Obstructing the Gospel: Some Observations on Arminianism
The following is excerpted from Chapter 3 of Iain Murray’s book The Forgotten Spurgeon, which is entitled ‘Arminianism Against Scripture.’
‘I believe that very much of current Arminianism is simply ignorance of gospel doctrine.’
— C. H. S., Sermons, 11, 29
When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul – when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man – that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God.
— C. H. S., The Early Years, p. 164.
It was obvious to Spurgeon, not only by Scripture but by his own experience, that a man – or child – may become a believer with very little knowledge besides the fact that the Son of God has borne his sins in his own body on the tree. What brought him to faith or what brought Christ to Calvary he may not then know – ‘We did not know whether God had converted us, or we had converted ourselves.’1Sermons 7, 85. He gives us his own testimony on this point: ‘I remember, when I was converted to God, I was an Arminian thoroughly . . . I used sometimes to sit down and think, “Well, I sought the Lord four years before I found him”’2Sermons, Volume 4, page 339. Again in another sermon, preached twenty-eight years after the one last quoted, he says:
I have known some that, at first conversion, have not been very clear in the gospel, who have been made evangelical by their discoveries of their own need of mercy. They could not spell the word ‘grace’. They began with a G, but they very soon went on with an F, till it spelt very like ‘freewill’ before they had done with it. But after they have learned their weakness, after they have fallen into serious fault, and God has restored them, or after they have passed through deep depression of mind, they have sung a new song. In the school of repentance they have learned to spell. They began to write the word ‘free’, but they went on from ‘free’, not to ‘will’ but to ‘grace’, and there it stood in capitals, ‘FREE GRACE’ . . . They became clearer in their divinity, and truer in their faith than ever they were before.3Sermons, Volume 35, page 226. In my documentation of Spurgeon’s views on the doctrines of grace it will be seen that I am not confining myself to his early sermons.
Recognizing then that wrong doctrine does not necessarily mean false experience, or the unchristianizing of true believers, we return to the question, Why did Spurgeon oppose Arminianism so resolutely? If men can be brought to Christ under preaching which is not distinctly Calvinistic, and if they may be believers without apprehending clearly these doctrines, is this a subject which should ever disturb the peace of the church? Is modern evangelicalism right after all in relegating the whole matter to limbo, and in regarding Arminianism as a kind of theological ghost, which may once have lived and may still drift about on occasions, but which no sensible Christian should waste time contending about? Or, to use the popular distinction, are we not in danger of confusing essentials with non-essentials if we give prominence to these issues? Let us then hear Spurgeon’s justification of his position. Firstly, Spurgeon held that Arminianism does not merely affect a few doctrines which can be separated from the gospel, rather it involves the whole unity of biblical revelation and it affects our view of the whole plan of redemption at almost every point. He regarded ignorance of the full content of the gospel as a major cause of Arminianism, and the errors of that system then prevent men from grasping the whole divine unity of Scriptural truths and from perceiving them in their true relationships and in their right order. Arminianism truncates Scripture and it militates against that wholeness of view which is necessary for the glory of God, the exaltation of Christ and the stability of the believer. Anything which thus inclines Christians to rest short of this fulness of vision is therefore a serious matter which needs to be opposed: ‘I would have you study much the Word of God till you get a clear view of the whole scheme, from election onward to final perseverance, and from final perseverance to the second advent, the resurrection, and the glories which shall follow, world without end.’4Sermons 11, 29. Spurgeon never tired of introducing into
his sermons summaries of the breadth and vastness of God’s plan of salvation and yet the glorious unity of all its parts. The following is a typical example from a sermon on Galatians 1:15, entitled ‘It Pleased God.’
