The Highway
Posted By: Tom Spurgeon - Wed Dec 01, 2021 12:17 AM
I was sent something that I am trying to understand fully.

More recently, moving into the nineteenth century, the theonomic logic of an evangelical legend, the great Baptist preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, is abundantly clear. This great Victorian churchman known to many historians as, ‘the last of the Puritans’ wrote a political manifesto that contemporary missiologists would do well to read. Spurgeon held that the civil sphere, like every other, was to be under the absolute sovereignty of God and his law: I long for the day when the precepts of the Christian religion shall be the rule among all classes of men and all transactions. I often hear it said, ‘do not bring religion into politics.’ This is precisely where it ought to be brought and set there in the face of all men as on a candlestick. I would have the cabinet and members of Parliament do the work of the nation as before the Lord....44 It was the precepts of the law of God that was Spurgeon’s primary concern in this statement. This is evident in his published political philosophy for the Christian, (which was prompted by the Education Bill of 1870 concerning the state takeover of education) which he framed in the form of a series of penetrating questions. In the first question he asks, “are not all mankind under law to God, and where and when did the king of all the earth announce that nations were to be free from His control, and free from all recognition of His existence and authority.” 45 In his third question he asks regarding the nation state and private companies, “are not both government and the company still bound to the laws of God; as for instance, that which allots for one day in seven for rest...if it be true, that both are free from the allegiance to the law of God, where is this affirmed or implied in Scripture?” 46 In questions five and six he recognizes clearly that the rejection of Christian civil law is the de facto establishment of religious atheism that would inevitably persecute the Christian faith.47 Thus in question eleven he asks, “is it not true that Parliaments, and kings and nations, may say, ‘Let us break his bands asunder and cast his cords from us,’ such language ill becomes Christian men.” 48 Lewis Drummond correctly summarises the source of Spurgeon’s convictions: “That philosophy grew out of his basic theology, namely, that God is sovereign over all of life, and that includes politics, business, the home and every other aspect of one’s being.”

It seems like Spurgeon is supporting Theonomy.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Spurgeon - Wed Dec 01, 2021 2:41 AM
Don't care if he did entertain "Theonomy", although that one quote surely doesn't, without question, prove that he did! What does Scripture speak of clearly in regard to the future of mankind, both unbelievers and the Church? Being an unmovable Amillennialist the Spirit said that God's immutable council and providence was that everything will bring about an increase in turmoil and the persecution of the Church in particular. In fact the world will become so actively anti-God that if the times were not cut short, even the elect would be carried away (aka: apostatize), which we know will not happen. Is every soul responsible to bow before Christ and follow the law of God? absolutely. But responsibility and ability are not inextricably bound together as Theonomist and Postmillennialists believe; aka: The Golden Era where all will be proselyted and then the kingdom of God will be established on this earth before Christ returns. nope

Could it be that Spurgeon was musing how grand it would be if/when such a glory would exist on earth? Indeed it will, but on the New Earth where righteous dwells. Theonomists will grab at anything to try and make their view enticing to those who do not share it. And, as so many other errant views, one of the most used methods used is including "notables" as one of them. I mean, who would dare say that someone like Spurgeon, or Calvin, or Knox, or Edwards, etc., etc., etc. was wrong? drop For me, Theonomy doesn't fit the overall teaching of Scripture nor the prophecies of what is to come. Building an entire Christian cosmology on a false interpretation of Matt 5:17 seems rather foolish and even dangerous.

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Posted By: Tom Re: Spurgeon - Thu Dec 02, 2021 12:03 AM
Lately, I have done quite a bit of research on this particular subject. If I understand it enough I believe that all Christians are Theonomist in one sense; in that we all believe in the law of God. Yet, Theonomists such as Bahnsen went a lot further than that. I really do not understand how that kind of Theonomy works with anything but a Postmillennial Eschatology.

What I am finding is that although in Reformed Amil Baptist circles, such as Founders Ministries, they have been pumping the tires of Abraham Kuyper. Especially where government overreach is concerned.

Posted By: Tom Re: Spurgeon - Thu Dec 02, 2021 8:43 PM
I was reading through what you said here again. It makes a lot of sense; but if you have time can you expand on the following?

Building an entire Christian cosmology on a false interpretation of Matt 5:17 seems rather foolish and even dangerous.

As I look at this, perhaps I missed it; but I never noticed Theonomists using Matt. 5:17 in a way that made me take notice. Can you expand on what they believe this verse teaches and what in particular is wrong with their interpretation?

The way you put it above, seems like it could be good in getting to the bottom of the issue.

I plan on looking into that aspect a bit more. William Hendriksen's New Testament Commentary might prove helpful I think.

Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Spurgeon - Fri Dec 03, 2021 12:06 AM
Theonomists, ala: Bahnsen, insist that many of the OT civil law is still in force and binding upon not only believers but unbelievers too. Ligon Duncan discusses the erroneous hermeneutic used to justify this premise:

A fundamental hermeneutical principle, frequently repeated by Theonomists, is that if the New Testament does not explicitly abrogate a law then it is still in force. It is reminiscent of standard Reformed argumentation for the continuing validity of the moral precepts of the Mosaic code but also assumes the peculiar Reconstructionist two-fold distinction in the law. Bahnsen puts it this way: “We should presume that the Old Testament standing laws continue to be morally binding in the New Testament unless they are rescinded or modified by further revelation.” In order to support this argument, he spends a great deal of time in exegesis of Matthew 5:17 arguing that the word “fulfilled” there is to be taken with the force of “confirmed.” According to Bahnsen, Christ has “confirmed” the entire law of the Old Testament and hence anything not personally fulfilled by Christ on behalf of the believer is still required of the faithful in the New Covenant period. In other words, though Christ’s saving work has made obsolete the ceremonial code, Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:17 are taken to prove his confirmation of the believer’s duty to keep the civil law (as part of the moral law). Bahnsen’s exegesis is directly opposed to the dispensational formula here (“if an OT command is not repeated in the NT, it is no longer binding”), and probably derives from that conflict. Hence, we observe that this axiom is the inverse of the dispensational premise of dealing with Old Testament law. Whatever positive or negative response one has to Bahnsen’s principle, it can be granted him, and his case for the binding authority of the case law still remains inconclusive — if his argument for the twofold division of the law is not conceded to be compelling. In other words, if one grants Bahnsen his argument on Jesus’ “confirmation” of the law, and his hermeneutic of continuing validity, and yet continues to hold to a threefold rather than a twofold division of the law, then all Bahnsen’s argument proves is the continuing validity of the moral law. His argument cannot be sustained apart from the rectitude of his twofold division. taken from his article here: Moses' Law For Modern Government

See also:
Theonomy and Christian Reconstructionism
Another Look at Theonomy
Posted By: DiscipleEddie Re: Spurgeon - Tue Dec 07, 2021 2:10 PM
It seems that Spurgeon through the years spoke and wrote on so many subjects, if some paragraphs or statements are taken out of context, they might be used to support any theological view. Spurgeon did write at one point that seems to put out of question that Spurgeon could in no way support theonomy. From Sword & Trowel:

"NONCONFORMITY in England was at first a protest against the errors of the church established by law, it is at the present time a protest against the establishment of any church whatever by the state. In the enlarged area of its protesting it is driven to use other weapons than it employed at first, and to give greater prominence than it once did to matters aforetime regarded as of small moment: our fear is lest the baser weapons should put the nobler out of fashion, and the secondary aims should overshadow the primary intents. We think it right to struggle earnestly against the unhallowed alliance of church and state, and to use the political power with which we are entrusted to promote the principles of religious equality. May the best success attend the exertions of those who devote their lives to this object in their own way. We wish them God speed with all our heart. Still the real power of Nonconformity will never be increased at the hustings; it may be displayed there ever and anon for noble ends, but it is not gained there nor fostered there. Ministers do well to give their votes, and to express their opinions for the guidance of their people, but in proportion as the preaching becomes political, and the pastor sinks the spiritual in the temporal, strength is lost and not gained."
Posted By: Tom Re: Spurgeon - Tue Dec 07, 2021 9:17 PM
It would surprise me to learn that Spurgeon believed in Theonomy.

I think you are onto something when you said:
if some paragraphs or statements are taken out of context, they might be used to support any theological view.

Your statement brought me back to an issue that went viral about 10 years ago, concerning something Dave Hunt said in a book he wrote called 'What Love is This?"

Dave Hunt was very anti-Calvinist and in the book he even took CH Spurgeon out of context, trying to prove that CH Spurgeon was not a Calvinist. Spurgeon actually wrote against the hyper-Calvinism of his day, almost as much as he wrote against Arminianism. Dave Hunt however, used this in his book to make his point that Spurgeon was an Arminian, not a Calvinist. It was not as though, Dave Hunt should not have known better either. Before the book went to print, some of his own Arminian friends read the manuscript and told Dave Hunt that he was wrong about Spurgeon. Yet despite that, he told them he was right and they were wrong and kept it in his book.

There were far reaching consequences to that and perhaps I should not have involved myself in the issue; but many Arminian Dave Hunt fans were using Dave Hunt's quotes on Spurgeon to show that Spurgeon was one of them.
I, thinking it I could change some minds, collected quite a few Spurgeon quotes showing plainly that Spurgeon was indeed a Calvinist.
I was attacked and they were mocking me and one person even said
That I protest too much, which means that even I know they are right.

Needless to say I bowed out of the conversation.

Posted By: DiscipleEddie Re: Spurgeon - Wed Dec 08, 2021 1:32 PM
That is similar to those who try say John Calvin did not believe in the "Limited Atonement" and then they quote the first sentence from his commentary on 1 John 2:2 -

"And not for ours only He added this for the sake of amplifying, in order that the faithful might be assured that the expiation made by Christ, extends to all who by faith embrace the gospel."

They ignore and leave out the rest of his comment which reads:

"Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. They who seek to avoid this absurdity, have said that Christ (63) suffered sufficiently for the whole world, but efficiently only for the elect. This solution has commonly prevailed in the schools. Though then I allow that what has been said is true, yet I deny that it is suitable to this passage; for the design of John was no other than to make this benefit common to the whole Church. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world. For then is really made evident, as it is meet, the grace of Christ, when it is declared to be the only true salvation of the world."
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