Thursday, May 04, 2006

Historical Documents: Baptist-Evangelical Cooperation in World Missions, Part 6

Roughly about the same time J.R. Graves was promoting "Old Landmarkism" in the United States, another Baptist leader across the ocean was dealing with what he considered to be doctrinal problems in his own denomination in a very different manner. I invite you to read now from Charles H. Spurgeon's sermon The Eternal Name, preached May 27, 1855, at Exeter Hall, Strand, England, the following excerpt...

I am not particularly anxious about my own name, whether that shall endure for ever or not, provided it is recorded in my Master's book. George Whitefield, when asked whether he would found a denomination, said, "No; Brother John Wesley may do as he pleases, but let my name perish; let Christ's name last for ever." Amen to that! Let my name perish; but let Christ's name last for ever. I shall be quite contented for you to go away and forget me. I shall not see the faces of half of you again, I dare say; you may never be persuaded to step within the walls of a conventicle; you will think it perhaps not respectable enough to come to a Baptist meeting. Well, I do not say we are a very respectable people; we don't profess to be; but this one thing we do profess, we love our Bibles; and if it is not respectable to do so, we do not care to be had in esteem. But we do not know that we are so disreputable after all; for I believe, if I may state my own opinion, that if Protestant Christendom were counted out of that door—not merely every real Christian, but every professor—I believe the Paedo-Baptists would have no very great majority to boast of. We are not, after all, such a very small, disreputable sect. Regard us in England, we may be; but take America, and Jamaica, and the West Indies, and include those who are Baptists in principle, though not openly so, and we surrender to none, not even to the established church of this country, in numbers. That, however, we care very little about; for I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ's name last for ever. I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone. You will say, Why? Because when everybody else sees baptism by immersion, we shall be immersed into all sects, and our sect will be gone. Once give us the predominance, and we are not a sect any longer. A man may be a Churchman, or a Wesleyan, or an Independent, and yet be a Baptist. So that I say, I hope the Baptist name will soon perish; but let Christ's name last for ever.
While I am at it, I would like to highly recommend the reading of an article on the ecclesiology of Charles H. Spurgeon, which can be found here, and which, incidently, reflects my personal views on the subject almost exactly. As you read each page, be sure to go to the bottom of the page and continue to click forward to the next page until you reach the end of the article. Take my word. I think the entire read will be well worth your time.

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