he was not truly a
believer in premillennialism.
Spurgeon was not a Landmarker, yet
he is often used by some Landmarkers who are in search of support for their
theories of an ecclesiastical nature.
Spurgeon was not an advocate of
instrumental music, but he is often used by anti instrumentalists who do
not represent him correctly.
Spurgeon was not a "charismatic," but
we have seen where his name has been misappropriated for the benefit of those
who want his help to promote "tongues" and "healing."
There are other
examples of the "use" of Spurgeon which, to those who are well-acquainted with
his works, are in reality a MISUSE of him.
time, two of the most commonly seen misuses of Spurgeon are those by (1) the
"preterists" and by (2) those who teach the "pre-faith new birth"
theory and oppose the use of public invitations.
The prets use a
snippet from Spurgeon's review of J. Stuart Russell's
book, but Spurgeon neither endorsed the book, the author, nor his
eschatology. In fact, most of his review of the book was negative.
recent research of the Internet of the articles written against the use of
Public Invitations, I have seen several instances of the misuse of
Spurgeon on this issue. And if you are acquainted with some writers of books,
articles, and pamphlets, such as by Mr. Murray of the Banner of Truth,
you might be led to think Spurgeon was opposed to public invitations or
methods of that type.
Spurgeon indeed often made negative comments which
were intended to either expose or guard against abuses of methods and
practices, but those remarks do not convey his total image of Spurgeon on
such matters. He likewise often commented in a negative vain about abuses
associated even with Calvinistic theology, baptism, the name "Baptist,"
church attendance and membership, the use of music, miscellaneous financial
schemes, and similar activities, but such remarks must not be isolated if
one is to avoid an erroneous impression of Spurgeon. For example, though he
often rebuked "worldly" methods as to church finance schemes, his own church
conducted a Bazaar to raise money for the construction of the Tabernacle,
which some might view as contradictory to what he sometimes said against things
of this sort.
The fact is, as to the matter of methods in
regard to professions of faith, it is stated in The Sword and The Trowel,
January 1890, page 45:
That which is admirable with one
congregation may not suit another."
He was neither a
dogmatist, nor a patternist, on such matters. He was for any method which
incorporated the Gospel message in relation to accepting and confessing Christ
In the particular 1890 bound volume of The Sword and the
Trowel magazine, which I have been reading lately, there are a number of
reports of Tabernacle-sponsored evangelistic meetings which demonstrate that
Spurgeon favored an evangelism which sought to obtain immediate professions
of faith by various ways and means.
Spurgeon and the Tabernacle
Church actually sponsored Evangelists who conducted special evangelistic
campaigns or missions, and the foremost two were J. Manton Smith and W. Y.
Fullerton. There are quite a number of reports in this 1890 volume of their
meetings which refer to the "decisions" made, the "after-meetings," and the
"inquirers" who went into the "inquiry rooms."
It is obvious that
their work involved efforts and methods which sought to get immediate
responses to the Gospel in professions of faith.
I will herewith give
a report which appeared in the January 1889 S & T which is
illustrative of the work done by the Metropolitan Tabernacle-sponsored
Evangelists. This is not very likely the type of information about
Spurgeon's evangelistic interests which one might find in writers such as
pedobaptists Louis Berkhof and Mr. Murray, since they are
committed first and foremost to the practice of infant "evangelism" and
infant church membership, based on the presumed promise of the salvation of
children related to "covenant" supposedly made with their believing parents.
Baptists such as Spurgeon, who do not accept the theories and "covenant"
adocated by the "Reformed" denominations have to use the more Biblical means of
making converts and adding members, namely, preaching the Gospel and urging
upon its hearers their responsibility to accept it and make confession of Christ
with their mouths before others (Romans 10:9,
The hopes that we expressed last month
respecting Messrs. Fullerton and Smith services at the Tabernacle were
more than realized before the mission closed. The numbers in attendance
increased nightly, until, at the closing service, not only was the
Tabernacle densely packed, but overflow meetings were held in three rooms
in the College, and some thousands of persons were unable to gain
All who had professed to find the Saviour were asked to
meet the workers in the lecture-hall, at the close of the public services, and
very soon the hall was quite full. Those who were present will not soon
forget the scene when, in response to Mr. Fullerton's request, some hundreds
of hands were held up in token of blessing received during the
In order to deepen the impressions that had been made, and to
strengthen the new life that had been implanted, a meeting was held on Wednesday
evening, November 28. Nearly five hundred invitations were sent out to those
whose names had been taken by the workers, and the greater part of them
met for tea, while afterwards, notwithstanding an almost tropical downpour of
rain, the lecture-hall was well filled with workers, converts, and
enquirers. Messrs. Fullerton and Smith came over from Bloomsbury for the
first half-hour, and gave wise and weighty counsels to those who had been
brought to decision. . . .