‘You will perceive, I think, in these words, that the divine plan of salvation is very clearly laid down. It begins, you see, in the will and pleasure of God: ‘When it pleased God’. The foundation of salvation is not laid in the will of man. It does not begin with man’s obedience, and then proceed onward to the purpose of God; but here is its commencement, here the fountain-head from which the living waters flow: ‘It pleased God’. Next to the sovereign will and good pleasure of God comes the act of separation, commonly known by the name of election. This act is said, in the text, to take place even in the mother’s womb, by which we are taught that it took place before our birth when as yet we could have done nothing whatever to win it or to merit it. God separated us from the earliest part and time of our being; and indeed, long before that, when as yet the mountains and hills were not piled, and the oceans were not formed by his creative power, he had, in his eternal purpose, set us apart for himself. Then, after this act of separation came the effectual calling: ‘and called me by his grace’. The calling does not cause the election; but the election, springing from the divine purpose, causes the calling. The calling comes as a consequence of the divine purpose and the divine separation, and you will note how the obedience follows the calling. So the whole process runs thus, – first the sacred, sovereign purpose of God, then the distinct and definite election or separation, then the effectual and irresistible calling, and then afterwards the obedience unto life, and the sweet fruits of the Spirit which spring therefrom. They do err, not knowing the Scriptures, who put any of these processes before the others, out of Scripture order. They who put man’s will first know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm.’5Sermons, Vol 56, page 230.
Arminianism is thus guilty of confusing doctrines and of acting as an obstruction to a clear and lucid grasp of the Scripture; because it misstates or ignores the eternal purpose of God, it dislocates the meaning of the whole plan of redemption. Indeed confusion is inevitable apart from this foundational truth: Without it there is a lack of unity of thought, and generally speaking they have no idea whatever of a system of divinity. It is almost impossible to make a man a theologian unless you begin with this. You may if you please put a young believer to college for years, but unless you shew him this ground-plan of the everlasting covenant, he will make little progress, because his studies do not cohere, he does not see how one truth fits with another, and how all truths must harmonize together. Once let him get a clear idea that salvation is by grace, let him discover the difference between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace; let him clearly understand the meaning of election, as shewing the purpose of God, and its bearing upon other doctrines which shew the accomplishment of that purpose, and from that moment he is on the high road to become an instructive believer. He will always be ready to give a reason of the hope that is in him with meekness and with fear. The proof is palpable. Take any county throughout England, you will find poor men hedging and ditching that have a better knowledge of divinity than one half of those who come from our academies and colleges, for the reason simply and entirely that these men have first learned in their youth the system of which election is a centre, and have afterwards found their own experience exactly square with it. They have built upon that good foundation a temple of holy knowledge, which has made them fathers in the Church of God. Every other scheme is as nothing to build with, they are but wood, hay, and stubble. Pile what you will upon them, and they will fall. They have no system of architecture; they belong to no order of reason or revelation. A disjointed system makes its topstone bigger than its foundation; it makes one part of the covenant to disagree with another; it makes Christ’s mystical body to be of no shape whatever; it gives Christ a bride whom he does not know and does not choose, and it puts him up in the world to be married to anyone who will have him; but he is to have no choice himself. It spoils every figure that is used with reference to Christ and his Church. The good old plan of the doctrine of grace is a system which when once received is seldom given up; when rightly learned, it moulds the thoughts of the heart, and it gives a sacred stamp to the characters of those who have once discovered its power.’6Sermons, Volume 6, page 305.
It has frequently been said that Calvinism has no evangelistic message when it comes to the preaching of the Cross – because it cannot say that Christ died for the sins of all men everywhere. But the atonement lay at the centre of all Spurgeon’s preaching and far from thinking that a universal atonement is necessary for evangelism, he held that if the Arminian position were true he would have no real redemption that he could preach, because it would throw the message of the gospel into confusion.
