SPURGEON OPPOSED THE
INVITATIONS USED BY
PEDOBAPTISTS SUCH AS BROTHER MURRAY
"Christ did not personally baptize;
the disciples were not in the habit of baptizing infants, or else they would not
have rebuked the parents; Christ did not speak about baptism on the occasion,
and he did not baptize the little ones."
One website advertises
Pedobaptist Iain Murray's booklet against public invitations as
"The definitive critique of the modern 'invitation system.'"
And, as we
have noted, those who write against public invitations have certianly
misappropriated C. H. Spurgeon in the effort to have his influence in
support of their assertions. We now have a more accurate representation of
Spurgeon our website at the following URL
the same website, we have our article entitled A Reply Regarding IAIN
MURRAY'S Anti-Public Invitation Booklet: The Invitation
Paradoxically, in the case of Pedobaptists who
misappropriate Spurgeon, the ONLY "public invitation" which we have
ever read Mr. Spurgeon to condemn is the invitation practiced by Pedobaptists
[those who baptize infants].
It is the practice of Pedobaptists,
based on the supposed "covenant" they have for their offspring with God, to
invite the believing parents of children to bring their offspring before the
church for baptism. Some Pedobaptists evidently even think that baptism has
some type of attachment or function in relation to a supposed
"regeneration" of children. I will not enter into those "mysteries" which
some allege are conjunctive with baptism, but I do wish to point out in this
article that --
MR. SPURGEON OPPOSED INFANT BAPTISM, AND CONSEQUENTLY
OPPOSED THE PEDOBAPTIST PRACTICE OF INVITING PARENTS TO BRING FORTH THEIR
CHILDREN FOR BAPTISM.
The "Altar Call," if you will, of Pedobaptists
such as Brother Murray to bring children forward before the congregation to be
baptized was opposed by Mr. Spurgeon.
We have a booklet in
print, composed of two of Spurgeon's sermons which deal with the practice of
infant baptism and also the view of some Pedobaptists that it has something to
contribute in "regeneration." Those sermons are as follows:
Regeneration -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 10, Year 1864, sermon
Children Brought to
Christ, Not to the Font -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 10, Year
1864, sermon #581. <http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0581.htm>
Here some of Spurgeon's
remarks on the text, Mark 10:13-16, which demonstrate that he opposed the
INVITATION FOR PARENTS TO BRING THEIR CHILDREN BEFORE THE CHURCH FOR BAPTISM AND
My attention has
been specially directed to this passage by the fact that it has been quoted
against me by most of the authors of those sermons and letters which are, by a
stretch of imagination, called "replies" to my sermon upon "Baptismal
Regeneration." . . .
The Scripture before us is by several of the
champions on the other side exhibited to the people as a rebuke to me. Their
reasoning is rather ingenious than forcible: forsooth, because the disciples
incurred the displeasure of Jesus Christ by keeping back the little children
from coming to Him, therefore Jesus Christ is greatly displeased with me,
and with all others like me, for keeping children from the font,
and the performance there enacted; and specially displeased with me for
exposing the Anglican [pedobaptist] doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration!
Observe the reasoning—because Jesus was much displeased with disciples
for hindering parents from seeking a blessing upon their children, therefore he
is much displeased with us who do not believe in godfathers and godmothers, or
the signing of the cross on the infant brow. I must say at the outset that this
is rather a leap of argument, and would not ordinarily be thought conclusive,
but this we may readily overlook, since we have long ceased to hope for
reasonable arguments from those who support a cause based upon absurdity.
. . .
In this incident the very heart of Christ is published to
poor sinners, and we may clearly perceive the freeness and the fulness of the
mighty grace of the Redeemer of men, who is willing to receive the youngest
child as well as the oldest man; and is greatly displeased with any who
would keep back seeking souls from coming to him, or loving hearts from bringing
others to receive his blessing. . . .
THIS TEXT HAS NOT THE
SHADOW OF THE SHADE OF THE GHOST OF A CONNECTION WITH BAPTISM. There is no
line of connection so substantial as a spider's web between this incident and
baptism, or at least my imagination is not vivid enough to conceive one. . .
It is very clear, Dear Friends, that these young children
were not brought to Jesus Christ by their friends to be baptized. "They
brought young children to him, that he should touch them," says Mark. Matthew
describes the children as being brought "that he would put his hands on them and
pray," but there is not a hint about their being baptized; no godfathers
or godmothers had been provided, and no sign of the cross was requested. . .
