LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, May 11, 2007

Spurgeon on Eschatogy - filler until Dave resumes his series on Marriage

Introduction

In the discussion of the various aspects of systematic theology, perhaps none has seen more ink spilt in the last 100 years than eschatology. Those who have "specialized" in this field are well-known and equally well- published; however, when the discussion of eschatology comes up, the name of one of the most published Christians in the history of the church1, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), is seldom mentioned. There are, of course, many reasons for this, not the least of which was Spurgeon's own lack of emphasis on the subject in his own ministry, as was common in his day.Given Spurgeon's notoriety and the volume of his writings, it is perhaps no wonder that almost every advocate of an eschatological viewpoint has attempted to bolster their position by appealing to Spurgeon as "being in their camp."

A brief sampling of conclusions will serve to illustrate this point. Lewis A. Drummond states in his excellent biography, "Spurgeon confessed to be a pre- millennialist."2 Peter Masters, currently pastor of Spurgeon's church, The Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, stated, "If Spurgeon had lived in this century it is unlikely that he would have used the term 'millennium' to describe the first phase of the eternal glory. Certainly he would have stood much closer to amillennialism than to either of the other scenarios recognized today,"3 Erroll Hulse in his book, The Restoration of Israel, firmly declared Spurgeon to be postmillennial.4 So widespread is the effort to attach Spurgeon's name to particular prophetic systems that even the newest tribulational/rapture formulation within the dispensational camp, known as "The Pre- Wrath Rapture," calls on him for support. Robert Van Kampen states in his work The Sign, "Charles Haddon Spurgeon was not known to be one who wrote extensively on the end times. But what he did say perfectly parallels the sequence of events presented in this book."

5Obviously Spurgeon could not have held all of these positions. But, which position, if any, did he believe? Can it be determined? And why is there this degree of confusion on the subject? These are the questions that this thesis will attempt to answer. The issue is an important one, as Spurgeon continues to be one of the most popular Christian authors in print, even a century after his death. Men of different positions, whether honestly or otherwise, seek to marshal support for their own prophetic interpretations by appealing to Spurgeon for support. This is a practice that he would have certainly denounced. Commenting on the issue of "Spurgeonism," a phenomena of his own day, he stated:

Read more here...
http://www.spurgeon.org/eschat.htm

11 Comments:

Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Mark!

I had my next post up on my screen this morning when your Spurgeon post came up! Maybe I'll post it this evening?

I have always found it interesting that Spurgeon refrained from talking more about the dramatic aspects of eschatology. I disagree with Swanson's statement that such restraint was the common practice among pastors of Spurgeon's day. My reading indicates otherwise. There were many who loved to speak on the imminent return of Christ, a practice that continued well into my own church experience.

I think Spurgeon intentionally avoided getting caught up in the eschatology debates because he didn't see them as the "main thing." Spurgeon's main thing was always preaching the gospel and calling people to faith. He believed in the power of the gospel in its simplicity and preached it that way.

In my Spurgeon reading I have frequently thought I had him pegged eschatologically, first as a post-mil and then as an a-mil and then ??????

May 11, 2007 8:19 AM

 
Blogger Bluecollar said...

"I think Spurgeon intentionally avoided getting caught up in the eschatology debates because he didn't see them as the "main thing." Spurgeon's main thing was always preaching the gospel and calling people to faith. He believed in the power of the gospel in its simplicity and preached it that way."

Amen! None of that speculative nonsense for him. Good for him! I appreciated that about Spurgeon.

Right around my area (the Niagara Frontier) A.T.Pierson and Scofield used to have prophecy conferences in the later 1800's. Yeah, that garbage was pretty popular then, and still is due to the Calvary Chapel penchant for Bible prophecy. Sickening.

Yes, this evening would be great for you to continue.

May 11, 2007 8:42 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Mark,
The first church I attended after I fell flat on my face before the Lord was Calvary Chapel.
There's some good teaching there, and it was certainly a good church for me to learn and grow as an adult babe in Christ.
Looking back, however, I can see what you're talking about with respect to the eschatology. We had some speakers there who, although very learned men, gave amazing presentations about end times as they corelate to world events today, and now I have to wonder - is that really proper teaching of Scripture?
Amill is a better fit for me truthfully as I read Jesus' own words. Preterism (partial or otherwise) as well. Still reading up on all this though.
Prayer request: Remember us here in Florida. I can't see down my driveway this morning due to smoke. Fires are not an immediate threat to my home, but lights are necessary during the day in our area for driving and even in the home. It's been this way off and on throughout the week, depending on the wind (or lack of). We can't go outside at this time. Pray for relief, if you will, and for the firefighters - God bless them. Thank you.

