Spurgeon and the Battle for Gospel Preaching, Part 2

Note: Dr. Sam Horn is host of The Word for Life radio program.

See Part 1.

by Dr. Sam Horn

The true minister of Christ feels impelled to preach the whole truth, because it and it alone can meet the wants of man. What evils has this world seen through a distorted, mangled, man-moulded gospel. What mischiefs have kutilek_spurgeon.jpgbeen done to the souls of men by men who have preached only one part and not all the counsel of God!

—C.H. Spurgeon, Metropolitan Tabernacle, 1859

Hyper-Calvinsim is all house and no door; Arminianism is all door and no house.

—John Duncan

Editor’s Note: In Part 1, Dr. Horn summarized Charles Spurgeon’s background and surveyed statements Spurgeon had made about both Arminianism and Calvinism. In Part 2, he takes a closer look at Spurgeon’s role in a debate between these two views.

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In Defense of the Gospel: Martuneac Responds to Wood's Review

The Original Review by Todd Wood
CounterPointBecause we are talking about the gospel, a major doctrine of our faith, and men’s differing interpretation of it, this can be a source for inflamed and emotional debate. I took the time to carefully write, reflect on, and edit this reply so as not to appear emotional or enflame passions. Much more could have been written, but In Defense of the Gospel is my definitive, comprehensive answer to the Lordship Salvation debate.

The debate primarily revolves around the way a man is born again, how he is justified, how he receives eternal life. It is the reception of the gospel, not the results of the gospel, that is the primary area of the debate.

Pastor Scott Markle posted the following in the thread that followed Pastor Wood’s review of my book, “As I continue to follow this discussion, there appears to be two main realms of controversy. The first seems to concern the definition of the ‘saving faith’ that is necessary for justification/eternal salvation. The second seems to concern the results of this ‘saving faith’ in the progressive sanctification of the believer (that is — in the daily walk of the believer).”

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Book Review: In Defense of the Gospel

In Defense of The GospelOften authors will provide humble but shameless support for their own books. But I don’t know if I have ever read a personal endorsement that compares to the magnitude of Lou Martuneac’s verdict on his own book, In Defense of the Gospel, when he writes, “In my opinion there is not a single work on the market that brings as comprehensive and balanced an answer to the Lordship position as my book does” (p. 25). Yet my expectations were not as high as Lou’s because earlier the author commented, “Much of what I have written is along the order of ‘milk’ for the relatively new or untrained believer” … “most at risk” … and a “primary target of the pro-Lordship advocates” (p. 22). I would think someone at risk of being swayed by false teaching ought to sit a little higher as a student in order to grapple with more detailed, precise theological instruction on the Gospel and quit the milk-only diet.

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Do We Have To Fight About This?

In The Nick of TimeOf all the discussions in which we engage, the bickering between some Calvinists and some Arminians tends to be among the least edifying. Not that I’m against discussion: far from it! These are issues worth deliberating, and I have my own views about what is biblical. I’ve grown enormously through hearing and reading the intelligent and charitable exchange of opinions. The problem is that, too often, the exchange is neither intelligent nor charitable.

Both Calvinism and Arminianism have their reasonable and balanced defenders. I find myself challenged whether reading John Wesley or François Turretin. I find myself edified through the writings of both A. A. Hodge and A. W. Tozer. Both Reformed theology and Arminianism can be defended charitably. Alas, not all defenders are so thoughtful.

There are Crusading Calvinists, and there are Aggressive Arminians. They feed off each other. One of them begins with a bit of sniping, and then we are confronted with the spectacle of caricature, misrepresentation, vituperation, extreme reaction.

I know, I know. Plenty of people are going to say, “I’m neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.” Sometimes they mean that they simply aren’t purebreds who hold all five points of either system. Sometimes they want to claim a supposedly‐superior third position (often, and affectedly, labeled “biblicism”) that, in fact, almost always turns out to be some version of anti‐Calvinism.


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