In the next place, if they brought the children to Jesus
Christ to be baptized, they brought them to the wrong person; for the
Evangelist, John, in the fourth chapter, and the second verse, expressly assures
us that Jesus Christ baptized not, but his disciples: this settles the
question once for all, and proves beyond all dispute that there is no connection
between this incident and baptism.
But you will say, "Perhaps they
brought the children to be baptized by the disciples?"
the disciples were not in the habit of baptizing infants, and this is
clear from the case in hand. If they had been in the habit of baptizing
infants, would they have rebuked the parents for bringing them? If it had
been a customary thing for parents to bring children with such an object, would
the disciples who had been in the constant habit of performing the ceremony,
have rebuked them for attending to it? Would any Church clergyman rebuke
parents for bringing their children to be baptized? If he did so, he would
act absurdly contrary to his own views and practice; and we cannot therefore
imagine that if infant baptism had been the accepted practice, the disciples
could have acted so absurdly as to rebuke the parents for bringing their little
ones. It is obvious that such could not have been the practice of the disciples
who were rebuked.
Moreover, and here is an argument which seems to me to
have great force in it, when Jesus Christ rebuked his disciples, then was
the time if ever in his life, to have openly spoken concerning infant
baptism, godfathers and godmothers, and the whole affair. If he wished
to rebuke his disciples most effectually, how could he have done it better than
by saying, "Wherefore keep ye these children back? I have ordained that they
shall be baptized; I have expressly commanded that they shall be regenerated and
made members of my body in baptism; how dare you then, in opposition to my will,
keep them back?"
But no, dear friends, our Saviour never said a word
about "the laver of regeneration," or, "the quickening dew," when he rebuked
them—not a single sentence. . . .
To close all, Jesus
Christ did not baptize the children. . . . No; but "He took
them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them," and
dismissed them without a drop of the purifying element.
Now, if this
event had any connection with baptism whatever, it was the most appropriate
occasion for infant baptism to have been practiced. Why, it would have ended
for ever the controversy. . . .
I, my brethren, would sooner be dumb
than speak a single word against an ordinance which Christ himself instituted
and practiced; and if on this occasion he had but sprinkled one of these
infants, given him a Christian name, signed him with a cross, accepted the vows
of his godparents, and thanked God for his regeneration, then the question would
have been settled for ever, and some of us would have been saved a world
of abuse, besides escaping no end of mistakes, for which we are condemned, in
the judgment of many good people, for whom we have some affection, though for
their judgment we have no respect. So you see the parents did not ask baptismal
Christ did not personally baptize; the disciples were not
in the habit of baptizing infants, or else they would not have rebuked the
parents; Christ did not speak about baptism on the occasion, and he did not
baptize the little ones. . . .
I do not hesitate to say that I
could prove any earthly thing, if I might but have such reasoning granted to me
as that which proved infant baptism from this passage. There is no possible
connection between the two. The teaching of the passage is very plain and very
clear, and baptism has been imported into it, and not found in it. . . .
Still hundreds will catch at this straw, and cry, "Did not Jesus
say, 'Suffer the little children to come unto me?'"
To these we give
this one word, see that ye read the Word as it is written, and you will find
no water in it but Jesus only. Are the water and Christ the same thing?
Is bringing a child to a font bringing the child to Christ? Nay, here is a wide
difference, as wide as between Rome and Jerusalem, as wide as between
Anti-christ and Christ, between false doctrine and the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ. . . .
Dear little one, Jesus will not despise your
lispings, nor will his servant keep you back. Jesus calls you, come and receive
his blessing. If any of you say a word to keep the young heart back, Jesus will
be displeased with you. Now I am afraid some do that; those, for instance,
who think that the gospel is not for little children. Many of my brethren, I
am sorry to say, preach in such a way that there is no hope of children ever
getting any good by their preaching. I cannot glory in learning or eloquence,
but in this one thing I may rejoice, that there is always a number of happy
children here, who are quite as attentive as any of my audience. I do love to
think that the gospel is suitable to little children. There are boys and
girls in many of our Sabbath-school classes down below stairs who are as truly
converted to God as any of us.
Then there are others who doubt whether
children ever will be converted. . . . Others begin to doubt the truth of
juvenile conversions. They say, "They are very young, can they understand the
gospel? Is it not merely an infantile emotion, a mere profession?"
brethren, you have no more right to suspect the sincerity of the young, than to
mistrust the grey-headed; you ought to receive them with the same open-breasted
confidence with which you receive others when they profess to have found the
Saviour. . . . You must not, unless you would displease my Master, keep back the
smallest child that longs to come to Christ. . . .
imagine that these little children could not receive the blessing? Perhaps so,
for they thought them too young.