May 11, 2007 10:56 AM

 
Blogger Bluecollar said...

Susan, I shall pray. I'm thankful you're not in danger.

Chuck Smith was a major force in my early Chrisianity. I attended a Calvary Chapel in my area for about, on and off, 15 years. I still have friends there. I just could not handle the yearly "Prophecy Updates". They have been doing those around here, in one form or another, since the late '70's.

Praying for ya, sis

May 11, 2007 11:23 AM

 
Blogger Bluecollar said...

My question is, if one evangelical pastor on a Sunday chooses as his subject of discource the pre-Trib rapture and another expounds on post trib - which of these 2 have just wasted the congregation's time, time that could have been spent looking at the Son Himself?

May 11, 2007 11:32 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Mark,
I remember seeing a guy named Chuck Missler talk about end times at Calvary Chapel. He's a brilliant man, but most focussed on world events, history, and reading Scripture into these things, I believe. Fascinating to listen to, but like you said, I wonder if the time wouldn't have been better spent expounding on Scripture and Christ.
I have several books by the Misslers (their ministry - koinonia house - supported in part by Calvary Chapel) and agree with their teaching in part, but not all of it. I suppose that's true of just everyone on my shelf though.
Like you said, we must set our sights and minds on things above, where Christ is seated, at the right hand of God - not on things on earth.

May 11, 2007 12:56 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

You guys make some of the most interesting comments! Susan, I have to agree with you. In my opinion the most natural reading of Jesus' teaching leads me to a spiritual kingdom on earth that he initiated during his first advent and of which we who trust Christ are all citizens.

I also agree that it is a very dangerous practice to try to read scripture into current events. I doubt that any of you are old enough to remember when all the talk went around about Henry Kissinger's name adding up to 666! Oops!

May 11, 2007 2:42 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Any of us old enough?
I'm 46. Mark is... 50?
And I got the sense from everyone's posts about themselves that we're all late 40s to mid 50s around here? Am I right?
Of course, that said, no, I don't remember the association of Kissinger with 666, but somehow I recall hearing it about Reagan during his administration.
Clinton too, of course.
Or should I say, Clintons....

May 11, 2007 2:56 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Actually, Dave - more to your point, I find it ironic when folks accuse amillenialists of "spiritualizing" texts - when that's what I see in the NT. I see Jesus speaking on many occasions in spiritual terms.
I also hear many Christians acknowledge this - looking back and commenting how the Jews just didn't understand what Jesus was talking about - and then are guilty of doing the same thing by looking to answers here on this earth or not thinking or hoping in spiritual things (Col. 3:1-3).
I'm mostly surprised that I hadn't heard more about amillenialism or preterism before reaching the ripe ol' age of mid-40s, and I'm saddened to see the church fall prey to so much sensationalism.
Had my eyes not been opened to Reformed theology by reading Christian blogs on the Internet (and then finding books recommended by on-line bloggers), I probably would have gone along blindly without ever questioning the theology preached in the churches I attended.
Of course, I believe truly that God opened my eyes to Reformed thinking, so had I not read it on-line, He would have shown me some other way.

May 11, 2007 3:47 PM

 
Blogger Mort said...

Spurgeon was Historicist, and he was premillennial. The details are in Iain Murray's book "The Forgotten Spurgeon." As a Historicist he had no time for Dispensationalism (the system followed by Calvary Chapel, Chuck Missler, Tim Lahaye, etc.), which is the largest branch of the Futurist school.

May 13, 2007 12:46 AM

 
Blogger Bluecollar said...

"he had no time for Dispensationalism"

A man after my own heart, he was. Yes, I've just finished "The Forgotten Spurgeon". Great book! I shall have to read it again soon.

Mort, thanks for stopping by. Please come again.

Dave, the year was 1975, the early Spring. I was just leaving a Christian book store, while on the car radio, the old CBN Northeast Radio network, I first heard of Henry Kissinger's name adding up to 666. How's that for being around?

You and me's gonna be old men together. Looking forward to sitting along side you in a rocking chair!

May 13, 2007 10:18 AM

 

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