"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Contending for the Trinity by Pastor John Samson | Main | The Subject of All Theology »

    C. H. Spurgeon Quotes on the Doctrines of Grace

    I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God. 2584.402

    The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ. Now, I do not ask you whether you believe all this—it is possible you may not; but I believe you will before you enter heaven. I am persuaded, that as God may have washed your hearts, he will wash your brains before you enter heaven. 12.92

    I believe the man who is not willing to submit to the electing love and sovereign grace of God, has great reason to question whether he is a Christian at all, for the spirit that kicks against that is the spirit of the devil, and the spirit of the unhumbled, unrenewed heart. 277.424

    “But,” say others, “God elected them on the foresight of their faith.” Now, God gives faith, therefore he could not have elected them on account of faith, which he foresaw. There shall be twenty beggars in the street, and I determine to give one of them a shilling; but will any one say that I determined to give that one a shilling, that I elected him to have the shilling, because I foresaw that he would have it? That would be talking nonsense. In like manner to say that God elected men because he foresaw they would have faith, which is salvation in the germ, would be too absurd for us to listen to for a moment. 41,42.317

    Our Arminian antagonists always leave the fallen angels out of the question: for it is not convenient to them to recollect this ancient instance of Election. They call it unjust, that God should choose one man and not another. By what reasoning can this be unjust when they will admit that it was righteous enough in God to choose one race—the race of men, and leave another race—the race of angels, to be sunk into misery on account of sin. 303.134

    Some, who know no better, harp upon the foreknowledge of our repentance and faith, and say that, “Election is according to the foreknowledge of God;” a very scriptural statement, but they make a very unscriptural interpretation of it. Advancing by slow degrees, they next assert that God foreknew the faith and the good works of his people. Undoubtedly true, since he foreknew everything; but then comes their groundless inference, namely, that therefore the Lord chose his people because he foreknew them to be believers. It is undoubtedly true that foreknown excellencies are not the causes of election, since I have shown you that the Lord foreknew all our sin: and surely if there were enough virtue in our faith and goodness to constrain him to choose us, there would have been enough demerit in our bad works to have constrained him to reject us; so that if you make foreknowledge to operate in one way, you must also take it in the other, and you will soon perceive that it could not have been from anything good or bad in us that we were chosen, but according to the purpose of his own will, as it is written, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 779.621

    Recollect also that God himself did not foresee that there would be any love to him in us arising out of ourselves, for there never has been any, and there never will be; he only foresaw that we should believe because he gave us faith, he foresaw that we should repent because his Spirit would work repentance in us, he foresaw that we should love, because he wrought that love within us; and is there anything in the foresight that he means to give us such things that can account for his giving us such things? The case is self-evident—his foresight of what he means to do cannot be his reason for doing it. 1299.341

    There was nothing more in Abraham than in any one of us why God should have selected him, for whatever good was in Abraham God put it there. Now, if God put it there, the motive for his putting it there could not be the fact of his putting it there. 303.135

    A controversialist once said, “If I thought God had a chosen people, I should not preach.” That is the very reason why I do preach. What would make him inactive is the mainspring of my earnestness. If the Lord had not a people to be saved, I should have little to cheer me in the ministry. 2167.551

    I believe that God will save his own elect, and I also believe that, if I do not preach the gospel, the blood of men will be laid at my door. 2303.171

    Our Saviour has bidden us to preach the gospel to every creature; he has not said, “Preach it only to the elect;” and though that might seem to be the most logical thing for us to do, yet, since he has not been pleased to stamp the elect in their foreheads, or to put any distinctive mark upon them, it would be an impossible task for us to perform; whereas, when we preach the gospel to every creature, the gospel makes its own division, and Christ’s sheep hear his voice, and follow him. 2937.262

    God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but He called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by His workmanship in them. ME329

    Grace does not choose a man and leave him as he is. 801.162

    For more Spurgeon quotes (including an alphabetical listing) click on the link here.

