Sent: Sunday, August 07, 2005 5:46 PM

C. H. Spurgeon, who it goes without saying is somewhat of a "patron saint" to me, and has been since 1953 when I was eighteen years of age and I first began to read his sermons, was very dedicated to Baptist principles and to confessional Calvinistic theology, but he did not consider these things as being at "the root of the matter" (See sermon #505, Volume 9, page 217).

Yes, he indeed did often make some very definite statements in favor of his views, but if you read more of Spurgeon than a few snippets from sermons, you will see that he had a very broad mind and heart with respect to other professing Christians with whom he may have had differences in theology and church practice.

For example, in this sermon #505 he said that an understanding and belief of the doctrine of election is not "the root of faith in the sinner's reception of the gospel" (page 218). He also said the same about the doctrine of "the perseverance of the saints."

Spurgeon, however, did think that there are three significant doctrines of Scripture which are very important to hold on the part of one who professes to be an adherent of Christianity. Those doctrines are (1) the Trinity, inclusive of the Divinity of Christ, (2) the vicarious sacrifice of Christ for sins, and (3) justification by faith.

Spurgeon said, "We have been talking about the root of the matter. Permit me to say that if you are sound on these three points, the One God in Trinity, the glorious doctrine of the substitution of Christ, in the place of sinners, and the plan of salvation by simple faith in Jesus, then inasmuch as these roots of the matter are in you, God forbid that we should exclude you as heretical. If you are in other points unenlightened, and groping about in uncertainty, doubtless the Lord will teach you, but we believe the root of the matter is in you so far as doctrine is concerned."

Of course, Spurgeon was not by any means suggesting that it is acceptable for a believer to disregard or neglect other Bible doctrines and practices, but he was simply saying that if a person is opposed to certain vital doctrines, Spurgeon did not consider it appropriate to recognize him as being an advocate of Christianity. Also, Spurgeon does not seem to be making any judgment about their spiritual state in regard to salvation, even if they did not adhere to the specified doctrines. He simply says they "cannot be called Christians."

He said, "A man with weak eye-sight and imperfect vision may be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven; indeed, it is better to enter there having but one eye, than having two eyes and being orthodox in doctrine, to be cast into hell."

Spurgeon held that "there have been persons but very little removed from absolute idocy, who have been able to believe" (#669, Volume 12, page 19).

In another sermon, Spurgeon said, "Whatever else we cannot see, if a simple trust in Jesus is discernible in a convert, we need feel no suspicions, but receive him at once as a brother beloved" (#755, Volume 13, page 329).

Also, "If you really trust Jesus, it is certain that you are saved, for you have the only evidence of salvation which is continual with any of us. . .  You do not want anything more; you have passed from death unto life. 'He that believeth on him is not condemned.' 'He that believeth hath everlasting life'" (#672, Volume 12, pages 59, 60).

We believe Spurgeon spoke the truth on these matters, and therefore although we have distinct differences with the Pedobaptists (baby baptizers), nevertheless we believe that any and all of them who have this simple faith in Jesus, of which Spurgeon spoke, have passed from death to life. Not, of course, that it happened to them before they were born, or shortly after they were born, or at their baptisms, or because their parents were believers, as some of them apparently think -- but rather, because the Word of God became effectual in them by the blessing of the Holy Spirit unto the creating of simple faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Any one of them who in truth confesses Jesus Christ as His Savior is our brother in the Lord. -- Bob L. Ross

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