Seems to me that as I study the holy scriptures and the history of man I find the same problem that continually travels in circles of repetition. I see those movements that are raised up by God and built on His Words found in the scripture. And I find movements that question God's Word that eventually bring the first movement to an end. This played out in Israel as God's people and nation eventually turned completely from the Words of God. And in our dispensation we have seen over the last 2,000 years the same thing play out over and over in local churches, and other ministries that once were raised up and standing firmly on God's Word that have gradually moved away from it and eventually have found themselves to deny it completely. History has recorded this in individual lives, corporate groups of believers and in entire denominations. It has happened in communities, cities, states and entire nations. It has happened in every period of time in both Old Testament and New Testament days.
The good news is that the same can be said concerning those movements that have begun by raising the Bible high. It's authority and it's proclamation and teaching. God has always had his men and women who were willing to obey the Bible by diligently HOLDING IT HIGH in their personal lives thus HOLDING IT HIGH in their homes, churches, communities and nations. They have been burdened to see the TRUTH to be handled with honor and respect. They have been burdened to see it proclaimed to their generation and the next. They have been willing to pay the price that comes with standing for truth and getting that truth to as many possible both now and when they are no longer on this earth.
Charles Spurgeon was one of those who had an amazing burden to FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH. He lived in a time of cultural change in his nation of Great Britain. He was saved as a young man and called by God to preach the Word of God. He did so faithfully for over 42 years. For 38 of those years his preaching took place in London at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. Weekly 5,000 people would fill the great auditorium to here this man declare, THUS SAITH THE LORD. They and other followers saw him as supernaturally endowed with gifts and a complete understanding of what he was called to do, Preach the Word in it's entirety. They listened to him and prayed for him as he courageously sought to halt the flood of of infidelity and bring cure to the slow replacement of standing on the whole council of God for only handling portions of God's Word. But the sad fact is that for every one that believed and were willing to stand for truth there were many more who chose to listen to those who proclaimed partial truth. In fact in October of 1887 Spurgeon resigned from the Baptist Union, and in early 1888 he received a "censure" from the Union Council for his continual speaking against their defection from God's Word. He saw the hope of reformation go down in flames in April 1888 with the Union's acceptance of a watered down change in their confession of faith by a vote of 2,000 to 7. His very own brother voted against him. Only 6 council members stood with him for God's Word.
You ask how can that be? Well it does not happen overnight. It happens gradually and it happens because God's men and women begin to think like humans instead of thinking like God. And the reason they don't think like God is because they have begun to handle God's Words in a very careless and casual way. Needless to say any student of history can declare to you what took place with the once powerful nation of Great Britain since the late 1800's and even more importantly what has happened with their once flourishing churches and its once mighty missions emphasis. The movement of questioning parts of God' s Words resulted in questioning all of it.
The last few years of Spurgeon's life was spent in addressing this issue. He witnessed gradual changes that were producing greater error. His burden was not only for his generation but the next. And he was broken hear-ted over how many pastors were going along with this deceptive movement. His effort was not only to other churches and ministries but within his own church including his his Pastor's College and Conference. Surprisingly he had some difficulty instituting these changes to defend God's Word even within his own ministry. In 1891 he began the " The Sword & The Trowel" printing ministry with the main focus of fighting the compromising op-posers of God's divine word. Although often overcome with great depression and discouragement of what seemed to be happening he refused to surrender. Bloodied, seemingly defeated at the moment he would not bow nor compromise he led the remnant to remain victorious and to trust that God's Word would bring God's fruit. As we look back now at the 2,000 to 7 vote we may not know any name of the 2,000 but we do know the name SPURGEON.
With this in mind let me give you some of his statements in his last lectures to his students and sermons to his people. I hope they will move you as much as they have me.
" The great weakness of the modern pulpit is that it ignores the justice of God and the punishment of sin. The evil which this brings is incalculably great. You cannot leave out that part of the truth which is so dark and so solemn without weakening the force of all the other truths you preach. You rob of their brightness, and their urgent importance, the truths which concern salvation from the wrath to come. Brethren, leave out nothing. Be bold enough to preach unpalatable and unpopular truth. The evil which we may do by adding to, or taking away from the Word of the Lord, may not happen in our own days; but if it should come to ripeness in another generation we shall be equally guilty. I have no doubt that the omission of certain truths by the earlier churches led afterwards to serious error; while certain additions in the forms of rites and ceremonies, which appeared innocent enough in themselves, led to Ritualism, and afterwards to the great apostasy of Romanism! Be very careful. Do not go an inch beyond the line of Scripture, and do not stay an inch on this side of it. KEEP to the straight line of the Word of God, as far as the Holy Spirit has taught you, and hold back nothing which He has revealed."
May we each make a re-commitment to handle God's Word correctly. And to be balanced as we see God in all of His Holy Character. May we remember that the Word is a revelation of the Lord. To trifle with it is to miss what God is like and to come up with a false God all together. We face the same spiritual infidelity in our day a Spurgeon did in his. Let us be careful to know and proclaim the full council of God which in reality is the full knowledge of God.
GOD HELP US TO BE PART OF THE 7 NOT PART OF THE 2,000!
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.