Monday, February 23, 2009

Spurgeon's non-Reformed likeness


While his theoretical views in theology were creedally Calvinistic, in many respects C. H. Spurgeon does not fit the "Reformed" model of our day and age. In fact, I have yet to come upon where Spurgeon even referred to himself as "Reformed," nor of his conforming to any of the Reformed peccadillos with which we meet in our time.

For example, we often meet with terminology and practices in his sermons to which the modern Reformed folks frequently object -- such as "accept Jesus," "open your heart," "decision," use of the "sinner's prayer," the "inquiry room," "simple Gospel," and the enthusiastic endorsement of the evangelistic work of D. L. Moody.

But even more significant was Spurgeon's emphasis upon the unrestricted universality of the Gospel, such as in the following excerpts:


Jesus Christ said, “Go you into all the world and preach the Gospel to very creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believes not shall be damned.”

If we had to look for some price in the hands of the creature, or some fitness in the mind of the creature, or some excellence in the life of the creature, we could not preach mercy to every creature—we should have to preach it to prepared creatures—and then that preparation would be the money and the price.

I am sorry that some of my Brothers entertain the idea that the Gospel is to be preached only to certain characters. They dare not preach the Gospel to everybody—they try to preach it only to the elect. Surely, if the Lord meant them to make the selection He would have set a mark upon His chosen. As I do not know the elect and have no command to confine my preaching to them, but am bid to preach the Gospel to every creature, I am thankful that the Gospel is put in such a way—that no creature can be too poor, too wicked, or too vile to receive it—for it is “without money and without price.” That is going to the very bottom!

Surely, that takes in the most degraded, debased and despised of our race—whoever they may be! If before I preach the Gospel I have to look for a measure of fitness in a man, then I cannot preach the Gospel to any but those whom I believe to have the fitness. But if the Gospel is to be preached freely, with no conditions or demands for preparations or prerequisites—if this is the Gospel, that “whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned”—then may I go to the most degraded Bushmen, or savage Ashantees, or untameable Modocs and tell them the Good News! We may speak of mercy to harlots and thieves—and we may carry the gladsome message into the Guilt Garden and Hangman’s Alley! We may penetrate the jungles of crime and cry with the same entreaty from Heaven—“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him turn unto the Lord, for He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”

The fact that the mercy of God is “without money and without price” enables us, by His Grace, to preach it to every man, woman and child of woman born! -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 20, Year 1874, Sermon #1161, pages 140, 141.

This is such an Atonement made by Christ upon the Cross that it presents a warrant for every sinner born of woman to come to God and say, “Lord, forgive me, for Christ has died.”

When we preach the Gospel it is in no stinted terms, looking about and thinking that perhaps there might be half a dozen in the building to whom the Gospel might honestly be spoken. But looking every man and woman in the face, we preach reconciliation by Jesus Christ to them and point them to the atoning blood.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him might not perish but have everlasting life.” -- Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 19, Year 1873, Sermon #1124, pages 427, 428.



    Bob, I tried to post the following on your post about Spurgeon's non-Reformed likeness, but it would not load.

    This by Spurgeon was very good, Bob. I wonder how many presnt-day "Lordship salvation" preachers have such a Gospel as this one. They're too busy trying to determine if a seeker has not only faith in Christ, but also at least a willingness to obey Christ after he's saved to give them a simple Gospel message.

    Thanks, Bruce, for the comment. Anyone else who has any problem loading a comment, just send it to

  2. Bob:

    Spurgeon certainly cut his own swath and the Lord blessed him. Many Calvinists of his day did not approve of his methods. Ironically, many of the Reformed men and women in our day who hold forth Spurgeon as a Calvinist and evangelist would have spoken against him had they lived in his day, for the very methods and practices they speak against are the very things Spurgeon practiced. They would have sided with those Calvinists who opposed Spurgeon.

    Let our Reformed friends think pause and ponder these things.

  3. I'm just wondering to which "Reformed" folk you refer to when you state, "I am sorry that some of my Brothers entertain the idea that the Gospel is to be preached only to certain characters. They dare not preach the Gospel to everybody—they try to preach it only to the elect." Nobody I know of in the "Reformed" camp who fits that description.

  4. I can't actually speak for Spurgeon, Rev., for that was his comment. I suppose you may have failed to notice that fact.

    I do know, however, that he often referred to some of his contemporaries who evidently had a mental block when it came to addressing the Gospel to the unsaved and urging them to accept Christ as Savior. His sermon on "The Warrant of Faith" addressed such a matter. You can find that sermon at

  5. Bob:
    My bad! It's a shame that such ministers existed during Spurgeon's day, and I'm thankful he stood for the clear preaching of the gospel to all.