Sunday, 19 May 2013


These pages on Spurgeon and the invidual Five Points of Calvinism follow on from my previous post on Spurgeon and Calvinism which was somewhat exhaustive and therefore general. Here, we get down to the brass tacks.



And 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. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in his dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering, love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the peculiar redemption which Christ made for his elect and chosen people; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having believed. Such a gospel I abhor. The gospel of the Bible is not such a gospel as that. We preach Christ and him crucified in a different fashion, and to all gainsayers we reply, "We have not so learned Christ." (Sermon number 98 New Park Street Pulpit 1:100)

As for our faith as a church you have heard that already. We believe in what are called the five great points commonly known as Calvinistic; but we do not regard those five points as being barbed shafts which we are to push into the bowels of Christendom. 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 gospel truth. (Ceremony at laying of the stone of the New Tabernacle: Sermon numbers: 268-270) Found in New Park St Pulpit 5:603

I cannot stop to tell you of all the sheaves in the doctrine field. Some say there are only five; I believe the five great doctrines of Calvinism are, in some degree, a summary of the rest; they are distinctive points wherein we differ from those who "have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." But there are many more doctrines beside these five; and all are alike precious, and all are alike valuable to the true believer’s soul, for he can feed upon them to his heart’s content. (Sermon number 2585 Metropolitan Tabernacle 44:529)

Since then, you have learned other doctrines, possibly the five points of Calvinism, or the fifty points of any other system; but you never learned them from merely reading them in the Scriptures, you never really knew them till the pen of God began to move up and down upon your inward nature, and your heart received the impression the Lord intended to convey to it. (Sermon number 2280 Metropolitan Tabernacle 38:679)

We have certainly not thrown away the Five Points, but we may have gained other five… (Sword & Trowel Feb 1874 p.36)


Brethren, hold the five points of the Calvinistic doctrine, but mind you do not hold them as babbling questions. What you have received of God do not learn in order to fight with it, and to make contention and strife, and to divide the church of God, and rail against the people of the Most high, as some do. (Sermon number 3394 - Metropolitan Pulpit 60:121)


"Unto us who are called" I received a note this week asking me to explain that word "called;" because in one passage it says, "Many are called but few are chosen," while in another it appears that all who are called must be chosen. Now, let me observe that there are two calls. As my old friend John Bunyan says, "The hen has two calls, the common cluck, which she gives daily and hourly, and the special one which she means for her little chickens." So there is a general call, a call made to every man; every man hears it. Many are called by it; you are all called this morning in that sense; but very few are chosen. The other is a special call, the children’s call. You know how the bell sounds over the workshop to call the men to work-that is a general call. A father goes to the door and calls out. "John, it is dinner-time?"- that is the special call. Many are called with the general call, but they are not chosen; the special call is for the children only, and that is what is meant in the text, "Unto us who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." That call is always a special one. While I stand here and call men, nobody comes; while I preach to sinners universally, no good is done; it is like the sheet lightning you sometimes see on the summer’s evening, beautiful, grand, but who have ever heard of anything being struck by it? But the special call is the forked flash from heaven; it strikes somewhere, it is the arrow sent in between the joints of the harness. The call which saves, is like that of Jesus, when he said, "Mary," and she said unto him, "Rabboni." Do you know anything about that special call my beloved? Did Jesus ever call you by name? Canst thou recollect the hour when he whispered thy name in thine ear, when he said, "Come to me?" If so, you will grant the truth of what I am going to say next about it,-that it is an effectual call. There is no resisting it. When God calls with his special call, there is no standing out. Ah! I know I laughed at religion; I despised, I abhorred it; but that call! Oh! I would not come. But God said, "Thou shalt come. All that the Father giveth to me shall come." "Lord, I will not." "But thou shalt," said God. And I have gone up to God’s house sometimes almost with a resolution that I would not listen, but listen I must. Oh! how the word came into my soul! Was there a power of resistance? No; I was thrown down; each bone seemed to be broken; I was saved by effectual grace. I appeal to your experience, my friends. When God took you in hand, could you withstand him? You stood against your minister times enough. Sickness did not break you down; disease did not bring you to God’s feet; eloquence did not convince you; but when God put his hand to the work, ah! then what a change; like Saul, with his horses going to Damascus, that voice from heaven said, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?" There was no going further then. That was an effectual call Like that, again, which Jesus gave to Zaccheus, when he was up in the tree: stepping under the tree, he said, "Zaccheus, come down, to-day I must abide at thy house." Zaccheus, was taken in the net, he heard his own name; the call sank into his soul; he could not stop up in the tree, for an Almighty impulse drew him down. And I could tell you some singular instances of persons going to the house of God and having their characters described, limned out to perfection, so that they have said, "He is painting me, he is painting me." Just as I might say to that young man here who stole his master’s gloves yesterday, that Jesus calls him to repentance. It may be that there is such a person here; and when the call comes to a peculiar character, it generally comes with a special power. God gives his ministers a brush, and shows them how to use it in painting life-like portraits, and thus the sinner hears the special call. I cannot give the special call; God alone can give it, and I leave it with him. Some must be called. Jew and Greek may laugh, but still there are some who are called, both Jews and Greeks." (New Park Gate Sermon 7,8  Christ Crucified 1:108)