He believed that once preachers cease to set the Cross in the context of the plan of salvation, and once the blood that was shed is not seen to be ‘the blood of the everlasting covenant’, then it is not only the extent of the atonement that is in question but its very nature. On the other hand, if we hold, with Scripture, that Calvary is the fulfilment of that great plan of grace in which the Son of God became the Representative and Head of those who were loved by the Father before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), then at once both the nature and the extent of the atonement are settled. That his death was in its nature substitutionary (Christ bearing the penalty of the sins of others) and that it was suffered on behalf of those towards whom he stood related by an everlasting covenant, are two truths which are essentially connected.7As Hugh Martin shows in his work on The Atonement, in Its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession of Our Lord, 1887, the surest way to meet an objection against the alleged injustice of a vicarious atonement (the Innocent dying instead of the guilty) is by setting forth the truth of ‘Christ’s covenant-headship and responsibility and of the covenantoneness with Him of those whose sins He expiates by dying in their stead and room’ (p. 10). Covenant-oneness is the ground of his substitution and by this fact ‘is the vicariousness of His sacrifice not merely brought to light but vindicated. It is not merely true that He suffers for us; it is also true that we suffer in Him. And the latter of these propositions justifies the truth and righteousness of the former. He is substituted for us, because He is one with us – identified with us, and we with Him’ (p. 43). Such is the great biblical truth: Christ was by the decree and gift of the Father united to his people before his incarnation and it was because of this that he died for them. Against these persons, Scripture declares, no charge of sin can be laid, and the gift of Christ for them places beyond doubt the fact that God will also with him freely give them all things (Rom. 8:32–33). This must be so, for the atonement means not only that salvation has been provided from sin as it affects human nature (the bondage and pollution of sin) but, more wonderful, from sin as it renders us guilty and condemned in the sight of God. Christ has borne the divine condemnation, a condemnation which has no meaning unless we hold that it was the judgment due to the sins of persons,8‘Just as sin belongs to persons, so the wrath rests upon the persons who are the agents of sin.’ John Murray, monograph on The Atonement, 1962, cf. the same author on The Epistle to the Romans, vol. 1, 1960, pp. 116–21. and by his sacrifice he thus meets and removes the wrath due to his people. In his person he has fully satisfied the demands of God’s holiness and law, so that now, on the grounds of justice, the divine favour has been secured for those in whose place the Saviour suffered and died. In other words, the Cross has a Godward reference; it was a propitiatory work through which the Father is pacified and it is on this ground, namely, Christ’s obedience and blood, that all the blessings of salvation flow freely and surely to sinners. This is what is so clearly taught in Romans 3:21, 26. Writing on these verses, Robert Haldane says: ‘God is shown not only to be merciful to forgive, but He is faithful and just to forgive the sinner his sins. Justice has received full payment, and guarantees his deliverance. Even the chief of sinners are shown in the propitiatory sacrifice of their Surety, to be perfectly worthy of Divine love, because they are not only perfectly innocent, but have the righteousness of God. “He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”’9Exposition of Romans (London: Banner of Truth, 1958), p. 154. Spurgeon gloried in this truth: ‘He has punished Christ, why should he punish twice for one offence? Christ has died for all his people’s sins, and if thou art in the covenant, thou art one of Christ’s people. Damned thou canst not be. Suffer for thy sins thou canst not. Until God can be unjust, and demand two payments for one debt, he cannot destroy the soul for whom Jesus died.’10Sermons, Volume 5, page 245. Evangelical Arminianism preaches a substitutionary atonement and it also clings to a universal redemption, but becauseit knows that this universality is one that does not secure universal salvation it must necessarily weaken the reality of the substitution, and represent it as a more indefinite and impersonal thing11Thomas Goodwin in his commentary on Ephesians, chapters 1–2:11, expounding ‘the great love wherewith he loved us’, observes: ‘That God in his love pitcheth upon persons. God doth not pitch upon propositions only; as to say, I will love him who believeth, and save him, as those of the Arminian opinion hold; no, he pitcheth upon persons. And Christ died not for propositions only, but for persons . . . He loved us nakedly; he loved us, not ours. It was not for our faith, nor for anything in us; “not of works”, saith the Apostle; no, nor of faith neither. No, he pitcheth upon naked persons; he loves you, not yours. Therefore here is the reason that his love never fails, because it is pitched upon the person, simply as such . . . The covenant of grace is a covenant of persons, and God gives the person of Christ to us, and the person of the Holy Ghost to us . . .’ Works of Thomas Goodwin, 1861, vol. 2, p. 151. – a substitution which does not actually redeem but which makes the redemption of all men possible. According to Arminianism, the atonement has no special relation to any individual person and it renders the salvation of no one certain. For this same reason this teaching has also an inevitable tendency to underrate the meaning of propitiation and to obscure the fact that justification comes to sinners solely on account of Christ’s work.12As Charles Hodge says, commenting on the teaching of Romans 3:21–31, ‘The ground of justification is not our own merit, nor faith, nor evangelical obedience; not the work of Christ in us, but His work for us, that is, His obedience unto death, v. 25.’ (Romans, Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1986, p. 103) Historically, Arminianism has repeatedly jeopardized the doctrine of justification, and this was exactly the danger which Calvin and other Reformers foresaw when they declared that agreement on justification is impossible unless we understand the doctrine in the context of God’s gracious purpose to save the elect: ‘Unless these points are put beyond controversy, though we may ever and anon repeat like parrots that we are justified by faith, we shall never hold the true doctrine of justification. It is not a whit better to be secretly seduced from the alone foundation of salvation than to be openly driven from it.’ John Calvin, Tracts, vol. 3, p. 254. It is only when justification is not given its full content that Calvinism and Arminianism can be amalgamated. ‘Most certain it is,’ says Jerome Zanchius, ‘that the doctrine of gratuitous justification through Christ can only be supported on that of our gratuitous predestination in Christ, since the latter is the cause and foundation of the former.’ It is not faith which makes the atonement efficacious for us, rather the atonement has secured the justification and righteousness of sinners, and even the faith by which we apprehend these blessings is a gift of which Christ is the author and purchaser. So while Arminianism does not deny the nature of the atonement as vicarious, there is always the danger that it may do so, and this is one reason why, in more than one period of history, Arminianism has led to a Modernism which denies substitution and propitiation altogether. Once a blurred and indistinct view of the atonement is accepted in the Church it is more than likely that the next generation will come to the ultimate obscurity of a man like F. W. Robertson of Brighton, of whom it was said, ‘Robertson believed that Christ did something or other, which, somehow or other, had some connection or other with salvation.’ Those who desire to study further the relationship between the doctrines of grace and the atonement will find an extensive examination of the relevant scriptures in John Owen’s work, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ (London: Banner of Truth, 1959), and Spurgeon’s position was the same as the great Puritan’s.13For Owen’s opinion on the impossibility of a compromise with Arminianism, see his ‘Display of Arminianism’, Works of John Owen, vol. 10 (London: Banner of Truth, 1967), 5–7. Spurgeon had well studied the texts which have been claimed as teaching a universal redemption and he was not afraid to expound them. See, for example, his solemn warning concerning those who ‘destroy with their meat those for whom Christ died,’ 12, 542. Our purpose in raising this particular doctrine in the present context is only to show that Spurgeon regarded it as involving more than a dispute about the extent of redemption. Preaching on ‘Particular Redemption’ in 1858 he said: ‘The doctrine of Redemption is one of the most important doctrines of the system of faith. A mistake on this point will inevitably lead to a mistake through the entire system of our belief.’14Sermons, Volume 4, page 130.
More than twenty years later this was still his conviction: ‘The grace of God cannot be frustrated, and Jesus Christ died not in vain. These two principles I think lie at the bottom of all sound doctrine. The grace of God cannot be frustrated after all. Its eternal purpose will be fulfilled, its sacrifice and seal shall be effectual; the chosen ones of grace shall be brought to glory.’15Sermons, Volume 26, page 252. ‘The Arminian holds that Christ, when he died, did not die with an intent to save any particular person; and they teach that Christ’s death does not in itself secure, beyond doubt, the salvation of any one man living . . . they are obliged to hold that if man’s will would not give way, and voluntarily surrender to grace, then Christ’s atonement would be unavailing . . . We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved.’16Sermons, Volume 4, pages 130 and 135. For Spurgeon the error of believing that Christ died equally for all men led to a further remove from the Bible in misleading Gospel hearers on the nature of saving faith:
I have sometimes thought when I have heard addresses from some revival brethren who had kept on saying time after time, ‘Believe, believe, believe,’ that I should like to have known for myself what it was we were to believe in order to our salvation. There is, I fear a great deal of vagueness and crudeness about this matter. I have heard it often asserted that if you believe that Jesus Christ died for you, you will be saved. My dear hearer, do not be deluded by such an idea. You may believe that Jesus Christ died for you, and may believe what is not true; you may believe that which will bring you no sort of good whatever. That is not saving faith. The man who has saving faith afterwards attains to the conviction that Christ died for him, but it is not of the essence of saving faith. Do not get that into your head, or it will ruin you. Do not say, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ died for me,’ and because of that feel that you are saved. I pray you to remember that the genuine faith that saves the soul has for its main element – trust – absolute rest of the whole soul – on the Lord Jesus Christ to save me, whether he died in particular or in special to save me or not, and relying, as I am, wholly and alone on him, I am saved. Afterwards I come to perceive that I have a special interest in the Saviour’s blood; but if I think I have perceived that, before I have believed in Christ, then I have inverted the Scriptural order of things, and I have taken as a fruit of my faith that which is only to be obtained by rights, by the man who absolutely trusts in Christ, and Christ alone, to save.17Sermons, Volume 58, pages 583–4.
