Spurgeon: A Defense of Calvinism (and Arminians)

In a sermon by C. H. Spurgeon popularly titled A Defense of Calvinism, Spurgeon also speaks highly of his Arminian friends. There are some quotable quotes in this message that those who are Reformed (of which I am one) often rightly use, but I thought I would point out another quote that may get overlooked:

There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer—I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one ‘of whom the world was not worthy.’ I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.

Of which I agree. It pains me when people say otherwise.

I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way. It’s a note of love towards my Arminian friends. If it sounds condescending in any way, which I imagine to some it could, that’s not how the posting of this quote was intended or understood by me.

12 Responses to “Spurgeon: A Defense of Calvinism (and Arminians)”

  1. 1 Stan McCullars

    Great post!  I recently read Roger Olson’s Arminian Theology: Myths And Realities which was written in a very conciliatory tone.  Highly recommended.

  2. 2 Jillian

    I thought it made an excellent point. I am edified and although I’m not sure whose doctrine I completely subscribe to, I don’t get the impression I will be excluded from Zion because of some doctrinal minutia.

  3. 3 Robert Jimenez

    Great quote!  I wish more Christians had his line of thinking, thanks for sharing it.

  4. 4 Joel (Polycarp)


  5. 5 Scripture Zealot

    If only they all felt this way.


  6. 6 Romans9Elected

    Spurgeon fought a battle which, although intensley necessary and vital to the life of true Christianity, has been overlooked by many throughout Church history and even today. Of course it wasnt his only battle. But this one in particular was against the many heresies and cancers of HYPERCALVINISM. I seriously do not think I would have a foundation upon which wherwith to even combat this odious plague in our day and age I had not the insights of Charles Spurgeon.

  7. 7 Romans9Elected

    “I am concerned about some subtle trends that seem to signal a rising tide of hyper-Calvinism, especially within the ranks of young Calvinists and the newly Reformed. I have seen these trends in numerous Reformed theological forums on the Internet, including mailing lists, Web sites, and Usenet forums.

    Lest anyone wonder where my own convictions lie, I am a Calvinist. I am a five-point Calvinist, affirming without reservation the Canons of the Synod of Dordt. And when I speak of hyper-Calvinism, I am not using the term as a careless pejorative. I’m not an Arminian who labels all Calvinism “hyper.” When I employ the term, I am using it in its historical sense.
    History teaches us that hyper-Calvinism is as much a threat to true Calvinism as Arminianism is. Virtually every revival of true Calvinism since the Puritan era has been hijacked, crippled, or ultimately killed by hyper-Calvinist influences. Modern Calvinists would do well to be on guard against the influence of these deadly trends.”

    Phil Johnson

  8. 8 Scripture Zealot

    Thanks for the quote.

  9. 9 Rob Helmer

    I would assume that Hyper – Calvinism includes the belief that there is no such thing as the ” human’s free will “; that God preordained every deed, thought and motive and we are merely ” acting out ” the inevitable.

    Should one hold such a view, and some do; how can personal sin be counted against the person; they would not be responsible for their sin if they had NO choice in the matter.

    Carrying this logic forward; if our sin is not held against us; then why did Christ have to die FOR our sins ?

    I am but a theological simpleton, but this sounds like a dangerous doctrine; or at least one that will require some serious spinning.

  10. 10 Scripture Zealot

    I’m not an expert on Hyper-Calvinism and wouldn’t want to be so I can’t really answer your questions. Much of what they believe certainly is dangerous and anti-Biblical.

  11. 11 Alan Mountford

    How an early Victorian orater could become known as a Christian shows the level to which Christendom has fallen. This man openly declared that he was not converted. He also openly declared himself in defence of Arminianism, preached and contended for free will. He also denounced Protestants for their contending against the Arminian preaching of D.L.Moody, the wafer loving evangelical papist, a man who loved Rome and enjoyed the Mass.

    Spurgeon was but one of the many hundreds of hypocrites of the day who simply played to audiences, always terrified of the work house, they knowning themselves to be fit only to speak, not to work with their hands. Therefore what the people wanted to hear they would give them.

    It is little known that Spurgeon was one with the inner light movement of Quakerism, that movement that teaches that Christ is in everyone, that by excerises may be brought out. And not only is Spurgeon one with the movement, but sought to promote it as being Christian. In turn the movement declared that Spurgeon was one with them.

    There is a great deal more that can be told of the duplicitous Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a most hateful man, preacher of all things Evolution. Yes, he actually preached Evolution, stood by Evolution, sought to sell it to others.

  12. 12 Scripture Zealot

    And yet you offer not a shred of evidence. Vacuous ranting.

  1. 1 Mark Driscoll's "New Calvinism" - Time Magazine | Scripture Zealot
  2. 2 Monday’s Musings: Theological Thoughts | Breathing Grace
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