Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 9:15 PM
Subject: HYPERS vs SPURGEON & MOODY [06/29/04]

Perhaps no two men were more responsible for influencing conservative, evangelical Christianity in the last half of the nineteenth century and even throughout the twentieth century than C. H. Spurgeon and D. L. Moody.

"Their works do follow them" is certainly true of these two evangels of the plain, simple, and unfettered Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ.

Both men were opposed and harassed by the hyper-Calvinists of their day. Apparently, Hypers have always had nothing more important to do than to oppose the type of evangelism practiced by Spurgeon and Moody. They seem to have a phobia about such evangelistic efforts

When Spurgeon came to London in the 1850s, he was soon confronted with hyper-Calvinism, and its advocates never ceased their efforts to detract from his evangelistic influence. One notable champion among the hypers, James Wells, even ventured to say, "But I have -- most solemnly have -- my doubts as to the Divine reality of his conversion" (C. H. Spurgeon's Autobiography, Volune 2, page 38).

Wells went even further to allege that Spurgeon's ministry "is most awfully deceptive; that it passes by the essentials of the work of the Holy Ghost, and sets people by shoals down for Christians who are not Christians by the quickening and indwelling power of the Holy Ghost" (ibid., page 39).

Spurgeon's ministry at least partially delivered the English Baptists from the stranglehold of hyper-Calvinism, as he set in motion evangelistic forces which created churches by the score, fostered missionary work, plus the conducting of numerous special evangelistic meetings. He also gave encouragement to other evangelistic works, including those of D. L. Moody. The weekly publication of his evangelistic sermons served to fire the preaching of other ministers, not only Baptist ministers in England but those of other communions and in other countries. American ministers were especially inspired by Spurgeon's printed sermons, and that continues to this very day.

When D. L. Moody, a protege of Spurgeon, went to Great Britain to do evangelistic work in Scotland and England, he, too, was confronted by the hyper-Calvinists. Scotland, especially, was plagued with hyperism and its evangelistic deadness. Moody's work started very small and slow, but eventually thousands of professions resulted. Many, many Pedobaptists, who had been supposedly "regenerated" in infancy and baptized into the churches, were confronted by the Gospel preaching and led to realize they had probably never been born again.

Naturally, the Pedobaptist clergy was disturbed by having so many of their flocks renouncing their supposed "regeneration" in infancy by professing faith in Christ. Thus, they began to look for faults in Mr. Moody, his message, and his methods -- just as James Wells and his fellow-hypers had targeted Spurgeon in London.

The "match" of the Baptist hyperist, James Wells, was the Pedobaptist John Kennedy, who advocated the normal Pedobaptist phantasmagoria about infants and the alleged benefits that derive to infants of believing parents on the basis of the supposed "covenant." While Kennedy ostensibly wrote specifically against Moody, there is plenty of room for the suspicion that he may have had even larger game as his target -- even Spurgeon himself.

Certainly, most of what Kennedy wrote against Moody was as equally applicable to Spurgeon, for Kennedy's basic attack was against "immediate" or "sudden" conversion by faith in Christ. There was no greater advocate of that truth on conversion than C. H. Spurgeon.

If there is evidence that perhaps Spurgeon himself suspected that he, too, was the object of Kennedy's attack, it is found in Spurgeon's sermon, Messrs. Moody and Sankey Defended; or, A Vindication of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, Volume 21, Year 1875, Sermon #1239.

In that sermon, Spurgeon boldly identified himself with Moody by saying, "Will you please to notice that this is no quarrel between these gentlemen and our friends Messrs. Moody and Sankey alone. It is a quarrel between these objectors and the whole of us who preach the gospel; for, differing as we do in the style of preaching it, we are all ready to set our seal to the clearest possible statement that men are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and saved the moment they believe. We all hold and teach that there is such a thing as conversion" (MTP, Vol. 21, page 337).

Kennedy, embellished as "the greatest champion of the Reformed faith in the Highlands," held the usual Pedobaptist views on infants, their regeneration, baptism and church membership. He resorted to the usual modus operandi of hypers when they mount an attack upon evangelism. He unfurled the weapons of "preparationism" and the "pre-faith new birth" theory, both hobby-horses of the hypers, and maintained that "sudden conversions," even though occurring many times in the Scriptural record, were like miracles, a thing of the past. He said:

The favorite doctrine of sudden conversion is practically a complete evasion of the necessity of repentance. Suddenness is regarded as the rule, and not the exception, in order to get rid of any process preliminary to faith. And on what ground do they establish this rule? Merely on the instances of sudden conversion recorded in Scripture. True, there are cases not a few of sudden conversion recorded in Scripture, and there have been such instances since the Book of God was sealed. There was a wise and gracious design in making them thus marked at the outset. They were intended, by their extraordinary suddenness, to show to all ages the wondrous power of God. But was their suddenness designed to indicate the rule of God's acting in all ages? This it will be as difficult to establish, as that the miraculous circumstances attending some of them were intended to be perpetual.
>> All quotes are from <>

Kennedy advocated the idea that conversion was a "detailed and extended process." He said:

The work of conversion includes what we might expect to find detailed in a process. There can be no faith in Christ without some sense of sin, some knowledge of Christ-such as never was possessed before-and willingness, resulting from renewal, to receive Him as a Savior from sin. If a hearty intelligent turning to God in Christ be the result of conversion, it is utterly unwarrantable to expect that, as a rule, conversion shall be sudden. Indeed, the suddenness is rather a ground of suspicion than a reason for concluding that the work is God's. The teaching of Christ, in the parable of the sower, warrants this suspicion? They who are represented as suddenly receiving the word with joy are those who, in time of temptation, fall away. Suddenness and superficiality are there associated, and with both ephemeralness. In the experience of some, whose conversion was sudden, there was, as in the case of the Apostle of the Gentiles, an after-process, intended to prepare them for useful service in the church. And is it not the fact, that those, who were most remarkable, in latter times, for their godliness and their usefulness, were the subjects of a detailed and extended process, before attaining to "peace and joy in believing"?

The paradox in Kennedy's position is that he had a double-standard. In the case of unregenerate infants, he had no qualms about assuming their "sudden" regeneration in infancy and "suddenly" baptizing them and receiving them into the church membership. But now, some of those, perhaps, whom he had baptized were hearing the Gospel as preached by Moody and were professing conversion. The fact is, most all the arguments Kennedy mounted against Moody would have more appropriately applied to Kennedy's baptizing of unregenerate infants.

Kennedy was also greatly upset that some of his fellow Ministers  were supportive of Moody. He complained:

"Hundreds of ministers have I seen, sitting as disciples at the feet of one [Moody], whose teaching only showed his ignorance even of 'the principles of the doctrine of Christ' . . ."

Kennedy also griped about the hymn singing and the use of musical instruments, using the same arguments used by the Campbellites (who derived from the Pedobaptists via Thomas and Alexander Campbells in the early 1800s, who were Scottish Presbyterians).

Kennedy wrote:

The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as a part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; . . . The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offense. . . . And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music in the worship of God is unscriptural . . .

Of course, Kennedy was very much disturbed about the use of "the inquiry room," a practice used by both Moody and Spurgeon in dealing with concerned souls, and he also complained about "public confession."

Kennedy had "the sky is falling" attitude about Moody's evangelism, even fearing dire consequences to his Pedobaptist sect and their practice of baptizing infants as if they were the children of God:

I look on my Church, in a spasmodic state, subject to convulsions, which only indicate that her life is departing, the result of revivals got up by men. It will be a sad day for our country if the men, who luxuriate in the excitement of man-made revivals, shall with their one-sided views of truth, which have ever been the germs of serious errors, their lack of spiritual discernment, and their superficial experience, become the leaders of religious thought and the conductors of religious movements. Already they have advanced as many as inclined to follow them, far in the way to Arminianism in doctrine, and to Plymouthism in service. . . .  And if there continue to be progress in the direction in which present religious activity is moving, a negative theology will soon supplant our Confession of Faith, the good old ways of worship will be forsaken for unscriptural inventions, and the tinsel of a superficial religiousness will take the place of genuine godliness.

Mr. Kennedy is the ?yper who was "resurrected" by Pedobaptist Iain Murray of The Banner of Truth in his unfortunate book, The Forgotten Spurgeon, and in other writings, and with whom Mr. Murray "takes sides" against both Spurgeon and Mr. Moody in regard to evangelism. Evidently, Mr. Murray is infected with the same type of religious paranoia about "sudden conversion" as Mr. Kennedy, which may account for Murray's zealous opposition to public invitations. Pedobaptists obviously do not appreciate the invasion of the plain Gospel of salvation by faith as preached by Spurgeon and Moody into the adult souls of those who were assumed to have been regenerated when they were infants.

If you have nothing better to do with your time, you may read Mr. Kennedy's spiel of palabber at the following ultra-Calvinist website: <>

Instead of viewing men such as Moody and Spurgeon as enemies on account of their preaching of "sudden conversion" thru believing in Christ for salvation, Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Murray, and other hypers might more appropriately say with Pogo, We have met the enemy, and he is us. If they had their way, evangelism would be strangled to death by nineteenth century hyperism. -- Bob L. Ross

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