January 29, 2012

Charles H. Spurgeon vs. the Gospel, pt. 3

Posted in Charles H. Spurgeon tagged , , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Two weeks ago, I looked at how Charles H. Spurgeon spoke peace to Arminians, based on the standard of “personal godliness” rather than on the standard of the Gospel. This clearly showed that Spurgeon was unregenerate, an enemy of the true God, the true Christ, and the true Gospel. Last week I looked at Charles H. Spurgeon’s unbiblical doctrine of ‘passive reprobation’.

Today’s post comes from two sermons by Marc D. Carpenter, the first on Romans 9:14, the second on Romans 9:22. Let’s briefly look at those verses:

Rom 9: (14) What then shall we say? Is there not unrighteousness with God? Let it not be!

Rom 9: (22) But if God, desiring to show forth wrath, and to make His power known, endured in much long-suffering vessels of wrath having been fitted out for destruction,

Both of these verses are answers to people who objected to Paul’s doctrine. In the following quotes Carpenter shows how Spurgeon puts himself in the place of the objector, and, by putting forth a bizarre theory of God’s diminished sovereignty, renders Paul’s answers to the objector meaningless.

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I spent the last three sermons on verses 9 through 13. Now let’s look at verse 14:

Romans 9: (14) What then shall we say? [Is there] not unrighteousness with God? Let it not be!

Paul uses the question, “What then shall we say?” to introduce an objection. The word “then” is a connector word that shows that the upcoming objection is tied to what was just said. And what was just said? Well, we went over it last time, didn’t we? It was just said that before Jacob and Esau had done any good or evil, God loved Jacob and hated Esau. In light of this, what then would be the objection? What would people not like about this?

Think about it: Before Jacob had done anything good, God loved Jacob. And before Esau had done anything bad, God hated Esau. What would be the objection that some people would make when they hear this truth? It’s that God is being UNFAIR or UNJUST. People who want a god who is like them, who is in their own image, want a god who will love and hate people based on what these people DO. They want their god to love Mother Theresa because of all the good things she did for the poor, and they want their god to hate Adolph Hitler because of all the bad things he did to the Jews. They don’t want their god to love or hate anyone until those people did something good or something bad, or at least until their god looked down through time and saw that those people did something good or something bad. To just arbitrarily love one person and hate another person not based on anything good or bad these people did is, to them, unfair and unjust. This is the “unrighteousness” that God is being accused of in the objection. The Greek word for “unrighteousness” is ah-dee-KEE-ah, which is made up of the prefix “ah,” which is a negation, and DEE-kay, which means “justice.” Ah-dee-KEE-ah means “injustice.” So the question, “Is there not unrighteousness with God?” means, “Is God unjust?” Is God unjust for loving and hating people not based on anything they do? …

Suppose Romans 9:9-13 means this: God loved Jacob because of His sovereign grace, not because of anything in Jacob. Because God is infinitely gracious and sovereign in His dispensation of this grace, He chose Jacob as the object of His love. It was simply on the footing of His free grace that He chose Jacob. God hated Esau for the same reason He hates any man — because Esau deserved it. God does not arbitrarily create any man, including Esau, for the purpose of damning him. God has nothing to do with a person’s condemnation, except as the judge condemns the criminal. If you look at Esau’s character, he deserved that God should cast him away. Esau did not lose his birthright by decree, and God did not influence Esau to sell his birthright. Jacob got it by decree, but Esau lost it of his own free will. No man is saved by his own free-will, but every man who goes to hell is damned by his free will. No one constrains him.

