Oct 13, 2010

Spurgeon - Elected to Faith

Said Charles Spurgeon:

"Then the decree of election could not have been formed upon good works. "But," say others, "God elected them on the foresight of their faith." Now, God gives faith, therefore He could not have elected them on account of faith which He foresaw. There shall be twenty beggards in the street and I determine to give one of them a shilling. Will anyone say that I determined to give that one a shilling—that I elected him to have the shilling—because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense."

"In like manner to say that God elected men because He foresaw they would have faith—which is salvation in the germ—would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment. Faith is the gift of God. Every virtue comes from Him. Therefore it cannot have caused Him to elect men, because it is His gift. Election, we are sure, is absolute and altogether apart from the virtues which the saints have afterwards."

"I never knew a saint yet of any denomination who thought that God saved him because He foresaw that he would have these virtues and merits."


(UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION - NO. 41-42)

12 comments:

Wes Widner said...

Too bad Spurgeon never talked to me, then.

Bruce Oyen said...

Stephen,
I love Spurgeon, in spite of his Calvinism. Hope you can take some Arminian humor!
Speaking of CHS, I have been re-reading Iain Murray's very interesting book, "Spurgeon Versus Hyper-Calvinism." Do you know if Hyper-Calvinism is common here in the USA?
A quote from Spurgeon's autobiography, vol. 1, page 310, is found on page 127 of Murray's book. Spurgeon wrote:"The system of theology with which many identify his (i. e., Gill's) name has chilled many churches to their very soul, for it has led them to omit the free invitations of the gospel, and to deny that it is the duty of sinners to believe in Jesus."
Here is statement by Murray himself, found on page 120: "The final conclusion has to be that when Calvinism ceases to be evangleistic, when it becomes more concerned with theory than with the salvation of men and women, when acceptance of doctrines seems to become more imprtant than acceptance of Christ, then it is a system going to seed and it will invariably lose its attractive power."

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Bruce:

I would not lean too much on what Murray writes regarding Spurgeon.

Read this review.

http://evangelica.de/articles/biographies/john-gill-and-his-successors/

Yes, it is true, that Gill had small traces of hyper calvinism. But, the five points have nothing to do with duty faith and the universal invitation.

Both Spurgeon and Gill believed that faith is the gift of God and the result of election. That is the point.

Blessings,

Stephen

Bruce Oyen said...

Thanks, Stephen, for the link. I gave it a quick look, and will read it more carefully later. Sorry I trailed so far off your point about Gill and Spurgeon.

Bruce Oyen said...

Stephen, you said, "Yes, it is true, that Gill had small traces of hyper calvinism." But Spurgeon said "Gill is the Coryphaeus of hyper-Calvinism." Why the difference of opinion?

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Brother Bruce:

Spurgeon said:

"Gill is the Coryphaeus of hyper-Calvinism, but if his followers never went beyond their master, they would not go very far astray."

Spurgeon, to my mind, was not saying that he thought that Gill was a leader (Coryphaeus) of hyper-calvinism, but that he is such to many. This is clear to me because he implies that following Gill they would not go very far stray. He implies that the hypers went beyond Gill. Tell me how I am wrong.

Blessings,

Stephen

Bruce Oyen said...

We differ on the meaning of Spurgeon's statement about Gill. I still think he meant he was the "Coryphaeus of hyper-Calvinism," even though he made the rest of the statement we both have quoted. But I'm not the only one to understand Spurgeon's statement in this way. So did Tom J. Nettles, who, in 1992, wrote an introduction to Gill's book, "The Cause Of God And Truth." On page xiii Nettles wrote, "Spurgeon, who calls Gill the 'Coryphaeus of hyper-Calvinism," remarked that 'if his followers never went beyond their master, they would not go far astray.'" On page xi of the same introduction, Nettles said this about Gill: He has borne the charges of antinomianism and hyper-Calvinism but patently is not the one and certainly does not fit into the most distinctive patterns of the other. I have treated these accusations extensively in another context."
The context to which Nettels refers is his book, "By His Grace And For His Glory." I read this book with great interest in Oct./Nov. of 1997 and will, maybe, quote from it at another time.

Stephen Garrett said...