"Oh!" say some, "if the man wont have God, then, of course, God cannot get him;" and we have heard it preached, and we read it frequently that salvation entirely depends upon man’s will — that if man stands out and resists God’s Holy Spirit, the creature can be the conqueror of the Creator, and finite power can overcome the infinite. Frequently I take up a book and I read "Oh! sinner, be willing, for unless thou art, God cannot save thee;" and sometimes we are asked, "How is it that such an one is not saved?" And the answer is "He is not willing to be; God strove with him, but he would not be saved." Aye but suppose he had striven with him, as he did with those who are saved, would he have been saved then? "No, he would have resisted." Nay, we answer, it is not in man’s will, it is not of the will of the flesh, nor of blood, but of the power of God; and we never can entertain such an absurd idea as, that man can conquer Omnipotence, that the might of man is greater than the might of God. We believe indeed that certain usual influences of the Holy Spirit may be overcome; we believe that there are general operations of the Spirit in many men’s hearts which are resisted and rejected, but the effectual working of the Holy Ghost with the determination to save, could not be resisted, unless you suppose God overcome by his creatures, and the purpose of Deity frustrated by the will of man, which were to suppose something akin to blasphemy. (Sermon No. 93 God in the Covenant: New Park Gate Pulpit 2:516-517)


Again, I must say, I am not defending certain brethren who have exaggerated Calvinism. I speak of Calvinism proper, not that which has run to seed, and outgrown its beauty and verdure. I speak of it as I find it in Calvin’s Institutes, and especially in his Expositions. I have read them carefully. I take not my views of Calvinism from common repute but from his books. Nor do I, in thus speaking, even vindicate Calvinism as if I cared for the name, but I mean that glorious system which teaches that salvation is of grace from first to last.(Sermon number 385 Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 7:554)

Did you say that such-and- such a thing is believed by you because you found it in Calvin’s Institutes? I am a Calvinist, and a lover of that grand man’s memory and doctrine; but I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God. (Sermon number 2584 Metropolitan Tabernacle 44:517)

Do you know that John Calvin wrote his famous "Institutes" — a most wonderful production for thought if not for accuracy — before he was twenty-seven years of age? (Unusual Occasions p95)

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. — C. H. S. (Defence of Calvinism)

I stood last Wednesday in a sort of dream as I gazed upon my much-beloved grandfather’s place of sepulcher. I was encouraged by seeing the record of his fifty-four years of service in the midst of one church and people, and I rejoiced that, could he rise from the dead, he would find his grandson preaching that selfsame old-fashioned and much-despised Calvinistic doctrine of the grace of God which was his joy in life and his comfort in death. (Sermon number 1972 Metropolitan Pulpit 33:500)

Though we have not been called to maintain those truths as you have been, by trials peculiar to your church polity, we have had to maintain the same distinctly Calvinistic truth by struggles which have rooted and grounded us in it. We are glad when we see our brethren more numerous than ourselves across the Border giving forth a louder sound — not, I hope, a clearer sound — than we do on the grand doctrines of salvation by sovereign grace. May you prosper in your upholding of the old banner for many, many years to come; and may God be with you and bless you. (Speeches at Home and Abroad p95)


This was the church of Benjamin Keach and John Gill…both Calvinists. Spurgeon could claim concerning his church:

Now I am astonished to find those persons that thus come before me so well instructed in the doctrines of grace and so sound in all the truths of the covenant, insomuch that I may think it my boast and glory, in the name of Jesus, that I know not that we have any members, whom we have received into the church, who do not give their full assent and consent unto all the doctrines of the Christian religion, commonly called Calvinistic doctrines. Those which men are wont to laugh at as being high doctrinal points, are those which they most readily receive, believe, and rejoice in. (Sermon number 178 New Park Street Pulpit 4:182)

God forbid that we should have our Sunday-schools the hot-beds of Arminianism, while our churches are gardens of Calvinism. (Sermon number 1115 Metropolitan Tabernacle 19:398)

Spurgeon rightly denounced those who being Arminian would pastor a Calvinistic church (and vice versa)

By what tortuous processes of reasoning could it be made to appear consistent with uprightness for an Arminian to accept emoluments upon the condition of teaching Calvinistic doctrines, or how could a Calvinist be justified should he enter into covenant to teach the opposite tenets? Would it be any decrease of the inconsistency of either official if he should, after gaining his position and securing its salary, become a stickler for ministerial liberty and insist upon delivering himself of his own real opinions which he dared not have avowed at his instalment, and which, ex officio, he ought to denounce? A church, having a written creed, virtually asks the candidate for her pulpit, "Do you hold fast our form of sound words, and, will you endeavour to maintain it?" On the response to that enquiry, other things being settled, the appointment depends. The candidate's "yea," is accepted in confidence as being sincere, and he is inducted; but if it be a lie, or if at any time it cease to be altogether true, it is only by a sophistry unworthy of an ingenuous mind, that a man can justify' himself in retaining his place; he is bound in honour to relinquish it forthwith.(Sword and Trowel February 1870 2:397)


NO. 385

The proceedings were commenced by singing the 21st Hymn —

The Rev. C. H. SPURGEON in opening the proceedings said, we have met together beneath this roof already to set forth most of those truths in which consists the peculiarity of this Church…The controversy which has been carried on between the Calvinist and the Arminian is exceedingly important, but it does not so involve the vital point of personal godliness as to make eternal life depend upon our holding either system at theology….

NO. 388A

In the presence of CH Spurgeon, James Smith taught:

He has now experienced the effectual call. It has been a call from darkness into marvellous light, from bondage into glorious liberty; out of prison the man comes to reign; from the dunghill he is lifted up to sit among the princes, even among the princes of God’s people. And, now, as I must conclude, just observe, the origin of this call is the free, the sovereign, the distinguishing grace of God. It originates, not in man’s will, nor in man’s disposition, nor in man’s station in society, but of His will, and of His will alone, who is the great sovereign ruler of the universe, is this change effected; of man it cannot be, for it includes a new creation; a resurrection; and the inhabitation of God. Generally speaking, the instrumentality by which God works is the gospel, but in every instance the agent that produces the change is the holy and eternal Spirit of God. He quickens the soul dead in trespasses and sins, he enlightens the understanding that was in the midnight darkness of nature he disposes the will which before ran counter to the will of God; he teaches the understanding that was once averse to everything pure and holy, and then gently, and lovingly, and sweetly he leads the soul to the Cross to gaze upon the wondrous Sufferer, he then leads the soul to the Church to confess Christ and him crucified and then leads it in the paths of righteousness for his own name’s sake. The calling is high, for it is from the High and Holy One; it is heavenly, in contrast with the earthly calling of the descendants of Abraham of old; it is an evidence of distinguishing love; and thanks, eternal thanks to God, it is irreversible, for the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance. From death to life we pass; from darkness into light we come; out of bondage into liberty we spring; from sin to the knowledge and enjoyment of holiness we are introduced; then at last from earth to heaven. Into the grace of Christ we are called, and we stand in his favour. Into the fellowship of Christ we are called and in communion with him we live. To be glorified with Christ we are called, and when Christ who is our life shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory. The Father draws, the Spirit quickens, the Son receives, and when locked in the arms of the Son of God, our effectual calling is realized and enjoyed. Its author, is God; its subjects, are the elect, its nature, is holy, and its end, is glorious. Thus, you perceive, my friends, all originated in God’s thought, which thought sprung into the perfect plan to carry out which plan provision was made, and this plan will be perfectly carried out to the praise of the glory of his grace. Thus, whether you think of election, whether you think of redemption, or whether you think of effectual calling

"Give all the glory to his holy name,
For to him all the glory belongs;
Be your’s the high joy still to sound forth his praise
And crown him in each of your songs."