Now in light of this, think of the objection in verse 14: “What then shall we say? [Is there] not unrighteousness with God?” If verses 9 through 13 meant that God loved Jacob because of His sovereign grace but hated Esau because Esau was wicked and deserved to be damned because of what he did of his own free will, then would there be an objection that God is being unfair or unjust or unrighteous? ABSOLUTELY NOT! In their minds, God loved Jacob because He is a God of grace and wanted to show grace to Jacob, and God hated Esau because Esau deserved to be hated. God didn’t hate Esau unconditionally from before the foundation of the world and did not cause or even influence Esau to sin; instead, God’s hatred of Esau was because Esau was a sinner. Where’s the objection that God is unfair? What, that He chose to have grace on Jacob and not on Esau? But why did He choose not to have grace on Esau? Because Esau deserved not to have grace shown to him! So everything is nice and fair, and we can’t charge God with arbitrarily choosing to hate and damn people before they’re born, and we can’t charge God with causing or influencing people to sin. In this scheme, there is NO OBJECTION that God is being unfair or unjust. This scheme would render the objection in verse 14 totally meaningless. And since we know that none of God’s Word is meaningless, we know that this is NOT what God is saying in verses 9 through 13. I’m sure by now, if you remember the last sermon, you would know who puts forth this heretical scheme. Yes, it’s the arch-heretic, Charles Spurgeon, the fashionable Calvinist, the prince of the preachers for the prince of darkness. But it’s important to remember that it’s not only him. Why am I using Charles Spurgeon? Am I just picking on Mr. Spurgeon? The reason I’m doing this is because this is what almost everyone who calls himself a “Calvinist” or “Reformed” or “Sovereign-gracer” believes. Spurgeon is a representation of them. This is NOT just a fringe part of Calvinism. This is MAINSTREAM Calvinism.

And you know what? It is the mainstream Calvinists, along with their prince, Charles Spurgeon, who would ACTUALLY BE THE OBJECTORS in verse 14! Did you realize that? Paul puts forth the objection that the heretics would bring – and Spurgeon with his minions of Calvinists who were before and after him, along with the Arminians and the open-theists and even the agnostics and atheists, are heading the charge against the true and living God. Listen to Spurgeon again, and see how he shows himself to be the heretical objector of verse 14: “Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this, because that man deserves it; no reply but that can ever be true. There are some who answer, divine sovereignty; but I challenge them to look that doctrine in the face. Do you believe that God created man and arbitrarily, sovereignly–it is the same thing–created that man, with no other intention, than that of damning him? Made him, and yet, for no other reason than that of destroying him for ever? Well, if you can believe it, I pity you, that is all I can say: you deserve pity, that you should think so meanly of God, whose mercy endureth for ever. You are quite right when you say the reason why God loves a man, is because God does do so; there is no reason in the man. But do not give the same answer as to why God hates a man. … Justice is that which damns a man; it is mercy, it is free grace, that saves; sovereignty holds the scale of love; it is justice holds the other scale. Who can put that into the hand of sovereignty? That were to libel God and to dishonour him.”

There you go. If you say that God hated Esau, unconditionally reprobated Esau before Esau had done anything bad, then this would be to think meanly of God, to libel God, and to dishonor God. Why? Because it would make God to be UNFAIR, UNJUST, UNRIGHTEOUS. Spurgeon and his ilk would say to us, “If you’re right, then there is unrighteousness with God!” And that’s exactly what the objectors were saying to Paul. They were saying, “Paul, if this is true that God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they had been born, not yet having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of the One calling, then God is unrighteous! Your God is unjust, because you put a man’s damnation into the hand of God’s sovereignty! As Spurgeon said, God’s sovereignty is just on the side of love; His sovereignty is not on the side of hatred. So Spurgeon’s god is sovereign in His love but not in His hatred. A partially sovereign god is not sovereign at all. Either you have God who sovereignly loves and hates, or you do not have God. The objectors do not have God. They say that a God who sovereignly loves and hates is unjust and unrighteous. They say that to say that God sovereignly loves and hates is to think meanly of God and to libel and dishonor Him. On the contrary, we who believe in the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, which necessarily includes the absolute sovereignty of God, are the only ones who think highly of God and honor and worship Him. (Marc D. Carpenter, Sermon on Romans 9:14)