In more succinct language Charles Hodge has also indicated how Arminianism undermines the coherence of the whole Biblical revelation. After stating that the radical divergence between the Arminian and Augustinian systems concerns the doctrine of God’s election of some of the fallen family of men to everlasting life (with the consequent provision of his Son for their redemption and of his Spirit to secure their repentance, faith and holy living unto the end) he continues: Although this may be said to be the turning point between these great systems, which have divided the Church in all ages, yet that point of necessity involves all the other matters of difference; namely, the nature of original sin; the motive of God in providing redemption; the nature and design of the work of Christ; and the nature of divine grace, or the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus, in a great measure, the whole system of theology, and of necessity, the character of our religion, depend upon the view taken of this particular question. It is, therefore, a question of the highest practical importance, and not a matter of idle speculation.18Systematic Theology, 2, pp. 330–1. The theology which the Hodge family taught at Princeton for a century was the same as the system which Spurgeon sought to have implanted in the minds of his students at his Pastor’s College. A. A. Hodge’s Outlines of Theology (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1972) was in fact their text book for systematic theology. On a visit to England in 1877, Dr Hodge was present at the annual picnic of the College when Spurgeon said, ‘The longer I live the clearer does it appear that John Calvin’s system is the nearest to perfection.’ Pike, 6, p. 197. A second reason why Spurgeon opposed Arminianism so strongly was that he saw that the spirit of that system leads directly to legality,19‘The tendency of Arminianism is towards legality; it is nothing but legality which lays at the root of Arminianism.’ Sermons, Volume 6, page 304. for while evangelical Arminians deny salvation by works, the tendency of the errors they hold is to elevate the importance of the sinner’s activity and to direct emphasis primarily to the human will and endeavour. This is the logical outcome of a system which regards the human decision as the crucial factor in determining who is saved, and which represents faith as something which every man may call into exercise if he so chooses. A modern evangelist, for example, has written, ‘We do not know Christ through the five physical senses, but we know Him through the sixth sense that God has given to every man – which is the ability to believe.’ If God has given this ability to all men then the turning point must depend on the human response, as clearly not all are saved. This consequence is accepted by Arminianism.
In the words of a contemporary preacher of this view: ‘This love of God, that is immeasurable, unmistakable and unending, this love of God that reaches to whatever a man is, can be entirely rejected. God will not force Himself upon any man against his will . . . But if you really want it, you must believe – you must receive the love of God, you must take it.’ The emphasis is intended to be upon ‘you’, and the impression is unavoidably given that it is only our faith which can save us – as though faith were the cause of salvation. This is the very reverse of Spurgeon’s conception of the spirit of gospel preaching. ‘I could not preach like an Arminian’, he says, and in the following passage he tells us precisely why: What the Arminian wants to do is to arouse man’s activity; what we want to do is to kill it once and for all, to show him that he is lost and ruined, and that his activities are not now at all equal to the work of conversion; that he must look upward. They seek to make the man stand up; we seek to bring him down, and make him feel that there he lies in the hand of God, and that his business is to submit himself to God, and cry aloud, ‘Lord, save, or we perish.’ We hold that man is never so near grace as when he begins to feel he can do nothing at all. When he says, ‘I can pray, I can believe, I can do this, and I can do the other,’ marks of self-sufficiency and arrogance are on his brow.20Sermons, Volume 6, page 259. Arminianism, by making the love and salvation of God to turn upon the fulfilment of conditions on the part of the sinner instead of entirely upon grace, encourages an error which cannot be too strongly opposed: ‘Do you not see at once that this is legality,’ says Spurgeon, ‘– that this is hanging our salvation upon our work – that this is making our eternal life to depend on something we do? Nay, the doctrine of justification itself, as preached by an Arminian, is nothing but the doctrine of salvation by works, after all; for he always thinks faith is a work of the creature, and a condition of his acceptance. It is as false to say that man is saved by faith as a work, as that he is saved by the deeds of the Law. We are saved by faith as the gift of God, and as the first token of his eternal favour to us; but it is not faith as our work that saves, otherwise we are saved by works, and not by grace at all.’21Sermons, Volume 