2Tim 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto
Are these Internet debates vain babblings? Should Christians exhaust their
time arguing over things that do not edify? Instead of preaching the Gospel
and telling others the good news that "Jesus Saves" and discussing things
which will edify the Body of Christ, Christians are arguing whether Spurgeon
was a Calvinist or not. It is such a waste of precious time.
Let's shed some light on this subject:
Spurgeon was a great Baptist preacher whose sermons still touch the hearts of
those who read them but to argue whether he was or was not a Calvinist is
ridiculous because it is very obvious that he was indeed a Calvinist but he
admitted that he was not a Hyper Calvinist. He did however believe in
TULIP, which should be a red flag for those of us who reject the TULIP
theology. Just by reading Spurgeon's sermons, one will find that he spoke
VERY highly of John Calvin. Many of his notes and sermon teachings reflect
Spurgeon said, "It would not be possible for me too earnestly to press upon
you the importance of reading the expositions of that prince among men,
The above quote is just one example of Spurgeon's praise of Calvin. There
are countless more quotes. Calvinists love to say, "Well, Spurgeon was a
Calvinist..." in defense of their beliefs. But from a fundamentalist standpoint,
it truly does not matter who endorsed John Calvin-- whether it is Spurgeon or
anyone else-- their endorsement of Calvin does not make Calvin's teachings
any more biblical. We must carefully examine all things according to the
Scriptures-- in their entirety-- not picking and choosing verses as the many
Calvinists prefer to do.
"Each of us must, of course, go by the Bible no matter what John Calvin
or Charles H. Spurgeon or anyone else taught." ~ Dave Hunt, What Love
Is This, p.254
For a Five Point Calvinist to defend his beliefs by saying, "Spurgeon was a
Calvinist..." is no defense at all. Charles Spurgeon was a Christian man -- a
very gifted Baptist preacher who preached many great sermons throughout
his lifetime but he was not perfect and his writings/sermons are not infallible.
When reading Spurgeon, one should keep this in mind. Spurgeon was fully
capable of making mistakes (and he did). Consider the words of Spurgeon
and see the errors for yourself:
C. H. Spurgeon said, "The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine
preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else
be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of
no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's
gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder
through England again."
"... I have my own private opinion that there is no such a thing as
preaching Christ and him crucified, unless you preach what now-a-days is
called Calvinism. I have my own ideas, and those I always state boldly. It is
a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else."
Spurgeon said when speaking of TULIP, "We look upon them as being five
great lamps which help to irradiate the cross, or rather five bright
emanations springing from the glorious covenant of our Triune God, and
illustrating the great doctrine of Jesus crucified. Against all comers,
especially against all lovers of Arminianism, we defend and maintain pure
I do not think I differ from any of my hyper-calvinistic brethren in what I do
believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not believe
any less than they do, but I believe a little more, and think, as we grow we
shall have our belief increased; not only are there a few cardinal doctrines that
will be enough to steer our ship by, north, south, east, or west, but we shall
begin to learn something about the north-west and north-east, and that which
lies between the four points.
As one reads Spurgeon's sermons they might notice his preaching had some
inconsistencies with Calvin's doctrine: "Brethren, be willing to see both sides
of the shield of truth. Rise above the babyhood which cannot believe two
doctrines until it sees the connecting link. Have you not two eyes, man?
Must you needs put one of them out in order to see clearly?" He also said,
"Our conformity to Christ is the sacred object of predestination." This is not
what a true Calvinist would say. Calvinists believe predestination has to do
with God unconditionally electing individuals He would save, based on His
sovereign choice alone. Spurgeon also was against infant baptism (something
that Calvin was for) and Spurgeon also believed that infants go straight to
heaven when they die (something that Calvin did not believe). Spurgeon was
also against hyper-Calvinism.
Yet at other times, Spurgeon is very consistent with Calvin. Does that mean
we must discount everything that Spurgeon said? No, one can learn from
the sermons of Spurgeon but we must line up what he said with
SCRIPTURE. We should realize where Spurgeon was coming from regarding
doctrine. We should not take EVERYTHING that he says as truth just
because he was a great preacher (and this goes for any favorite preacher). We
must line up all things with Scripture. Spurgeon is not the final authority of all
things Biblical-- though you would not know this by the way many Christians
revere EVERYTHING he said or wrote.
Some of the writings of Spurgeon may cause much confusion for a newly
saved Christian. At times, one may find that Spurgeon rationalized the Bible
by reading more into the Scriptures than what is actually being said (example:
as in his interpretation of Isaiah 53 and the following quote below). God is not
the author of confusion and the Lord certainly did not intend us to be
confused when reading His Word. Spurgeon said, “I believe there will be
more in Heaven than in hell. If anyone asks me why I think so, I answer,
because Christ, in everything, is to ‘have the pre-eminence,’ and I cannot
conceive how He could have the pre-eminence if there are to be more in the
dominions of Satan than in Paradise”
Most Baptist Fundamentalists would say, "Well, where is that in the Bible?"
