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Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism: The Battle for Gospel Preaching [Paperback]

By Iain H. Murray (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   179
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.41" Width: 4.8" Height: 0.65"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 1996
Publisher   BANNER OF TRUTH #535
ISBN  0851516920  
EAN  9780851516929  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Fellow Baptists of Hyper-Calvinistic persuasion condemned Spurgeon for believing that Calvinistic orthodoxy could be held along with 'impassioned appeal to every sinner to come to Christ and be saved'. Iain Murray elaborates the issues involved.

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More About Iain H. Murray

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Murray, born in Lancashire, England, was educated in the Isle of Man and at the University of Durham and entered the Christian ministry in 1955. He served as assistant to Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminister Chapel (1956-59) and subsequently at Grove Chapel, London (1961-69) and St. Giles Presbyterian Church, Sydney (1984-84), Although remaining a minister of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, he is founding trustee for Banner of Truth Trust.

Iain H. Murray currently resides in Edinburgh. Iain H. Murray was born in 1931.

Iain H. Murray has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Collected Writings of John Murray

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Is this Spurgeon's thought or Murray's?  Jul 30, 2006
Iain Murray's theological agenda is ever present in this work and he selectively quotes only those portions of Spurgeon that can be skewed to present the author-editor's own views. We all know the dictum, "A text without context is pretext". Where God sets a boundary line between arminianism and calvinism Murray tries to find a gray area between the two. 'What hath darkness to do with light'?, It isn't a light thing to accuse an author of deliberately misrepresenting another man's writings or thoughts but Mr. Murray had done this before when he published his own edition of Arthur Pink's 'The Sovereignty of God' with many expunged portions, including one whole chapter (on Reprobation). Apparently Mr. Murray did not agree with those portions so he edited them out and he does not warn you to the fact that he has done so. It is very reminiscent of what Mr. Wesley did to the writings of Augustus Toplady and Jerome Zanchius. Then he published the work without having so much as told the reader what he had done, the reader left to assume that he was reading the authors' considered and studied expositions of God's decrees, economies, providence and control. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Murray ravaged Pink's work, and he has done something akin to it here, where he cuts and pastes 'til little is left of Spurgeon and all of Murray remains. I could not recommend this book at all because I believe that Mr. Murray borrows Spurgeon's mantle of authority to give weight to his own views, but he doesn't give you Spurgeon himself. He uses Spurgeon's cloak as a disguise. I mark my books when I read them and I mark questionable facts and statements in red. This book's pages are some of the reddest.
Hyper Calvinism  Oct 19, 2005
This book shows the absurdity of Calvinism when it is played out to its logical conclusion. Spurgeon saw that absurdity and he backed away from it.

It is interesting to contrast the baptists of John Gill's day with those a hundred years or so later and Sprugeon. I have always thought that Gill is much more logical a Calvinist while being far less scriptural than Spurgeon and Spurgeon is the more scriptural while being the less logical. Gill takes the logic of Calvinism right up to the brink of absurdity. Rightly where it belongs! Imagine, how great an error there is in the premise that we cannot obey Jesus and preach the gospel to every creature! We cannot offer the gospel because the elect will be saved by absolute decree and the lost cannot believe because God in eternity past passed by them and reprobated them! Yet this premise is the logical end of the absurdity of Calvin and his false doctrine.

The problem with Calvinism is the faulty premise it is built upon. We live in a conditonal universe. Not only is this found in the Bible where we are presented with the conditon of believing and persrvering and continuing in the faith, but also in every day life. Calvinism is anti conditional. It is anti faith. Unconditonal election kills conditonal faith.

Wesley rightly wrote in his sermon on the trinity that absolute election is a greater absurdity than all the false doctrines of the "Romanists" combined: "what are all the absurd opinions of all the Romanists in the world, compared to that one, that the God of love, the wise, just, merciful Father of the spirits of all flesh, has, from all eternity, fixed an absolute, unchangeable, irresistible, decree, that part of all mankind shall be saved, do what they will; and the rest damned, do what they can!"

The Bible from stem to stern speaks of conditonality. We are saved by grace through faith. God's gift is the grounds and that gift is received through faith. Faith is the condition. Yet all true Calvinists do not believe in salvation by grace through faith. They redefine faith so that it no longer is faith. If I can believe that means I can also not believe.

