Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2004 5:40 PM

In recent weeks we have been taking note of some of the materials in Mr. Iain Murray's writings which we believe are less than proper representations of C. H. Spurgeon. [See recent emails as follows]:

"SURE GUIDE TO HEAVEN"? [04/28/04]

MORE ON MR. MURRAY [06/14/04]

I hope the reader perceives that our comments on Mr. Murray are not of a personal nature. Our comments are categorically polemical, specifically intended as responses to certain criticisms, objections, and allegations published in Mr. Murray's long and ongoing literary crusade designed to discredit and denigrate what he regards as unscriptural evangelism. This appears to have been an obsessive, dominant theme in his writings for many years, and it continually crops up in many, if not most, of his writings.

We have been inclined to take note of these things due to the fact that Mr. Murray is frequently referred to and quoted as a source of authority. We find that representations are therefore not only accepted without question by certain of his disciples, but they are perpetuated in other formats as being legitimate.

Consequently, not infrequently, inquiries have come to us, alluding to these representations, asking us if they are indeed correct, thereby putting the gratuitous burden upon us to either verify or refute Mr. Murray. It is not as if we have arbitrarily selected him for criticism, but it has been placed before us to render either a "yea" or "nay" as to what he says, particularly about C. H. Spurgeon.

Another case in point, in addition to those we have already recently exposed, is the use by Mr. Murray of a quotation from C. H. Spurgeon on page 34 of Murray's booklet, The Invitation System. The same quotation has been repeated by his anti-public invitation followers, for example by Jim Ehrhard in an Internet article at <> and by Fred Zaspel at <> Both of these writers reveal  that they have been strongly influenced by Pedobaptist Murray.

While Mr. Murray does not specifically allege that Spurgeon was commenting precisely upon the same subjects covered in Mr. Murray's booklet in which he seeks to discredit the use of an inquiry room, after-meetings, a public invitation, and what he calls "the evangelist's appeal," yet it seems that the implication is that Spurgeon's remarks apply to these things. This is an obvious mistake and a misappropriation.

Spurgeon's remarks are in fact lifted from a book review he wrote on The Life and Ministry of John the Baptist by Alexander Macleod Symington in which the author evidently was critical of some elements of revivalism in that age.

Spurgeon said, "Those who cannot obtain the great volume of Dr. Reynolds, or read the semi-prophetic writings of Edward Irving, will do very well if they feed upon the wholesome words of Dr. Symington. He has here set forth the marrow of the Forerunner's witness, and nothing that is needful for spiritual nutriment is left out. We are specially pleased to see our author laying great stress upon the value of deep, humbling, self-abasing views of sin. He admires John's thoroughness in the matter of repentance, and so do we. Sometimes we are inclined to think that a very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father's house, and never making him say, 'Father I have sinned.' How can he be healed who is not sick? or he be satisfied with the bread of life who is not hungry? The old-fashioned sense of sin is despised, and consequently a religion is run up before the foundations are dug out. Everything in this age is shallow. Deep-sea fishing is almost an extinct business so far as men's souls are concerned. The consequence is that men leap into religion, and then leap out again. Unhumbled they came to the church, unhumbled they remained in it, and unhumbled they go from it. We trust that Dr. Symington's faithful words on this point will be weighed by Christian men. We elevate this volume to our own shelves for future use, and we wish for the work a wide circulation and great acceptance" (The Sword and the Trowel, Year 1882, page 545).

Mr. Murray used the part of the review which we have put in boldface, beginning with the word "Sometimes" and ending with the words "they go from it."

It becomes very clear that these words by Spurgeon were not designed to support the anti-evangelism concepts espoused by Mr. Murray when we consider the following:

1. As for the use of the modern form of the public invitation, according to Mr. Murray himself, this was not even practiced in that period of time, so Spurgeon obviously could not have had that in view. Spurgeon never uttered a word in opposition to the public invitation.

2. As for the use of the inquiry room, Spurgeon himself used the inquiry room, as demonstrated, for instance, at the great meeting of six to seven thousand at the Tabernacle which was reported in the 1865 issue The Sword and the Trowel, page 128.

After the singing of "Just As I Am," Spurgeon gave an address specifically to the unsaved, and when the service concluded, another hymn was sung, prayer was offered, and the "INQUIRERS were then encouraged to retire to the lecture hall, where ministers and elders would be glad to converse with them; and MANY RESPONDED TO THE INVITATION. This was one of the most sober, the most impressive, and, we should judge, the most effective meetings we have ever witnessed. . . ."

Also, the Evangelists who composed the Metropolitan Tabernacle's Society of Evangelists used the inquiry room.