It's not in the Bible. Christ Jesus said, "...FEW there be that find it."
The trouble with many today is that they have put their trust in C. H.
Spurgeon rather than in the Lord. Rather than reading their KJV Bible and
praying for the correct interpretation, many run to the bookshelf to see what
someone else wrote-- whether it be Spurgeon, Pink, Henry, Gill, etc.
John Calvin's writings are not the Gospel. Spurgeon's writings are not the
Bible. God's Word, the Holy Bible, is what we should stand upon. The
Word of God contains no errors- it is infallible-- and we must rightly divide
the Word of Truth. We must be careful to line up all things with the Holy
Bible. That applies to reading any work of an expositor, preacher, teacher,
etc. Don't assume that all bible commentaries are beneficial. One may
become VERY confused by reading commentaries if they are not first
grounded in God's Word and grounded in correct Biblical doctrine.
Some ministries would not dare endorse John Calvin (because his teachings
go WAY BEYOND what the Bible says-- into error and heresies) but they
will endorse C. H. Spurgeon and yet there is much Calvinism found in
Spurgeon's work. Christians need to be aware of this when reading
Spurgeon. Should we endorse ALL of Spurgeon's writings? No but many of
his works are excellent and biblically sound and edifying and in all fairness,
Spurgeon did protest Hyper Calvinism but to endorse EVERYTHING that he
said or wrote would place Charles Spurgeon on the same level with God.
Certainly CHS would tell you, himself, that we shouldn't place his writings
and sermons on the same level with the Holy Scriptures. We cannot idolize
man and we should not put our confidence in man but rather we must put our
confidence in the Lord of Glory!
Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in
We must have discernment. When one reads the works of Spurgeon (or any
other preacher) and believes EVERY single word, even if (or when) it
contradicts the Bible-- such as the heresy of limited atonement-- which was
taught by Spurgeon, this too is sin.
Our KJV Bible says in 1John 2:2 "And he [Jesus] is the propitiation for
our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
Does that sound like limited atonement? The Lord Jesus says,"Whosoever"
and Jesus did not say, "just the chosen few..." because salvation is freely
offered to ALL but sadly, all will not get saved because they love darkness
rather than light.
John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the
world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds
were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither
COMETH to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
The Bible tells that it is the "unbelieving" person who will end up in the Lake
of Fire along with the murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, etc.
Revelation 21:8 says, "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the
abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and
idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth
with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count
slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance.
Yet C.H. Spurgeon contradicts John 3:16 by saying that, "That Christ
should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of all men, and that
afterwards some of those very men should be punished for the sins of which
Christ had already atoned, appears to me to be the most monstrous iniquity
that could ever have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, to the goddess of the
Thugs, or to the most diabolical heathen deities. God forbid that we should
ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise and good!"
God's FREE gift of salvation is offered to all-- whosoever will-- but sadly,
many reject the Lord Jesus Christ. Who are you going to believe C.H.
Spurgeon or the Word of God? This is why there is so much confusion within
Christian denominations. They have placed their preachers and "sacred
reformed writings" of ancients past above what the Bible says. Just because
Charles H. Spurgeon said he believed in limited atonement does not constitute
it as being Biblical.
One should be aware that Spurgeon placed Augustine and Calvin on
pedestals. He said in a ceremony at the Tabernacle: "...grand fundamentals of
that holy faith delivered to us by Christ, translated by Paul, handed down by
Augustine, clarified by Calvin, vindicated yet again by Whitfield, and held by
us as the very truth of God, as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord." If someone
were to say those words in a pulpit today, most Fundamentalist Baptists and
Bereans would walk out the door at any praise of Augustine (father of Roman
Catholicism and infant baptism) or Calvin (father of Calvinism) but because
Spurgeon said it, it is acceptable?
Sinful man has since the beginning of time placed other men on pedestals so
that they may adore and honor them. Once a person dies, they are
"immortalized forever" and their writings are valued more once the person is
deceased. Many Christians are no different in their handling of the departed
saint or the supposed "saint". What is heresy today could be revered by many
tomorrow. Many hold to the sacred writings of a Protestant Reformer as if
what that Reformer said is the Gospel truth and nothing but. This should not
When studying the writings of many Protestant Reformers, one will find gross
doctrinal errors that are contradictory to Scripture-- such as limited
atonement, infant baptism, anti-Semitism, irresistible grace, replacement
Hyper-Calvinists love to place Christians in two groups. They adamantly
insist that either you must be Arminian or Calvinist. They vehemently
proclaim that one "has ONLY two choices". They will try and scare one by
saying, "If you believe you are saved by grace, then you are a Calvinist.