Dear Bruce:

I don't see where Nettles says that Gill made himself the Coryphaeus of hyper-calvinism, not that Spurgeon agreed with it. As I said, I understand Spurgeon to be affirming that the hyperists adopted Gill as their leader, though he is not actually to be construed as such. In fact, Nettles plainly says that Gill is not an antinomian or hyper calvinist! He considers charges that Gill was a hyper calvinist to be false "accusations."

Blessings,

Stephen

Bruce Oyen said...

My friend Stephen, I agree that Nettles did not call Gill a hyper-Calvinist.I never said he did call him one. What I did say is that Nettles reached the same conclusion I did about Spurgeon's statement: we both think Spurgeon said Gill was a hyper-Calvinist. But, it's time to put this matter to rest.

Bruce Oyen said...

More about hyper-Calvinism, though not with regard to Spurgeon or Gill. As we know, definitions of terms are very important. In Tom Nettles' book,"By His Grace And For His Glory," Nettles discussed the definition of hyper-Calvinism. It is found in chapter 16, called, "World Missions And Bold Evangelism."
After considerable discussion of the subject, Nettles said, "On this basis, duty-faith and duty-repentance are denied. This is the essence of hyper-Calvinism." (page 391)
Do you accept that as a good statement concerning hyper-Calvinism?

Bruce Oyen said...

Hi, Stephen. Perhpas your readers would profit from reading what the Coryphaeus of Arminianism, that is, James Arminius, said about faith as a gift of God.This quote is taken from www.GodRules.net, which has the works of James Arminius online. It is taken from The Apology Or Defense of Arminius. The first paragraph contains what some falsely said of Arminius on this subject. Here it is:

ARTICLE XXVII (VII.)

Faith is not the pure gift of God, but depends partly on the grace of God, and partly on the powers of Free Will; that, if a man will, he may believe or not believe.

I never said this, I never thought of saying it, and, relying on God's grace, I never will enunciate my sentiments on matters of this description in a manner thus desperate and confused. I simply affirm, that this enunciation is false, "faith is not the pure gift of God;" that this is likewise false, if taken according to the rigor of the words, "faith depends partly on the grace of God, and partly on the powers of free will" and that this is also false when thus enunciated, "If a man will, he can believe or not believe." If they suppose, that I hold some opinions from which these assertions may by good consequence be deduced, why do they not quote my words? It is a species of injustice to attach to any person those consequences, which one may frame out of his words as if they were his sentiments. But the injustice is still more flagrant, if these conclusions cannot by good consequence be deduced from what he has said. Let my brethren, therefore, make the experiment, whether they can deduce such consectaries as these, from the things which I teach; but let the experiment be made in my company, and not by themselves in their own circle. For that sport will be vain, equally void of profit or of victory; as boys sometimes feel, when they play alone with dice for what already belongs to them.

For the proper explanation of this matter, a discussion on the concurrence and agreement of Divine grace and of free will, or of the human will, would be required; but because this would be a labour much too prolix, I shall not now make the attempt. To explain the matter I will employ a simile, which yet, I confess, is very dissimilar; but its dissimilitude is greatly in favour of my sentiments. A rich man bestows, on a poor and famishing beggar, alms by which he may be able to maintain himself and his family. Does it cease to be a pure gift, because the beggar extends his hand to receive it? Can it be said with propriety, that "the alms depended partly on the liberality of the Donor, and partly on the liberty of the Receiver," though the latter would not have possessed the alms unless he had received it by stretching out his hand? Can it be correctly said, because the beggar is always prepared to receive, that "he can have the alms, or not have it, just as he pleases?" If these assertions cannot be truly made about a beggar who receives alms, how much less can they be made about the gift of faith, for the receiving of which far more acts of Divine grace are required! This is the question which it will be requisite to discuss, "what acts of Divine grace are required to produce faith in man?" If I omit any act which is necessary, or which concurs, [in the production of faith,] let it be demonstrated from the Scriptures, and I will add it to the rest.

It is not our wish to do the least injury to Divine grace, by taking from it any thing that belongs to it. But let my brethren take care, that they themselves neither inflict an injury on Divine justice, by attributing that to it which it refuses; nor on Divine grace, by transforming it into something else, which cannot be called GRACE. That I may in one word intimate what they must prove, such a transformation they effect when they represent "the sufficient and efficacious grace, which is necessary to salvation, to be irresistible," or as acting with such potency that it cannot be resisted by any free creature.

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