In Spurgeon's Address on May 3,1881 at the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Pastors' College Association, the President referred to his Evangelists and their use of the inquiry room:

You must also have faith in God in the form of expectancy. Our brethren Smith and Fullerton [of Spurgeon's own Society of Evangelists] would not have a blessing on their work if they did not expect the blessing to come; but expecting the blessing, they provide an inquiry-room, and persons to look after the converts. Shall we commence farming and provide no barn? In many a village the Lord has saved souls under the preaching of the gospel, but the minister has never said, “I shall be in the vestry on such and such an evening to see inquirers,” or, “I shall stop after the sermon to talk with the anxious.” He has never given the people a chance of telling what the Lord has done for them, and if he should hear that a dozen people have been convinced of sin, he would be surprised, and fear that they were hypocrites. We have not so learned Christ. We look to take fish in our nets, and to reap harvests in our fields. Is it so with you, my brethren? Let it be more so. “Open thy mouth wide,” saith the Lord, “and I will fill it.” So pray and so preach that if there are no conversions you will be astonished, amazed, and broken-hearted. Look for the salvation of your hearers as much as the angel who will sound the last trump will look for the waking of the dead. Believe your own doctrine! Believe your own Savior! Believe in the Holy Ghost who dwells in you! For thus shall you see your hearts’ desire, and God shall be glorified.
>> [The Sword and the Trowel, 1881, pages 378, 379].

In the Preface to the 1882 The Sword and the Trowel, Spurgeon referred to the Evangelists whom he sponsored -- who made use of the inquiry room in their work. He said:

The Evangelists are doing splendid service: the Lord has been with them in every place to which they have gone. Able and venerable ministers who have attended their meetings bear joyful testimony to the power which attends their addresses; and hundreds of professed converts remain in their wake, witnessing to the power of the gospel which was preached by them. It is on my heart to add to their number one, if not two more. The evangelist in India, Mr. Harry Brown, is doing well; and of the two brethren in Spain the same is true.

In the November issue of 1882, in a report on the work of the same Evangelists at Bath, Spurgeon's editorial column says, "Large congregations gather night after night at every service, and many come forward to enquire more full after 'this way'" (page 599).

Shortly thereafter, in the December issue of 1882, Spurgeon's editorial column carried even further remarks about the work of Spurgeon's Evangelists at Bath (page 641):

EVANGELISTS. — Later reports of Messrs. Smith and Fullerton’s services
at Bath are even more encouraging than those we published last mouth.
Mr. Baillie, the Pastor of Manvers-street Baptist Church, writes:

“We are indeed grateful for the visit of these two brethren. Mr. Smith inspires our enthusiasm with his rousing music, and his buoyant confidence. It is, indeed, a means of grace to see him, and to hear his remarks on Christianity in home-life. I had an opportunity of hearing him at the meeting for women last Wednesday afternoon, and I am sure his words were very refreshing to the hundreds of mothers who were gathered to listen.

“The simple force and the striking pointedness of Mr. Fullerton’s gospel addresses make some of them quite models for regular ministers. I have heard him each evening, and I could pray so earnestly, ‘Lord, let that shaft strike!’ and many were praying in like manner. With such clear, simple, yet faithful preaching, backed up by earnest prayer, I was not surprised when I saw so many anxious souls at our after-meetings.”

Furthermore, later on in the 1884 issue of The Sword and the Trowel on page 297, in a report on the work of Spurgeon's own Society of Evangelists and their meetings, it is said that "there has been no such thing as an attempt to get up an excitement or to force persons into the enquiry rooms."

Obviously, then, Spurgeon was not critical of the inquiry room as conducted by Mr. Smith and Mr. Fullerton, whom he sponsored.

In an earlier issue in 1884, page 93, a report says, "We have had very much of the Lord's presence, many Christians have been quickened, and many souls saved. We have heard of nearly a hundred who have been in the enquiry-rooms, and we are every day hearing of others who did not wait to be spoken with." 

3. Spurgeon certainly could not have had D. L. MOODY and his evangelism in view, for CHS was an ardent supporter and defender of Moody, his message, and his evangelism. Neither would Spurgeon have had his own Evangelists of the Tabernacle's Society of Evangelists in view, for he was their primary sponsor and promoter.

In the very same 1882 volume of The Sword and the Trowel, from which Mr. Murray lifted the quote from Spurgeon about "modern revivalism," we find the following about Mr. Moody:

Mr. Moody’s Sabbath at the Tabernacle must be recorded, for we are greatly obliged to him for undertaking the service in the midst of his pressing engagements. The enormous crowds that gathered created a great and serious danger which would have driven most men to despair, but our deacon, Mr. Murrell, faced the difficulty and pushed through it. Extraordinary precautions had to be taken to preserve life and limb. If you have twelve thousand people all eager to get into a building which cannot hold more than six thousand, what can you do? Our seat-holders in the evening most commendably lent their tickets to others, and thus gave a second set of people the opportunity of hearing the great evangelist; but this, of course, did not lessen the heavy pressure of the eager multitude. We see clear evidence that if Messrs. Moody and Sankey again visit London no building will be sufficiently capacious to hold the crowds who will gather to hear them. Their hold upon the multitude has by no means diminished. May the Lord send a great blessing upon their efforts, and may London, on this occasion, have a double portion of the resulting benefit.