    Posted by John Samson on February 7, 2006 11:14 AM


    Good post, Pastor Samson. I have had many Arminianists tell me that Spurgeon was an Arminian. I have only had to show them quotes like those above (I found the quotes on, by the way) to explain that Spurgeon was really a firm Calvinist.

    This is a useful argument against those Ariminian claims that Calvinism destroyed the point of evangelism. Spurgeon was one of the greatest modern evangelists, and he was a Calvinist! Jonathan Edwards helped fuel a Great Awakening, and he was a Calvinist! This is a point I've made many times before1, and I think it can be a very impressive and effective argument.

    Thanks again for bringing these important quotes forward. Perhaps, when Christians today discover that Calvinism is more rooted in their history than they had realized, they will bear a more hosptitable and open mind towards it.

    God be with you,
    A. Shepherd
    Aspiring Theologian

    Spurgeon an Arminian?? lol. I can at least see making Calvin a 4-pointer, but Spurgeon an Arminian? What is the world coming to? His "A Defense of Calvinism" should render that argument void immediately.

    In Christ alone,
    Btw - I linked this article on my blog - thanks for quotes.

    There is no doubt whatsoever that Spurgeon was a 5 point Calvinist.

    In the second of the quotes above, Spurgeon mentions 4 of the 5 points, but makes it clear elsewhere, his beliefs regarding the remaining point of Limited atonement, or particular redemption:

    "I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than an universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it." (Sermon number 173 - Metropolitan Pulpit 4:121)

    "Once again, if it were Christ's intention to save all men, how deplorably has He been disappointed, for we have His own evidence that there is a lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit must be cast some of the very persons, who according to that theory, were bought with His blood. That seems to me a thousand times more frightful than any of those horrors, which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of particular redemption." (C. H. Spurgeon - Sermon 204 - New Park Street Pulpit 4:553)

    Hey John Samson,

    If that was a response to me then I should point out that I noted that I could see a case being made for "Calvin" being a 4-pointed, not Spurgeon. Spurgeon is undoubtedly a full 5-point Calvinist and preached as such.

    Hi Mike,

    Just for clarification: my response was to the original (first) comment above, where it was said that "many" Arminians say that Spurgeon was an Arminian.


    I think we can make a clean case that it is not possible to be a four-point Calvinist. Such a stand is self-contradictory. Here's why:

    All so-called four-pointers believe in irresistable grace, right? Irresistable grace is not a generic a redemptive blessing, but is a blessing which has its source in Christ ... in fact all spiritual blessings are from Christ (Eph 1:3) and since this effectual grace (all sides agree) is given to the elect only, then we must conclude that Christ died in a way for the elect that he did not for the non-elect. If one of the things Christ's death procured was effectual grace, then even four-pointers have to agree that the redemptive aspect of his death was intended for the elect and them only ... ... ... EVEN FOUR_POINTERS believe this.

    So the problem with four-point theology is not that it is wrong, rather it is inconsistent. They already believe in limited atonement without knowing it. Each time they affirm effectual grace, they are affirming LA.

    Would a four-pointer divorce irresistable grace from Christ? No, this is an impossible supposition. Therefore irresistable grace is the same thing as limited atonement, looking at it from a different perspective, just another way of saying the same thing, the other side of the same coin.