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But let’s focus on the main heresy in this quote. Spurgeon’s words fly directly in the face of our passage in Romans 9. Of course Spurgeon says some correct things, like fallen man deserves to be damned. Another thing I thought about was Spurgeon’s quote against those who say that God created the reprobate with no other intention than that of damning him. That’s just a straw man. We don’t say that God created the reprobate for the sole purpose of damning him. As we have seen in this sermon, God creates the reprobate to show His wrath and power. And as we will see in the next sermon, the Lord willing, God creates the reprobate for the good of the elect. So it’s TRUE that God did not create the reprobate JUST to damn him. There’s much more to it than just damnation. But Spurgeon and all who agree with him twist this passage in Romans 9 so much that they make THEMSELVES the objectors! They insert the EXACT OPPOSITE meaning into the passage! This passage is talking about God’s absolute, divine sovereignty in both election and reprobation; yet when it comes to the reprobation side of things, Spurgeon and company say that God cannot find fault with someone whom He caused to sin, that the thing formed can say to the one forming it, “Why did you make me like this?” if unconditional reprobation were true — that the potter does not have authority to unconditionally make a vessel to dishonor, and that the vessels of wrath fit themselves out for destruction. Spurgeon and most Calvinists CANNOT STAND the truth that is put forth in this passage. Spurgeon said that his soul revolts at this idea that Paul is putting forward. He thought that Paul libeled and dishonored God, thought meanly of God, and blasphemed God. Of course, he wouldn’t have said this about Paul; instead, he not only twisted Paul to say something that Paul didn’t say, but he turned what Paul said right on its head and said that Paul was saying the EXACT OPPOSITE of what Paul really said about the sovereignty of God in reprobation! How anyone could not see right through this is beyond me. I guess that’s a witness to the power of spiritual blindness. People can look right at a clear passage such as this and yet can make it say the OPPOSITE of what it clearly says, all to fit with their wicked notions of their god. They are truly making a god in their own image. They’re counting the potter as the clay, Isaiah 29 says. So we can say to Spurgeon and all who agree with him: WHO ARE YOU, O MAN, ANSWERING AGAINST GOD? Who do you think you are, Charles Spurgeon, to tell God that He would be unjust to unconditionally harden the reprobate for destruction? Who do you think you are, all you Calvinists and Arminians all over the world, to shake your fist at God and tell Him that He cannot do whatever He wants with His creation? YOU are the blasphemers. YOU are the ones who libel and dishonor God. YOU are the God-haters. (Marc D. Carpenter, Sermon on Romans 9:22)

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For more quotes from Charles H. Spurgeon (and many others) please see:

The Heterodoxy Hall of Shame

Charles H. Spurgeon vs. the Gospel, pt. 1

Common Grace?

Gospel Atonement

January 22, 2012

Charles H. Spurgeon vs. the Gospel, pt. 2

Posted in Charles H. Spurgeon tagged , , , , , , , at 4:00 AM by chriswadams

Last week, I looked at how Charles H. Spurgeon spoke peace to Arminians, based on the standard of “personal godliness” rather than on the standard of the Gospel. This clearly shows that Spurgeon was unregenerate, an enemy of the true God, the true Christ, and the true Gospel.

This week, let’s look at Spurgeon’s denial of God’s active role in the damnation of his enemies. This quote comes from an article by Marc D. Carpenter, entitled “Unconditional Reprobation and Active Hardening: A Study on Romans 9:11-22”.