And if you are not a Calvinist, then you cannot believe that you are saved by
grace...” No, my dear readers, there is a third choice-- if you believe that
you are saved by grace through faith, apart from works, trusting in what
Jesus did for you at the Cross and that He alone saves and keeps you (eternal
security), then you believe what the Bible says. Period! How about just
being a Bible believing Christian, who rightly divides the Word of
Truth and believes the whole Word of God.
We know that the Gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one
that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16) Many
Christian websites have placed Spurgeon high on a pedestal, as a man who
could do no wrong but yet we know from the Scriptures that God will not
share His glory with another. Isaiah 42:8 says "I am the LORD: that is my
name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven
images." Does one blindly follow Calvinism just because Spurgeon
supposedly did or did not endorse it? God forbid!
Do we, as Fundamental Baptists, believe everything that Spurgeon wrote is
without error or do we believe the Holy Bible? Do we follow Spurgeon or do
we follow the Lord Jesus Christ? Herein lies the heart of the matter.
You cannot put your complete 100% trust in both Spurgeon AND the Bible.
You must make a choice because ONLY the Bible is God's Holy Word. Only
the Bible can be trusted one hundred percent.
2Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Tim 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove,
rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Copyright © 2001-2004 Cobblestone Road Ministries
All Rights Reserved
** Note: We are not saying that one cannot or should not read Spurgeon. We
are simply stating that one should be "on guard" when reading his sermons
and writings and understand that his Calvinistic beliefs are
reflected in many of his teachings. You will find TULIP in his sermons.
The following is taken from The Biblical Evangelist, Edited by Robert L.
One of the most damaging books to the cause of Christ ever written, in our
judgment, is the monstrous, 320-page book by Arthur W. Pink, "The
Sovereignty of God." The fact that it came from the pen of an evangelical,
highly praised for some of his other writings, makes it especially dangerous in
the hands of new converts or the unconverted.
Over 40 years ago, Dr. Arno C. Gaebelein, one of the most highly respected
Bible teachers of his time, wrote a statement about Pink’s book to which we
referred in our booklet, An Examination of Tulip: The "Five Points" of
Calvinism. Below is a quotation from the question and answer feature,
written by Gaebelein, in OUR HOPE magazine, Volume 37, Number 11,
May 1931, page 684:
Question No. 58. Do you think Mr. Pink’s Book, "The Sovereignty of God,"
is scriptural? I recently read this book and it has upset me as no other book I
ever read. I was attacked by terrible doubts as to God’s Justice and His very
Gaebelein's Answer: Mr. Pink used to be a contributor to our magazine. His
articles on "Gleanings in Genesis" are good, and we had them printed in book
form. But when he began to teach his frightful doctrines which make the God
of Love a monster we broke fellowship with him.
The book you have read is totally unscriptural. It is akin to blasphemy. It
presents God as a Being of injustice and maligns His holy character. The
book denies that our blessed Lord died for the ungodly. According to Pink's
perversions He died for the elect only.
You are not the only one who has been led into darkness by this book.
Whoever the publisher is, and whoever stands behind the circulation of such
a monstrous things has a grave responsibility. It is just this kind of teaching
that makes atheists.
Pastor David Cloud writes, "Augustine is one of the fathers of the heresy
of infant baptism and he further taught that man is regenerated through
baptism. He claimed that unbaptized babies are lost." source
QUOTES ABOUT CALVINISM:
“Non-Calvinists can assure all men, ‘God loves YOU; Christ died for YOUR
sins.’ We know that all who believe His promise to ‘whosoever will’ are
saved eternally...” (Dave Hunt from the book, Debating Calvinism: Five Points, Two Views by Dave Hunt
and James White, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004, pp. 423-427).
"Nowhere are we told in Scripture that God predestinated one man to be
saved and another to be lost...God has predestinated you to be fully
conformed to the image of His Son." -H.A. Ironside
"Scripture plainly teaches election based upon God's foreknowledge. It is just
as plain in its declarations of man's free will. All men are invited to accept the
salvation that God has provided in Jesus Christ. 'Whosoever Will' means just
what it says." (H.A. Ironside, What's the Answer? p.54).
"Hyper-Calvinism is unscriptural, false doctrine. It tends to flourish in
intellectual pride and in neglect of soul winning, and is a symptom of moral
guilt. It is Satan's effort to kill concern and compassion for souls."
-Dr. John R. Rice
"Men do resist the will of God and go to Hell, who could be saved. And that
shows the folly of this man-made philosophy of hyper-Calvinism. It shows
the falsity of this human doctrine of "limited atonement," this human doctrine
of "irresistible grace," this doctrine that some are "foreordained to
reprobation" as others are "foreordained to be saved." -Dr. John R. Rice
Read many more articles by visiting our Main Page.
|Was Spurgeon a Calvinist?
We have received questions regarding the subject
of Spurgeon and his beliefs and so we will answer
all of the questions in this article. The question of
whether Spurgeon was a Calvinist or not has
caused much debate among Christians over recent
years. One has only to visit a few Christian forums
to see all the debates concerning Calvinism and
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