Calvinists redefine faith so that it is just another string God pulls. God becomes the puppet master who, by decree, pulled all the strings before time began. We become the puppets who live in the charade of time that we actually are morally responsible and that we can believe or not believe. God's word even says we are responsible for doing something we can only do, accd to Calvinists, if we are elect-- to believe. "He that believeth not shall not see life but the wrath of God abides upon him." If unconditonal election is true, God is playing a hoax on His creation. God asks those He damned from eternity past to believe! Time is a hoax, condionality is a hoax. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved" is a hoax. The elect must believe, the lost cannot believe. God is the puppet master. As one writer put it, "you will be saved or lost for all of eternity because you were saved or lost from all eternity."

Conditonal Faith and unconditional election are at war with each other.

Imagine, the elect saying no to the Gospel! This can happen if election is conditonal (He that believeth will be saved, he that believeth not will be damned). Unconditonal election cannot coexist with conditional faith. Yet faith is conditonal. We may believe because of God's grace. God provides the gift of salvation and then he sends his messangers into the world empowered by God's Spirit to preach that message to all. "Faith comes by hearing ... the words of Christ. We are held responsible for believing or not, "He that believeth not shall not see life..."

Calvinists like to turn Arminius into a Pelagian. The truth be told, he was a recovering Calvinist! Long before AA, there was a 12 step recovery program from the Calvinistic errors that Saint Arminius blessed us with. He was schooled by Beza. Yet he obeyed God and God's word to stand against error and for the Faith once delivered. May God open the eyes of more and more people who have been blinded by the multiplied absurdities of Calvinism.

Spurgeon is a good example of a Calvinist who experienced the full 7 course meal of absurdity and instead went for the value menu.
Spurgeon's Fight For Gospel Preaching  Nov 5, 2004
While other readers have had negative opinions of Murray's work on the doctrinal battles between Charles Spurgeon and hyper-Calvinist, I enjoyed Murray's work and thought he did a masterful job of presenting an historical account of the debate. While sadly this debate no longer rages today (some would say that is good but in light of the seeker movement and the hyper-Rick Warren gospel I believe we need to return to Spurgeon), the book does give us insight into the life and struggles of Charles Spurgeon. As John Piper coined it, "Spurgeon knew how to preach through afflictions."

In this book, Murray gives us the historical account of the legendary prince of preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon against extreme Calvinist who saw no need to preach the gospel to all men since only the elect would be saved and that by God's sovereign choice. While Spurgeon agreed that God predestined men to salvation he also believed that the gospel was to be preached to all men, allowing the Holy Spirit to draw men to Christ, and that it was through the medium of preaching that men are saved (1 Cor. 1:18-25). Spurgeon himself was saved through the preaching of the Word through a Primitive Methodist laymen's preaching at the age of 15.

In our day we see the need for true, expository, biblical preaching to return. We need men hungry for Jesus as Spurgeon, Wesley, Fox, Bounds, Ravenhill, Tozer. We don't need new methods or new programs but we need the gospel to be preached with authority and power.
Banner of Truth Disappoints in this Title  Dec 31, 2003
My main problems with the book are as follows:

1. Murray exalts Spugeon as the end-all and be-all of Calvinism. I get the impression that if you dare go further than Spurgeon in your understanding of Scripture you are out of line with historical "orthodox" Calvinism. I can see how the errors of Van-Til became prevalent in the 20th century when someone as Spurgeon is exalted as the greatest theologian who ever lived! Throughout much of Spurgeon's sermons he contradicts himself and then claims we have to "swallow" these contradictions "through faith." Spurgeon whom I admire and consider a genuine brother had many flaws including his hermeneutical methods.

2. I think it's sad that the Banner of Truth speaks more highly of Wesley than they do of John Gill. John Gill ferociously fought the free will blasphemies of John Wesley and wrote a book that in my opinion is the greatest exegetical book on the doctrines of Sovereign Grace ever written. To sneer and call this book the "keystone" of hyper-calvinism is to bring reproach to this man who I believe did more to influence British Particular Baptist theology than any other man. If there was not a Gill, I wonder if there would have been a Spurgeon. Sadly, most Calvinistic Baptists today esteem Bunyan, SKIP GILL, and then proclaim Andrew Fuller and Charles Spurgeon as the greatest Calvinists of all time! I think it's interesting that this very thing is being repeated in this day in Presbyterianism with the history of Gordon Clark and Cornelius Van Til. I have been definitely helped by Gill's writings.

