Cork Free Presbyterian Church, 10 Briarscourt (Annex) Shanakiel, Cork, Ireland Pastor: Colin Maxwell. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT CLAIM IS THIS? OR
WHO ARE YOU KIDDING MR HUNT?
In his new book, "What Love is this - Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God" - billed as being possibly the "most important book in the twenty first century for all evangelical Christians to read" - Dave Hunt makes an amazing statement regarding CH Spurgeon. There areother things in the book with which we take issue - taken from the blurb in Dave Hunt's Berean Call (March 2002), but here is something else which is totally incredulous. On page 19 of this book Mr Hunt makes the assertion that Charles Spurgeon "unequivocally" denied particular redemption (limited atonement) That's right…Mr Hunt states in this most important book - "his best so far" says another admirer - states that CH Spurgeon not merely had his doubts but "unequivocally" denied Limited Atonement! Hard to believe isn't it? Look at the following:
FIRST QUOTATION…MR HUNT MAKES HIS INCREDULOUS CLAIM:
"Today there is growing division on this issue, most Calvinists insisting that Christ died only for the elect. On the other hand, IFCA International, a group of about 700 independent evangelical churches and 1,200 pastors (some of them Calvinists) declares in its doctrinal statement, 'We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross for all mankind...to accomplish the redemption of all who trust in him...." Spurgeon himself, so often quoted by Calvinists to support their view, rejected Limited Atonement, though it lies at the very heart of Calvinism and follows inevitably from its other points--and he did so in unequivocal language:
"I know there are some who think it necessary to their system of theology to limit the merit of the blood of Jesus: if my theological system needed such limitation, I would cast it to the winds. I cannot, I dare not, allow the thought to find lodging in my mind, it seems so near akin to blasphemy. In Christ's finished work I see an ocean of merit; my plummet finds no bottom, my eye discerns no shore....Having a divine Person for an offering, it is not consistent to conceive of limited value; bound and measure are terms inapplicable to the divine sacrifice."
SECONDLY THE FULL QUOTE APPEARS IN SPURGEON'S FAMOUS "DEFENCE OF CALVINISM:"
Before we let Spurgeon elsewhere tell us what he means by what he said above…let me take a moment or two to simply let him tell us inthe very same article what he believed concerning limited atonement. Emphasise mine.
CHRIST'S REDEMPTION - SPECIALLY AND PARTICULARLY FOR HIS ELECT AND CHOSEN PEOPLE:
I have my own Private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. 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 special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; 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 once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor.
MUCH TO ADMIRE IN THE DOCTRINE OF UNIVERSAL ATONEMENT BUT BEAUTY IS OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH FALSEHOOD
Some persons love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say, "It is so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men; it commends itself," they say, "to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty." I admit there is, but beauty may be often associated with falsehood.
WHY SPURGEON REJECTED UNIVERSAL ATONEMENT
There is much which I might admire in the theory of universal redemption, but I will just show what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins. Once again, if it was Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own testimony that there is a lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit of woe have been cast some of the very persons who, according to the theory of universal redemption, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Savior died for men who were or are in hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain. To imagine for a moment that He was the Substitute for all the sons of men, and that God, having first punished the Substitute, afterwards punished the sinners themselves, seems to conflict with all my ideas of Divine justice. 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 for 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!
NO LIVING SOUL HELD MORE FIRMLY TO THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE THAN SPURGEON DID
There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer- I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.
THIRDLY, SPURGEON TELLS US WHAT HE MEANS WHEN HE SAYS THAT THERE IS NO LIMIT IN THE VALUE OF THE SACRIFICE:
He does so in hissermon, based on Luke 19:10, entitled: THE MISSION OF THE SON OF MAN NO. 204 preached in 1858
"There are others of us who hold what is called the doctrine of particular redemption. We conceive that the blood of Christ was of an infinite value, but that the intention of the death of Christ never was the salvation of all men; for if Christ had designed the salvation of all men, we hold that all men would have been saved. We believe that the intention of Christ’s death is just equal to its effects, and therefore I start this morning by announcing what I regard to be a self-evident truth, that whatever was the intention of Jesus Christ in coming into the world, that intention most certainly shall be fulfilled."