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It is a given that Arminians hate the doctrine of unconditional reprobation. But it might surprise the reader that most Calvinists hate this doctrine as well. They will claim to love unconditional election, yet when it comes to reprobation, they turn into conditionalists. They say that God reprobates a person based on something in the person. They say that God reprobated Esau based on something in Esau. And who better to represent and articulate this heretical notion than the most popular Calvinist himself, Charles H. Spurgeon? The following are quotes from Spurgeon’s sermon entitled “Jacob and Esau“:

“But now the second point of my subject is, WHY IS THIS? Why did God love Jacob? why did he hate Esau? Now, I am not going to undertake too much at once. You say to me, ‘Why did God love Jacob? and why did he hate Esau?’ We will take one question at a time; for the reason why some people get into a muddle in theology is, because they try to give an answer to two questions. Now, I shall not do that; I will tell you one thing at a time. I will tell you why God loved Jacob; and, then, I will tell you why he hated Esau. But I cannot give you the same reason for two contradictory things. That is wherein a great many have failed. They have sat down and seen these facts, that God loved Jacob and hated Esau, that God has an elect people, and that there are others who are not elect. If, then, they try to give the same reason for election and non-election, they make sad work of it. If they will pause and take one thing at a time, and look to God’s Word, they will not go wrong. “The first question is, why did God love Jacob? I am not at all puzzled to answer this, because when I turn to the Word of God, I read this text;–‘Not for your sakes, do I this saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways O house of Israel.’ I am not at a loss to tell you that it could not be for any good thing in Jacob, that God loved him, because I am told that ‘the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth.’ I can tell you the reason why God loved Jacob; It is sovereign grace.

“Now, the next question is a different one: Why did God hate Esau? I am not going to mix this question up with the other, they are entirely distinct, and I intend to keep them so, one answer will not do for two questions, they must be taken separately, and then can be answered satisfactorily. Why does God hate any man? I defy anyone to give any answer but this, because that man deserves it; no reply but that can ever be true. There are some who answer, divine sovereignty; but I challenge them to look that doctrine in the face. Do you believe that God created man and arbitrarily, sovereignly–it is the same thing–created that man, with no other intention, than that of damning him? Made him, and yet, for no other reason than that of destroying him for ever? Well, if you can believe it, I pity you, that is all I can say: you deserve pity, that you should think so meanly of God, whose mercy endureth for ever. You are quite right when you say the reason why God loves a man, is because God does do so; there is no reason in the man. But do not give the same answer as to why God hates a man. If God deals with any man severely, it is because that man deserves all he gets. In hell there will not be a solitary soul that will say to God, O Lord, thou hast treated me worse than I deserve! But every lost spirit will be made to feel that he has got his deserts, that his destruction lies at his own door and not at the door of God; that God had nothing to do with his condemnation, except as the Judge condemns the criminal, but that he himself brought damnation upon his own head, as the result of his own evil works. Justice is that which damns a man; it is mercy, it is free grace, that saves; sovereignty holds the scale of love; it is justice holds the other scale. Who can put that into the hand of sovereignty? That were to libel God and to dishonour him;

“Now, let us look at Esau’s character, says one, ‘did he deserve that God should cast him away?’ I answer, he did. What we know of Esau’s character, clearly proves it. Esau lost his birthright. Do not sit down and weep about that, and blame God. Esau sold it himself; he sold it for a mess of pottage. Oh, Esau, it is in vain for thee to say, ‘I lost my birthright by decree.’ No, no. Jacob got it by decree, but you lost it because you sold it yourself–didn’t you? Was it not your own bargain? Did you not take the mess of red pottage of your own voluntary will, in lieu of the birthright? Your destruction lies at your own door, because you sold your own soul at your own bargain, and you did it yourself. Did God influence Esau to do that? God forbid, God is not the author of sin. Esau voluntarily gave up his own birthright. And the doctrine is, that every man who loses heaven gives it up himself. Every man who loses everlasting life rejects it himself. God denies it not to him–he will not come that he may have life. Why is it that a man remains ungodly and does not fear God? It is because he says, ‘I like this drink, I like this pleasure, I like this sabbath-breaking, better than I do the things of God.’ No man is saved by his own free-will, but every man is damned by it that is damned. He does it of his own will; no one constrains him.”

