Friday, October 2, 2009

Burleson Continues Abuse of CHS


In a follow-up criticism of C. H. Spurgeon, Wade Burleson continues to demonstrate either his ignorance or his prejudice in publishing the following false charge:

"Spurgeon sought a doctrinal statement for the Baptist Union that would be more precise in defining the doctrines of grace."

Readers who are interested in Spurgeon's own testimony about this may consult the original documents at the following:

The Downgrade Controversy at Phil Johnson's website. Also, an excellent analysis of the controversy by Dennis Swanson is available on the web at

In none of the major articles on the Down Grade did Spurgeon involve the matter of "Calvinism" on "the doctrines of grace," but he focused upon the core doctrines of the Bible, the basic fundamentals, which are shared by all theological systems which accept the inspiration and authority of the Scriptures.

Here are excerpts from Spurgeon which demonstrate the facts in contrast to Burleson's Burlesque:

The Sword and the Trowel, April 1887, pages 195, 196:

>We care far more for the central evangelical truths than we do for Calvinism as a system; but we believe that Calvinism has in it a conservative force which helps to hold men to the vital truth, and therefore we are sorry to see any quitting it who have once accepted it. Those who hold the eternal verities of salvation, and yet do not see all that we believe and embrace, are by no means the objects of our opposition: our warfare is with men who are giving up the atoning sacrifice, denying the inspiration of Holy Scripture, and casting slurs upon justification by faith. The present struggle is NOT A DEBATE upon the question of Calvinism or Arminianism, but of the truth of God versus the inventions of men. ALL WHO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL should unite against that "modern thought" which is its deadly enemy.<

The Sword and the Trowel, August 1887, pages 397-400:

>Read those newspapers which represent the Broad School of Dissent, and ask yourself, How much farther could they go? What doctrine remains to be abandoned? What other truth to be the object of contempt? A new religion has been initiated . . . The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them! . . . Too many ministers are toying with the deadly cobra of "another gospel," in the form of "modern thought" . . . The case is mournful. Certain ministers are making infidels. Avowed atheists are not a tenth as dangerous as those preachers who scatter doubt and stab at faith. . . . Germany was made unbelieving by her preachers, and England is following in her track. . . . We fear it is hopeless ever to form a society which can keep out men base enough to profess one thing and believe another; but it might be possible to make an informal alliance among all who hold the Christianity of their fathers.<

The Sword and the Trowel, December 1887, page 642:

>Certain antagonists have tried to represent the Down Grade controversy as a revival of the old feud between Calvinists and Arminians. IT IS NOTHING OF THE KIND. Many evangelical ARMINIANS are as earnestly ON OUR SIDE as men can be. We do not conceal our own Calvinism in the least; but this conflict is for truths which are common to all believers. This is no battle over words, but it deals with the eternal verities -- those foundation truths which belong not exclusively to this party or to that. It is of no use attempting to drag this red herring across our path: we can argue other points and maintain Christian harmony at the same time: but with those who treat the Bible as waste paper, and regard the death of Christ as no substitution, we have no desire for fellowship. We have come out in earnest protest, and feel great content of conscience in having done so.< The Sword and the Trowel, February 1888, page 82:

>I would like all Christendom to know that all I asked of the Union is that it be formed on a Scriptural basis; and that I never sought to intrude upon it any Calvinistic or other personal creed, but only that form of belief which has been accepted for many years by the Evangelical Alliance, which includes members of well-nigh ALL CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES.< The Sword and the Trowel, October 1888, page 563:

>We are represented as wishing to force upon the churches a narrow CREED. Nothing was further from our mind. We do not consider that the demand for agreement to vital truths COMMON TO ALL Christians can be looked upon as a piece of sectarian bigotry. Here is a man [i. e., Spurgeon], who is himself a Calvinist, who does not ask that a Union should draw up a Calvinistic creed, but only begs for one which will let the whole world know that brethren are associated as Christians, and that those who do not agree to the first principles of our faith will be intruders. Is this narrowness?< color="#3366ff">Why does Wade Burleson attempt to discredit with his farrago about C. H. Spurgeon?

What is Burleson's hang-up? Does he think he can embellish his name by trashing Spurgeon on the Downgrade Controversy? Well, I have news for the Wade Burleson Burlesque Company:

Spurgeon's name will continue to shine long after Burleson's has faded into oblivion.

NOTE: Much misunderstanding and misrepresentation about Spurgeon and the Down Grade is probably the result of the Iain Murray's unfortunate inaccuracies about Spurgeon. You may read my refutation of Murray at this link:

1 comment:

  1. Bob:

    From the time I became familiar with the Downgrade Controversy, I understood it had nothing whatsoever to do with Calvinism and Arminianism with the exception that Spurgeon declared that it was an issue in which Calvinists and Arminians join as brothers-in-arms to defend Scripture and truth. I am surprised that Mr. Burleson, who has often declared a love for Spurgeon and even “put together an old fashioned thirty minute slide and script presentation covering the basic facts of Spurgeon's life” for a Celebration of Spurgeon’s life on the 100 anniversary of his death, has misunderstood this major event in Spurgeon’s life. The Downgrade Controversy was not some obscure issue with fuzzy details; it was a major matter on which Spurgeon wrote much and with clarity.

    This is a case of poor historical research and a reminder that we must be diligent to check the historical records rather than accepting uncritically what some say about Spurgeon, for this is not the first time Spurgeon has been improperly represented and, unfortunately, it will not be the last time.