Note how unequivocally - to use Mr Hunt's adjective - Spurgeon affirms his belief in the doctrine of particular redemption. He reaffirms that the blood of Christ is of infinite value (It is referred to as the blood of God in Acts 20:28) but also believes that Christ's never intended the salvation of all men…for had this been the case, then all men would be saved. How then can we measure the intention of Christ's death? By its effect i.e. the salvation of the elect. The intention of Christ's death will most certainly be fulfilled, enabling Spurgeon to state in the sermon he actually entitled "Particular Redemption":
"We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved."
FOURTHLY, SPURGEON MAINTAINED THIS TRUTH THROUGH HIS ENTIRE MINISTRY
Less than a year before he died and addressing fellow ministers in asermon called "Our manifesto" (2185) he could say:
"Lastly, we are sure that the gospel we have preached is not after men, because men do not take to it. It is opposed even to this day. If anything is hated bitterly, it is the out-and-out gospel of the grace of God, especially if that hateful word, sovereignty is mentioned with it. Dare to say, He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion, and furious critics will revile you without stint. The modern religionist not only hates the doctrine of sovereign grace, but he raves and rages at the mention of it. He would sooner hear you blaspheme than preach election by the Father, atonement by the Son, or regeneration by the Spirit. If you want to see a man worked up till the Satanic is clearly uppermost, let some of the new divines hear you preach a free-grace sermon. A gospel which is after men will be welcomed by men; but it needs a divine operation upon the heart and mind to make a man willing to receive into his utmost soul this distasteful gospel of the grace of God.
My dear Brethren, do not try to make it tasteful to carnal minds. Hide not the offense of the cross, lest you make it of none effect. The angles and corners of the gospel are its strength: to pare them off is to deprive it of power. Toning down is not the increase of strength, but the death of it. Why, even among the sects, you must have noticed that their distinguishing points are the horns of their power; and when these are practically omitted, the sect is effete. Learn, then, that if you take Christ out of Christianity, Christianity is dead. If you remove grace out of the gospel, the gospel is gone. If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it. Whenever its enemies rail at a certain kind of gun, a wise military power will provide more of such artillery. A great general, going in before his king, stumbled over his own sword. I see, said the king, your sword in is the way. The warrior answered, Your majesty’s enemies have often felt the same. That our gospel offends the King’s enemies is no regret to us."
FIFTHLY…MR HUNT HAS SADLY GOT IT ALL WRONG WHEN HE SAYS THAT SPURGEON UNEQUIVOCALLY DENIED THE DOCTRINE OF PARTICULAR REDEMPTION:
I wonder what Mr Hunt hoped to gain by peddling such error as this? Surely, of all men, Spurgeon was the wrong man to misrepresent? His sermons still sell by the thousand and arereadily available on the internet. Mr Hunt can scarcely be proud of what he has written and those who endorsed this book hardly come out of it all with much credit either. Did they read it? Imagine trying to tell us that Mr Spurgeon believed in universal redemption! And using the word unequivocal too as if the argument could be won with strong words. They will need to come up with something better than this!
So there you have it. The falsehood falls to the ground and the truth of the gospel still marches on. Have a look at the other pages below.
HELPFUL URL's WITHIN THIS SITE
* What CHS thought of John Calvin and Calvinism in general
* What CHS thought of Total Depravity in particular
* What CHS thought of Unconditional Election in particular
* What CHS thought of Limited Atonement in particular
* What CHS thought of Irresistible Grace in particular
* What CHS thought of Perseverance of the Saints in particular
Many helpful articles about Calvinism in ourCalvinist Index section.
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