In Spurgeon's editorial column in his magazine of June 1884, page 294, he said of Moody:

It has been the Editor’s great joy to take part on two occasions in Mr. Moody’s work in Croydon. On Friday, May 16, all the students went over to Croydon, and formed part of an enormous multitude who gathered to hear a sermon from their President. We are more and more impressed with a sense of the remarkable power which rests upon the beloved Moody. His words are plain and fresh from his heart, and a special influence from on high goes therewith both to saint and sinner. It is a happy thing for London that such a shower of blessing is falling upon it.

At Mr. Spurgeon's Jubilee Meetings in 1884, Mr. Moody was one of the featured speakers. The Sword and the Trowel of July 1884, page 373 says:

After another hymn, the Pastor assured Mr. D. L. Moody of the intense affection felt for him by the whole assembly, and the beloved Evangelist, whom the Lord has so greatly honored, told of his indebtedness to the printed sermons and other works of the Pastor. Mr. Moody’s reception was a burst of vehement love, and intense admiration.

Here is how Spurgeon introduced the message by Mr. Moody at the Jubilee:

I want you now to hear me a moment while I say that the brother who is now about to speak, Mr. Moody, is one whom we all love. He is not only one whom we all love, but he is evidently one whom God loves. We feel devoutly grateful to Almighty God for raising him up, and for sending him to England to preach the gospel to such great numbers with such plainness and power. We shall continue to pray for him when he has gone home. Among the things we shall pray for will be that he may come back again. I might quote the language of an old Scotch song with regard to Prince Charlie, —

“Bonnie Moody’s gang awa.
    Will ye no come back again?
Better loved ye canna’ be,
    Will ye no come back again?”

Now let us give him as good a cheer as ever we can when he stands up to speak.
>> [Mr. Spurgeon's Jubilee, page 8]

In the very same editorial in the June 1884 magazine, Mr. Spurgeon specifically comments on the Evangelists of his own Society of Evangelists:

EVANGELISTS. — One of our helpers, who has attended almost all Messrs. Smith and Fullerton’s services at the Tabernacle, has sent us an interesting summary of the meetings; but as Tabernacle friends have been upon the spot we will only say in print that we rejoice in the evident blessing which has rested upon the labors of these two admirable servants of God. The attendance upon the services has not been all that the brethren looked for, but the cases of blessing are many. In all places to which they have gone these brethren have won the confidence and love of those with whom they have labored, and none have spoken against them but those who know nothing of them.

It is with regret that we have seen in a Baptist newspaper certain criticisms upon our Evangelists. We cannot conceive that any useful purpose can be served by such strictures except that they will be overruled to drawing greater attention to these useful workers. We expect men of the world to find fault with well-intended endeavors to draw the masses to hear the gospel, but we hardly looked for it from brethren in Christ. When an assault comes from them, it is peculiarly trying, for one is apt to say, “It was not an enemy; then I could have borne it.” Yet, as the motive and intent of the criticisms were, no doubt, excellent, the best way is to learn all we can from them, and think no more of them. It will be long before all good men will be agreed upon modes of operation; almost as long, we fear, before all earnest men will cease from hard speeches; we must, therefore, get on as well as we can with our brethren, and love them none the less for being a little acid now and then. The extraordinary liberties which some are taking with all the proprieties may well drive our older friends into their growleries: we feel half inclined to go into our own when the wind is in the east, and when we have just read something specially outrageous.

In the light of these materials, it is evident that Spurgeon's remark was not directed toward those evangelistic practices and evangelists against which Mr. Murray often writes. The quotation is absolutely disingenuous as rendering any support to the anti-evangelism espoused by Mr. Murray and his disciples who borrow the quote from him.

It is again to be remembered that while Mr. Murray misappropriates Spurgeon in many matters, he seems oblivious to some other very appropriate remarks of Spurgeon which  Murray would be wise to heed. Spurgeon denounced (1) the idea of the regeneration of children in their infancy and (2) the baptism of infants, whereas Mr. Murray promotes these as being valid belief and practices of "Christianity."

To our knowledge, the only "evangelism" and "invitations" promoted by Mr. Murray are those related to the baptism of children who are supposedly "regenerated" in infancy as a benefit of their relationship to the supposed "covenant" propagated by Pedobaptists.

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