We could multiply this painful evidence, but there is no need, since the charge is not denied. It is ridiculed; it is treated as a matter of no consequence, but it is not seriously met. Is this what we have come to? Is there no doctrine left which is to be maintained? Is there no revelation? Or is that revelation a nose of wax to be shaped by the finger of fashion? Are the sceptics so much to the fore that no man will open his mouth against them? Are all the orthodox afraid of the ridicule of the “cultured”? We cannot believe it. The private knowledge which we possess will not allow of so unhappy a conclusion; yet Christian people are now so tame that they shrink from expressing themselves. The house is being robbed, its very walls are being digged down, but the good people who are in bed are too fond of the warmth, and too much afraid of getting broken heads, to go downstairs and meet the burglars; they are even half vexed that a certain noisy fellow will spring his rattle, or cry, “Thieves!”
That the evil leaven is working in the churches as well as among the ministers, is also sadly certain. A heterodox party exists in many congregations, and those who compose it are causing trouble to the faithful, and sadly influencing the more timid towards a vacillating policy. An earnest preacher, who is only one of a class, says: “The old truths are unpopular here. I am told that I have preached the doctrines of grace to my cost—that is, in a pecuniary aspect; and I know that it is so. I cannot find anything to rest upon in the modern theories, but this places me in antagonism to the supporters of the chapel. They find fault, not with the style of my preaching, but with the subjects of it.” In another place the witness is—” Our minister is an able and gracious man, but there are those in the church who are determined that no one shall remain here unless he is in favor of advanced opinions.” Yes, the divergence is every day becoming more manifest. A chasm is opening between the men who believe their Bibles and the men who are prepared for an advance upon Scripture. Inspiration and speculation cannot long abide in peace. Compromise there can be none. We cannot hold the inspiration of the Word, and yet reject it; we cannot believe in the atonement and deny it; we cannot hold the doctrine of the fall and yet talk of the evolution of spiritual life from human nature; we cannot recognize the punishment of the impenitent and yet indulge the “larger hope.” One way or the other we must go. Decision is the virtue of the hour.
Neither when we have chosen our way can we keep company with those who go the other way. There must come with decision for truth a corresponding protest against error. Let those who will keep the narrow way keep it, and suffer for their choice; but to hope to follow the broad road at the same time is an absurdity. What communion hath Christ with Belial?
Charles Spurgeon “Our Reply to Sundry Critics and Enquirers” September 1887, Sword and Trowel
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