Both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the 1689 Baptist Confession teach the doctrine of Irresistible Grace. Spurgeon himself reprinted the 1689 Baptist Confession in 1855. A copy of the Baptist Confession was placed under the stone during the stone laying of the Metropolitan Tabernacle. This Confessions teaches in the chapter entitled, Effectual Calling:

1. Those whom God has predestinated to life, He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time to effectually call by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death which they are in by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ. He enlightens their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God. He takes away their heart of stone and gives to them a heart of flesh. He renews their wills, and by His almighty power, causes them to desire and pursue that which is good. He effectually draws them to Jesus Christ, yet in such a way that they come absolutely freely, being made willing by His grace.

2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not on account of anything at all foreseen in man. It is not made because of any power or agency in the creature who is wholly passive in the matter. Man is dead in sins and trespasses until quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit. By this he is enabled to answer the call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed by it. This enabling power is no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead.

3. Infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, Who works when, where, and how He pleases. So also are all elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

4. Others are not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may experience some common operations of the Spirit, yet because they are not effectually drawn by the Father, they will not and cannot truly come to Christ and therefore cannot be saved. Much less can men who do not embrace the Christian religion be saved, however diligent they may be to frame their lives according to the light of nature and the requirements of the religion they profess.

In his preface, Spurgeon refers to the doctrines of the Baptist Confession as "excellent" and whilst he did not want the Confession to become a fetter, yet he did express the hope that it would be of assistance of them in controversy, a confirmation in their faith and a means of edification. He writes further: "Be not ashamed of your faith: remember it is the ancient gospel of the martyrs, confessors, reformers and saints. Above all it is the truth of God, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail."


At the opening of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, the following comments by Calvinistic ministers were made in the presence of Spurgeon:

The REV. F. TUCKER, of Camden Road Chapel, "He looked upon his brother Spurgeon as one who upheld the sovereignty of God, and who, on the other hand, declared the responsibility of man. He preached, that never could the sinner repent without the aid of the Holy Ghost, and yet he called upon every sinner to repent and believe the gospel. Especially did his brother make prominent the grand doctrine of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and the kindred doctrine of justification by faith in the righteousness of the Lord and Saviour."

The REV. GEORGE ROGERS: "Their friend Mr. Spurgeon preached all the doctrines of grace. Election, particular redemption came from his lips in trumpet tones. He saw the love of Christ to His Church, and of the Church to Christ, overflowing in sweet nectar in the song of Solomon. Some said those doctrines were destructive of all good works — that people who listened to such doctrines did nothing. His answer to these objectors was, let them look at that building. Election would never have built it, except by seeking to make their calling and election sure. Particular redemption would never have built it without the particular love which it was calculated to inspire. The doctrine of perseverance would never have built it without the act of perseverance."


Mr. Dale, in his admirable article published on Christmas-day in the Daily Telegraph, gives it as his opinion that Calvinism would be almost obsolete among Baptists were it not still maintained by the powerful influence of Mr. Spurgeon. The statement is most flattering to our vanity…Calvinism such as was taught by Owen, Charnock, Bunyan, Newton, Whitfield, Romaine, and men of that class, is no more obsolete than is the law of gravitation, neither are its friends at all inclined to bewail its influence as dying out…If such Calvinism as this, and it is the Calvinism of Calvin, and the only one which we maintain, is really growing obsolete, we must henceforth doubt our ears and disbelieve the statements of the best of our brethren. If the sermons now preached in Baptist pulpits could all be printed, they would be found to contain vastly more of what we call Calvinism than they did twenty years ago. The party names and terms are less used, for which we are devoutly thankful, but the essence and spirit of that side of truth, which has for brevity's sake been called Calvinistic, are more powerful among us now than they ever were at any previous part of the century. We have in this matter a right to judge, because the question relates to that Calvinism which is "maintained by the powerful influence of Mr. Spurgeon," and therefore no man is more likely to know than Mr. Spurgeon himself... We have certainly not thrown away the Five Points, but we may have gained other five, and far be it from us to deny it; but this does not in the slightest degree affect the statement of our Birmingham friend, for it still remains a fact that the "Calvinism," or whatever it is, which is maintained by us, does not make us enemies among the General Baptists, but is read by thousands of them regularly, and ensures for us a warm place in their hearts, as many letters, donations, and kindly actions abundantly prove. Whatever it may be which we maintain, and we do not demur to Mr. Dale's description of it as Calvinism, for it contains a great deal of Calvinism, we are sure that far more of it is read and endorsed among General Baptists than at any other period in history. (Sword & Trowel Feb 1874 p33ff)

