Down Grading Christ (1)


I’ve begun reading Charles Spurgeon’s The Down Grade Controversy. The following clips from the first chapter briefly outline all sorts of ways in which ministers can drift away from the central wonders of Christ crucified:

By some means or other, first the ministers, and then the Churches, got on “the down grade,” and in some cases, the descent was rapid, and in all, very disastrous. In proportion as the ministers seceded from the old Puritan godliness of life, and the old Calvinistic form of doctrine, they commonly became less earnest and less simple in their preaching, more speculative and less spiritual in the matter of their discourses, and dwelt more on the moral teachings of the New Testament, than on the great central truths of revelation…

The Presbyterians were the first to get on the down line. They paid more attention to classical attainments and other branches of learning in their ministry than the Independents, while the Baptists had no academical institution of any kind. It would be an easy step in the wrong direction to pay increased attention to academical attainments in their ministers, and less to spiritual qualifications; and to set a higher value on scholarship and oratory, than on evangelical zeal and ability to rightly divide the word of truth…

These displayed, not only less zeal for the salvation of sinners, and, in many cases, less purity or strictness of life, but they adopted a different strain in preaching, dwelt more on general principles of religion, and less on the vital truths of the gospel. Ruin by sin,
regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and redemption by the blood of Christ—truths on the preaching of which God has always set the seal of his approbation—were conspicuous chiefly by their absence…

There was another section among the Presbyterians who, like the former two, retained a nominal orthodoxy, and professed to believe, though they seldom preached, evangelical sentiments. Men of this stamp were chiefly remarkable for the extreme coldness of their sermons, and the extreme dullness of their delivery.

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