From the “You can’t make this up” category, I received in the mail a copy of the Sword of the Lord today. This is the first copy I have received in my life I think, though I used to read others.
Here’s the comical part. The front page has a sermon by Charles Spurgeon entitled “Only Trust Him” as well as a article by Jeff Amsbaugh entitle “What Difference Does It Make Anyway?”
Now, that may not seem strange to you until you read Amsbaugh’s article. It is part 7 of “The Case Against Calvinism.”
So here you have it: The SOTL prints an article by a five point Calvinist (who actually said “Calvinism” was another name for the gospel) alongside an article “refuting” Calvinism.
Spurgeon’s Calvinism is not a secret. It is perhaps the most well known fact of Spurgeon’s theology. Very few could tell you his denomination or his eschatology. But his Calvinism is widely trumpeted in his own preaching. So how did the editor juxtapose these two articles?
I suppose we could call this “equal time.” I think we know better. I think we have an editor who doesn’t edit very well, or who doesn’t see the irony in this.
Amsbaugh’s article is a joke, unintentional to be sure. Perhaps the funniest part is that he repeats the old line about Calvinism not being evangelistic. The reason that is so funny is that this is the same issue of SOTL where a five point Calvinist calls on people to believe and be saved.
I am telling you, folks, you just can’t make this stuff up.
Here’s another funny part. Spurgeon’s message has this line: “the very existence of such a faith as that in the soul [saving faith] is evidence that there is already a saving change.”
Did you pick that up?
Because the editors who apparently routinely slaughter Spurgeon’s sermons to remove evidences of Calvinism didn’t pick it up. What Spurgeon just said is that saving change precedes faith. The word “already” puts the change prior to the faith. Calvinists usually say it this way: Regeneration precedes faith.
Now let’s be clear once again: I don’t care if you aren’t a Calvinist. It really doesn’t bother me, though it means we have some severe differences that will limit our participation in some ways, though not all ways. I am a Calvinist (soteriologically) because Scripture gives my conscience no other options. But feel free to disagree.
But let’s appeal to people to not make stuff up. Yes there are Calvinists who are everything Amsbaugh describes. But there are many who are just the opposite. They are loving, evangelistic, humble, passionate, devoted to the clear teaching of the Word, Baptist, and a lot of others things. Some even have bus ministries.
The SOTL can do better. But after all these years, can we really expect change?
Probably not, but we can at least laugh about it.