3. Murray, and I quote, states that "the denial of any love in God except love to the elect (p. 99)" is Hyper-Calvinism. Murray, along with Spurgeon seem to think that if you deny that God loves all men, both elect and reprobate, then you have no gospel worth bringing before sinners. Spurgeon and Murray both affirm that unless you can say, "God wants you to be saved", then you cannot speak the gospel of "love." Murray exalts God's love as His chief attribute, and I don't think he has any authority in Scripture to do that. I believe God's chief end to everything is to glorify Himself, and all of His attributes work in harmony to bring about that result.

4. What is "human responsibility" concerning salvation? Is not salvation entirely by God's free grace alone? Do men have to "do something" in order to be saved? That is exactly what Murray and Spurgeon are advocating, and those that deny this are to be considered as a Hyper-Calvinist! Men have a responsibility to believe the Gospel and repent of their sins, but they do not have a duty to be saved or to do anything that would LEAD to their salvation because Salvation is already accomplished. Christ entered in ONCE by His own blood into the holy place, having OBTAINED eternal redemption for us (Heb 9:12). Christ actually accomplished what He set out to do as the Bible states, "he shall save his people from their sins." (Mat. 1:21b). When Christ received that bitter vinegar and uttered, "It is finished," it truly was a done deal! There is nothing to "offer" for men out of duty to accept or reject as it's already been accomplished.

Just because I don't believe God loves the reprobate or desires that the reprobate turns from his sins to life in Christ does not mean I cannot preach the gospel of Supreme Grace. Just because those of us who do not believe God loves all men and that the gospel is not an "offer" that God sincerely desires the reprobate to "accept" does not mean that we cannot keep from proclaiming Christ's death and resurrection to men as the Spirit leads us in providence. We do not know who God's elect are in their unregenerate state, and therefore we must be faithful to preach the love of Christ for His people, His life of obedience, His atoning sacrifice, and God's imputation of Christ's righteousness which is received to the conscience of an individual through faith alone. We must be faithful to be indiscriminate with the presentation of the gospel to all men.

5. Considering the history of the label, "hyper-calvinist", it is difficult to actually ascertain a true definition. Some claim that hyper-calvinists are "fatalists", "do nothingers", "hardshellers", or "anti-means". Others state boldly that belief in doctrines such as justification from eternity or supralapsarianism classifies one as a "hyper-calvinist". I have even heard that a hyper-calvinist is a person who goes "beyond" Calvin in their soteriology, or goes beyond the "reformed" creeds. It is my opinion that the term "hyper-calvinist" is used historically and primarily as a derogatory and defamatory term to persuade others against the doctrines a particular person might hold. It's certainly easier to slap a label on an individual and condemn them for wearing that label rather than to actually roll up one's sleeves and engage these "heretics" in the realm of systematic theology and biblical hermeneutics. Sadly this is exactly what Murray has done, and in my opinion fails miserable at it.
A Very Misleading, Poorly researched Polemic  Jul 31, 2003
As much as I admire some of Iain Murray's writing,("The Puritan Hope" is great.),I was very disappointed in this book. For reasons that are best discussed a length elsewhere, Murray and his publisher Banner of Truth, have launched a very deceptive campaign against what they term "hyper-calvinism" under the guise of the "Free Offer Controversy". The problem is, that the people they attack, (John Gill and William Huntington amoungst others) DO NOT hold to the views that they are charged with here, and in several other current books. Part of the problem is sloppy research (relying on biased older works of men who had personal agendas against these men and weren't above outright lying) and partially redefining words that the authors attached other meanings far different than those defined by Murray and his modern compatriots. I'd strongly urge that before reading this work, you check Dr. George Ella's website (http//,invest in one or more of his numerous biographies or check the magazine he frequently contributes to (New Focus at http// Spurgeon himself greatly admired Gill and kept his portrait in his ofice! Check out this quote from Spurgeon about Gill's commentaries:"His great work on the Holy Scriptures is the best authorities, which is conclusive evidence of it's value." Writing about Gill's pastoral ordination, Spurgeon says: "Little did the friends (parishoners) dream what sort of man they had chosen to be their teacher, but had they known they would have rejoiced that a man of such vast erudition...indefatigable industry...sound judgement and such sterling honesty had come amoung them." - quoted in "John Gill & the Cause of Truth" by George Ella, 1995.
The same argument goes for virtually all the evangelists Murray misrepresents.

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