According to Spurgeon, Esau was damned based on his own character, deserving that God should cast him away because of what he did during his life of his own free will. The astute reader would ask how Spurgeon reconciled this view with verse 11. Spurgeon used verse 11 to show that Jacob was loved before he had done anything good or evil, but he conveniently failed to mention verse 11 when speaking of Esau. Verse 11 is talking about both children. Before Jacob or Esau had done anything good or evil, God loved Jacob and hated Esau. Spurgeon said that God loved Jacob not based on anything good in Jacob, using verse 11 to do so. He then said that God hated Esau based on the evil that Esau had done during his life. What a fool he was. And what a fool any other Calvinist is who swallows this nonsense. How plain can it be? Before the children had done anything good or evil, God loved Jacob and hated Esau. The truth is simpler than the heresy! People like Spurgeon have to go through theological contortions to wriggle out of what the Bible plainly says. And if Spurgeon and his ilk were correct in their interpretation, there would not even be a need for a verse 14 answering the objection that there is unrighteousness with God:

“What then shall we say? [Is there] not unrighteousness with God? Let it not be!” (Romans 9:14).

What would be the most common objection to the truth that before Jacob had done anything good, God loved Jacob, and before Esau had done anything bad, God hated Esau? It would be that God is being unfair or unjust. People who want a god who is like them, who is in their own image, want a god who will love and hate people based on what these people do. They do not want their god to love or hate anyone until those people did something good or something bad, or at least until their god looked down through time and saw that those people did something good or something bad. To just “arbitrarily” love one person and hate another person not based on anything good or bad these people did is, to them, unfair and unjust.

Suppose Paul had said in verses 11-13 that God loved Jacob because He knew that Jacob would believe in Him and would be a good person who did good things, and God hated Esau because He knew Esau would not believe in Him and would be a bad person who would do bad things. Would there be an objection that God was not being fair or just? Of course not. In this scheme, God loved Jacob because Jacob deserved to be loved, and God hated Esau because Esau deserved to be hated. The objection would be totally meaningless. Thus, it is certain that this is not what Paul was saying in verses 11-13.

Now suppose Paul had said the following in verses 11-13: God loved Jacob because of His sovereign grace, not because of anything in Jacob, and God hated Esau for the same reason He hates any man – because Esau deserved it. God did not hate Esau unconditionally from before the foundation of the world and did not cause or even influence Esau to sin; instead, God’s hatred of Esau was because Esau was a sinner. Would there be an objection that God was not being fair or just? Absolutely not. The objection would be totally meaningless. Thus, it is certain that this is not what Paul was saying in verses 11-13. Yet most Calvinists would espouse such a view.

Not only would most Calvinists espouse such a view, but they would actually be the objectors in verse 14! Paul puts forth the objection that the heretics would bring, and Spurgeon, with like-minded Calvinists who were before and after him, along with the Arminians and the open-theists and even the agnostics and atheists, are heading the charge against the true and living God. According to Spurgeon and his ilk, if one says that God hated Esau – unconditionally reprobated Esau before Esau had done anything bad – then this would be to think meanly of God, to libel God, and to dishonor God. Why? Because it would make God to be unfair, unjust, and unrighteous, which is exactly the objection that Paul addressed. The objectors say, “Paul, if this is true that God loved Jacob and hated Esau before they had been born, not yet having done any good or evil, then God is unrighteous! Your God is unjust, because you put a man’s damnation into the hand of God’s sovereignty!” As Spurgeon said, “God’s sovereignty is just on the side of love; His sovereignty is not on the side of hatred.” The truth is that a partially sovereign god is not sovereign at all. Either one has God who sovereignly loves and hates, or one does not have God. The objectors do not have God. They say that to believe that God sovereignly loves and hates is to think meanly of God and to libel and dishonor Him. They say that Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, libels and dishonors God. This is damnable blasphemy.

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For more information about the doctrine of Unconditional Reprobation, please see:

The Christian Confession of Faith

Marc D. Carpenter’s Sermon on Romans 9:14 

Marc D. Carpenter’s Sermon on Romans 9:22

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