The Evangelical Revival and other Sermons: with an Address on the Work of the Christian ministry in a period of theological decay and transition. By R. W. DALE. Hodder and Stoughton.

We cannot bring our mind to review this volume of discourses. It manifests the author’s great ability and honesty, but to our mind it is unsatisfactory, and to our heart it is saddening. Mr. Dale says," Mr. Spurgeon stands alone among the modern leaders of Evangelical Nonconformists in his fidelity to the older Calvinistic creed." If it be so, we are sorry to hear it, and we pray God that it may not long be true. There is an indefiniteness and uncertainty about these sermons which distresses us. They are not after our heart, and we are the more disappointed because Mr. Dale is a typical person among Independents, and a fine man in all respects. (Sword & Trowel 6:245)


Against all comers, especially against all lovers of Arminianism, we defend and maintain pure gospel truth. At the same time I can make this public declaration, that I am no Antinomian. I belong not to the sect of those who are afraid to invite the sinner to Christ. I warn him, I invite him, I exhort him. Hence, then, I have contumely on either hand. Inconsistency is urged by some, as if anything that God commanded could be inconsistent. I will glory in such inconsistency even to the end I bind myself precisely to no form of doctrine. I love those five points as being the angles of the gospel, but then I love the centre between the angles better still.(Laying of the stone of the Metropolitan Tabernacle. New Park Street Pulpit 5:603)


We have become daily more and more impressed with the conviction that theology should be the principal subject for instruction in a Theological College, and that a diversified course, of all. other studies, prepares the young minister to enter upon his office in the full vigour of his mental powers, and with a capacity for continuing his research into all subjects that may at any time contribute to his own principal design 6. Calvinistic theology is dogmatically taught. We mean not dogmatic in the offensive sense of that term; but as the undoubted teaching of the Word of God. "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness." We hold to the Calvinism of the Bible. Extreme views on either side are repudiated by us. The cross is the centre of our system. "To this I hold, and by this I am upheld." is our motto. This is our stand-point from which we judge all things. We have no sympathy with any modern concealment or perversion of great gospel truths. We prefer the Puritan to modern divinity. (Sword & Trowel March 1886 1:240)

3. By whom are the young men taught, and what is the scope and character of the teaching? The young men are taught by tutors, under the direction and with the stated teaching of Mr. Spurgeon himself, and of Mr. James Spurgeon, who holds the position of Vice-President of the College. The studies embrace… Systematic Theology, which is always Calvinistic, and Homiletics. (Sword & Trowel July 1869 2:305)

The question may be asked whether our College, based as it is on avowedly definite and peculiar principles, has in any measure ceased to be a necessity? We think not. We most gladly admit that in many quarters the same gospel is being preached, and the same Bible is reverenced. We hail gladly any evidence of approaching unity of feeling and effort in the one harvest, field; but we are more than ever persuaded that we need to bear our witness to the old Calvinistic doctrines of grace, and to uphold our distinctive view of the ordinance of believer’s baptism. (Sword & Trowel 7:156)

As it would be quite unwarrantable for us to interfere with the arrangements of other bodies of Christians, who have their own methods of training their ministers, and as it is obvious that we could not find spheres for men in denominations with which we have no ecclesiastical connection, we confine our College to Baptists; and, in order not to be harassed with endless controversies, we invite those only who hold those views of divine truth which are popularly known as Calvinistic, — not that we care for names and phrases; but, as we wish to be understood, we use a term which conveys our meaning as nearly as any descriptive word can do. Believing the grand doctrines of grace to be the natural accompaniments of the fundamental evangelical truth of redemption by the blood of Jesus, we hold and teach them, not only in our ministry to the masses, but in the more select instruction of the class room. (Lectures 2:6 also 4:7)


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