    Calvin Quote on Limited Atonement:

    "Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith. Here, too, is displayed a wonderful effect of faith; for by it we receive Christ such as he is given to us by the Father -- that is, as having freed us from the condemnation of eternal death, and made us heirs of eternal life, because, by the sacrifice of his death, he has atoned for our sins, that nothing may prevent God from acknowledging us as his sons. Since, therefore, faith embraces Christ, with the efficacy of his death and the fruit of his resurrection, we need not wonder if by it we obtain likewise the life of Christ."
    (John Calvin, Commentary on John, volume 1 3:16)

    Another interesting tidbit about Spurgeon that many forget. In reviewing A. A. Hodge's Outlines in Theology (1878) C.H. Spurgeon once stated: "We commend the Outlines of Theology to all who would be well instructed in the faith. It is the standard text-book of our college. We differ from its teachings upon baptism, but in almost everything else we endorse Hodge to the letter." [my emphasis]

    Well, if you read this textbook used as the standard textbook Spurgeon's pastors's college you will find that it is straight Calvinism from beginning to end. His only difference was with baptism which means he fully agreed with five-point calvinistic soteriology to the letter.

    Here is the book

    I also reject the notion of a 4-point Calvinist. It seems evident that when people attempt to be "4-pointed" (Geisler for example) they enevitably end up affirming only 1-point.

    I was simply stating that a case could be made for Calvin that he only believed 4 of the famous points of TULIP. Your quotation is convincing but there are other things that he say are less convincing. In either case, I don't believe the doctrines because Calvin did anyway.

    However, all of that was to say that while a person may have a legitimate point with Calvin, they certainly do not have that opportunity with Spurgeon.

    In Christ alone,

    Hello Pastor John Samson.

    Great quotes by Charles Spurgeon.

    One thing has been troubling me for a long time. Spurgeon often equates the five points of Calvinism with the Gospel, e.g.

    "The doctrines of original sin, election, effectual calling, final perseverance, and all those great truths which are called Calvinism—though Calvin was not the author of them, but simply an able writer and preacher upon the subject—are, I believe, the essential doctrines of the Gospel that is in Jesus Christ"

    What does he mean by this, and is it correct as Bible believing Christians to say things like that?

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    What does Spurgeon mean when he says that Calvinism is the Gospel?

    Hi Benjamin,

    I believe Spurgeon meant that Calvinism is the purest expression of the Gospel. This makes perfect sense if in fact the Bible teaches the same doctrines Calvinism affirms.

    "What are the 'doctrines of grace' and why do they matter? Such is like asking, "What does the Bible teach about the very heart of the gospel, and does it matter one way or the other?" The doctrines of grace are the biblical teachings that define the goal and means of God's perfect work of redemption. They tell us that God is the one who saves, for His own glory, and freely. And they tell us that He does so only through Christ, only on the basis of His grace, only with the perfection that marks everything the Father, Son, and Spirit do. The doctrines of grace separate the Christian faith from the works-based religions of men. They direct us away from ourselves and solely to God's grace and mercy. They destroy pride, instill humility, and exalt God. And that's why so many invest so much time in the vain attempt to undermine their truth. The religions of men maintain authority over their followers by 1) limiting God's power, 2) exalting man's abilities, and 3) "channeling" God's power through their own structures. A perfect salvation that is freely bestowed by God for His own glory is not a "system" that can be controlled by a religious body or group. And even more importantly, such a system is destructive of any sense of pride in the creature man, and if there is anything man's religions must safeguard, it is man's "self esteem."" - Dr. James White

    Mr. Spurgeon's views are clear. Nothing could be more evident than that he believed and preached sovereign grace. Our hope for the future lies in dicovering just how to preach these doctrines evangelistically and how they are the instrumental cause of Great Awakenings (e.g., First & Second). I think a Third is coming in which Sovereign Grace shall take the whole earth in one generation and perhaps for a 1000 generations. Pleading the promises set forth in Edwards' Humble Attempt and Carey's Obligation were conducive to the Second Great Awakening and the Great Century of Missions, and I think the same promises pleaded today could bring the Third Great Awakening which will reach the whole earth. I have been praying for such for 35 yrs. Mr. Spurgeon has two Evening Devotions August 6th and Dec. 24 which touch upon such a possibility, and in the latter he sees the event as more than a possibility. Gloria in excelsis deo!

    Excellent weblog, many thanks a lot for your awesome posts!

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