Mr. Chamberlain sang and spoke, and
then asked any who had been brought to decision during the mission just to
rise, and declare that fact. In less than half-an-hour, no less than
fifty-one persons bore oral testimony to what the Lord had done for them
at the special services, and many more would have spoken if there had been
The converts were of all ages, and of both sexes; there were
'young men and maidens, old men and children,' praising the name of the Lord for
the great things done for them.
The whole proceedings of the evening were
of such an interesting and profitable character, that it was decided that a
similar meeting should beheld every Tuesday evening, for the present, for
further instruction and confirmation of the converts, and for the guidance of
those who are not yet fully decided. The success of the mission has been
a great joy to the officers and members of the church, the students of the
College, and other workers who helped in the sowing and the reaping; and they
join in prayer that the work of revival may continue to spread until thousands
more are won for the Saviour.
An effort was made to get Messrs.
Fullerton and Smith to hold a few more special services at the beginning
of the year, but their engagement at Exeter Hall prevented them from taking more
than the Watchnight service, on Monday, December 31. Let us pray that the
work of revival may continue to spread until thousands more are won
for the Saviour.
In the February 1889 issue of
S & T, Spurgeon published a number of comments from Pastors and Churches in
regard to meetings held by the Tabernacle-sponsored Evangelists. Here are
a couple of those:
"Had you been present at the large enquirers'
meeting which we held in the lecture-hall last night, your heart would have
been rejoiced to hear the testimonies of God's power to save; and many
steady, matured Christians added their witness to the fresh power and renewed
consecration which they had experienced during the mission."
have we known a finer blending of the instructive with the earnestly exhorting
to immediate decision than was nightly listened to from Mr. Fullerton. .
. . Best of all, great spiritual results have followed. No fewer than
150 persons went into the enquiry-room. Many of these have avowed their
conversion to God, their newly-found faith in Jesus. Amongst these some
are the children of the officers and members of the church, some restored
backsliders, and others are men and women who for many, many year have never
gone inside a house of God. Although the mission only lasted nine days, it
will not be merely a nine days' wonder; the neighbourhood has been touched, the
church has been filled with joy, souls have been born again, and the
Saviour has been greatly honored."
While there are many today who are
trying to utilize some remarks by Spurgeon which were obviously focusing upon
real or possible abuses of evangelistic methods, you will most likely not find
such reports as the foregoing, from Spurgeon's own magazine, called to the
readers' attention. They demonstrate that Spurgeon favored a very aggressive
evangelism, one that pressed for immediate response, decision, and public
Unlike the Reformed Pedobaptists, such as Mr.
Murray, who are apparently inactive in aggressive evangelistic missions such as
those by Smith and Fullerton, Baptists such as Spurgeon did not have the
practice of infant baptism to fall back upon to make "disciples" and
church members, and they had to use the Biblical type of evangelism of
preaching the Gospel to those who would give it a hearing, then be convicted of
sin, come forth publicly to acknowledge faith in Christ, and confess Him as
Savior. -- Bob L. Ross
OTHER RELATED ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES:
Asterisks indicate replies to three articles appearing on the
CONVERTING THE "NONELECT"? [04/19/04]
MORE ON "PUBLIC
ANOTHER COMMENTS ON "PUBLIC INVITATIONS"
Spurgeon on "Invitations" [/4/21/04]
AND CONVERTS" by Spurgeon [04/21/04]
"PUBLIC INVITATIONS" ONE MORE TIME
**ALLEGED DANGERS OF "INVITATIONS" [Reply to Erkel]
SPURGEON'S DEFENSE OF MOODY & SANKEY [04/24/04]
SPURGEON PRESSED FOR IMMEDIATE DECISION [04/26/04]
REPLY TO A
"FOUNDERS" ASSOCIATE [04/28/04]
REPLY ABOUT "PUBLIC INVITATIONS"
IAIN MURRAY ON THE LACK OF EVANGELISM [04/30/04
WHAT WAS PETER'S METHOD ON PENTECOST? [04/30/04]
ZASPEL'S "ALTAR CALL" ARTICLE [05/01/04]
**"ALTAR CALL" ARTICLE BY
ZASPEL REBUTTED [Reply to Zaspel] [05/02/04]
REPLY TO A
BROTHERLY CRITIC [05/04/03]
SPURGEON'S ONE NIGHT STAND, 81 DECISIONS
**ANOTHER ANTI-INVITATION ARTICLE [Reply to
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES' METHOD?