6, page 304. ‘Our faith does not cause Salvation, nor our hope, nor our love, nor our good works; they are things which attend it as its guard of honour. The origin of Salvation lies alone in the sovereign will of God the Father; in the infinite efficacy of the blood of Jesus – God the Son; and in the divine influence of God the Holy Spirit,’ 3, 357. ‘I only know of one answer to this question, “Why did some believe?” and the answer is this, because God willed it.’ 9, 355. ‘We did not ask him to make the covenant of grace,’ he declares in another sermon, ‘We did not ask him to elect us. We did not ask him to redeem us. These things were done before we were born. We did not ask him to call us by his grace, for alas! we did not know the value of that call, and we were dead in trespasses and sins, but he gave to us freely of his unsought, but boundless love. Prevenient grace came to us, outrunning all our desires, and all our wills, and all our prayers.’22Sermons, Volume 14, page 573. ‘Does God love me because I love him? Does God love me because my faith is strong? Why, then, he must have loved me because of something good in me, and that is not according to the gospel. The gospel represents the Lord as loving the unworthy and justifying the ungodly, and therefore I must cast out of my mind the idea that divine love depends on human conditions.’23Sermons, Volume 24, page 440. Arminianism, because it obscures the glory which belongs solely to the grace of God, comes under apostolic condemnations24See Thomas Goodwin’s profound handling of this in his exposition of Eph. 2:5. ‘Our whole salvation by grace,’ he says, ‘is the greatest thing of all others, of the greatest moment for believers to know and to be acquainted with. “By grace ye are saved,” This is the great axiom, the great principle he would beget in all their hearts. And it is to advance the design of God, the glory of his grace, so you have it, ver. 7. This is the sum and substance of the gospel, and it is the sum of the great design of God . . . Therefore you shall find, that when a man doth step out of the way and road of free grace unto anything else, he is said to turn from God. Gal. 1:6, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you” – it was because they did not hold the doctrine of free grace – “into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel”. It was God’s great design to advance grace, and therefore he calls their stepping aside from the doctrine thereof, a frustrating of the grace of God, Gal. 2:21, which men do by mingling anything with it.’ Works, vol. 2, pp. 230–1. and is therefore an error sufficiently serious for there to be no room for compromising. We may have fellowship with brethren who are under the influence of these errors but in the preaching and teaching of the church there can be no wavering or indistinctness on such an issue. On a personal level, it is the full proclamation of the doctrines of grace which gives the believer the peace so beautifully expressed in Horatius Bonar’s verses:
My love is oft-times low,
My joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same
– No change Jehovah knows.
I change, He changes not,
The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting place,
His truth, not mine, the tie.
It was this faith which supported Spurgeon in the periods of sickness and darkness through which he sometimes passed, and he was expressing the feelings of his heart when he said, ‘I can never understand what an Arminian does, when he gets into sickness, sorrow, and affiiction.’25Sermons, Volume 4, page 463. Nevertheless, C. T. Cook expunges the words in the Kelvedon Edition reprint of the sermon in which the remark occurs.26See Sermons of Comfort and Assurance, C. H. Spurgeon, 1961, p. 36. It hardly fits modern notions to regard Arminianism as undermining peace of heart, but where else can the believer rest in times of trouble except in the assurance that he is saved, kept and destined for glory solely by the eternal and unchanging grace of God!
On the same subject he gives this testimony in another place:
I would cheerfully give up many doctrines if I believed that they were only party watchwords, and were merely employed for the maintenance of a sect; but those doctrines of grace, those precious doctrines of grace, against which so many contend, I could not renounce or bate a jot of them, because they are the joy and rejoicing of my heart. When one is full of health and vigour, and has everything going well, you might, perhaps, live on the elementary truths of Christianity very comfortably; but in times of stern pressure of spirit, when the soul is much cast down, you want the marrow and the fatness. In times of inward conflict, salvation must be all of grace from first to last.27Sermons, Volume 18, page 621.
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The following is excerpted from Chapter 3 of Iain Murray’s book The Forgotten Spurgeon, which is entitled ‘Arminianism Against Scripture.’ ‘I believe that very much of current Arminianism is simply ignorance of gospel doctrine.’ — C. H. S., Sermons, 11, 29 When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, […]
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