Now, brethren, that was a wrong ground
to go upon, for these children could receive the blessing and they did receive
it, for Jesus took them in his arms and blessed them. If I keep back a child
from coming to Christ on the ground that he is too young, I do it in the face of
facts; because there have been children brought to Christ at an extremely
You who are acquainted with Janeway's "Tokens for
Children," have noticed very many beautiful instances of early conversion. Our
dear friend, Mrs. Rogers, in that book of hers, "The Folded Lamb," gave a very
sweet picture of a little son of hers, soon folded in the Saviour's bosom above,
who, as early as two or three years of age, rejoiced and knew the
Saviour. I do not doubt at all, I cannot doubt it, because one has seen such
cases, that children of two or three years of age may have precocity of
knowledge, and of grace; a forwardness which in almost every case has betokened
early death, but which has been perfectly marvelous to those who have talked
The fact is that we do not all at the same age arrive at that
degree of mental stature which is necessary for understanding the things of God.
Children have been reported as reading Latin, Greek, and other languages, at
five or six years of age. I do not know that such early scholarship is any great
blessing, it is better not to reach that point so soon; but some children are
all that their minds ever will be at three or four, and then they go home
to heaven; and so long as the mind has been brought up to such a condition that
it is capable of understanding, it is also capable of faith, if the Holy Spirit
shall implant it.
To suppose that he ever did give faith to an
unconscious babe is ridiculous; that there can be any faith in a child that
knows nothing whatever I must always take ground to doubt, for "How shall they
believe without a preacher?"
And yet they are brought up to make a
profession in their long-clothes, when they have never heard a sermon in
their lives. But those dear children to whom I have before referred, have
understood the preacher, have understood the truth, have rejoiced in the truth,
and their first young lispings have been as full of grace as those glorious
expressions of aged saints in their triumphant departures. Children are
capable, then, of receiving the grace of God.
Do mark by the way,
. . . we say it again, that little children are not regenerated, nor
made members of Christ, nor children of God, nor inheritors of the kingdom of
heaven, by solemn mockery, in which godfathers and godmothers promise to do
for them what they cannot do for themselves, much less for their children. That
is the point; and if they will please to meet it, we will answer them again, but
till such time as that, we shall probably let them talk on till God gives them
grace to know better. . . .
How does a child enter the kingdom of
heaven? Why, its faith is very simple; it does not understand mysteries and
controversies, but it believes what it is told upon the authority of God's Word,
and it comes to God's Word without previous prejudice. It has its natural
sinfulness, but grace overcomes it, and the child receives the Word as it finds
it. You will notice in boyish and girlish conversions, a peculiar simplicity
of belief: they believe just what Christ says, exactly what he says. If they
pray, they believe Christ will hear them: if they talk about Jesus, it is as of
a person near at hand. . . .&nbsf;
The most cheerful Christians
we have are young believers; and the most cheerful old Christians are
those who were converted when they were young. . . . Of the many
boys and girls whom we have received into Church-fellowship, I can say of them
all, they have all gladdened my heart, and I have never received any with
greater confidence than I have these: this I have noticed about them, they
have greater joy and rejoicing than any others; and I take it, it is because
they do not ask so many questions as others do, but take Jesus Christ's word
as they find it, and believe in it.
Well now, just the very way in
which a child receives Christ, is the way in which you must receive Christ if
you would be saved. You who know so much that you know too much; you
who have big brains; you who are always thinking, and have tendency to
criticism, and perhaps to skepticism, you must come and receive the gospel as a
little child. You will never get a hold of my Lord and Master while you are
wearing that quizzing cap; no, you must take it off, and by the power of the
Holy Spirit you must come trusting Jesus, simply trusting him, for this
is the right way to receive the kingdom. . . .
O labour for
souls, my dear friends! I beseech you live to win souls. This is the best
rampart against error, a rampart built of living stones—converted men and women.
This is the way to push back the advances of Popery, by imploring the Lord to
. . .
"The Spirit and the bride say, Come.
And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And
whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
I do trust there
may be encouragement in this to some of you. I pray my Master make you feel it.
If he be angry with those who keep you back, then he must be willing to receive
you, glad to receive you; and if you come to him he will in no wise cast you
out. May the Lord add his blessing on these words for Jesus' sake.
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