Saturday, 19 October 2013


  It is hard to make Christian people understand that there is a Union of professed Christians, which receives into its fellowship persons of any creed, or no creed, so long as they have been baptized.  (CH Spurgeon)

This quote from Spurgeon came back to mind recently on the strength of a tweet by my friend #Wylie. #Wylie and I share a mutual friend in the person of Texan evangelist, BH Carroll. In fact, it was #Wylie who effectively introduced me to him. I might have seen Carroll's name floating round the strait and narrow side of Church history before, but I knew very little about him at all. Indeed, I first thought he was the man who wrote “The Trail of Blood” (which I was given by a zealous Baptist friend in his youthful days and which I still have somewhere in my library) and of which I make some not totally unrelated observations here. But the writer of the Trail  was actually BH’s youngest brother, JH Carroll. To be honest, #Wylie gushes more about BH Carroll than I do.  He described BHC’s commentary and sermons as a “goldmine” and the author himself as a “Baptist Giant” and a “genius.”  Let’s say that there are other men I would gush about first, but no disrespect to BHC whatsoever.

In his tweet, #Wylie quotes our mutual friend, BHC, as saying:

"Less creed (doctrine) & more liberty, is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jellfish, and means less unity and less morality." (BH Carroll)

And it is here that Spurgeon’s quote came to mind. CHS complained that there were men in the Baptist Union and the only thing they seemed to agree on is that the believer should be baptised. The God/god they should believe in (whatever that means) was an open matter, but the believer should be baptised. Lest there should be any misunderstanding, the angle which CHS came from with this quote is radically different and more serious than the angle I am drawing here, but the principle remains the same.

Let’s develop this. #Wylie, BHC and I share the same fundamental doctrines of the faith e.g. the Deity and Virgin Birth of Christ, the verbal inspiration of the Bible, the atoning death and resurrection of Christ, the necessity of the New Birth etc. So, as long as we keep to these fundamental doctrines, we could all sit happily round the same table.

Unfortunately for #Wylie, if the conversation turns to Calvinism, then he must let me have BHC all to myself in this triumvirate. BHC and I both profess Calvinism, although mine is the 5 point variety while BHC (as I read him) struggled with the teaching of Particular Redemption. Yet, for all that, that he openly described himself as a Calvinist among the nuggets in his commentary, and I’m not about to call him a liar. OTOH, my friend #Wylie is not a #Calvinist and says all kinds of nasty things about Calvinists which are documented elsewhere.

I also have BHC all to myself when it comes to Protestantism. BHC described himself and others of his school as “only technically Protestants” which, in the standard use of English, still makes him technically a {cough} Protestant. I don’t do word games when it comes to these things, so BHC and I are two professed Protestants, while my friend #Wylie is heard to mutter something about “the daughter of the Roman Catholic church” which is based on Revelation 17. I’ve heard this kind of 'oul guff' before from some of our Plymouth Brethren friends, but I won’t develop it here. Come back later and click here if you really want to see how silly that one tends to be.

Negatively, BHC and I get together, again to the exclusion of friend #Wylie, in our rejection of Pre Millennialism in general and Dispensationalism in particular.   “I don’t believe a word of it” says the Baptist Giant and I tend to agree with him.

Where I might feel just a teeny weeny bit left out is when friend #Wylie and BHC have a Baptist get-together. Alas! I do not ascribe to autonomous church government (I am an Acts 15 Presbyterian myself) and I see the act of baptism as more important than the mode.

It is this last point i.e. the Baptist get-together that reminded me of Spurgeon’s observation. As said above, the angle is different, but still it is there. You see, #Wylies only contact with BHC where I as a Calvinist/Fundamentalist cannot join in with a heart and a half relates to (wait for it…) Baptist church polity. #Hello? Hardly earth shattering is it? Unless only Baptists go to Heaven while Hell opens wide her hungry mouth to receive all the rest of us.  Since BHC preached and co-operated with Protestants from all different denominations, I can’t see him running with that idea. I assume #Wylie doesn’t either. Interesting isn’t it?

 To access an online copy of BHC’s Calvinist and Protestant goldmine commentary on the English Bible, click here while some of his Calvinist and Protestant sermons are to be found here.  Here and there, you do get some decidedly Baptist tenets, but I can live with that. Can you live with his strong Calvinist expositions of the grace of God that puts sinful man in the dust where he belongs and God rightly on His throne, dispensing mercy to whom He will? I guess I could sit with greater ease and  longer with BHC at the table than any one of my friend #Wylie's school.

* Click here for more of Spurgeon on the Downgrade
* Click here for more of Spurgeon's Calvinism
* Click here for why Spurgeon has the Twittering Anti Calvinists  round his wee finger





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